When I was working on my MBA, I took a very insightful class called Marketing Strategy that pierced the concept of the 3Cs and 4Ps into my brain. If you have not heard of this marketing concept, briefly reviewed, it is to understand your Client and understand the strengths and weaknesses of your Competition and your Company, then take this knowledge and adjust your Price, Product, Place of distribution and type of Promotion to maximize your sales and profitability.
When I started my own company, I sought to take this concept one step further and apply its principles to Outdoor Marketing.
Applying this principle to outdoor marketing requires different thinking than developing a television or radio ad and then deciding which stations to play it on. For example, you need to understand where your customers travel, shop, work, eat, and enjoy life outside the home. Also, what are their likes and dislikes? You really must get to know your customers because this information will be crucial in your outdoor marketing efforts and specifically in determining exactly where to place your ads.
You are not the only one who wants your potential customers. You certainly have competition. To communicate effectively with these customers, you will need to differentiate your business from the competition and focus on their strengths and weaknesses. Also, be sure to broaden your idea of competition. Not only do you have direct competitors (ie Ford dealer vs. Toyota dealer), but you also have indirect competitors (ie Ford dealer vs. mass transit). Expand your horizon and think properly about your strengths and weaknesses.
Think like a consumer. If you understand your customers, you will know where to advertise to reach them and your competition may not. Don’t be afraid to directly compare your strengths with your weaknesses in your outdoor advertising. Make your competitors defend themselves. Business is not the place to play nice.
First, list what your business can do well and, more importantly, what it can’t do. It’s quite painful to admit that you don’t excel in all areas of your business, but it’s better to understand now and not take a wrong step and disappoint your customers by promoting something that you can’t deliver.
Once you have this list, can you effectively communicate what your business does using outdoor media? Can you convey your main focus and main strengths? Can you make it simple enough? Focus on your top two strengths that intersect with your target customers’ top wishes, and place your ads where they frequent. Also, depending on what you want to communicate, you will need to choose the appropriate outdoor media, of which there are many.
If your business can’t afford to advertise on traditional billboards, which can average $ 2,000 per month for a major highway billboard, then you should look to other forms of outdoor and out-of-home media. You can advertise at bus stops, in shopping malls, on diners’ placemats, and of course, my favorite, receptacles. The price of this medium can range from $ 50 to $ 500 per month, depending on which one you choose and where they are located.
If you are a smaller business with a reduced advertising budget, alternative out-of-home media, as opposed to traditional roadside billboards, will be the most effective for you. You won’t be able to take the shotgun approach and advertise everywhere. You will have to be more like a sniper and target your clients (not literally, of course) using the information that you have gathered by analyzing your clients.
Where you advertise will depend on how you analyzed your target customer. Therefore, it is vitally important to truly understand your customer, otherwise you could develop a fantastic message that falls on deaf ears. If your target customers are college students, you should place your message in bookstores, coffee shops, bars, and late-night restaurants. If your target customers are professionals, then you should place your ads on public transportation, city highways, bus stops, and restaurants at lunchtime. If your target customers are housewives, you should place your ads in shopping malls, malls, and grocery stores. Take note of your best customers and you will know exactly where to place your ads.
Your product most likely has many features. Depending on where you advertise and what segments of your customer base will see your message, you will want to show different characteristics of your product or service. If your message is in an exclusive part of town, you will want to focus on your service and how you are customer oriented. If you’re placing your message in a smaller-scale section of town, then you’ll want to focus on value and your warranty.
When promoting or advertising your product or service, you have many avenues to choose from. The most common form that stands out is, of course, the television commercial. However, Internet advertising has become extremely popular as most people now have access to it.
While both have the advantage of wide reach, television advertising is very expensive and Internet advertisements can be lost among the thousands of advertisements out there. The best scenario is a complete marketing campaign that includes external media. Why? Because external media can help reinforce your existing message and you can also speak to consumers when they are trying to make a purchase decision. With a correctly placed message, you can directly influence that decision. You can place your ad near your biggest competitor’s workplace. You can also place your ad near a synergistic company (that is, if you are a tailor, you can place an ad near a fabric store). The media outside the home provides a lot of freedom in what you want to say to whom and when.
And don’t just think that out-of-home media, and more specifically outdoor media, are just billboards. There is a wide variety of alternative outdoor media that address pedestrian traffic. Through these means you can have a more robust outdoor advertisement because foot traffic is slow and unlike a moving vehicle on the road, if a pedestrian wants to read your advertisement they can simply stop walking and take notice. . You can also better target your message to consumers who will be more receptive because everyone is going somewhere at some point. Your job is to learn this information about your customers and place your ad there through ubiquitous advertising tools like AshCan.
In short, following the steps above will help you better understand your business, its strengths and weaknesses, and how to sell your strengths to the right consumers in the right place with the right message.
Always consider out-of-home media, as you can target your best potential customers and not spend a fortune to do so.
Remember, think like the greats and act with the agility and kindness of a little one and you can’t go wrong.