The Basic Argument for Advertising in a Recession

advertising in recession

from The Wall Street Journal
(publication information unknown)
View the original article

When times turn bad, they’re made worse by hesitation, halfway measures, and panicky decisions. Such as the decision to reduce or eliminate advertising. The fact is, companies that maintain or increase their advertising spending during recessions get ahead. A less crowded field allows messages to be seen more clearly, and that increased visibility results in higher sales both during and after a recession.

Recessionary Advertising Works

Studies by the American Business Press examined the relationship between advertising and sales in 143 companies during the severe 1974/75 downturn. They found that companies that did not cut advertising either year had the highest growth in sales and the net income during the two study years and the following two years. The studies also proved that companies that cut advertising during both years had the lowest sales and net-income increases during the two study years and the following two years.

And not surprisingly, companies that cut advertising during only one of the recession years had sales and net-income increases that fell in between.

Long-Term Benefits

A study by McGraw-Hill of both the 1974/75 and 1981/82 recessions confirmed the long-range advantage of keeping a strong advertising presence. It found that companies that cut advertising in 1981/82 increased sales by only 19% between 1980 and 1985, while companies that continued to advertise in 1981/82 enjoyed a 275% sales increase.

An industry-specific study published by the Harvard Business Review found that airlines that increased their advertising expenditure during 1974/75 increased sales and market share in both years, while airlines that cut advertising in both years lost sales and share both years.

The results of all three studies are consistent, clear and unequivocal: Those companies that advertise during a recession have better sales than those companies that don’t.

The way to minimize a downturn and take maximum advantage of the upturn is to maintain a strong communications link with your buying public.


Recession? Don’t Run Scared

by Marcia Yudkin

During a recession, scared businesses tend to cut back on marketing expenses. This appears to be the smart bet. After all, most customers have become more cautious about spending. So why not conserve your resources, wait out the downturn and have funds to spend when the economy picks up?

In fact, smart businesses expand during a recession because they know there will be a shakeout caused by the scared businesses shrinking.

During any recession, there are always more than enough clients out there to keep you busy if you continue to market, and market smartly. Capitalize on your strengths. Make the most of your business relationships. Create or revive programs that enable customers to move ahead. (I just filled a seminar teaching a highly marketable specialized skill.) Above all, stay upbeat, putting the dynamics of self-fulfilling prophecies in your favor.

If you behave like the scared businesses, or target them, you will contract. If you market to the smart businesses during a recession, you will continue to prosper.

It’s up to you.


Get ideas for marketing moves during a recession from articles I’ve written, including “Clone Your Best Customers,” “Getting New Business Fast” and “Creating a Reputation.” Inspiration costs nothing! Marketing strategy articles: http://www.yudkin.com/marketingmoves.htm


The Sky Is Falling

By Robin Sieger

Speaking to people in business at the moment, there appears to be a storm on the horizon. The newspapers and media are having a field day discussing the rate of inflation, the spiraling cost of oil, the increased number of redundancies, the drop in house prices, the difficulty encountered when borrowing money from the banks, and the all-time favorite the cost of living.

If you’ve spent time living in Great Britain, or know British people, you will know that our favorite topic of conversation is the weather, which is not as surprising as it may sound as we still are the only nation on earth where you can have all four seasons on the same day.

But the favorite topic of conversation now has moved on to the economy (so things must really be serious). The economic downturn has affected everybody, even successful business friends of mine have quite seriously told me they think they’re going to go broke. No amount of positive attitude in the world and well intentioned clichés are going to change their thinking. They have borrowed heavily from the banks to build a business and now the rate of interest is increasing and the value of the businesses is decreasing. Bad times!

I can’t remember the magazine, but it was about nine years ago that I read a fascinating article in which four billionaires were interviewed. The one thing they had in common was they were all over 80 years of age. The interviewer basically asked them about the 20th century from a business point of view. The four interviewees said they had lived through a number of recessions, and one estimated in the 20th century there had been eight periods of recession. They all saw them as occupational hazards.

One of them gave an analogy based on a love of sailing. He said when the wind blows in, you get the sails up and travel fast and far. When the storm approaches, you take in the sails, make the ship safe and hang on. He added when you sense the worst of the storm has passed, you get your sails back up as fast as you can and get going. The biggest indicator of hope is that after the storm comes a period of calm and opportunity that you must never lose sight of.

