Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Advertising Must Change Minds Before It Can Change Actions


I’ve been in discussions with an advertiser about how advertising works.

The situation is as follows.  The advertiser is a low-price retailer.  His current advertising consists of buy one, get one free messaging.  His marketing objective is to attract new customers.   

To do this, he recently paid a ton of money to hire a sophisticated and classy actor to serve as spokesman for the brand. 

His new advertising message?  Buy one get one free, but now delivered by the sophisticated, classy spokesman.

Results to date?  Dismal.

Our conversation went something like this.

ADV:  We hired this classy guy for godzillion dollars and sales aren’t improving.

ME:     Not surprising.  

ADV:  But he’s a classy guy.

ME:     Who are you trying to attract with this classy guy?

ADV:  New shoppers.

ME:     Have these shoppers seen your past two for one advertising 
efforts and, for whatever reason, not been motivated to come into your 
store?

ADV:  Probably, yes.

ME:     So past two for one advertising didn’t motivate them.  
Why did you think this new two for one messaging would change that?

ADV:  Because a classy guy is now saying it.

ME:     What you first need to do is let this new, potential shopper, 
know why this classy guy is associated with you.

ADV:  We don’t have time for that.  We need to move product.

ME:     If you let him explain why he’s working with you, 
then you have a chance to change the minds of those who have 
already made up their minds about why they don’t shop with you.  
Before your two for one sale will motivate them, they need to know 
that your store and merchandise is better/different than they thought.

ADV:  And why is that important?

ME:     Because you have to change minds before changing actions.

ADV:  I disagree.  I think the problem is the offer.

ME:     You’re right.  The problem is the offer.  Hold off on the 
offer for awhile and let this guy tell his story about why he’s 
working with the brand.

ADV:  No, you got it all wrong.  The solution isn’t to stop the offer.  
It’s to increase it.  Instead of buy one, get one free, it should be buy one, 
get two free.

All I could say was maybe he was right.  Go ahead and try it.

He did.

Results?

Dismal.


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