It’s hard to resist the big media buy. People line up to buy 30
seconds on the Super Bowl for $2.6 million a pop. It happened with
the Academy Awards too. It costs about $53,000 per second to reach
viewers of the event.
We’re seeing a new trend where even direct marketing professionals
are getting caught up in the frenzy. Many business owners think their
target audience is much broader than it actually is. We think
everyone should hear about our brand. Maybe they’ll need us later and
remember the commercial. Maybe they’ll recommend our brand to a
friend someday. Good luck.
It comes down to this. Do you want millions of eyes on your company
brand or would you prefer thousands of new customers? The tough truth
is that putting your product on a billboard in Times Square is rarely
a good way to make money for your business.
It all has to pencil
I’m not saying we shouldn’t advertise at all or that advertising
can’t get you new customers. Many products must be mass marketed.
It’s far cheaper to reach the whole audience for soda, fast food,
blue jeans, shampoo and cleaning products with a big advertising
campaign. Finding the casual beer-drinkers of the world on a targeted
list would be a futile exercise.
Direct marketing is about hitting the right target group with the
right message. If you hit a lot of the wrong people, you’ll pay for
it. You need to consider whether you have focused your target correctly.
If you can’t picture half the population buying either your product
or a direct competitor’s, you’ll have to do the hard work of creating
a rational marketing plan. I use the word buying your product
deliberately. If you sell paper, everyone who works in an office uses
it every day, but only one person there makes the buying decision.
Avoiding pitfalls of big idea marketing
The big splash mentality has other risks. Because splashes are often
very expensive, if you resist the temptation, you should have more
budget to talk to your target group more frequently. You’ll also
spread your risk over time. Multiple messages are less likely to fall
victim to some unforeseen disaster than a single effort.
One more pitfall. Big splash marketing almost always focuses on
entertainment rather than on selling. Yes, a lot of commercials are
funny. As direct marketers, however, we can prove that a punch line
rarely makes a positive impact on the bottom line.
There’s no question that you should work on building your brand with
your target audience. Build your brand customer by customer, rather
than try to become an overnight sensation. You can’t pay the bills