For many of you, there is stormy weather ahead—how severe and how long it will last I don’t know. I only know that I will keep my eye keenly on the horizon and the moment I sense the storm is breaking start, I’ll put up all the sails I can. In business, recessions come and go just as opportunities come and go, but you must never lose sight of the opportunities that the storms often wash up on the shore.

In the meantime, I’m going to wait until people start talking tentatively about the weather again, which will be a good sign.


Robin Sieger, from Scotland, now divides his time between between Europe and America. He is a successful businessman, best selling author, and broadcaster with offices in the UK and Charlotte, NC. He is a leading success strategist and has a world-class reputation as a conference speaker who passionately delivers high-impact presentations that are informative, inspiring, and entertaining. Robin’s humor and ability to emotionally connect with audiences has seen him become the first choice speaker at major conferences around the world. For more information visit www.siegerinternational.com or email robin@siegerinternational.com.

Color: One of the Greatest Marketing Ideas

color in marketing

In the world of marketing, there are good ideas, and there are great ideas. Yet, even some of the greatest marketing ideas change over time. One of the greatest marketing ideas that has changed over time is the simple concept of color.

Color to attract wealth

In ancient cultures colors were used to identify rank and socio-economic class. The Chinese, for example, reserved the use of yellow, jade, and red were usually reserved for the emperor, while deep purple, golds, and blue were reserved for the English royalty in later times.

In recent times these color fashions still evoke a sense of richness, quality, and high standards.

Psychological effects of color

The psychology of color is convoluted at best due to the differences in the way individuals and cultures as a whole may react to color. Despite of this, there are some general trends that can be used in marketing. For example, using red and yellow in your logo can evoke feelings of boldness and enthusiasm along with optimism and warmth. Using these trends to project the feeling you want may or may not produce the feelings you want, but it is sure that your logo will be more distinctive and memorable to your loyal clients.

Jogging memory with color

When you think of Cadbury, you might think of their recent legal battle for purple. Not just any purple, but a specific shade of purple that they have been using for centuries as their part of their logo, which naturally markets itself. When Cadbury won their legal battle for the trademark rights to their specific shade of purple, they reaffirmed the importance of color used in marketing and branding. The reason is simple: it jogs our memories when we see these familiar colors along the windows.

Times change, and so do people

While color is still an important aspect of marketing and branding, times are changing along with the impressions of the public. Now, people want more freedom of expression for themselves as the new wave of entrepreneurs start making their claim in the world. Color choices used in branding and marketing area making a swift change with the cultural desires. Etsy, for instance, is well known for their shabby chic, white-washed looks as well as their pastels as well as more unusual color combinations that travel in and out of style. To keep up with these changes, start up company, Insanitek, recommends that new business owners brand according to their own heart and soul, not uncertain psychology of color.

Color truly is one of the greatest marketing ideas of all times. It’s versatile, can speak volumes about your company and brand, market your products at a glance, and evoke thoughts and feelings in people as they look your way. So how do you use color efficiently in your marketing? Get in touch and we’ll help you figure out your best color schemes to use in your marketing.


More on using color…

Using color can be a powerful tool. It engages us, helps establish brand identities, market products and it increases our memory; but what about using black and white as color? We’ve grown so accustomed to adding color to almost everything, that B&W may seem uninteresting and boring. Black and white can be just as powerful and elegant as using colors. One benefit of using black and white is less expensive print costs. Using black and white together creates very sharp contrast and eye-catching appeal. Black goes well with almost every color except for very dark values and white goes good with almost any color.

White symbolizes: cleanliness, purity and innocence. In western cultures white is the color for brides, but in eastern cultures white symbolizes death.

Black symbolizes: mystery, elegance, and sophistication. In western cultures black symbolizes mourning.

Did you know?

Black is the absence of color and is therefore not a color. Black absorbs all the colors of the visible spectrum and reflects none of them to the eyes. Black can affect the perception of size and weight of objects and designs, making things appear smaller. White is the sum of all the colors, therefore white is a color. Light appears colorless or white. Sunlight is white light that is composed of all the colors of the spectrum. You can’t see the colors of sunlight except when atmospheric conditions bend the light rays and create a rainbow.

~Idea submitted by Graphic Communications, Inc., specializing in high-profile business solutions used to create a dialog between you and your market. Our services include vehicle graphics, interior graphics, exterior graphics, promotional graphics and design services. Graphic Communications believes small businesses should have access to the same comprehensive graphic services available to large businesses. Our goal is to provide these services without the high costs associated with the graphic arts industry. For more information, visit www.graphiccom.com.

