Conversational Advertising For Everyone

An Advertising Primer from The Next Wave
Use these handy-dandy ideas to spark discussion with your peers, customers, or your current agency. If you don’t have an agency, you can visit our site,, and learn about us, or find our link to our competitors (we re that sure of our results for our clients).

Download our Conversational Advertising for Everyone PDF and print it out, send it in emails, or pass them out to friends & coworkers.

Conversational Advertising PDF(273k)

How to tell GOOD advertising from BAD advertising; What the Greats Say:

“People don’t read advertising, they read what interests them, and sometimes, it’s an ad.”
~Howard Luck Gossage
“The consumer isn’t stupid, the consumer is your mother.”
~David Ogilvy
“You don’t decide what your brand is, the consumer does.”
~Marty Neumeier
“Simplify, simplify, simplify.”
~Henry David Thoreau
~Luke Sullivan
“Anyone can do a better price and product ad, all they have to do is have a lower price.”
~Chuck Porter
“Bits, not atoms.”
~Nicholas Negroponte

How to get better results:

Advertising is cumulative: be consistent.
We’re tuned to notice things that are different, how are you different?
If it doesn’t make you a little bit uncomfortable, it probably is too much like everything else you’ve seen.
Sell one idea per ad.
If you can’t afford to reach everyone you think you should, concentrate your efforts where they will get you the maximum efficiency.
Be your brand; stay in character.
Bold is good.
Psychographics are more important than demographics.
Talk with your audience, not about your company.

How to screw up:

React to your competition’s ad.
Do what you’ve done before.
Not make a plan and stick to it.
Allow media reps to create your ad campaign or schedule.
Not have a website.
Not gather data from your existing customers.
Use only one media.
Fail to differentiate.
Compare to your competition.

Why you have to have a website:

We realize this content is old- but, we’ve been doing this for a long time lol

The yellow pages are dying and expensive.
It’s a global economy.
It isn’t obsolete the moment it’s done, like print is.
It works when you are sleeping.
How many brochures do you keep?
It’s cheaper than another salesperson.

How to screw up a web strategy:

Not have your own URL (no AOL or MSN addresses) · have a Flash intro · use frames · have text as graphics without alt tags · have a URL that is hard to say or spell · present too much on a page · have confusing navigation · not understand what search terms are important · not optimize graphics · have spinning, flashing or moving items · send spam · not have full contact info on every page · let your nephew do it for you · not use a site submission tool · host on any platform other than Linux · use FrontPage · not analyze your webstats on a regular basis · and this is just for starters. If you want to learn more, call us, or read our primer at: Next Wave Hosting

If an identity isn’t a brand then why do I need one?

You have a name, you have a persona, they are not necessarily tied together. If done right, your business identity and your brand are perceived to be the same (think Nike or Apple).

Do the “swap test”:
take two logos and interchange the names, if they are similar in impact, you’ve failed.

Do the “hand test”:
cover the logo in an ad, and see if the consumer can still tell who is advertising (this is easy to do on an Apple computer ad, hard to do on most hospital advertising).

Do the “wear test”: could you sell a t-shirt with your logo on it? Harley Davidson makes almost as much money on apparel as it does on motorcycles.

What most advertising has in common with Prozac®

“When people talk to themselves, it’s called insanity. When companies talk to themselves it’s called marketing.”          ~Steve Bautista

If we aren’t hurting ourselves we are ahead of the game, right? The famous quote by retailer John Wanamaker was “I know half of my advertising money is wasted, I just don’t know which half” was indicative of most advertising done to please a committee. In fact, if it isn’t instantly recognized and creating an emotion, it is hurting you. Wasting money is never a good idea. What other profession would you accept a 50% correct score? Would you patronize a surgeon with a 50% success rate, or a lawyer who only wins half his cases or a pilot that only crashes half of his landings? Advertising is there to create interest, not to complete the sale. The actual transaction is in your hands. Do everything with gusto.

Lowest common denominator messages make lowest possible profitability. If you can reach customers on several levels your message is more valuable.

The lowly business card is your most important ad:

Give every employee a business card, including janitors and receptionists.

Reevaluate titles: are they there for you, or for your customers? There is no “i” in “Team.”

Make sure you have a web address on your card, even if it is in your email.

Use the back to say something important.

Always carry cards with you; give them to everyone you meet.

Concentrate on your current customers:

It’s easier to sell to them again than to find new customers.

Personalize your message as much as possible.

CRM (customer relationship management) software is important.

Create opportunities to interact with them as often as possible, either in person, or via e-mail.

Reward your best customers.

Touchpoints are everything:

Everywhere your customer touches your business should be evaluated and rated.

How the phone is answered, what is your message on hold (if you have the radio playing on hold, go now and shut it off).

See the section on business cards.

Have an employee handbook explaining how your business interacts with its customers.

To be effective you want distinctiveness, relevance, memorability, extendibility, and depth.

Trust and Lust-sounds like a Sunday sermon:

There are ultimately two reasons people buy from you, and neither is price. They trust you and they lust for your product or service.

Price is the reason they will buy from anyone, so don’t feel special if you are the “low price leader.”

People buy things to feel better about themselves, not because you have been any of the following: the biggest, the oldest, the newest, the cheapest, the most expensive, the… you get the idea.

Why sale is a four letter word:

If you exist to serve your customers, you will have a sale every time they need what you offer. Trust comes from the realization that they bought from you today, and they would buy from you tomorrow at the same price. Playing with your price to attract customers has its place, but it shouldn’t exclude anyone, especially the customer who just bought from you. The idea of a list price and a regular price and a sale price is outdated, as is the idea of building a business on a low price strategy. Someone can always beat you, so why not only enter fights where you know you can win.

Read, Read, Read:

The great thing about people in advertising is they like to write (like the piece you are viewing). So if all the information is there, go get it.

We’ve posted a list of our favorite books on our site.

If you don’t think you want to read all of those books, you can always call us at 937.228.4433 and ask us out to have a conversation about advertising, it’s our favorite subject.

Download Our PDF:

Download our Conversational Advertising for Everyone PDF and print it out, send it in emails or pass them out to friends & coworkers.

Conversational Advertising PDF(273k)