How Not to Advertise…

I was driving by a local business last week and noticed what I thought was a prank, that is until I got closer and realized that is was their version of advertising.

How Not to Advertise

How Not to Advertise (name blurred to protect the guilty)

Being in advertising, I am well aware of the challenges that marketers face – and in a city like Billings, the home improvement industry can be particularly difficult.  Our area has enjoyed steady growth in the last decade in the housing and commercial construction segments and the presence of two large national (and many local) home improvement chain stores helps illustrate that point.  However, the current economy has certainly heated competition for home improvement dollars and made your business image all the more important.  Most companies set themselves apart from the competition by projecting a carefully crafted brand image, offering lower prices, expert advice, superior customer service and the like.  But every once is a while you come across a branding method that is truly unique – one that your competition hasn’t exploited. Such is the case with our spray painted sign captured in the picture to the right. The difference here is that no one will imitate this sign or advertising tactic.

There are numerous problems with this type of “advertising,” not the least of which is that this does nothing to help build credibility with new customers – you know, those people you have yet to bring through your doors and the same ones who help increase your bottom line. In the home improvement business, as in most other businesses, credibility is a key factor in the purchase decision. Your customers want to know that you will be there for them during and after the sale, that they will be able to get help if they encounter a problem.  Basically, they want to be sure that they are buying a product from a company that will stand behind it.  This sign does nothing to build that trust, instead it says “desperate.”

The lesson to be learned here is that just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. The sale is now over and the sign is gone;  will the customers remember this advertiser’s efforts?  I wonder…

Thanks for the read and God speed!

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