True Colors: Using Color to Build Your Brand

by William Arruda

When you hear “big blue,” what company do you think of?

Some companies, organizations and even people are so consistent and steadfast in their use of color, that they almost own that color in our minds. Think Home Depot, Breast Cancer Awareness, the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

Some companies actually do own their colors. Tiffany, for example, has registered its trademark robin’s egg blue as a brand asset.

As marketers, you know that color is an important brand asset. It helps clients and prospects recognize your company or product. But color can be used to support goals way beyond just recognition. It can be used to evoke emotion and build that all-important connection with the people who surround your brand.

You can use color to further differentiate your organization from your competitors, revitalize an aging product and engage and unite your employees, partners and customers. When you go beyond the traditional use of color, you can make incredible strides in achieving your goals.

When I worked for the software company Lotus, our color was yellow. Not just yellow—our yellow was a custom color called Lotus yellow.

This unique color was so important to Lotus that our Creative Director, Vartus—a strong brand herself—went to tremendous lengths to ensure that it was being used properly on everything from brochures to signage to coffee mugs.

Every print job cost extra because we had to add our custom color to the standard four-color process. But the cost was just a small investment in an incredibly powerful brand asset. The whole organization understood the importance of yellow and worked to ensure its abundant and appropriate use.

The Lotus corporate color was originally blue. But it changed to yellow when we moved our products into retail. Yellow boxes are more likely to be taken off the shelf, so Lotus Yellow was born. But it was not through retail sales that the yellow had its most dramatic effect. It was with the larger Lotus brand community.

Color activates your brand community

When I first joined the company, I was hit with yellow from all angles; it seemed a bit excessive. But when I went on my first qualitative brand audit, I saw first-hand how powerful color can be. Respondents in cities from San Francisco to Sao Paolo shouted “yellow” when asked, “When you think about Lotus, what first comes to mind.”

And yellow was consistent with our brand attributes: bright, positive, warm, visionary. Our yellow awareness was so powerful, that when we launched TV ads in a letterbox format (the ad was shown between two horizontal bars of yellow) people could identify that they came from Lotus without even watching them. Not bad for general brand awareness. Of course, we hoped people would watch the ads, too!

In the marketing department, we used yellow as a way to express the brand internally. We developed communications and Web-based materials that explained the Lotus brand through creative uses of yellow. Everyone in the company bought into Lotus yellow and proactively supported its liberal use. We even had a “yellow” video that was shown to all new hires during orientation.

From accounting to product development, employees considered how to include some yellow in their day-to-day activities. And business partners and alliances joined in, too. The color yellow, as strange as it seems, was a powerful and unifying force among all members of the Lotus brand community.

Color choice can’t be taken lightly

Choosing a color can be as challenging as it is important. There is a whole psychology behind color. And colors mean different things in different countries. Lotus yellow, for example, had a different formula in Japan than it did in the rest of the world. So choosing color for your organization or product is not something you do lightly.

Selecting a color to represent a person can be an even greater challenge according to Brian Wu, Partner and Design Director for Brandego, a company that builds Web portfolios for business people.

“When we build a Web site for an executive, one of the key decisions has to do with color,” he says. “What color or palette of colors will support the client’s personal brand attributes and set an appropriate emotional tone—in the way that music colors movie titles?”

Do you know what color or color palette best represents your personal brand?

The most common logo color for American corporations is blue. But blue is probably more often associated with IBM than any other brand.

And IBM takes full advantage of its unique relationship with blue. You will see blue on the corporate Web site, in all presentations, on corporate materials, on signage and in the names of many of their programs: Blue Gene, Deep Blue and Extreme Blue (just to name a few).

While IBM is associated with the most common corporate color, UPS has chosen one of the least-used colors (brown) and turned it into a tremendous brand asset. Its Valentines Delivery press release was titled “Roses are Brown.” In its latest series of ads, it replaced the corporate name with “brown” in the tag line: “What can brown do for you?”

According to color expert Jacci Howard Bear, brown represents steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness and dependability—perfect for a logistics company. These brand attributes are closely connected with the UPS brand promise. Brown is also a highly differentiated color. Can you think of another organization that uses brown?

