What is the goal of marketing? The ultimate goal of every marketing strategy is (or should be) to develop a relevant product for the relevant target audience. This way another goal – making profit, will be fulfilled.
Relevance marketing is the only marketing strategy you need when you are building up a promotional campaign for a product. Whatever you do, you need to create ads. More, better. But it also has to be effective, eye-catching, memorable and convince future buyers that they need to place the purchase. And that they need to buy from YOU and not your competitors. However, before, during and after any of this happens, you need to make sure your product and the way you present it to your target market is relevant.
Digital newspaper ads can be a gamble for small businesses because of the expense. The general consensus is that you need an ongoing budget for news ads because you must advertise on some sort of regular basis to build and fuel consumer awareness. This is for the most part true, and the larger the ad (that is, more expensive) the better the chances of it being noticed and read. However, using the principles of relevance marketing can help you sidestep this rule.
The same applies to literally every stage of the product development and promotion. Relevance marketing is the key to appealing to not only your target market. If you plan everything correctly, there’s a chance your product will go viral (either locally or on a global scale) and attract the attention of general public. Before we show you examples, let’s first discuss what is relevance marketing.
What Is Relevance Marketing?
The concept of relevance marketing is more “relevant” now, than ever before. And yes, this has everything to do with the digital revolution. Especially the latest trend of moving every aspect of the human life towards digital sphere. The result of this has been the constant exposure of the public to fast changing new trends. It can be said that, in some way this tendencies have negatively affected business. At least, it made the process of gaining profit much harder.
How have businesses suffered from trends?
Trends are great. Trends are amazing in a way that they give business owners the inspiration for a new product and the right direction towards which the product development should go to. So trends are not the problem. The fact that they change so rapidly is. Product development takes times. A business might not even be in a final stage of production for a product that has been hyped and in demand, when the demand suddenly ceases. And usually, it’s replaced by a new product. Whatever stage you are in, this means loss.
This can be most readily seen in the fashion industry. In fact, this is the reason why fast fashion companies make huge profit and sustainable fashion has become a form of activism. When Balenciaga presented a sock trainer shoes design it became so popular that every big or small brand created something similar. However, once Triple S emerged, sock trainers became extremely unpopular. (And the cycle repeats).
The problem here is that fast fashion companies like ZARA, Shein and Boohoo created and sold the dupes in enormous quantities. So even if millions purchased the products, the amount of left over product is still huge. And there’s no way to get rid of them unless they either throw it away or recycle them to make something relevant. In any case, extra expenditure of resources.
Those that purchased the shoe from Balenciaga, don’t have to deal with the same problem.
Simply because Balenciaga is a high fashion brand. It’s a household name that creates luxury items with innate value attached to each one. Even if something is not immediately in fashion at some point, it retains its value. Over time, designer items become vintage pieces with the potential to double or triple the return on investment. Not everyone can afford to buy a piece, that’s why it’s sold in a limited quantity, almost always sold out during the season and eventually made into vintage pieces. Whatever happens to the item, even if its partly damaged, it still has some value. Nobody cares the same way about ZARA shoes.
So what is relevance marketing anyways?
Relevance marketing is the process of evaluating how relevant is your offer to the target market’s demands. On the basis of this evaluation, you determine what needs to be done during the product development. You also build the promotional campaign according to the most optimal ways you can present your product to play on relevance. And finally, in the post production and promotion period, analyze whether what you’ve done has worked out as intended.
From the example above, we can conclude that in general, relevance marketing has a lot to do with situational marketing as well. But it’s not the same. A mattress production company knows that the product being of high quality will always be relevant to their target market. And there are fixed principles as to what makes a mattress high quality. Like softness or firmness, materials used, fitted designs for different bed frames.
However, when it comes to colors or advertising, they can adjust the product according to what’s relevant at the time of new bunch production. The color hues can be taken from the wheel of Pantone’s color of the year. The product can be advertised in collaboration with the most in-demand ASMR artist via YouTube. The particular niche of ASMR content has a lot to do with sleeping and relaxation so it’s RELEVANT. And so should be the person featured in the ad.
Principles of Relevance Marketing
In the examples above, we have mainly discussed big brands and companies. This is because smaller brands are at an even more disadvantage. They don’t have enough resources to keep up with the trends at the pace they are changing. If you don’t follow trends, you lose. In this case, if you do follow them, you lose anyways. It’s like there’s no way out of the cursed cyrcle.
