In Frankly Friday

Gum balls are sweet. Kids like them. You can have one for a quarter.

Gum ball advertising offers instant gratification. Discounts, promotions, and special events are the messages of gum ball advertising. Shout your offer as loud as you can to as many people as you can, “hurry, act now, it won’t be here for long!”

The amount of response will be determined by three things:

1. The number of people already in the market for your product at the time of the exposure. It is very hard to make someone chew a gum ball when they aren’t in the mood. The shorter the buying cycle for your product, the more you can expect to respond at any given time.

2. The power of your offer. How much better is your offer today than every other day? If your customer is sort-of thinking about buying your product in the near future, a powerful offer with perceived urgency can make them buy today instead of tomorrow. But remember, at some point you are only stealing sales that would have happened in the future.*

3. The mass of delivery. It is indeed a numbers game. The more reach and frequency of the ad, the more results you can expect.

Tips for Gum Ball Media:

If you are looking to tie your offer to a specific transaction, provide them with a media they can bring with them. Print ads, direct mail, emails, and text messages can be carried directly to the cash register. You can track response from these medias much easier.

Unless you are using very memorable set of words, it is very hard to carry a television or radio ad to the cash register. If your offer requires a disclaimer, it is also very hard to cause a listener to believe your offer is truly special.”Once in a life time opportunity” isn’t as believable when the disclaimer monster whizzes all over your offer.

(Think of the car dealer ads with the 100mph legal jargon rammed on the end of the spot).

When in doubt, use print or email marketing to drive discounts.

Tips for Gum Ball Messages:

Print and Email:

  1. Make the picture of your product very large. If you’re advertising a service, make a large picture showing off the benefit of what you’re offering.
  2. Make the text of your discount very large, and very to-the-point.
  3. Minimize the use for any other text or distraction from the offer. This isn’t the time to be cute, tell a story, or build a relationship. The relevance is the offer, not you.
  4. Avoid disclaimers at every possible cost. Disclaimers are like the Grinch that stole the joy from your ads. If you must include disclaimers, focus on who the offer does apply to, rather than who it doesn’t.
  5. Include a very clear deadline. This should probably be the 2nd largest text in your ad.
  6. Include a very clear call to action, and a very easy way for them to take advantage. Big phone numbers and big “click here” buttons are a must.

Video and Radio (note our best media suggestions below):

  1. Cut the crap. Get to the offer as fast as you can. Mention the product and price above all.
  2. Consider a slower delivery, rather than the over-hyped speed delivery. Consider omitting music and taking advantage of white space. Your spot will feel a bit more jagged, but it will feel likeless of an ad. That is a beautiful thing.
  3. Run a high frequency schedule through the duration of the promotion. Consider 15 second ads, even if you have to leave a few details out, so you can afford more frequency.
  4. If you are a brick and mortar include a very tangible mention of your location. “The Corner of Elm and Main” is a much better location descriptor than “2424 North Main Street.”

Gum balls are good because:

They can help you get rid of aging product, create cash flow, create excitement in a down season, steal short-term market share, and give a perk to your existing customers.

Gum balls are bad because:

If you chew too many, your teeth are going to fall out. You’ll have trained your customers to only wait until the next time you are having the “deal of a lifetime,” and the days of selling your product at full price will be few. Anyone who chooses your business for price alone choose your competitor for the same reason next time.

It is possible to win a customer over for the long haul, but you are going to have to work much harder to keep them than you did to earn them. Outrageously-unexpectedly-awesome customer experiences, highly relational sales associates, and extremely valuable products are a few ways to overcome sugar high and fulfill the customer appetite We call this, baking them a turkey.

The aroma of baked turkey has the ability to magically create an appetite from scratch. We’ll talk more about that next week.

Until then, if you’re hungry for a sugar rush, find your nearest media rep selling newspaper, daily deal, or direct mail. Put a quarter in his mouth, turn the handle, and pop in some candy-coated advertising. Have a grand time filling it with hot air. But remember, the bigger the bubble, the bigger the pop.

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