Color supports differentiation

The ability to identify a company by its brand color is amazing. When you are standing at the bus stop at the airport waiting for your rental car shuttle, you know whether you are looking for the yellow, red or green bus. It’s more difficult to identify Budget (orange and blue) and Alamo (yellow and blue). Multiple colors seem to be harder to own—unless, of course, you’re Apple.

The rainbow colors are perfect for the Apple brand. Creative. Different. Diverse. Not an inexpensive proposition from a printing perspective, but extremely valuable from a branding angle.

Color can have a double effect

Some organizations and products have colorful names: Orange (the European telecommunications company), jetBlue, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the Red Cross, the Yellow Pages, Blue Cross and Blue Shield. They all benefit doubly from the emotion-creating power of color.

And the music industry seems to have a strong desire to connect sound with color: the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pink, Green Day, Deep Purple, Simply Red, and the Indigo Girls are just a few of the artists with colorful names.

Although blue is the most popular corporate color in the US, red seems to win out when it comes to company names that include color. Red Herring, the Red Cross, Red Envelope and Red Hat Software are just a few of the companies that chose to associate themselves with this color, which often connotes warmth, excitement and aggressiveness.

Color supports a renaissance

M&M-Mars certainly knows the value of color. It revitalized a brand that was at the end of its product life cycle by holding a contest to find the next M&M color. It turned out to be blue, and they launched an extremely successful ad campaign where the other M&Ms, who were jealous of the new blue, would hold their breath so that they too would turn blue.

That was so successful for M&Ms-Mars that it has continued to use color as a way to generate more interest in the brand. In 1992, it held another contest to choose a color. Now M&Ms have lost their color entirely. They are black and white, and so is their packaging. We as consumers can help find their colors again as part of the “Help Find Our Colors” contest.

The potential that color has to unite your organization and support your brand-building activities is tremendous. There is almost no end to the creative ways that it can be used to attain your goals. So think about whether you are getting the maximum value from your corporate color and if necessary, make a plan to color your brand.

Here are 10 ways to make the most of color

Color is powerful. It evokes emotion. It is an important brand tool, so use it wisely. To make the most of your color, ensure that it…

  1. Supports your brand attributes
  2. Is relevant to your target audience
  3. Is always the same shade and hue
  4. Is visible to all members of your brand community, inside and outside the company
  5. Is understood and appropriately used by all employees
  6. Is featured on all your communications materials and sales tools
  7. Is different from your competitors’ colors
  8. Works in all parts of the world where you plan to do business
  9. Is applied to more than just your logo
  10. Comes with guidelines on its use for partners and affiliates
William Arruda is the personal branding guru and founder of Reach, a global leader in personal branding, and coauthor of Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand (www.careerdistinction.com).

5 Great Guerrilla Marketing Ideas

guerrilla marketing ideas

Guerrilla marketing requires imagination and a great creative team. This type of marketing takes consumers by surprise with its out of the box design and advertising. Some great marketing ideas have come out of the guerrilla marketing think tanks.

1. Frontline Takes it From the Top

creative mall advertising frontline

Frontline purchased a full floor space in a multi-level mall. From the second story, customers could lean over the floor and look down on a giant dog. The dog is scratching its ear. The tag line is, “Get them off your dog”, and from the second floor, the people walking across the floor look like small bugs or fleas. The floor makes customers look twice at the ad, which is exactly what a business needs.

2. Nestle Uses Imagination

ad kit kat bench

Nestle used their imaginations with a park bench. The bench was slotted and brown–just like a Kit Kat bar. Nestle grabbed the bench and painted half of it with the Kit Kat wrapper. It looks like a candy bar. The image is imaginative and looks so realistic that it makes us want to go grab some chocolate.

3. Advil Stabs Us With Their Message

creative ads advil

Advil used paper and imagination to advertise their pain product. The poster was placed halfway down the pole so the pole came through the poster. The image of the man holding his head on the poster had the pole poking straight through his head. The tagline read, “More Powerful than Pain.” Anyone who has had a headache relates.

4. Swiss Skydive Presents a Preview of Your Dive

elevator ad swiss skydive

Swiss Skydive grabbed an elevator floor for their innovative guerrilla ad. The floor is painted in three dimensional fashion to represent how it looks to freefall in a skydive. Imagine looking at the floor as the elevator descends in the building!

5. Ambience Hot Sauce Blows!

guerrilla advertising wolf hot sauce

Ambience Media purchased space in restrooms–on the hand dryers. The picture of the man who seems to be blowing your hands dry represents the power of the hot sauce. It’s so hot, you’ll blow hot air!

