Thursday, March 20, 2008
Beware of hobgoblins.
A century and a half ago Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Unfortunately, many clients and marketing experts are foolishly consistent. They run their worlds via best practices and the underlying belief that life is an "if-then" proposition, as in "if I follow the dogma, my results will be good."
The problem is most everyone follows the dogma. Most everyone introduces products or runs advertising or makes movies that satisfy the strictures of conventional wisdom. (Though, if you think about it, the conventional is rarely wise.)
This morning I read an article in Ad Age called "How can you get the most from digital ads?" http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=125733 Included in this drivel were "Five platinum rules for effective digital ads." (Presumably the rules are now platinum because gold has been so devalued.) You will notice that there's nothing in the rules about being interesting, newsy, fresh, new, relevant, funny. No. That's against the rules.
'Five Platinum Rules' for Effective Digital Ads
They're not fun, but necessary, says Marketing Evolution.
1. Know the purpose of your campaign and psychological mechanism of your ad.
2. Apply the brand mark persistently.
3. Use a simple, iconic message. and make sure the image and copy work together. It's tempting to use flash animation to create TV-like ads, but outside interstitials, gateways and over-the-page narratives are too complex for consumers with divided attention to grasp. Animation in other formats (such as banners and boxes) should be used to focus attention, not tell a story.
4. Consider the format. Keyword buys can work for consumers actively seeking information, page skins to raise brand awareness, and over-the-page formats for more complex, animated narratives.
5. Optimize creative. Pre-testing is relatively rare outside TV, but it can make a difference in digital, too. Marketing Evolution has found much if not most of the variation in campaign effectiveness comes from the creative, not the media buy.
To reach people and motivate them, you must break rules. Not slavishly follow them.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 1:16 PM