5 Ways to Improve The Effectiveness of Your Commercials
How relevant is advertising today to your business? Well, as much as we complain about them, television and online commercials still heavily influence our perceptions and decision-making. They prompt us to form an opinion about companies, products and services. That’s not surprising when you consider that commercials, unlike any other medium, are able to utilize sight, sound, motion and emotion to convey a message. As an advertiser, the trick is to convey a message that produces a positive response, not a “have you seen that awful commercial for so-and-so?” response. So what makes a commercial effective? Here are just a few tips that may help ensure your television commercials hit their mark.
1. Know Your Audience – Television and online advertising by design speaks to a wide audience, but your message should cater to your primary audience—those most likely to buy your product or service. Draw intelligent conclusions about your primary potential customers from your current customers or research, and target your message to talk to whom you want most to reach. If you want to reach women in the 30’s that are likely married with children, then a commercial that uses bathroom humor as its premise is probably a mistake.
2. Define Your Purpose – Sure, everyone wants increased sales. However, if it’s a new product or company, the first objective may be to simply increase awareness, to brand a name and create a good feeling about it. If it’s not a “need right now” product or service, the objective may be to plant the seed that “we’re here when you need us.” Maybe the purpose is to drive the consumer to a web site; the commercial does not need to communicate everything about the product, it simply needs to create the want or need to investigate further.
Remember, unless the ONLY advertising you ever do is commercials, or the ONLY way the consumer can get your product or service is from your TV or online ads, then don’t view the sole purpose of your commercials as increased sales. Clearly define what you want to accomplish first.
3. Streamline Your Message – A commercial goes by fast. As a result, it’s critical that the message you want to get across is concise and well defined. Decide what is the most important thing you want the viewer to remember first, and build around it.
Obviously, the name of the company is important, but a web address may be even more important if that’s where you want them to go. If you’re selling a specific product, then focus on that product and avoid the temptation to “throw in” several other offers that dilute the message. If the most important thing you want to impress on the viewer is a feeling, then the entire mood and message should convey that feeling, and nothing else.
4. Quality Over Concept – Commercial production can be expensive. If the vision for a commercial involves multiple actors, locations, special effects, props and sets, that’s great—if the budget is there to do it right. But if the dollars simply aren’t there for the proper execution of a grand concept, the result is disappointing—to the advertiser AND the consumer. The consumer knows and appreciates quality when they see it—and they have little tolerance for a lack of it
When budgets are limited, focus on a simple concept, well executed. A well-written commercial can more than compensate for budget limitations. A good actor or voice talent can deliver the message far more effectively—and affordably—than a slew of special effects or action scenes designed to cover up a bad script. So when dollars are limited, keep it simple, and focus on quality over concept.
Related blog: Producing Great TV Commercials On A Budget
5. Don’t Hide – Does this sound familiar?
Bob: “I saw this great commercial the other day.”
Sally: “Really, who was it for?”
Bob: “I have no idea, but there was this talking chimpanzee…”
Large advertisers with big ad budgets can “be everywhere” with their message and get away with this. For everyone else, it’s the kiss of death. Don’t allow a funny or clever story line to completely overshadow your identity. Integrate the product, service or company name into the message throughout the commercial—whether spoken, or on screen, or both. And don’t relegate identifying your company or product to the last five seconds, thinking that the last thing they see is what they’ll remember. No, what they’ll remember is what entertained them the most, or what was impressed on their brain throughout the commercial.
Don’t be swayed by a clever commercial with high entertainment value but leaves the viewer clueless as to who you are or what you’re selling.
Related blog: 3 Keys to Original Thinking In A Cookie Cutter World
Other factors certainly come into play when planning and launching a television or online campaign, such as where and when it runs, what other media will support it, how much competition there is and what they are doing, but these five tips should serve as a guide to where to start, what to focus on and what to avoid in order to create more effective advertising.
Larry Roy is the President and CEO of Point 3 Media, a Creative/Production Company based in Nashville, TN that specializes in Video Production, Advertising and Marketing Services. Please call us at (888) 298-3036, or visit our website to learn more about our services!