Tidbit of the Day: The outdoor marketer’s oversight

What’s wrong with this picture:

When’s the last time you paid attention to and were prompted to visit a Web site by an ad you saw on public transportation?

I was on the bus last night coming back from the Chicago IxDA when I had a revelation. Many of these ads, like this one here, are chock-full of information. After this information, usually, is a Web site you can check out for more information.

It’s not that I don’t like these ads, don’t get me wrong. My main beef with them is I just don’t think they’re actionable. It’s like, great, you actually have a Web site. It’s not 1998; you should have one already.

So I can go to a great vacation spot, or I can go to a cool new Web site if I:

a) See the ad enough to remember it in the future.
b) Actually write down the URL.
c) Care enough to follow through and go to the page.

Maybe these ads aren’t about getting someone to do something. Maybe it’s just about bombarding folks with repeated messages so that they maybe recall your brand in the future. My suggestion: Show potential customers why they should listen to you. You’ll probably benefit from giving them something immediate.


  1. Martin Calle

    No. You’re correct. Ads today have lost site of the goal of actually getting someone to get up and go do something. They are made more in the mold of, “if you throw enough shit against the glass some of it might stick.”

    There has been a dramatic absence in “calls to action” or “reasons-for-being” in ads over the last 25 years, coincidentally coinciding with a decline of importance of “positioning” in the minds of marketers. Oh sure, Cadillac has a “positioning” — it lives in the luxury high price quadrant versus Chevy’s family/value quadrant at GM. The only problem is that these “positionings” do nothing to drive breakthrough creative or innovative Perceptual Innovations or Perceptual Monopolies that cause consumers to get up and go spend their money with Cadillac versus the likes of a Lexus or Audi that instant. Just putting mid-life good looking models getting out of Cadillacs with tag lines that say, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit” just don’t cut it motivationally. Please delve into this subject further. You are on the right track.

  2. Daniel

    Martin –

    Thanks so much for your insightful (and kind) comment.

    I was having a conversation earlier with a colleague of mine, and the reason marketers can’t think about anything long-term is because:

    1) They’re trying to show quick ROI, and as a result…
    2) …are trying to keep their jobs.

    Make no mistake; marketers are trying to show the financial folks that their campaigns are worth spending money on. There’s always something quicker and cheaper, but in the long run, it will hurt your brand. I’ve learned that much so far just reporting on the marketing profession.

    Anyway, I hope you come back to my page soon. Let’s talk.

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  4. Yellowstone Camping

    “Show potential customers why they should listen to you. You’ll probably benefit from giving them something immediate.”

    Very well said. Some marketers push their luck and end up annoying rather than insightful. Outdoor marketers should give prospects concrete reasons that their juice is worth the squeeze.

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