How Can You Use Guerrilla Marketing?

The idea behind these guerrilla ads is to grab attention. Customers look twice at these ads simply because they are so very unique. The ads require a lot of imagination and an outside-the-box attitude, but look at absolutely every surface you come across–there might be a guerrilla marketing opportunity waiting there for you!

Brand Conversations: Not Just On Your Twitter Feed

social media marketing

Are you in charge of running a company’s social media campaign? If so, you know that your brand receives all kinds of feedback from followers on social media.

In day-to-day monitoring and community management, social media managers are faced with both positive and negative mentions about their brands. From complimentary praise to harmful attack, social media feeds reflect what people think, feel and write about brands and products.

For marketers, this is of top concern. They should be aware of how their brand is being perceived. The three Cs for marketing teams are Content, Conversations and Community. How is the brand developing content? How are marketing teams leading and responding to brand conversations? What’s the community vibe of a particular product and brand?

Dedicated Twitter feeds, like the Twitter stream of iAcquire NYC, are growing in practice; Facebook pages are optimizing the use of social opt-ins and digital marketing firms are selling social services to clients across the entire online spectrum.

But it’s not the only thing. Where’s the conversation about your company happening? It isn’t just on your social media stream. It’s happening in forums, online webinars, LinkedIn chains, street level marketing events and brand-sponsored tours. How can brands utilize these areas to drive partnerships, bring in new customers and offer up new branding opportunities? Let’s take a look:

Buzz Marketing (aka Word of Mouth Marketing)

As Forbes rightly points out, word of mouth marketing just keeps getting better. Why? It’s a sign that a company is doing something right, and many people are driven to want its product or service. Brands can use teaser and buzz marketing campaigns to build conversations around some of their customers’ best testimonials. For years TV ad campaigns have used customer testimonials. More recently, there are buzzworthy tee-shirt campaigns in urban centers, delivering messages (and sometime free swag) to passers-by.

Street Marketing

Consumer brands should look to street marketing activities for many of their offline campaigns. They can set up booths at city festivals, sponsor local industry functions, and align themselves with local non-profits or worthy causes to boost their community partnership standing.

Marketing Forums

Marketing leaders on all fronts should follow industry insights to benefit their daily roles. LinkedIn hosts a number of industry forums to follow, as do local professional associations. Global and international associations have forums worth following, too.

TV Advertising

A great TV campaign can spark online and offline conversations about your brand. A great product, along with a great message, good timing and a link to the current cultural zeitgeist will help any TV ad campaign. From “Where’s the Beef’ years ago to the best TV ads of 2013, great TV ads can capture a brand’s audience and get them talking about and engaging with the brand. TV ain’t dead yet.

Industry Webinars

Marketers can learn a lot from hosting, sponsoring and participating in online webinars. Direct feedback from customers, competitors, and potential new business partners is invaluable to marketing teams. The key to making a webinar valuable is understanding essential industry topics that need further discussion. If your timing is right, then your webinar can have long-lasting benefits. Set it up with a provocative title, invite the best marketers, and host it with one of these top webinar platforms.

Once marketers spend some time off Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, they may find there is another, sometime deeper, discussion taking place. Online and off, it’s time to manage the discussion of your brand, with the audience that suits your company best.

big data

Guest post by Lucy Kim. Lucy is a mom and avid environmentalist who runs a social media company from her home.

Did Motorola and Verizon Miss the Mark?

marketing ideas motorola ad

I’m not sure this ad achieves what Motorola and Verizon hoped to achieve. I don’t see people untethered by longer battery life; I see a digital culture of disconnect. No one is actually looking at each other. All eyes are on their phones. Yeesh. Is this what we’re becoming?

The digitally divided?

Marketing Idea #2: What is Your Marketing Budget?

Marketing Ideas Marketing Budget

Set aside money for marketing efforts each year. Don’t use it for anything else. Often, we have a tendency to pull our marketing funds from the same pool of money as our operating funds. This habit can reduce an organization’s ability to market itself when the time is right. Be especially protective of your marketing budget; this is the investment that pays the bills.

