Write an ad that interests your target audience and enjoy dramatic results. Remember the billboards for South of the Border on I-95? We read them because they were interesting and novel, not because we set out to read paid ads. We flip the channels when a car commercial is shown – until we’re ready to buy a new car. Only then do auto dealer ads become interesting, and then we pay attention and respond. That’s why if you were to study the sales leads that come from advertising vs. the sales leads garnered by PR, trade shows and virtually all other types of marketing communications, you would likely find that people who responded to advertising were farther along in their buying decisions and more likely to purchase quickly than their counterparts who responded from other vehicles. Why??
Using the car example, I was perfectly happy with my car until it slid down my snow-covered driveway and refused to drive back up. I had completely ignored car advertising for years and then found myself researching new four-wheel drive vehicles. My research was largely online – Consumer Reports and several online automotive magazines, and personal review Web sites. Once I had determined the car that fit my needs, a Subaru Forrester, I quickly went to Subaru.com, then to my local dealer’s Web site and to my local newspaper looking for the ad from the nearby Subaru dealer that always advertised in that paper. When I finally responded to their advertising and drove the Forrester, I had done my research (moving me farther along in my buying decision) and was ready to buy.
This advertising worked by being there both when I wasn’t interested and again when I was ready to buy. Yet there are surely several marketers at Subaru who think their online campaign was ineffective simply because I did not click on their banners or request information via the Web site. Measuring online advertising in this narrow way counting impressions and clicks as if they were unrelated to the overall marketing program conflicts with the way people actually buy.