As jobs are scarce and the New Economy tightens the noose around the neck of small business owners, it is fiscally prudent to cut costs and cut overhead. The natural inclination may be to cut back on the advertising budget, as it is one of the largest overhead lines and may appear to have little impact on the business model. This is exactly the wrong approach! Now is the time to advertise to capture market share and gain awareness. The best value for the advertising dollar, especially for a small business owner, is in company vehicles.
To make a declaration:
The days of a rectangular magnet stuck to a car or truck door are long gone. So are the vinyl lettering that clearly shows the company name and phone number. To get noticed today, business owners must think boldly and out loud. Marketing it’s about getting noticed. Marketing business impulses. Marketing it makes the phone ring and the cash register tinkle. Make the most of the ad space you have already purchased.
Modern technology has evolved in such a way that almost anything you or your graphic designer can come up with can cover your vehicles. Think of your vehicles as billboards on the move. Of the six basic sides of the vehicle, potential customers will see all but the landing gear as their vehicles travel through town; therefore, have a dramatic impact on the five visible sides with a lot of color to paint a mental picture of the quality of the work that your company does.
Unless you are professionally trained and have the experience to back it up, don’t try this at home! Even an average graphic designer can take your best ideas and blow them up. The human mind tends to think linearly and symmetrically; yet he is drawn to what he is not. Just as he has spent years perfecting his craft; so has the graphic designer. They have learned to place images “out of place” and to use both dimensions (sometimes with the appearance of using the third dimension) to capture the scattered attention of passersby.
The real sign of success is when the kids in the car next to yours yell “Mommy, Mommy” and point your way.
The value equation:
Vehicle advertising is much more affordable than it was just five years ago. Although computer technology and design software have been available for many years, printing presses did not catch up until recently. Most vehicles can now be fully wrapped for a total price of less than $ 4,000 (including design, printing, and application), compared to $ 7,000 just a decade ago, when they needed to be hand painted. In many cases, once the design file is saved electronically, the cost of additional vehicles is significantly reduced, as designs only need to be adjusted to fit different vehicle makes and models. (NOTE: Make sure you receive a copy of the electronic design file before paying for the job to facilitate any necessary transitions if your current supplier does not survive the financial consequences.)
Interestingly, pricing is not determined so much per square foot as it is by labor for trimming curves, latches, windows, etc., a concept that may seem contrary to normal business people. So a big box truck with 8 ‘x 12’ sides and an 8 ‘x 8’ tailgate can generally be wrapped for less than a typical SUV or even a typical passenger car due to the hand demands of construction site.
Comparative advertising of shopping vehicles with other marketing means makes it clear that this is hands down the best investment of your hard-earned money to get the word out about your business. When you consider that the majority of company vehicles will be in use in the business for at least six years, there really is no other type of marketing that even comes close when comparing options side-by-side and adjusting the longevity of the medium.
Lead generation vs. Awareness:
Advertising is divided into two general categories. Leading generation They are those types of advertising media that attract potential buyers to ask about your company’s products or services. Classic lead generation examples are: direct mail, telemarketing, phone book, and trade show booths. These lead-generating media are best served with call-to-action messages such as “call now” or “available only for the next 3 days.”
Awareness Mediums are sources that help the public to remember your name. These are sources aimed at image enhancement, reputation building, and the most important. Traditional means of awareness are: billboards, websites and wall calendars. Of course, with any black and white there is a gray; therefore, some media have qualities of each other that can be enhanced based on the specific message. Radio and television can be lead generation or awareness, depending on the content of the particular ad.
Unsurprisingly, vehicle advertising rarely makes the phone ring. Create awareness of your brand. This is problematic for some owners, as the only true way to know if the awareness campaign is working is with detailed before and after marketing studies, which most will not. So it all comes down to marketing faith. It’s easy to show that awareness campaigns work in general: name the first fast food chain and the first soda that comes to mind. If you said McDonald’s and Coke, you will join more than seventy percent of Americans who have been courted by those companies’ awareness campaigns (actually, no matter what your answer to the question above is, some company has courted you) .
When a potential buyer has been influenced by a strong awareness campaign, they may not remember your company name or product brand when trying to make a decision. However, when they open the phone book, surf the Internet or stop by your store, they will say to themselves “these people are good, I will call them.” By doing so, the consumer will likely not openly realize that you have thought of it that way because of your awareness campaign, but it will provide you with the opportunity to earn your business.
Awareness advertising drives future business and growth. As business owners, we are uniquely positioned to fill the roads with our logos and what we do or sell. Don’t be afraid to shout from the top of the tallest mountain through your fleet of vehicles. You have a wide variety of untapped mobile billboards at your beck and call – use them.