How do you get your small business noticed?

How do you get your small business noticed?

When you’re marketing your small business you can’t rely on the old rules. Today’s consumer is overwhelmed with advertising. You have to be daring. You have to stand out. 

The “x” Immutable Rules of Marketing, Branding, etc….

While you should educate yourself on the hard-learned lessons from marketing gurus of the past (they’re still mostly valid), today’s world is a different place. In the days of Mad Men, you could conceive a marketing plan that aired commercials on the “three major networks”, hit the major newspapers…and you were essentially done.

But times have changed. Now consumers are bombarded with advertising and branding thousands of times per day. It’s every where - and for this reason - we’ve become very adept at tuning it out. It’s why advertisers are continually developing new ways to inject their messaging into our psyche. From product placements in TV and Movies to paying people to streak in front of the President or to tattoo their bodies with a logo - advertisers are in an escalating battle.

But we have the best quality, service, and integrity….insert your adjective here

As we engage clients, they often talk about how they offer the best service, the highest quality product, or have the best customer service. Funny…if we talked to their competitors…they’d all say the same thing too. Unless your competitor is advertising they offer crappy service, sub par quality, and kick puppies…well then saying the same thing as everyone else isn’t going to cut it. Besides, these types of “adjectives” are brand builders. They don’t get you notice….they help to build loyalty. And as most “new business owners” quickly discover…you can’t build loyal customers if you haven’t got customers.

Getting noticed is key, but don’t set yourself on fire.

During the Vietnam War, monks began to set themselves on fire in protest. Sure it got attention…but they also burned themselves to death. You can get noticed in a good way or in a bad way. It’s important for longevity to do it correctly, the good way. Be bold, be daring, be provocative…but don’t go crazy.

It’s a fine line. Burger King kick-started their resurgence through provocative quirky commericals with a mildly creepy character wearing a “King’s mask/head” and outfit. It worked, it was weird, but funny. It got them noticed. It got them talked about. Quiznos tried a similar “shocking ad theme” where they feature bug-eyed singing rats. It failed badly. They crossed the line. Nobody sat back and wondered…hey maybe scary rats and food don’t work together?

Regardless of past success or failure, you’ll notice more and more, even larger corporations are clamoring to “be different”. They’ve all discovered that they need to do something edgy, or funny, or shocking to cut through the bombardment of ads. They need to get noticed before they can make their sales pitch. And so they have to capture our attention and that’s hard to do today. But it’s critical.

It’s why we approach clients with ideas that will cut through the clutter first. If we don’t them noticed, if no one is paying attention, then trying to sell to them isn’t going to work - no matter how many fancy adjectives we use in our ads. So be sure you get noticed. Make the connection first before you begin selling or you’re wasting your time and money.

Oct 28, 2010

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