Is your marketing message a grocery list?

04 Apr Is your marketing message a grocery list?

When it comes to the message in your radio and TV advertising, less is more.

But for many marketers, the temptation is too much. Since you’ve paid for 30 seconds of airtime, you’ve got make the most of it, right?

And by making the most of it, most advertisers want to cram in as much info as possible into that 30 second commercial – after all, you’ve paid for every single one of those seconds, so let’s get them working for you.

Let’s say your company provides financial services. You’ll want to make sure you tell them about your great pensions, savings, rates, loans, mortgages, RRSPs, RESPs, RIPs and RESPECTs. And let’s not forget your friendly, knowledgeable staff, or that you’ve been doing this for 30 years so you have lots of satisfied customers. And did you mention free parking?

Once you’ve managed to fit all of that into the short 30-second timeslot (thanks to the announcer who speaks real fast and smooth), the good news is that you didn’t leave anything out. The bad news is that none of it actually registered with anyone, since they mentally tuned out long before your 30 seconds were up. And remember what your mother taught you about “smooth talkers”?

We call these kinds of commercials “grocery list ads”, because they sound like a seemingly endless list of what you do. The temptation to create these kinds of spots is understandable: many businesses have lots of great products and services and they’re just itching to tell the world about them. And so they should. But only one at a time. A radio spot or TV commercial works well when it has focus: each should have a single core message: that’s right, just one main point.

That’s because the audience has a very limited attention span – they want something they can easily focus on, a crystal clear message that they can absorb and react to. So produce one commercial about your RRSPs, (and only your RRSPs): about how well they perform, how easy they are to invest in, how your customers love them, and how RRSPs can change lives for the better.

Then, produce another commercial about how you offer the best mortgage rates in town, how you can save the viewer thousands over the life of the mortgage and how you are so awesome at mortgages, your clients want to collectively take you home to meet their parents.

When it comes to your broadcast message, the marketing mantra is: one subject, one commercial. It’s simple math that will take your confusing and unsuccessful spots, and turn them into clear and effective commercials.

Mike McCurlie
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