There is though. You don’t have to came up with a new product. Only adjust your marketing strategy slightly. Most small brands use social media marketing for their promo campaign. It can be the least expensive option. And luckily, the most flexible one too. They don’t need to do much. Just an addition of few “relevant” emojis in “relevant” colors in Instagram captions can be enough. If people can associate your product to a particular trend, you are doing it right.
Only the Principles of Relevance Marketing can help you succeed with smaller ads and less frequent ad placements.
Though you do need to advertise consistently to some degree. One-time ads or short-duration ad campaigns can work. For a one-time ad to succeed, it needs to be very large, instantly attention-grabbing, and visually compelling. This usually only works for an event, such as a big sale. (Advertising big sales events grates on us. You spend a lot of money to get people to come and give you less money for your products than they normally would.) One-time ads should also follow the Principles of Relevance Marketing because after you gain the reader’s attention, there is no guarantee that they will read any further or decide to take a favorable action.
Despite this, every day in various digital (and sometimes even physical) spaces we find a lot of ads that are a waste of money. Alongside a few real gems. To examine what needs to be changed and what not to do, we’ve read a few news articles each day for a period of time. And we analyzed every ad published using different digital (and physical) platforms.
A Great Local Ad Series Example
Most lawyers that advertise in newspapers or elsewhere fit the ambulance chaser profile. The television ads for these firms are viciously competitive. Especially in relatively smaller cities. Even going to the length of attacking each other’s advertising styles. And don’t get us started on the TV and podcast ads for mesothelioma class action suits.
Traditionally attorneys have used personal contacts to garner clients. They were perhaps the original networkers, calling it rainmaking. For example, one attorney concentrates on general business law primarily dealing with complex real estate and finance transactions. He’s been an outstanding rainmaker for decades, and he’s developing quite a Rainmaking 2.0 reputation for himself on LinkedIn and Twitter. On top of this, there are certain fields where authority will always out weight novelty.
That being said, we want to point to a great series of local newspaper ads by a law firm (in a certain city) that specializes in tax law. Right to the point and the header asks as a question. Questions always make people think. Carefully used white text knocked out of a black background catches the eye and takes you right to their main point.
Their ad continues with objective proof that the firm is worthy of your trust by mentioning their Martindale-Hubbell rating. Another ad starts with a quote from a popular magazine survey collected with the answers from other attorneys. Other attorneys say this firm is tops. The phrase “trouble with the IRS” figures prominently in the ad headline. Their last ad has a great headline also asked in the form of a question. If you don’t have tax problems, don’t call these guys – go to another law firm. Another ad also includes a list, not of services they offer, but of tax problems they solve. If you have these problems, call them.
The competition eventually emerged.
They have run these ads and a few more for at least several years in the city. Over a year ago, another law firm started advertising in the paper with similar-sized ads on the same page as this firm. Those ads ran for a month or two and then stopped. Some ambitious ad sales rep probably went to these other attorneys and pointed to the success of our example tax law firm with newspaper advertising.
The new law firm decided they would advertise about all of the different services they offered. So the ad was all about them. Their ad listed these services:
- Estate Planning
- T-19 Medicaid
- Real Estate
They talked all about their firm and what they do – not about the problems their potential clients might have. As we said this firm advertised for a while and quit. Specificity, targeting prospective clients, and talking about the client problems serve our example tax law firm very well. And probably explains the waste in advertising dollars for the other.
So what exactly was the difference here?
This is a good place to point out one of the chief aids to help you determine if an advertisement is effective or not. We’re not talking about businesses such as grocery stores that have to advertise in the digital newspapers regularly because all of their competitors do. But for businesses not forced to, successful advertising is advertising that keeps on showing up in the right space. It’s too expensive to keep doing it if it doesn’t produce good results.
A Top Notch Medical Newspaper Ad
Most marketers hold mixed feelings about hospitals and pharmaceutical companies’ advertising. Specialists think most of it wastes money that drives up costs needlessly. Press releases and good public relations should create enough public awareness, but we won’t say these businesses shouldn’t advertise at all.
Announcement ads are a good idea for hospitals and medical practices. The public especially likes such ads when they offer free services. The knocked-out text identifies those the ad addresses. Seizure sufferers, for instance. The title of the seminar should be the next large text block. And don’t forget whatever it says, it should be worded in a great ad headline as well as a terrific seminar title from a marketing point of view. The intention of both is to cause people to want to come to the seminar.
