|Who Is The Customer?
To be successful, all of the people, from yourself to the end consumer, must
understand and desire your product or service. Only then will the consumer
part with their money and make the rest of you successful. Here is the “food
chain” at this Internet company:
We reached out to understand, train, and motivate each of these
Dot-Com Increases Effectiveness Of Banner Ads
In early 2000, the “dot-com bubble” had grown rapidly
and was about to burst. Many companies with a great idea and a pile
of investment capital were dashing into the marketplace to stake
their claim and then make an IPO (Initial Public Offering) that
would make their founders, backers and employees into millionaires.
One of these rising stars, PowerAdz.Com, provided
web services and informational content to over 1000 local newspapers
around the county. It was a quick and painless way for traditional
publishers of printed newspapers to join the online generation.
The plan was to earn money partly by charging fees for monthly
and training; but the main money was hoped to lie in numerous small
commissions from the sale of banner ads.
Only one problem: banner ads didn’t seem
to be working as well as hoped.
Response was measured by the “click-throughs”
of online readers on the local banner ads. If Mr. Fuller of Fuller's
Auto Sales decided he wasn’t getting his money’s
worth for $200-$500 per month of advertising, he’d stop
the ads (or ask for make-goods by getting extra ads in the printed
The papers began to
lose faith, and PowerAdz.Com stopped getting as many commissions.
What We Did
We visited and listened with all concerned, writing down ideas
and looking for solutions. We analyzed the company’s financials
and business plan; we met with their IT people, trainers and
experts. We talked with hundreds of the company’s client
newspapers. We rode on sales calls with the ad reps; we even talked
of the automobile clients
and other customers.
Then we collaborated with several individuals,
departments and customers to come up with a new concept. Instead
of simple banners at the top or edge of the page, we used miniature
newspaper ads, placed throughout the news story area, just like
people are accustomed to in the printed papers. The little ads were
tantalizing enough for people to “click-to-enlarge”,
which enabled them to see the full sized version. Furthermore, the
ad was identical to the client’s current print ad, which greatly
simplified the selling, implementation and client understanding
of the ad process.
This concept proved to get far more responses
than banner ads, it was much less annoying than intrusive pop-up
and was considerably more visible than ads that were hidden away
in a Display Ad section.
How The Client Benefited
As shown at right, the new ads worked at least 2-1/2 times better
and sometimes up to 9 times better than the old ones. This was proven
in a series of A/B test ads in numerous markets. In addition, the
implementation costs were lowered because all the customers (see
left) had a better understanding and appreciation of the new ads.
Epilog: Seven years later, the company gradually sold its assets
and closed shop. The dot-com marketplace had changed so much that
PowerAdz’ main SAAS products could be purchased more cheaply
through Yahoo, Monster and other giants. But PowerAdz had a good
run of eleven years and we were glad to be a small part of their
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|Which Of These Ads Worked Better?
Ads similar to the ones below were tested in dozens of small online
newspapers. By measuring the response, we were able to see that
display ad did 2-1/2 times better than the traditional banner
ad. Here are the actual measured average responses to a daily
ad in a small online paper.
Typical response = 8
Typical response = 20
--a 2-1/2x improvement!
This car dealer's customers were far
more interested in the mini-display ad. Sales were better and implementation
costs were reduced.
Front Page of the Albany Business Review!
After I left PowerAdz, I continued to work on my project to help them achieve
better advertising results.
Even without pay, I spent several weeks finishing the nationwide
tests to discover if my marketing concept would work for
them. As you see in the results above, it worked extremely
This dedication to getting the
job done became part of a front-page article in the Business
Review in January
of 2001, followed a week later by the editor Mike Hendrick's editorial
and kind words about my dedication.