Advertising is not an exact science. The industry loves to coin terms and phrases that make it appear to be such, but that’s just part of the ad biz’s perpetual hype and ongoing effort to make marketing seem like it’s not a crap shoot.
Sorry, ad folks, but that’s the truth. All the research and data and focus groups and theories and more can never guarantee a successful campaign. The best you can hope for is putting the best odds in your favor. But even so, the chances are that your initial roll-out may come up snake eyes.
That said, then, one huge gamble that too many ad campaigns risk is not “playing” from the target’s side of the desk. Concepts are approved or disapproved on the basis of personal proclivities and propensities and not on whether they would appeal to the intended audience.
Years ago, I was part of a creative team that was charged with developing a campaign to promote a new subsidiary of an international electronic products distributor. At one point during the project, a vice president criticized the colors we’d chosen, saying he wanted the main color to be purple.
Experience and preliminary talks with our target channel audience told us that purple would not work, but he was adamant. And why? Because purple was his wife’s favorite color. So purple it was.
When the first pieces of sales literature hit the channel, the reaction was a resounding “YUCK!” All the printed materials were quickly recalled, the project was killed, and the “purple” vice president took an early retirement.
So what does this have to do with the headline of this article?
Many decision makers will look at promotional products that are recommended for a program and say they don’t like them. And why? Just because THEY don’t.
They’re thinking from their side of the desk, not from the perspective of the target audience. Their decision comes from personal preference, not from marketing.
Have you ever been guilty of this? Odds are you have. You’re only human, after all, and your personal likes and dislikes are bound to have an influence.
The trick (and it isn’t always easy) is being able to separate your heart from your head. You may not like this or that trinket, but will your target audience?
And conversely, even though you like something, that doesn’t mean that your prospects will. Indeed, they may hate it.
With advertising in general and promos specifically, try to put yourself in your target’s chair. This tactic applies not only to your selection of tangible advertising products but to how you evaluate a proposed marketing campaign.
After all is said and done, you’ll still be rolling the dice. That’s just the name of the marketing game. However, the more you can think from the table and not your hand, the better the chance that your promotion won’t crap out.
Maybe you like purple. But will your R.O.I.?