Rule 6 Do Something Thats Totally Outrageous
Years ago I started an advertising agency - something I had always wanted to do.
I had one client- and was quickly cured of this ambition.
However, I did have the opportunity to test this rule extensively.
I created a lead-generating ad for this client and we ran it in various sections of The South China Morning Post (and elsewhere).
The lowest cost-per-inquiry by a big margin was page 1 of the business section.
As the product appealed to both English and Chinese speakers, we created a Chinese-language version of the ad. As an experiment, I ran the ad in Chinese in The South China Morning Post at the lowest (run-of-paper) rate. (Naturally, I requested and got top right of a page at no extra charge - if you don't ask, you don't get.)
The result: the cost-per-inquiry for the Chinese ad in an English paper equaled page 1 of the business section.
This strategy worked for two reasons:
Chinese is the native language of between 70% and 80% of the readers of this paper; and,
The incongruity made the ad really stand out – your eye is inevitably drawn towards it, whether you speak the language or not.
Know your media:
When Investor's Daily began publishing in the US, I would only run ads in the Monday edition.
Why? It goes on sale Friday night- so it's on sale for three full days. I figured that subscribers would spend more time reading the "Monday" issue than any other issue; and that the circulation would be higher.
Now, Investor's Business Daily (its new name) charges a premium rate for ads in the "Monday" edition. And the circulation is, indeed, about 20% higher than the rest of the week. But for a couple of years, you could get this extra circulation and more intensive readership at no extra charge.
What's the highest circulation day for the newspaper(s) you use? You might be surprised.
For example, in most countries Sunday papers outsell Monday-Saturday editions by a big margin.
In Hong Kong- for the English language press at any rate- Sunday is the lowest circulation day. Saturday (with mountains of classifieds) is the highest - at no extra charge.
In the US, for many newspapers, Saturday is the ¬lowest circulation day.
And in most countries, financial dailies don't publish a Saturday (or Sunday) edition.
But the Saturday issue of London's The Financial Times is its biggest seller of the week.
It pays to "know your way around" the publications you advertise in.
Hong Kong's Sunday Post once had a rather scrappy TV Guide - and hardly ever any ads. I figured a lot of these would sit around all week. And without any other ads, I'd have no competition.
I got "solus" page 3 at the lowest, "run-of-paper" rate.
The results were fine.
The toilet paper advantage
To save some money, an American friend of mine once arranged to print part of his mail shot in Mexico.
When the materials arrived from the printer, they looked like they'd been printed on toilet paper!
There was simply no time to reprint that section. So they mailed it anyway.
Sales were 20% higher than normal!
Was this an aberration?
So he tested "toilet" paper versus the paper he normally used. Sales were higher with the scrappy looking paper.
When you see a slick, super-salesman type in a snappy suit with every hair in place, what’s your reaction?
Normally, you are on guard.
When someone's homely, a bit (not too) disheveled, and is (or: appears to be) a bit absent-minded, you feel more comfortable, right?
It's the same with ads.
You don't have to be perfect. You're making a mistake if you try and make your ad look like it was produced by someone on Madison Avenue.
The "down-home, folksy, amateurish" look will often help, not hinder sales.
You can do something totally outrageous - but make sure you test it!