Stop Wasting Your Money on TV Commercials and Billboards

 In Marketing

I had a few interesting moments of thought affirmation happen over Memorial Day weekend.

I was at home visiting friends and family for the holiday, enjoying a few drinks and way too many grill-based meats (as you do). While I was there, I got to chat with a bunch of people I haven’t seen in a while, many of whom are also business owners.

Having a marketing company means that I’m always interested in how other business owners run their company, and I always try to go out of my way to ask how their marketing efforts are performing. Frustratingly, something that is almost always echoed to me by well-meaning business owners is their blind dedication to “traditional” marketing methods with no way of tracking engagement. Or, worse yet, I get the dreaded “I don’t know”.

Is Billboard Marketing Effective?

For example, a friend of mine owns a local fitness center and mentioned he was paying somewhere around a $1000/mo for a billboard on the highway advertising his facility. The owner assumed that because the billboard is on the only road you can take to get the gym, it must be a worthwhile investment.

When I happened to ask a member of the center who goes to the facility on an almost daily basis what she thought of the billboard, she replied by saying, “what billboard?”

People are not looking at your billboards when they are driving anymore. Billboards are the equivalent of pop-up ads in real life. They are overpriced, visual, white noise.

The Average Small Business Owner is Better off with an AdWords Campaign

I try to always preach the value of social media engagement with your audience. Targeted ads and AdWords are by far one of the best value/per dollar ways to spend your marketing bucks right now, but I’m always surprised by the sideways glances most people give me when I say this.

Not to overly stereotype here, but it usually is from the 50+ age-range crowd “that have been doing it the old way forever, and it’s gotten me this far!” Great! But it is 2018. Where the effectiveness of your marketing strategies can not only change from year to year, they frequently change month to month! You can’t complain if your business is stagnant or declining yet you refuse to employ the newest strategies that are unequivocally working for others.

There is always a “new hot social media platform” vying for people’s attention, offering something interactive and different from the current crop, all making an internet based land-grab for your eyeballs. And while we’re on the topic, do you want to know where your customers are not noticing your brand, no matter what market you’re in?

TV commercials.


Why you should not blow your ad budget on TV commercial slots

TV commercials cost so much it actually makes my head hurt to think about. And not one person you are trying to reach is seeing (or caring) what you are advertising unless it’s Super Bowl Sunday. Your TV commercials are actually hurting your brand because you are actively pissing your potential customers off by interrupting something they do want to see.

If you put ALL the money you would spend on a TV commercial into Facebook ads, Instagram ads and Google AdWords, you could not only increase your target consumer base exponentially, but you would have analytics to track, adjust and improve it! How many people saw your TV commercial? Who knows?! Who cares?!

TV Advertising is being tuned out

Going back to my trip, over the weekend my Dad, uncle, brother and I were all sitting around watching playoff basketball. All of us together in the same room would give you an age sampling from almost every category. If you’ve been following the NBA lately, you will have noticed the sheer volume of fouls being called during games (side note: please stop that, let the grown men play) which, in marketing terms, equates to lots of space for TV commercials.

Almost as if it was decreed by an unwritten law, every single time the announcers said “And we’ll be right back!,” my Dad would instinctively mute the TV and all 4 of us would pull out our phones to cruise our social feeds.

Not only is your commercial’s message not being seen, it also isn’t even being heard in some cases. So good luck with that “double the commercial volume automatically” tactic you cable providers think is a good idea.

Marketing, as we knew it, has changed

This is the norm now. Most people are even scrolling social media while they are watching a show or movie. Please don’t let the erroneous notion that “social media is only for kids posting pictures of food and selfies” be a cop out for learning and utilizing this valuable marketing tool. My almost 90-year-old grandmother sends me hearts and kissy face emojis on facebook all the time. Social isn’t a “young person only” game anymore—it’s universal.

Adapt your ads to the modern consumer

So while you can shake your fist at the sky and yell how everyone these days have terrible attention spans while spending all day looking at their phones, you’d be better off analyzing where people are actually spending their time and attention. Focus your efforts (and dollars!) there.

And, rest assured, it definitely isn’t on billboards and TV commercials!

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  • Chris

    Great article! I’ve preached this for so many years now.

    • Dante

      Thanks Chris! Glad to hear these ideas have been working for you as well!

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