Awesomely terrible yet memorable.

Local advertising is critical for B-to-C companies, but why do so many local companies tend to throw money away with their ads? You can immediately recognize a local commercial by the poor video and sound quality, but here is a list of other giveaways that label commercials as ‘local’ as well:

No Plan – First of all – most local companies advertise because they want new customers. Most companies get this right, but fail by not making a plan of what they want to accomplish, how to measure their success, how they will go about doing it, and who they are trying to attract.

Miss the Mark – Most local companies try to do all aspect of advertising themselves and stretch beyond their knowledge base and end up wasting money because they’re advertising to the wrong people. Many times small business owners advertise on their favorite stations rather than their customers’ favorite stations. Would you rather hear your commercial or have your customer hear your commercial?

Sell Only on Price – Unless you have a streamlined method of manufacturing a product or a better method of providing a service, you should not sell on price alone. Be competitive, but not cheap. People perceive quality by price and if you offer something for $99 and your competitor offers their service for $125, consumers assume their pricier work is better. So you say your product/service has more to offer than your competitors – then tell me!

Don’t Go For the Gold – Local companies usually advertise their entry services and attract transactional customers instead of well-paying, repeat customers that they can build a relationship with over time. For example, Design the Planet does not say, “We design business cards”. Instead, we develop brand identities including logo, icon, stationery, website, brochure, tradeshow displays, advertising campaigns, etc. Can Design the Planet design a business card? Yes, but why lead people to us for a 2 hour project; instead, we look for 50+ hour clients. Look for the “cash cows”.

Being Cheap – I mentioned production value before, but many times local ads are cheap because of their time slot, infrequency of showing, and/or with the channel itself. If you can only afford the late night TV ads on a lesser known channel a few times a night, it’s time to look elsewhere. TV is not for everyone (I’d argue its almost not good for anyone). Use your money wisely and remember people need to see information 3 times to be recalled.

All Your Eggs in One Basket – I am amazed when a company calls and talks to me about taking over their marketing and I’ve never heard of them. They are amazed and when I ask them where they advertise, it’s on a channel I hardly watch or a radio station I never listen to; so how would I know about them? Look for opportunities using different mediums, channels, times, shows, communities, etc. Sometime a small sign at the local park can be just an impactful as the high-dollar TV spot because of it’s placement.

Let 'em have it.

Not Memorable – Have you ever seen a commercial and not remembered it? Yes you have. Commercials should stand out and have a reason to be remembered. This can be hokey or campy too. Do you remember the Special Man? What about 1825 Tulane? If you do, you’re from New Orleans. This ad for the Montgomery Flea Market is a horrible ad, but it’s memorable and we talk about it all the time in the office because it’s humorous.

No Differentiation – This is one of the biggest problems with local advertisers. They do not differentiate themselves from their competitors. Why buy from you and not another company? You should have a list of reasons, but one is all you need to be effective. Differentiation can be location, turnaround, quality, expertise, niche market, custom vs generic, certifications, etc. If you don’t have anything that differentiates your company from your competitors then you shouldn’t be in business.

Advertising & marketing is about education. You must educate your prospective customers how you are different, why you’re worth their time, and why you charge more (or why you’re cheaper). I recently hired a company to install new windows in my house because they told me why they were better than their competitors and trained me how to tell the difference in their products/services. Without this education, I would have only been able to choose based on price. Do you sell price or quality?

If you would like to review any of these suggestions or if you’d like help planning your next campaign, please drop us a line at 504-391-1550 or

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