Tips and Tactics for Impactful, Cost-Effective Print and Television Promotional Campaigns
I know more about your specific laundry than you may realize.
That’s only because – no matter what kind of laundry you operate and no matter who you are, where you’re located or what kind of equipment you have – I know that your enterprise is fundamentally about people.
I also know that successful marketers are not necessarily super intelligent or highly skilled. However, they are extremely people-centered, and they design their marketing programs and advertising campaigns accordingly.
What’s more, I know that marketing is 100 percent communication – and how people actually interpret (hear or read) what you’re trying to tell them is what it’s all about. After all, communication is completely controlled and acted upon (or not) by the receiver.
Let’s discuss print advertising first. Highly effective print advertising is much more difficult to develop, in comparison to non-print promotions such as television or radio commercials. Print ads abound in today’s world and often are not read by the recipient. They also require the recipient to have the motivation to read the ad, which is asking a lot.
This is true because print ads are, aside from their shape, “flat” – meaning there is no animation, as in television commercials. Animation eliminates misinterpretation to a great degree due to its very nature; a person talking to another person, visually. This is true to a point in radio spots, because the lack of visibility is a liability.
In addition, it takes specific talent to write truly outstanding print ads and, unfortunately, most laundry owners are not advertising experts. Merely listing where your store is located, the number of machines and your hours of operation is not the type of ad copy that changes your target audience’s buying behavior.
Also, there is a tendency for laundry owners to repeat mistakes when designing marketing programs. To borrow an axiom from the military: “There is a strong tendency to fight a current war using the tactics of the last one, good or bad.”
Below are examples of some print ads from different industries that I consider to be off-the-charts exemplary. Of course, keep in mind that these ads were written and designed by professional creative departments of major advertising agencies.
They are highly effective and structured in extremely creative ways. They’re the types of ads that get read:
Here’s a great print ad by L.L. Bean (no relation). Ten words of major copy. Uses a strong visual, as well as a situation with which dog owners can easily identify. Good product for early adopter, impulse buyers. Again, developed by the creative department of a large ad agency… no doubt, at a large price.
The automobile industry is highly competitive. Lots to choose from. So this ad incorporates humor and welcome-to-the-real-world type thinking. In short, it gets attention. Additionally, it mixes visual with print in an ingenious manner. Using only eight words of major copy is also a great “get ’em to read it” technique.
Aha! The old reverse, which is a technique wherein a bunch of semi-serious negatives produces a positive. It implies the extreme confidence that the company has in its product – and it challenges the reader to buy the product out of curiosity. This ad even incorporates a likely fictitious testimonial. Very clever. But, again, this type of cleverness costs ad agency type of money.
What I’ve shown you are some very good print ads. Within the vended laundry industry, very good print ads are rare. However, they can be executed, if you understand and use the following techniques:
Find a good mentor, other than an ad agency. It’s likely that you know someone with whom you can consult, either at no cost or a reasonably affordable amount. Even if you have to pay for this service, it is far cheaper than writing ads yourself that don’t work. Once you learn the technique, you can develop your own marketing materials.
Make sure you have a fabulous laundry by all criteria. The world’s greatest marketing will not overcome a bad product. So, be certain that your laundry is worth marketing and has no negatives whatsoever. This may require swallowing your pride.
Have your ads tell a story. People love stories. Create small ones and use them in your ads. Don’t simply provide a tedious list of benefits and features. Let your story do the work.
Point out “The Enemies” and persuade potential customers to rebel against them. There are many inferior laundries out there, and you know the reasons why they’re inferior. They can be pointed out as the enemy, for example, by using a headline in your ad, such as: “If you’re looking for a laundry with broken machines, poor lighting, rude attendants, dirt on the floor, and empty vending machines, then our XYZ Laundry is not for you.” You get the point.
If done properly, print advertising can be effective, but I must admit that after almost four decades as a laundry owner, distributor and marketing consultant, I strongly prefer television advertising over all other choices.
In fact, the only advertising I’ve ever done for my vended laundry is through the use of television commercials – and they continue to produce outstanding results for my business.
Over the years, I have developed an effective and economically sane television production methodology, where I write the commercials, direct them, produce them, handle post-production editing and, yes, even “star” in them. All of this is accomplished without an expensive ad agency, which makes them affordable. I also have performed this service for various clients in different markets across the U.S. with great results.
Cable television is clearly the most cost-effective and results-producing marketing mode for self-service laundries for a number of solid reasons. I’ll give you eight of them:
1. There is a certain mystery to television. Just about everyone wants to be on it, but cant. I’m sure you have noticed fans at a football game or other events, waving their arms hysterically just to get on camera. You and your laundry being on television sets you apart. It makes you and your laundry “special.”
2. Being on television lets your personality and the personality of your laundry show through. Face-to-face communication is far more effective than emails or print advertising.
3. Television is a visual medium. “Seeing is believing” rings true.
4. It requires less effort for a person to watch television than to read.
5. There is a tendency to attribute greatness to things they see on television. The logic goes: “If it wasn’t outstanding, it wouldn’t be on television.”
6. Humor can be used more easily on television than in print advertisements, because the audience can actually view the facial expressions of those on the screen. And, if they like your performance, they like you – and, if they like you, they will more than likely buy what you are selling.
7. Testimonials from customers are more believable on television than in print, because the individual giving the testimonial is easier to identify with on TV.
8. Using cable television enables you to advertise specifically within your market area, because the medium allows you to choose your geographic “insertion points.”
Outstanding advertising enables you to link directly with the mind of the target audience. Leo Burnett, one of the greatest advertisers of all time, likely hit the nail on the head when he said, “In order to get a share of market, you must get a share of mind.”