Happy July, we are all a little more tanned after the recent good weather and hopefully, it is a sign of good things to come, I am not going to mention the v-word, I think it is fair to say we are all sick to the back teeth of the pandemic and hearing about it.
As you may have seen on our social media, we have recently completed our first advertising board in association with our local club here; Ballyduff GAA and I think it is fair to say it divided opinion a little, but to me, that is the key to good advertising, it is what I have always called the Jedward rule.
In their breakthrough on The X Factor, they and the whole world knew they were not the greatest singers in the world, but they have carved out a career simply by being more memorable than those who may have more vocal talent. They hung in there, they were unforgettable, hence my Jedward rule when it comes to advertising.
Quite simply, it is an old quote attributed to Oscar Wilde, who may or may not have been as flamboyant as the lovable twins from Lucan, Dublin.
“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” – Oscar Wilde
Good Advertising = Aidan’s Jedward Rule.
Now, I should disclose that I do not absolutely trust in advertising as a whole, at least certainly not for our business model and how we secure clients, I have always operated under the idea that if we complete every project to the best of our ability and ensure all clients are 100% happy, word of mouth (both online and offline) will lead to a steady stream of clients which it has for the best part of a decade at this point. A little naive perhaps but it has consistently worked for us.
I think a lot of business “mentors” and start-up courses can get overly entangled in KPI’s, CRM’s, CTA, SEO & an ever-growing list of acronyms, I try to listen to business podcasts, but they end up boring me as they all repeat the same ideas, so it is hard to see the value in them when they are all the same.
There is only one major system of measurement for attracting a constant stream of leads in my humble opinion:
Simply be the best at what you do.
It’s that simple if you aren’t then practice/cut out every distraction in your life until you are the best.
This will lead to great reviews from a steady stream of customers, not go give away the Keys to the Kingdom too much but online reviews and particularly Google Reviews are a fantastic way of growing your business, regardless of your sector and industry, it has led us to being the highest-rated agency in the world and we have not spent any more than €10000 a year on advertising. Ever.
This blog/mailing campaigns also help a lot as we are one of the few agencies that constantly put out new content in a sector where content creation seems to never be important & “competitor” sites are almost always stale, something I have always thought ironic given that I and people like me who build things for other businesses will constantly tell clients how much Google loves new content but most of them do not bother themselves. Not even on their socials. Weird.
As with all service providers, I typically pass my own experience and advice to all our clients and try to promote the higher benefits of organic reach rather than paid ads when it comes to advertising; it is simply a better path for long term business growth.
If you build a website/solution for a client and they pay €10,000+ for it, the last thing they want to hear on completion is they now need to spend a further €5000 on ads. In my opinion, this will only lead to two things:
1. You will look like an idiot for not factoring this cost into an initial proposal & also if a client is paying 5 figures, the organic SEO/DA on the project should be well looked after. If this happens, you are bad at your job.
2. You will lose that client forever because the trust in the relationship is broken. That can never be mended.
That being said, even with organic advertising, there is a place for ads for a lot of businesses, but you need to have some sort of metric to your performance & luckily, we have an online promotion that has served us very well, I believe in this because social media ads, Google Ads etc provide you with data & information you can actually use and tweak to your exact needs. Of course, you have to pay to play on all these platforms, but they are still very useful when used properly.
My main issue with “traditional advertising” is that it does not do this for you, if you stick up a billboard or run an ad in a paper, besides their traffic stats or readership numbers, you never know if it is effective, let alone if it leads to any leads in your business. Build it and they will come is no longer a viable business strategy in 2021.
We have done some over the years but typically any ideas I have had have been dialled back, one publication took a 3-month payment then refused to print my ad as it was “not in their interest”, they instead ran a generic ad that was borderline embarrassing and looked to be made in MS Paint (spoiler, my latest ad was completed in Paint, just for the craic).
You will have seen my advertising board for our GAA club on social media or the title image for the blog above. My main plan for it was to basically get a laugh out of people and make sure it was memorable. Boards from many businesses are going to be covering the whole area so the chances of actually getting a client were next to 0. Someone who needs a plumber/bouncy castle for their kid’s communion etc will see these boards and maybe take a picture as it is a service they need immediately.
Nobody would look at our advertising boards (even if I went “safe”) with them and contact us for our services, it just would not happen, it is too much of a stretch for any potential client to spend that long in the inquiry process. What we could do is get people talking about it, which should be the goal of any “traditional advertising” in my opinion.
Enter Michael Flavin and his gigantic head.
Mikey is a cousin and friend of mine who I have known my whole life since we were small kids, even if Mikey was never small. He was born 7” 2” and 15 stone. I decided to use Mikey on these for a few reasons, one being he was quick enough to throw out a few smart comments in the group chat on the day I had to submit something so I thought it would be funny.
Mostly because I wanted something that was instantly memorable, and this ticked all of my boxes. Of course, I could have used my own face but even my ego does not stretch that far, besides, plenty of people find enough reasons not to like me already so that was a no-go.
Mikey was ideal because he is unequivocally one of the best people I know, he’s a total idiot, of course, that is not even up for debate, he tends to go off on tangents in the middle of the pub that has been known to clear the local with audible eye-rolling, but he also has one of the biggest hearts & the most infectious laugh you could ever find.
Using his face and not my own (although I secretly hope it will be vandalised and it will appear in some young fella’s Snapchat story at 4.00 am on the walk home because I definitely would have robbed it myself back in the day) is exactly the type of culture we have created at Avalanche because we like to laugh at ourselves & it reinforces this idea, like Raymond before him, Everybody Loves Mikey.
Of course, he was delighted to give permission for his likeness to be used, after years of not so subtle hints of me giving him a job, even though I told him I wouldn’t do the signs until he gave the say so, I had already sent it to the printers, so it was happening either way. Even if the printer had to double-check with the GAA club it was OK as they were not sure we were serious as I insisted, they get the main placement right underneath the scoreboard in case you would not see it.
Such was the amount of correspondence I received; it will not be the only local appearance of our new unofficial spokesman. There are two more signs on the way as I type this on Thursday 29th of July.
They have been made as crudely as possible, there is no aligning of elements, I misspelt his name, nothing is centred, font sizes vary wildly, and Comic Sans was essential in this endeavour, they are deliberately terrible but incredibly memorable.
I am 99.9% sure it will yield absolutely nothing in terms of business, but I am even more sure they will unquestionably get the most attention and will generate the most conversation, which of course is not a tangible metric but when it comes to old school advertising the most important element of any ad creation for me.
At the very least, I know people will see them and chuckle, which is good enough for me. I mentioned earlier that business mentors/Instagram Entrepreneurs get caught up in the black and white of the day to day and the “grind”.
It is not life or death, they are in such a rush to show the world how great they are, they don’t stop to have some fun with it.
The day I start taking work/advertising too seriously is the day I will finally sell Avalanche and ride off into the sunset.
Just me, Mikey & Jedward.
My head won’t be melted at all.