GETTING NOTICED IN SASKATOON
Marketing your business can be a tough haul. You have a great idea for a business and you set up your company. People are interested. They visit your store or website. Things get busy for a while. Then the organic traffic starts to dry up. Repeat business is keeping you afloat, but it’s clearly past time that you got your name in front of more people. You think about it. You look around for options. You realize now more than ever that the consumer world is flooded with ads. Flyers, signs, Facebook ads, Google ads, YouTube ads, radio. It’s a jungle out there! You’re clever though. You come up with a unique idea. Something you think is truly eye catching and will bring people into your store. You canvas a few friends, maybe some family. Yes they love the idea, too. Let’s engage! Concept designed. Goals established. Print material…printed. You are excited and think that you’ve hit your target market right on the nose. You deliver your campaign to the world then wait. The internet responds….. This is Where Things Go Sideways This blog topic came to mind as I was browsing reddit’s Saskatoon sub. A Saskatoon resident found an example of a fairly clever ad campaign, snapped a pic and posted it for the rest of Reddit Saskatoon to judge. With thanks to reddit user HELLO_MY_NAME_IS____ I browsed through the comments as I typically do, and it hit me that if the Saskatoon company that designed and delivered the campaign decided on their campaign by canvassing the masses, they would have no idea what to do. It’s the classic decision by committee model taken to the nth degree. To start, the title of the post was: “Perfect advertising if you want people to hate your cafe”. Great start. After that, user comments ranged from: “I think this is great! It’s fun, clever, and generous” to “I hate it already”. If you were unsure about your efforts, these comments could be enough to bottom out all your creativity for any subsequent advertising attempts. It’s Not a Popularity Contest Well, it kind of is. But mainly it’s a way to communicate your brand, give customers a reason to visit your store or website, and ultimately a way to increase business traffic. For this Saskatoon business, this might be a significant boon to their client base. It’s obviously eye catching. It’s a giveaway which is always popular. And it’s creative, which reflects their industry and brand. Despite the haters, from an objective perspective, it sounds like a win. So What’s the Point? I have two points, actually (it’s your lucky day). First, advertising is not about pleasing everyone all of the time. If this Saskatoon business looked at the remarks, they might be tempted to consider this a fail. But the real impact of the campaign is whether new clients dropped in, and if these new clients found their new favourite Saskatoon hangout. As a business owner, your job is to focus on your ideal clientele (and no, it’s almost never everyone, of all ages and interests) and talk to them. You know the market you want to attract – it’s your bread and butter and the ones who are mostly likely to become your biggest fans. If you make marketing decisions based on the opinion of the committee, whether that’s your board, your non-invested friends and family, or the internet at large, rather than on hard evidence about your market, you are wasting time and money. Second, these results are more measurable than ever before. The key for this Saskatoon business would be to establish a firm goal for this campaign. We want to bring people in for their free coffee and we want to sign them up while they are there for our newsletter. We want at least 100 new emails from this campaign. After they’ve run the campaign for a set length of time, they can analyze the results and figure out if they did in fact hit the mark or if the haters were right. So it’s not a popularity contest. It’s a measurable experiment in communicating your brand to the demographic that will become your cheerleaders and repeat business. So go get ‘em, Saskatoon. You got this.