You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “Throw enough mud against the wall and some of it will stick.” The idiom is based on a technique of building walls by throwing mud mixed with straw at a structure of woven branches and twigs hard enough that some actually stayed in place.
Trade advertising campaigns are sometimes perceived to be based on the same random technique. If you throw your brand out there enough times, someone will remember it. You don’t know how or why, they just will.
Hang with me here.
The truth is, you can measure the sticking power of your trade advertising in a couple of cost effective ways.
Ad readership studies: Most trade publications offer two or three issues a year in which advertisers can measure the impact of their ads. Subscribers are contacted via phone or invited to participate in an online study to get their opinions on recall and readership.
Participants also are asked “Which trade publication do you read regularly?” This, of course, is of most value to the salesperson presenting the data and is often suspect since ‘everyone wins their own ad study’. Ask about the sample size, response rate, etc., to help you feel comfortable with the validity of the results.
Once you’re past your skepticism and see where your ad ranks against competitors, dig into the verbatim comments to get closer to what readers really think about your ad. These observations can help you fine tune the look and content of your ad and help bolster its effectiveness.
Online ad testing studies: You can measure the appeal of different ad concepts quickly and cost effectively using online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang. Most trade publications allow advertisers to purchase email lists containing a sample of their subscribers that fit your target audience profile.
The questionnaire may include the actual ads you are considering and ask respondents to rank them on elements such as “Has eye catching graphics”, “Is an advertisement that I would take the time to read” or “The message is relevant/important to me”. Importantly, you can ask them to pick their most and least favorite concept to help you make your final decision.
If you’d like to know if your trade ads are on target – and get remembered – get in touch with us. We can develop an ad concept with staying power and help you see what sticks.