Below, I’ve reposted a brief article by the Wall Street Journal which discusses the success of companies who remain steady in their marketing efforts, even in the face of a recession. Folks, if this can’t convince you to invest in your own marketing efforts, I don’t know what will.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas Google Analytics divider

The Basic Argument for Advertising in a Recession

from The Wall Street Journal (publication information unknown)
View the original article

When times turn bad, they’re made worse by hesitation, halfway measures, and panicky decisions. Such as the decision to reduce or eliminate advertising. The fact is, companies that maintain or increase their advertising spending during recessions get ahead. A less crowded field allows messages to be seen more clearly, and that increased visibility results in higher sales both during and after a recession.

Recessionary Advertising Works

Studies by the American Business Press examined the relationship between advertising and sales in 143 companies during the severe 1974/75 downturn. They found that companies that did not cut advertising either year had the highest growth in sales and the net income during the two study years and the following two years. The studies also proved that companies that cut advertising during both years had the lowest sales and net-income increases during the two study years and the following two years.

And not surprisingly, companies that cut advertising during only one of the recession years had sales and net-income increases that fell in between.

Long-Term Benefits

A study by McGraw-Hill of both the 1974/75 and 1981/82 recessions confirmed the long-range advantage of keeping a strong advertising presence. It found that companies that cut advertising in 1981/82 increased sales by only 19% between 1980 and 1985, while companies that continued to advertise in 1981/82 enjoyed a 275% sales increase.

An industry-specific study published by the Harvard Business Review found that airlines that increased their advertising expenditure during 1974/75 increased sales and market share in both years, while airlines that cut advertising in both years lost sales and share both years.

The results of all three studies are consistent, clear and unequivocal: Those companies that advertise during a recession have better sales than those companies that don’t.

The way to minimize a downturn and take maximum advantage of the upturn is to maintain a strong communications link with your buying public.

Marketing Idea #7: Start Joking Around

Marketing Ideas Use Humor

Use humor in regard to your product or service. Poke fun at yourself and get your message across at the same time. Humor relaxes us. It invites us to let down our guard and have fun. If you associate your brand with a Jester brand archetype (also known as the Fool or Joker archetype,) you are likely already doing this.

Example: Dental offices are famous for providing dental floss during Halloween trick-or-treating fun. Instead, why not send your clients fake hillbilly teeth as a reminder to maintain good dental hygiene during sweet holidays? For promotional thrust, have your office’s logo and contact info printed on any giveaways.

For Your Entertainment

Target Marketing: Speak Directly to Your Target Audience

The other day, I stumbled across an ad that caught my attention. The ad was for Careers 2.0, a site dedicated to programmers and the programming industry. What I found remarkable about this ad was the laser-fine focus it possessed. This ad was so specific about its target audience, there could be no mistake. Before I continue further, here is the ad:

Marketing Ideas Careers Ad

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I saw this ad, I arrived at several conclusions:

  1. Its message has something to do with your job; thus the “Your Job.”
  2. It’s an ad promoting a job website of some kind. Maybe that’s what “Careers 2.0” is supposed to mean, right?
  3. The ad is written in HTML code; the basic markup language of the Internet. This is deduced by the use of the paragraph open and close tags (e.g. <p>, </p>).
  4. Now—and maybe this is a reflection on me—but my first assumption is that they’re saying something profane. I imagined something that rhymed with “Crew Your Job” or “Muck Your Job” written in the ASCII version of cartoon curse-squigglies. (Yes, it’s a technical term, “curse-squigglies”.)
  5. The ad is targeting programmers (who may still have to look up “&#x2665;”). Sure, other web folk may be caught like I was. This is definitely geek speak for something, but what?

The ad presented a mystery! To solve the puzzle, it was easy enough; just do a Google search on

&#x2665; html codes

and you’ll be able to discern very quickly that the ad actually reads:

♥ Your Job

As in, “Love Your Job”.

Awww. That was much better than what I was thinking. (Maybe I should talk to a professional about this?)

Afterglow

There you have it: an ad so targeted, you actually have to decode it to read it. In fact, you not only have to decode it, but you have to recognize it as code to begin with, which will be a barrier for a good-sized segment of the population. Of course, if it’s a barrier, it’s a good bet those folks are not the target market.

Not only did this ad compel me to stop what I was doing and research its meaning, but now I’m writing about it and sharing my experience with you. Obviously, this ad appeals to the web-oriented problem-solvers among us. If you like conquering riddles like a pirate on a treasure hunt, this ad was meant for you.

Marketing Challenge

What can you do to communicate with your target market on such a core level that you’re able to speak their native language to the exclusion of the rest of the world?