Inbound Marketing and Super Bowl 2013

You may not think that Inbound Marketing and the Super Bowl have much in common…maybe they’re even mutually exclusive.  To a savvy advertising professional, maybe they are, but to the novice, the distinction may not be so great.  In fact, we don’t even have to proffer the Super Bowl as an example of a marketing choice that doesn’t make sense for most advertisers, because they’ll find their own “Super Bowl” of mistakes.

What do we mean by this?  It harkens back to one of the black letter laws of traditional advertising:  Reach & Frequency .  Again, if you’re an advertising professional, this makes perfect sense.  But if you’re new to marketing and are trying to make some smart decisions for a new client, or your own small business, you’ve come to the right place.  You see, advertising on the Super Bowl is the epitomy of Reach.  Over 111 million people in the U.S. watched the game in 2012 accoring to A.C. Neilson , up from 106.5 million in the record year before that:  2010.  But, will one impression of your ad before your target audience cause a sale? Probably not.  It is true, a lot of prospects will be reached, but only once…or a few times more if you have a huge budget.

OK, safe to say advertising on the Super Bowl is not going to move the sales needle for most companies…yours included. That’s because besides Reach, a prospect needs to be hit multiple times with your message.  That’s the Frequency.  Hence the term “Reach & Frequency”.

Now to bring all of this down the level of the average advertiser: The Super Bowl may represent a medium that is not going to be efficient for your ad campaign because you can’t dominate it.  That is to say that you can’t afford to buy enough ads on it to make a lasting impression on your prospects. In other words: No frequency.  Unless you have a famous brand and people are already aware of all of its attributes, it won’t result in actions by many prospects.  You, the advertiser, really won’t know where the break-down was and will probably either blame the creative or your agency buying service.  Truthfully, it was probably neither.  More accurately, it was trying to do too much with too little, and seeing it not get above the “noise level”, and not be effective.

Bottom line:  What is your “Super Bowl” albatross?  Where are you advertising that you shouldn’t be?  It’s time to circle the wagons into concentric circles and target on the best prospects first…then the next band of prospects…then the next.  It may not sound like you’re doing as much, and maybe you’re not, but it just might pay off in far greater results.  It reminds me of the story told to me by Al Ries about the Speigel catalog . They were suffering from down sales some years ago, so they cut the number of catalogs that they were mailing and hit their best customers more often…resulting in a doubling of sales! Maybe this could work for you?

Enjoy the Super Bowl but remember its message for your business:  All reach and no frequency makes Jack a poor boy. Oh, BTW, our bet is on Harbaugh’s team to win!

The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital.  Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.  

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