Nothing says bad business and lost investment like an advertisement that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, which is bring in business. I’ve met clients who go through painstaking troubles to hire graphic artists – not marketers – to create the most eye-catching ad possible – the problem is many Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator graphic designers lack the one tool that matters: marketing intelligence & strategic expertise.
Ditch the graphic designer and get a marketer.
A marketer understands the needs of the client go well beyond ad design. A marketer needs to know who your target market is, how to reach them, when to reach them, what will get through to them, what your budget is, what media outlets have a proven track record, and what you need to accomplish before, during, and after the ad campaign hits. Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff. Graphic designers know how to make an apple have fangs and only when someone advises them to do it for the apple with fangs business.
Ditch the graphic designer and get a marketer. The marketer creates a vision, concept, audit, pitch and slogan for your brand. A designer simply takes those instructions and designs it. If you’re paying for a graphic designer that has no marketing experience, then not only are you wasting money on ad design (not to mention ad buys), you’re also risking your reputation as a business/service that is disconnected with the marketplace.
How can you tell if you have a designer or a marketer? Simple:
- A marketer will provide an advertising gameplan and then design an ad that matches your goals, vision, and market.
- A designer will show you their rates and portfolio of their capabilities, not a gameplan for where to advertise.
- A marketer will recommend you measure responses through call tracking, promo codes, and QR codes.
- A designer will say that adding those tracking options will detract from the look of the ad.
- A marketer will tell you all about CPM, CTR, Open Rates, SEM, SEO, PPC, and more.
- A designer will only give you two proofs to review before the final ad.
- A marketer will list testimonials on their websites from successful customers.
- A designer will list artwork yet no indication of client’s success.
So what would a good marketer say?
A great looking ad comes at a price.
Knowing where to place it makes it an investment.
When you just get a graphic designer, all you have now is a great looking piece of artwork. You could hang it on the wall if you choose. Or you could invest it smartly into the best print, digital, and social places to bring in sales and get more business. Always ask before you hire a designer if they can handle media buying, media placements, strategy and market research. Until you know what, who, when, and where to target your customers, you just have a piece of PDF art. A smart marketer will know how to design your advertising for your intended market and then provide a media strategy for placing it. That’s an investment.
Develop a unique slogan based on your data.
Take a lesson from Walmart – develop a slogan, compel customers, to find out more and live by it. For years, Walmart’s tagline has been “Save Money. Live Better.” That tagline speaks to everyone in four words and compels people to visit a store or Walmart.com to see how they can save money on everything and actually live better with the savings they gain. Furthermore, it tells customers what to expect you’re your business. Home Depot wants to help you “Keep Improving” while Harley Davidson says what they stand for: “American by Birth. Rebel by Choice”. IBM delivers “Solutions for a Smarter Planet” and Nike urges people to “Just Do It”. You can see more here. What message are you telling your customers that you stand for? Even better, what are you telling your customers that your competitors aren’t? A good marketer knows how to develop an all-encompassing slogan that sums you up in half a sentence.
Reinforce, Reinforce, Reinforce.
Coca Cola grabbed headlines during Super Bowl season (go Giants!). InformationWeek reported on how Coca-Cola is going to be a marketing trailblazer that leverages their TV advertising through a massive social media effort. The days of simply watching a Super Bowl ad and then possibly buying a Coke are over; now, people can see the TV ad, “Like” Coke on Facebook, interact with the Coke Polar Bears online, and share the ads with people on their mobile devices and tablets. The message is simple – you have to reinforce your ad campaign in as many ways as possible. Does your store signage match your advertising? Is it consistent with your website, brochures & social media? Reinforcing can even be experimental – like CokePolarBowl.com – or very basic, like ensuring your print advertising is consistent with your business cards and branding collateral. More importantly, is your business image consistent with YOU? Even MORE important is how are you measuring it all?? Don’t drop the ball on the two-yard line. If you’re not reinforcing your image, you’re actually reducing the marketing effectiveness of your entire image.
Sometimes, You Need to Put your Opinion Aside.
When we were designing the print artwork for High Style Events, we were so convinced that our print design would be a great consistent theme, in line with our website, that would really grab the attention female clients. It took one comment from our female colleague – “it’s a bit dark” – to make us totally rethink our design. Although we were so passionate about the idea, we decided that we had to put my vision and idea’s to the side in favor of a member of our target market – females! If she says it’s too dark, then our target female market will consider it too dark and think we are in the dark-event business. Needless to say, we changed the print design to a more lavish, bright look with plenty of images and florals all around. Sometimes, you need to take your passions and vision out of the equation and let others – like your wife, your staff, or even clients – chime in with their opinions.
Be risky in your creative. But be truthful.
No one ever said you have to copy what your competitors are doing. Ever since Pomegranate started using a unique design for their advertising when they first opened, every Jewish supermarket tried to imitate the look and image. Well, Mendy’s Heimishe Bakery isn’t Pomegranate – it’s a bakery. A pretty small one. Don’t follow the crowd… create a new design so others follow you. And it’s ok to be risky and funny and bold and loud because it’s your business and your business has a unique personality. Be loud and creative in your logo but always stay truthful to what you are and what you represent. If you’re a small community bakery, highlight your “friendly service” & “fresh-baked” quality, not your valet parking. Own what your business is about and always highlight it.
Have a lot to say? Save it for the website or social media.
Dozens of clients made the same mistake in their ads. They think the more information/value/deals they put in an ad, the more responses they’ll get from customers dying to take advantage of everything! Too many details in the ad will clog up the message. If you met someone in an elevator and went through your entire pitch about your business – who, where, what you sell, price, discounts, phone number, email, website, Facebook, Twitter, I guarantee that you will lose their interest. You know how people take eight seconds for a first impression? With an ad, you have less than 2 seconds to leave an impression. So get down to business and entice them to like what you’re about, pick up the phone, visit your website, or clip your coupon.
If you want to ensure a successful advertising campaign, the first step is to ditch the graphic designers. Marketing strategists and experienced advertisers are a better investment for future success. See some great examples here.