Does anyone still pay attention to ads and commercials?

Part 3: Another solution--don't change too little too late.

Last week's article was "Don't change too much too soon." This week we're considering the other side of the equation. Because, although abandoning effective techniques prematurely is a mistake, so is failing to adopt techniques that work within the new marketing paradigm.

Sticking with the tried-and-true doesn't mean sticking your head in the sand and ignoring change. Keep what works as long as it works. But constantly explore new options that might someday work better.

Adopting new tactics should be like voting in Chicago: do it early and often. Do lots of small-scale experiments and ramp up the ones that work. That way you're way ahead of the game, even if only a small fraction of the efforts deliver bottom-line benefits.

Some things that are pretty sure to produce results:

Leverage synergies. No, seriously. Leverage synergies. Sounds like a really, really tired business cliché, but it can be a very effective tactic.

In a previous article,
"How many times do I have to tell you?", we referenced the observation Rex Biggs and Gary Stuart make in What Sticks: three messages in different media are measurably more effective than three messages in the same medium.

A recent study by market research firm Advertising Perceptions reinforced that observation. The study found significant increases in purchase intent among people who received marketing communications messages in multiple media. Some examples:

  • People who saw messages for beer on TV and online were 27% more likely to buy the brand than those who saw a message on TV only.
  • People who saw messages for beer in magazine and online were 20% more likely to buy the brand than those who saw the message online only.

  • In apparel, TV plus on-line generated 22% more purchase intent than TV only.
  • In consumer electronics the TV/online combination produced 21% more purchase intent than TV only.

Some brands were especially affected by multi-media synergy:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch generated 65% higher purchase intent with a magazine and online combination versus online alone.
  • Heineken purchase intent with online and magazine was 39% higher than with magazine alone.

Synergy really works. But some marketers miss one of the simplest possible ways of harnessing it. We can't imagine why, but they don't put their URLs into magazine ads.

New research from VISTA Print Effectiveness Rating Service analyzed 833 ads in different magazines. The result:

  • Including the URL in ads in travel magazines increased web site visits 186%
  • In home magazines the increase was 103%
  • In women's service magazines the increase was 98%
  • In fashion magazines the increase was 52%
  • In men's magazines the increase was 38%
  • In financial magazines the increase was 22%

Failure to include the URL in magazine ads is simply amazing. That omission is a mistake that wastes part or all of the attention the ad has captured for the brand.