Oh, I Tried Digital Outdoor…It’s Not For Me
While meeting with a new potential advertiser not so long ago, I was told that they did not believe digital outdoor worked. They had tried it months before in a nearby market with another operator. They explained to me it was a waste of money and it did not show any returns, then thanked me for my time. They just didn’t think they wanted to spend the money again without getting some sort of return.
I have heard this same objection various times in the past and I have learned to ask some questions to get to the bottom of their discontent with digital billboards. I truly do believe them when they tell me that it did not work; but there is always more to the story. How does it work so well for other advertisers but not for these folks?
Over time, I have been able to narrow the reasons why an advertiser’s digital billboard campaign didn’t work. Something is sucking the effectiveness from their campaign. They have TICS issues. TICS is the acronym I use to help me remember the four issues that keep advertising runs from being successful. When they tell you it didn't work, run through these types of questions in order to discover the real cause of their prior advertising failure.
T is for Target. Did they target the right audience? Was the location one that reached their best potential customers? Do they even know who their target really is? If they don’t have this right, they are really off to a bad start.
I is for Idea. What was their marketing idea? Was it any good? Is it played out and boring? Consumers seem to have seen it all, so new ideas are important in order to get their attention.
C is for Creative. What did the copy look like? Was it super wordy or text heavy? Did they utilize the medium, updating copy often and keeping the message fresh? Honestly, “What copy did you run?” is one of the first things to ask when they say digital didn’t work for them. If it is illegible or dull, the ad is doomed to failure.
S is for Spending. Did they spend enough on the campaign? Did they buy only one board in a big market? Did they only buy for a month? Of course it is not going to work if they didn’t make real commitments to a marketing effort.
One thing that I always say to these naysayer customers is that a digital billboard is a delivery system just like other media (and an efficient and fast one at that). Saying digital outdoor doesn’t work is the equivalent of blaming the US Postal Service for your direct mail campaign failing. The message is getting out there. You just need to know the right way to use it.