When it comes to medical ads there’s differences between cultures. In Eastern Europe it’s okay to have medical ads run on TV, for instance. Which is banned by law in most western countries. So even the biggest pharmaceutical companies need to adjust their promotional campaign for the same product ads in different areas. The same applies to the gambling industry.
A Nationally Developed and Locally Run Ad
Focusing on the local market is where every business should start. You can simply reach to the global audience without appealing to local one first. You need a firm establishment and growth of authority within the area of your operation in the beginning. This is true for the ads. A nationally developed and locally run successful ad can bring lots of profit. Businesses can adjust that particular ad to appeal to the global audience.
For instance, an ad about hypnosis. Seemingly unusual thing that not a lot of people will be interested about. How can you create something appealing to the local audience? Make it simple: run an ad all over the country in local newspapers (digital and physical) only with an address of the sessions and event date changes. For the most part, these kind of seminar ads are its sole means of bringing new customers to the business. So they have been refined over time to the brilliant piece of marketing you see.
The whole message should all be given in the 1st 7 seconds – the prospects’ problem, their solution, their guarantee, and the cost. You should have supporting evidence that follows. For instance, hypnosis through which you can help smokers quit the habit. Just provide the number and the place address and a simple promise of the session being effective. A person determined to stop smoking could go straight to the phone with the toll-free number listed.
Now, hypnosis has been proven to help people with a number of other types of problems. The ad could be all about hypnosis or the hypnotist himself. But this ad should be about the prospects and one problem they want to solve. This way you can do brilliant Relevance Marketing.
How To Deal With The Competition With Ads And Relevance
Finally, we need to discuss the competition. How could a small company compete with a big advertising flurry. Let’s take an example. Suppose, there seems to be a rage around the country for hotel shows where people come to sell their gold and silver items and jewelry. In a particular city, there have been times when the traveling groups have advertised with full, double-page spreads each day for a week before the actual show starts.
They advertise regularly (which is what you should do too as we’ve mentioned). But they also run these ads in the same section of the paper with the big ads when one of these operations comes to town. Very wise way to do good business. The large ads for gold buying shows arouse a lot of attention. At the same time, because of negative word of mouth, they also create a wariness in many. If people want to sell their precious metal items but don’t trust the “circus” approach, they can look your way. Here is another ad for a local shop that has been operating in the city for years – good stuff.
CAUTION – If this actually happens, whether in your home country or a country you are travelling to remember few things. Most of these operations pay you a fraction of what you could get from even the shadier pawn shops. Go to a good local pawn shop or jeweler to make your sales. Or go to an established coin sellers and collectors.
So how do you deal with the competition?
For smaller businesses the only effective way out is to be where the big names are. And this is to say, advertisement placement wise and definitely not trying to produce same products at the same time. What are the most relevant digital platforms? You can’t afford to run an ad alongside a big company on a certain website. But you can be on the same social media platform.
Suppose there is a new shoe that’s super in demand, very trendy and from a big fashion brand. Most of the times, majority of the general public can’t afford it. Truth be told, it’s because they are not the target audience. But just like with the Balenciaga example, people want to own it. Here’s also you. A smaller business that offers something more affordable that could replace their demand for the shoe from a big brand. You have to play on relevance and this is how.
Tell them it’s locally produced. Supporting local businesses will always be trendy. Say that it’s just as customized as the big fashion brand item, which is true. Given how small businesses don’t have the resources to mass produce one and the same item (to some extend but you get the point). Play on activism. Sustainable fashion, better quality, helping the environment from not purchasing dupes from fast fashion brands. If something you can add tiny details to customize each item.
Why Should Campaigns With Different Marketing Objectives Use Principles Of Relevance Marketing?
Relevance Marketing is the only true way a company can appeal to customers. And this is true even if the marketing objectives are different. For instance, local newspaper advertising can be very effective if you use an easy-to-see, attention-grabbing header title all about your prospects. Then you have to say something to readers that are all about solving their problems in a believable way. The examples mentioned above discuss how this approach can take your business to the top.
Especially as a small business operating in a competitive environment, using the Principles of Relevance Marketing can be an enormous help. Observe, determine, develop and adjust. There are the ways you can do those things without spending a fortune. Let us know what you think is the optimal way relevance marketing can be executed in your advertising strategy. Or if you simply have any questions and inquiries, feel free to drop a comment down below.