Regular advertising in a dot-com world has been shoved to one side by the Internet. If you're a small business that cannot pay the immense costs in money, time and employee use for putting your business on the Web, what can you do?
Go back to what you know. Advertise your products or services on radio, television or cable; place ads in newspapers, magazines and flyers; or put your message on a fixed or mobile billboard. But use modern techniques!
You may not like what is happening in the advertising world, but if you want to stay competitive, you may have to join the crowd to some extent. Let's identify the four basic advertising trends, show how they work and explain how you could use the ideas without going dot-com.
The four deal with emotions, the mind, technology and entertainment tie-in:
Tying products or services to emotions is not new, but it is no longer necessary to build a chain from using a perfume to smelling great, to attracting others, to relationships, to romance. Now it's blatant: Use this perfume and you will achieve the pleasures you desire. Buy our vitamins, have a great body and attract the opposite sex. Drink our beer and ski like an expert.
Instead, use the emotion trend by being honest with your prospect. If there are real benefits to the customer of using your products or services, talk about those. You can appeal to emotions honestly by describing the marvelous consequences of what can happen if your customer uses your product. Yes, using vitamins may help you, but regular exercise and a well-balanced diet are necessary ingredients that need to be mentioned. Keep it positive, and don't knock the competition.
Psychologists have proof that your mind absorbs information first from images, second from sound and third from text. What is not so widely reported is that every one of these methods can be enhanced by music. Why do you think the gurus of advertising want the Internet to be able to handle sound, video and text in their otherwise obnoxious flashing ads?
For proof of this concept, pay attention when you next watch or listen to a commercial you particularly like. Listen closely to the ebb and flow of the background music.
Understanding how your mind processes information can lead to better commercials. For example, in print, downplay words and use pictures. Consider a comic-strip approach to selling your product; you could appeal to emotions and the mind at the same time. If you are advertising on radio or television, make sure you have appropriate music backing your words and pictures. Don't leave the music up to the salesperson. Get actively involved -- it's your money.
I know you've marveled at people who can glance at a page of text or look at a picture for two seconds, then report everything they've seen. Your mind acts like that as well; you just haven't trained it to report the information. But it's all there waiting to be acted upon. Most people think they "see" or "hear" at a rate of about 7 units per second, a unit being a picture or a sound. The reality is that your mind actually "sees" or "hears" 30 to 40 units per second.
This means those commercial messages that seem to jump all over the place with random words and pictures may be acting directly on your mind, bypassing your normal perception. The technology of MTV works! Fast record one of those 'jumpy' commercials then play it back slowly.
Your ad representative can demonstrate this speed-up transfer of information. If you decide to use this method, be fair. Get your points across in a straightforward manner. Add in traditional methods to keep the attention of your viewer, but the speed technique is valid.
It's to the point where we now believe a Hollywood television personality is a legal expert simply because they once played the part of a lawyer or a detective. You know they've never missed a meal, but if they played the part of a homeless person they are a de-facto expert and spokesperson for the homeless. Organizations with a cause have been using this technique for some time; tying the entertainment industry to topics for which they want to gain support. This is not a new advertising method, but it has evolved considerably, and it works.
Use this method by hiring a personality. A local disc jockey, television host, well-known writer or any of a number of other personalities comes to mind. Have them tell your advertising message while staying in character. To have maximum benefit, the personality should be connected in some way with your product ... like maybe they actually use the product, or people think the do.
For example, the home improvement gurus who advertise building supplies and tools probably don't know a hammer from a nail, but viewers believe they do.
These advertising ideas can improve your image to the customer, convince them you have a product they need, and help them decide between you and your competition.
Paul Tulenko, Scripps Howard News Service. October 16, 2000
Copyright © 2000 Scripps Howard News Service. All rights reserved.