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Make Advertising Work for You

Above or below the line? A unified brand voice makes advertising across all platforms simpler.

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Customer-Satisfaction

Over the years, advertising has been divided into a range of theories and categories that professionals adhere to in order to create campaigns. These include Above The Line (ATL) and Below The Line (BTL), which are essentially just rough groupings designed to help people understand what kind of advertising is being done. The entire process is, in truth, much simpler than most marketers would have you believe.

What are ATL and BTL?

  • ATL – Generally this is advertising that is visible – posters, billboards, magazines, television and newspapers, to name a few mass media avenues.
  • BTL – This refers to the marketing you do that isn’t quite so tangible. It’s your point-of-sale promotions, PR or the search engine optimisation you do on your website.

Dual strategies

So, how do you merge the two effectively without losing what makes them unique?

Both ATL and BTL are highly effective methods of advertising that require very different campaign structures in order to work. However, there’s a new way to bring the two concepts together – Through The Line (TTL). This approach allows you to integrate a range of platforms, regardless of which stream they fall into.

The idea is to fully optimise elements from both in order to see measurable returns on your marketing.

This may sound very complicated, but essentially it’s about pinpointing your brand message and voice, and ensuring that it’s consistent for everything you do. Once you’ve established your identity – in terms of colours, design and tone – you can use this on any piece of advertising you deploy.

These elements can be implemented for giant billboards on the highway and on each page of your website.

However, it’s important to remember that the manner in which you do this will be different for each distribution channel. For example, the design of your flyers shouldn’t be executed in the same way as your website. They must relate to each other, while still sticking to best practices for their unique space in the marketing arena.

Draw attention to all channels

Of course, one of the simplest ways to tie ATL and BTL together is to use each channel as a way of pointing to the other. For example, if you’re in retail, you can upload your catalogues onto your Facebook page and then tell people to visit your stores for more information.

However, this must be backed up at each branch, with posters for example. On the other hand, you can make sure that your flyers always have your website’s URL printed on them. Whenever you get the opportunity to use the various platforms open to you as a way of promoting each other – take it.

Remember, with a unified brand voice, each marketing channel that you deploy serves to reinforce your message every time someone comes into contact with your company.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ann Druce

    Dec 12, 2012 at 09:32

    Through-the-line has been around for years, and is also sometimes known by other terminology, like integrated marketing campaign or 360 degree marketing.

    There is no question that this approach is very effective in building relationships with your target market, but the selection of the appropriate channels is a strategic decision. Not every opportunity suits every brand.

    Furthermore, budgets are also a key factor in the decision process. If your budget is limited, it is better to one or two things well and make an impact, Spreading your resources too thin could leave you without any brand recognition or recollection.

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Advertising

6 False Advertising Scandals You Can Learn From

Don’t stretch the truth the way Volkswagen, New Balance, Airborne, Splenda, Rice Krispies and Red Bull did.

Jayson Demers

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New entrepreneurs are often tempted to exaggerate what new products or services are capable of. No wonder: Presented to a powerful investor, a stretch of the truth just might help land that series A funding.

And, less seriously, a bit of marketing flair or showmanship, in many cases, will help an entrepreneur accomplish his or her without many repercussions.

But, in other cases, if you’re that entrepreneur who is caught deliberately misleading investors or consumers, you could face false advertising charges – and the ruin of your brand’s reputation. Consider these six examples:

  1. Airborne
  2. Splenda
  3. New Balance
  4. Rice Krispies
  5. Volkswagen
  6. Red Bull
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Advertising

Forget Everything You’ve Heard — Fear Doesn’t Sell

If consumers associate your product with fear, they may not have a strong connection to your brand.

Scott Brown

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Sixty percent of Subaru owners have dogs. So in 2008, when the company decided to sponsor Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, it made a major break from previous advertising campaigns — ones that showed drivers with other cars getting stuck in the snow, for example. Alongside a pledge to donate $250 to charity for every car sold, the company began to understand how to appeal to its core audience through their own interests — and how those tied together in a Subaru.

Since 2008, the company has been running a campaign called “Love,” one that brings together all the attributes that Subaru is known for — including safety and reliability. Instead of talking to customers by telling them all the bad things that will happen if they don’t drive a Subaru (e.g., getting stuck in the snow), the company began speaking in a more positive language — including bringing furry friends along on drives.

For many, the instinctive approach toward marketing is to tell an audience why they have to buy your product. Bad things will happen otherwise, and yours is the best in market. The others won’t help you reach your goal. The problem with that logic is that it doesn’t take into account the impact of brand image on product marketing. Sure, you might skid in the snow without a Subaru, but you need to think positively of the company as a whole if you’re going to be drawn to its products in the first place.

Related: How do I know that my product is market-ready?

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9 Strategies For Memorable Advertising When Your Audience Is Chronically Distracted

Attention spans have never been shorter, and consumers never have had so many options. You need a smart strategy to rise above the noise.

