Just look around. Look at all the marketing coming your way. There are signs, radio commercials, point-of-purchase displays, labels, offers in your mail, TV ads, magazines lying around, salespeople, online advertising and on and on and on. Add all these up, and the number of marketing pieces you're exposed to every day usually amounts to more than 3,000. Walk into a grocery store, and this number doubles.
How does a marketer stand out among the crowd? How can we, as marketers, hit our target market right between the eyes? Answering these questions represents the Holy Grail of marketing.
Marketing that doesn't hit its intended target is classified as a waste, inefficient or junk as in "junk mail." Marketing that does hit its target market is classified as interesting, effective and very efficient. To be in the latter, you have to give your target market what they want or what they're interested in looking at. You have to offer something that shouts "I'm a problem solver" or "I'm a solution" quickly and in an attention-getting form.
The key point here is to give your target market something that interests them. If you're a senior citizen interested in classical music, a direct mail piece about the newest CD releases for the latest, emerging, rock-and-roll bands just won't do the job; you have no interest in that information.
Getting your marketing efforts noticed can be done in a number of ways. First, you can create an attention-getting headline. Make it provocative, thought provoking, extreme and completely unexpected. One of the best headlines I ever saw was "Things the Government Won't Tell You About Terrorism or 7 Mistakes Banks Make Everyday." Graphics can get attention, too, but only when they're done right: Don't let your graphics overwhelm your marketing to the point where your message isn't being communicated.
Remember what the famous advertising guru, David Ogilvy, once said: "I do not regard advertising as an entertainment or an art form but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don't want you to tell me that you find it creative. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product."
Extreme marketing works. Things that state the opposite, the negative and the mistakes get attention. Here are some great examples:
- How to Run Your Company Into the Ground in One Week
- How to Make Your Sales People 10% Efficient
- How I Grew Profits by 0.5%
All these headlines would probably get your attention and make you want to read on.
Another way to get noticed in the world of marketing clutter is to offer a marketing hook:
- Call us today for a free mortgage loan calculator.
- Call us today for a free recipe booklet using our spices and seasonings.
- Stop by today for a free vase for your Mother's Day flowers.
All these headlines offer something of value to an interested prospect. They'll all increase not only the attention your pieces get but your response rates as well.
As you craft your call to action, you need to answer the following questions:
- What is the purpose of your marketing efforts this time around?
- What do you want people to do as a result of your marketing?
- What action do you want recipients to take?
After you've answered these questions, you'll have a better idea of what hooks your pieces should contain. That'll help you design your pieces. For example, if you're using print marketing to communicate to your target market, put these hooks in a starburst graphic. If it's in an audio or video format, make it extreme, loud and memorable.
The last thing to consider when you want your pieces to stand out from the crowd is to create something that's a different size or has a different tone or is outside the norm. This includes odd-shaped mailing pieces, extreme colors or messages, and choosing odd times at which to approach your target market, like talking about Christmas in the spring.
Carlsbad Brewery once dropped fake passports in the New York City subway systems to notify their target market about a new product being introduced. Finding a passport was unexpected, something you don't see everyday. These messages got noticed and are a great example of guerrilla marketing.
Holiday Inn Express is now advertising the "Number One Customer-Rated Showerhead." Have you ever been asked to rate a showerhead? Holiday Inn discovered this was important to their target market, and they're now communicating that message directly to them. The most recent marketing communication I saw with this message was a billboard.
Standing out in the marketing clutter will always be a marketer's challenge. Doing it in guerrilla fashion will always be a marketer's solution.
Al Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant and direct-mail promotion specialist. He's also the principle of Market For Profits, a Chicago-based marketing consulting firm. His two latest books, Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days and The Ultimate Guide to Direct Marketing are available at www.entrepreneurpress.com.