Creating a successful advertising campaign is the ultimate game of understanding human behavior and what consumers find meaningful.
Due to the fact that what's important to your customer today isn't even on their radar screen tomorrow, you must know your customer and adjust your strategy accordingly.
21st Century consumers are far savvier than your previous customers. Not only have they become tired and weary of the same old clichés and tactics, they just don't buy them anymore.
Every company must be more proactive today as maintaining momentum is crucial to the sales cycle. Before something breaks, you need to develop a plan that can take over at a moment's notice. In other wordsalways have a Plan B.
Consumers won't wait for you to figure out your plan. They'll just take their checkbook to your competitor. Not sure when to implement the new plan? Here are a few bench-marks:
c When sales momentum slows. When you start to see a consistent trend in your leads, inquiries and closing rates declining, it's time to pull Plan B off the shelf. How long of a trend should you look for? If your sales decline for 12 to 16 consecutive weeks, you might think about implementing Plan B.
c When no measurable gains have been identified in a 90- to 120-day window. If no significant improvement in your sales or lead generation activity is seen for a full quarter, give serious thought to changing direction.
Remember the definition of stupidity/insanity: continuing to do the same things while expecting a different result. If consumers haven't responded to your campaign in three to four months, it's doubtful they're going to respond.
c When your feedback is: Consumers just haven't figured it out yet. It's not the consumers' job to figure out your campaign. It's your job to clearly communicate the benefits of why they should give you their money.
Consumers are not patient. With so many choices of where they can buy from, they won't give you a second or third chance to capture their attention.
c Whenever you talk down to your customer. Arrogance is not limited to large businesses alone. Small companies are guilty of criticizing their customers for not appreciating all they do for them. You need to reverse this equation.
Youalong with everyone in your organizationneed to appreciate every customer and every penny he or she chooses to spend with you. While your existence depends on your ability to attract and retain customers, they owe you nothing.
c When you start saying: All consumers want is the lowest price and nothing else. No one wants to overpay, but few are purely price driven. You can't blame consumers for not responding to your ads if you haven't given them a reason to buy from you.
If you claim to be the absolute lowest price and consumers stop shopping with you, maybe it's time to check your pricing strategy.
But if you've failed to communicate why you deliver more value, you can only blame yourself.
Ultimately, the success of your campaign lies in truly understanding who your customers are, what they want and how they want to be treated.
Ronald A. Heider is owner of Norfolk, Va.-based Heider Marketing & Advertising L.L.C., an agency servicing the automotive and auto-aftermarket industries. He can be reached at 757-447-4987 or by email at [email protected] His website is www.hmaads.com.