Invisibility Sucks

You spend thousands, perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on your advertising and yet you’re still completely invisible to most of your audience.  What’s going on?  Why after all this time and all those dollars are you still the best-kept-secret in town?

Well, think about it from another perspective.

Do you need a plumber right at this moment?  (If you do, let’s pretend you don’t for the sake of this illustration.)  People who don’t need plumbers probably don’t see all those plumber ads in the papers, or on bus benches, or hear them on the radio.  Oh, they’re there all right, lots of them, but to you, they’re completely invisible…Unless.  The “unless” is if the ad happens to be really creative or interesting in some way that grabs you regardless.  But most plumber ads are pretty much what you expect, and are therefore completely unnoticeable to the 98% of the audience who is not at-need.  (You see where I’m going with this…)

In this case, the best that the plumber/advertiser can hope for is an equal shot along with all his competition at the time the faucet starts dripping, and not a moment before.  But let’s take the plumber whose advertising is really fresh and interesting, that makes people take notice even when everything is fine.  Then he’s going to be the first name on people’s minds when the sink backs up.

Human beings only pay attention to the things that interest them, and block out all the rest.  It’s a natural defense mechanism that helps the brain cope with too much information.  And only those things that are of immediate interest have a way of showing up as if by magic – such as when you are shopping for a particular car and suddenly, every car on the highway is that car!

For fun, try this wonderful YouTube demonstration:

It’s easy to be visible to your audience when there’s an immediate need or urgent desire.  But imagine how completely invisible you are to them prior to that need – which is precisely when you most want to reach them!  The more “expected” your advertising, the more invisible you become. You’re just another plumber advertising to people whose toilet’s are flushing just fine.

If you want to be noticed, you have to be noticeable.  You need to rise above the general noise level with advertising and marketing that is different, fresh, unconventional and unexpected.  You have to be willing to step out on a limb and surprise the audience and perhaps yourself.

I realize that only a tiny percentage of marketers will actually take this to heart and do anything amazing.  That’s why 95% of ads in any medium – print, TV, billboards, direct mail – or for any industry – beer, office supplies, funeral homes, or financial services – are doomed before they leave the production house.  But for those who take the risk, the reward is top-of-mind awareness before, during, and after the need.

That’s an ROI I’d take any day.

–  By Dan Katz, Agent of Change  © 2012 LA ads – A Marketing Agency

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