How to Ruin an Ad – Part 10

Welcome to the latest edition of our current weekly blog series, How to Ruin an Ad. As is most obvious from the title of this series, each week we’ll be identifying a key element of an ad that, when missing, is sure to reduce its effectiveness.

Last week’s ad was ruined by not testing it.

Today’s ad is ruined by: Not Standing Out

The best of intentions can be destroyed due to a lack of creativity. Among consumers, there is a greater awareness of advertising than has ever existed before.

People today are exposed to more ads than they can handle, so they are hyper-aware, and have developed a near superhuman ability to ignore ads they don’t want to see.

This includes commercials, emails, banners and billboards.

And so, the worst thing you can do is try to reach someone with the same old look and feel that every other company uses. Your ad needs to stand out if it’s going to get attention. And attention is crucial for an effective advertisement.

Ads stand out when they look different than the ads around them, use different language, or provoke different responses. We see and remember ads that make us laugh, cry, and think in ways we’re not accustomed to. We see and remember ads we’ve never seen before.

The key for advertisers is this – don’t be boring. Stand out and attract attention so that your ad has a chance of being more effective. If it doesn’t get seen, it doesn’t work.

Did you enjoy this post? Do you have a surefire way to ruin an ad you think we should cover in an upcoming post? Share it with us in the comments or by email.

Stand Out from the Conference Crowd

This post could have been about marketing your company at a conference, but I don’t know enough about that to be very credible.

Instead, the title is a metaphor for the feeling you get as an attendant at a conference, wondering the aisles is one of these larger than necessary conference venues, trying to avoid eye contact with the over-excited booth attendants who want to whisk you away and tell you why you need what they’re selling. That’s how a lot of consumers feel these days, like a sucker in the crowd with no escape from the constant barrage from marketers.

So how do you stand out?

Many people might argue that you act differently by using less pervasive channels, rising above the discount wars, and temper the frequency of your messaging. And they may be right, but that also might mean losing sales, which we don’t want.

You’d be surprised on how little changes can have a larger impact on your ability to stand out. What I recommend is, be smarter.

  • Use data on consumers to only send them promotional messages that their interests and actions suggest that they’ll be interested in

  • Spend time crafting better looking messages, easier to read headlines, and meaningful copy

  • Ask for feedback constantly, and tell consumers how their feedback is changing the way you do things (people love to be heard)

  • Make it easy for people to subscribe, unsubscribe, get updates, talk to support, try something for free

Those are just a few ideas for little changes you can make that will help your messages rise above your competition and resonate with consumers. Do you have any other ideas that should be added to the list? Please share them with us in the comments below (and maybe I’ll revise the original post to include the best ones).