Top 10 Ways to Make Advertising Useful and Relevant to Target Customers

8 03 2010

Let’s face it, nobody is watching TV advertising anymore. DVR technology has put an end to anybody watching ads they don’t actually want to see. …And that is most ads in the known universe! The TV networks have responded by running more ads (up to 50% of total airtime during the 2010 Winter Olympics according to my unofficial estimates) and inserting images from the TV show currently being watched to “trick” viewers into stopping their fast forwards. Advertisers and TV networks are not getting the message: Viewers hate this stuff. It actually hurts the brand image of the advertisers and drives away viewers!

Now we are looking at the explosion of mobile network use and hearing that Apple and Google are gearing up to do mobile advertising. You can practically hear the collective shudder as people prepare to be bombarded with useless crap they don’t want to see. Well, it doesn’t have to be all that bad.

How can vendors do “advertising” in a way that does not turn off their intended audience? Here are ten ideas:

  1. Make it Relevant: Have some good reason to believe that the target customer actually care about what you are dishing out.
  2. Never SPAM: Never use personal information to promote an unrelated product or service.
  3. Make it useful: Use personal information to determine a real unmet need, not just a possibility of interest in your product or service
  4. Make it Immediate: Use personal and geo location information to provide useful information that might help the target user at that specific moment.
  5. Give Users a Voice: Let them rank your ads for usefulness and relevance. …and listen to them. If they say “not interested,” never serve that ad up again!
  6. Look into “Alternate Reality” Applications: They are small but fast-growing software application area that provides useful realtime information on people and places. Here is a real chance to provide very relevant and useful information while getting your message across in a gentle, non-advertising sort of way.
  7. Don’t do something your target audience would not recommend to their friends. Annoying may be memorable, but it doesn’t help your brand.
  8. Make it Viral. Make it something your audience is dying to forward or recommend. It makes them look cool and connected to do so.
  9. Listen: Give your target audience a chance to talk back to you – and really listen to what they have to say. They may well surprise you.
  10. Make it Fun! A fun message is far more likely to be well-received and to go viral. The Mentos-Diet Pepsi thing created a lot of interest for Diet Pepsi.

Whatever you do, do not continue to ram the same message down people’s throats over and over. Virtually everybody I know hates repetition, and particularly repetitive advertising!  Awareness isn’t  enough.  People have to actually like your brand.

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