Eran Halevy

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The advertising industry is big. In fact, when all the numbers from 2017 are tallied, advertising spending in the United States is projected to reach $207 billion. However, research shows that 64 percent of people find ads annoying or intrusive. A whopping 92 percent of online ads aren’t even noticed.

If you want to get results from your advertising efforts in 2018, you must adhere to certain rules. These nine definitely are worth remembering as you firm up your strategy for the new year.

1. Optimise your ads for declining attention spans

The consistently shrinking attention span is one of advertising’s greatest challenges. Consider the following statistics:

  • In a recent study, Microsoft revealed the average attention span has decreased from about 12 seconds in 2000 to about eight seconds today.
  • A study by Jampp shows that our attention spans decline by about 88 percent every year – especially thanks to technology and mobile apps.
  • Some sources estimate we are exposed to up to 5,000 ads daily – a sharp increase from a few decades ago.

Audiences suffer from declining attention spans, but they’re bombarded with more ads than ever before. With that in mind, it’s essential to embrace the KISS principle: Keep it simple, stupid.

Related: Podcasting Is The Most Authentic Form Of Advertising

rule-of-seven2. Follow the ‘Rule of Seven’

One of advertising’s golden rules is explained by the “Rule of Seven:” Most prospects will need to see your message at least seven times before they consider your offer. Don’t expect most people to convert the first time they see your offer. Instead, use different means and channels to get the same message across to them. You’ll increase the odds they’ll respond to your offer.

3. Retarget your ads to people familiar with your brand

According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new prospect is about 5 to 20 percent while the probability of selling to an existing customer is about 60 to 70 percent. It’s much easier to market to people who already are familiar with your brand or who have been customers in the past than it is to “sell” people who are just learning about you. Research shows that retargeting your message to people who previously have visited your website can result in 10 times the clicks and a 70 percent increase in conversions.

4. Sensory adaptation beats CTA colour

In one of its articles years ago, Hubspot famously proclaimed that “Red beats green” in terms of coloured-button performance. For a long time, experts have touted red as the best choice for a call to action (CTA). Unbounce, on the other hand, says orange leads to more conversions. Others have found green, yellow or blue to be best.

So which colour, really, produces the best results? None of the above. Colour psychology has taken a back seat to an even more powerful underlying principle: sensory adaptation. In basic terms, our brains ignore anything that blends in with its surroundings. A green button will convert better on a page using a red colour scheme and vice versa. You should ensure your CTAs stand out. Do this, and every colour will convert well for you.

Related: The Quick and Dirty on Marketing, Advertising and Branding

5. Segment and target

Marketing Sherpa structured a study that compared the return on investment of targeted emails (sent to users based on their interests) with “batch-and-blast” emails (sent to everyone on the list). Segmented emails resulted in a 208 percent higher conversion rate than emails that weren’t targeted. Increasingly, advertising research emphasises the importance of segmenting and targeting. More recently, marketing professionals are using artificial intelligence to develop sophisticated options for targeting users.

6. Focus on retention

A recent study from Adobe Digital Insights found that ads are getting more expensive while reaching fewer consumers. Experts expect this trend to continue as users find more ways to block ads. Meanwhile, advertising platforms will struggle to increase revenue. To get the most from your advertising efforts, consider ways to retain users. It’s more economical than paying to reach them each time. Start building a user list you can segment into groups: an email list, a push-notification list and others.

cellphone7. Don’t ignore mobile

Overlooking mobile users is perhaps the deadliest mistake any advertiser can make at this point in time. Mobile-only internet users outnumber desktop-only users. What’s more, research shows that engagement is higher on mobile devices than on desktop devices. If you don’t have a mobile-advertising strategy, you’re alienating more than half your potential customers.

Related: 7 Ways to Make Advertising a Sure Thing

8. Embrace the ‘less is more’ principle

It’s easy to assume that presenting people with more options will yield a better ROI, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, psychologist Barry Schwartz argued against this in his book “The Paradox of Choice.” He cited a jam study conducted by Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper. The pair of researchers divided shoppers into two groups. They presented the first group of shoppers with a table that contained six varieties of jam. The second group of shoppers were offered a table containing 24 varieties of jam. More people viewed the table with greater options, but 10 times as many people actually purchased from the table with fewer varieties of jam. You can do the same: Provide fewer options, and you’ll see conversions increase.

9. Use text strategically

An image is worth a thousand words – until it isn’t. A lot has been said about the power of images to drive action and boost advertising conversion. But an increasing body of research is finding that when used properly, text is even more effective than rampant visuals. Launchbit found that text-heavy banner ads generally result in more clicks and conversions than banners that consist primarily of graphics and colours. There’s an important caveat, though: Ensure your text communicates exactly what users will gain when they click your ad.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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