Rejuvenate Your Old School Marketing Tactics
Marketing has been around for centuries. 2800 years later we need to make some noise and be heard to attract customers. What is effective today for our industry?
American film director, Hal Hartley, said: “We discover and invent new ways of finding out the same old things.” Since the Golden Age of Marketing not much new has come about, but there are many new gadgets to get it done. Gadgets in themselves can be a cautionary tale as many times business owners fall victim to SOS — shiny object syndrome. SOS is an ongoing state of distraction, where one equates “new” with “better”. This often comes at the expense of what’s already tried and true.
Let’s take a look at billboards, a marketing tool used since 1835 with the birth of the automobile. A billboard can make positive impressions when placed in a location people are going to walk, bike or drive by. You create visual references for prospects and impulse buying. Billboards have downfalls, too. Targeting a specific demographic is difficult, exposure time is brief and visibility issues arise. Cost may be out of reach for many as well.
How can we take this old marketing tool and make it shiny and new? Adam Matt, founder of Detroit based Slice of the 80’s, tells us, “One day when I was looking to do some ‘unique’ advertising that would make a big impact on my brand and be a bang for my buck, I looked into getting a billboard on a very busy street, but once I found out the price ($4,000) for just one month, I knew that was not in my budget and I also didn’t know how well it would work, so I wasn’t going to take the gamble for that price. But then I thought instead, ‘why don’t I just wrap my own personal car?’ It was a much lower cost, and it’s a mobile billboard! As long as I take care of the wrap (and the car) it will last me for as long as I need it. I have now had the wrap on the car for over 12 years, so I’m pretty sure it has paid for itself!” Matt’s cars are wrapped in the company’s logo and 80s theme.
Matt’s successful idea led him to incentivize drivers who have been with him for over two years. He adds, “if they would like to wrap their own personal vehicle, I will pay for the car to be wrapped and give them a monthly bonus for advertising. Today we have had seven wrapped cars, and are now known as the “pizzeria with the wrapped cars!” They are big attention getters and they fit our 80s theme perfectly as we wrap each car in a different color. It also helps the customers understand that we do deliver and if they should ever wonder if we deliver to their area, all they have to do is see one of our wrapped cars go down their street a few times and they know that are definitely in our delivery area!”
You may want to give car wrapping more consideration. Mobile advertising is the most effective and efficient form of outdoor advertising, one vehicle wrap can generate between 30,000 – 80,000 impressions daily. Fleet vehicle advertising boosts name recognition 15x greater than other advertising media. It’s easy to see why small business owners would consider choosing vehicle wrapping over other forms of advertising.
Advertisements from past and present show that communicating your brand message is vital. Ads are basically the same – a call to action (CTA), but their forms are different. Sears was first to do a direct mail campaign in 1892. The company mailed more than 8,000 postcards, generating 2,000 new orders. Today we’d call a similar mail campaign; ‘Spray and Pray’. Responses are generally low, two to four percent vs the 25 percent rate that Sears generated. Don’t give up on direct mail just yet. Remember in Sunday school you were taught to work in harmony with your prayers. When you prayed for your daily bread, you didn’t just sit there waiting for it to fall out of the sky, you worked for it, got a job, bought groceries and learned to make bread.
Direct mail is not a 43.3 billion industry for no good reason. Key to making this a success is targeting your prospective client. One lucrative demographic is that of new movers. To help rebuild his business after a COVID-induced slump in sales, Steve Dapolita, owner of North Carolina based Bisonte Pizza Co., relied on new mover marketing to drive the location’s sales. This single marketing effort helped increase traffic, and the location now thrives. Sales in 2021 jumped more than 35 percent from the prior year. New movers are big spenders and willing to try new things to adapt to their surroundings, so tap in to that.
My pizzeria in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, sees an 80 percent redemption rate of my new movers offers with 50 percent of these becoming regular customers. I target my mailers with various screenings — Income, Age, House Type, etc.
Sparked by Radio, the Golden Age of Advertising presented a way to express our brands’ unique selling proposition. Thinking of radio, we usually see negatives since ROI is hard to calculate. A primary drawback is that people listening to it are often engaged in other activities, such as driving. Therefore, you don’t normally get the same level of attention and engagement with your ad as you might through other media. There are no visual elements in radio, and let’s face it — we eat with our eyes. People have a plethora of choices for listening entertainment at their
Can radio still bring a positive ROI to our business? Yes. One way I utilize is ‘Trade for Mention’. In various promotions, stations seek sponsorships. If their promotion is directed to a market I am also targeting, I bring my offer to the table. Recently a promotion directed to area high school bands was presented to me; I provided the winning band a pizza party (high school bands number up to 100+, and this age group likes to eat). So, for my food cost investment I had my name indoctrinated into the minds of radio listeners and my food fed to persuasive decision makers.
Why rejuvenate these old marketing tactics? Because they can still preform as good as new. Whether you tap, wrap, stamp or barter, you can successfully impress potential clients to come your way.
Scott Anthony owns Punxsy Pizza in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.