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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, Aug 27, 2014 6 min read

Advertisers, Stop Coming Up With Creative Ways To Interrupt Us

Interruptive AdWhen are you going to learn? We’re not interested in your new and innovative ways to sneak your traditional advertising in front of our faces.

In fact, those of you who continue to try and trick us into seeing your ads are going to pollute your brand and the brands of those venues or organizations that allow this on their watch.

The NFL recently had this ad pulled from its flight – not because it was a stupid idea to try advertising on the field while the game is going on, but because they thought this particular ad for Cajun sauce promoted domestic violence. To read more about this, click here.

If Roger Goodell or any other NFL officials are listening, please don’t continue this practice of ruining my experience of watching your games by thinking that this type of advertising is even remotely effective. By the way, as an NFL RedZone subscriber, I’ve already voted with my wallet by agreeing to pay for a commercial-free NFL experience.

I’ll go even further by saying that I would happily pay for any television stations, cable networks or services that provide me with commercial-free programming.

But this is a much bigger issue in sports. As viewers, we’ve stopped watching commercials, so advertisers have tried to get clever by putting their brands and their ads in front of us in more innovative ways: ads and logos on jerseys, on the field, on banners, on the court. What’s next ... on the actual players? I know, you could sell a forehead: "this space for rent." Click here to read more on this trend and its general ineffectiveness.

If you take a look at the article from the link above, you’ll see that the proponents of on-field advertising have data like the value of an impression or the likelihood of a viewer to remember a brand.

Unfortunately, both of these values are completely irrelevant. Advertising should have only ONE goal: to drive sales and revenue. If brand equity is a goal, it still has to be connected to revenue. This is where all of these efforts to trick us into seeing a product is flawed.

Stop trying to trick us or get around our DVRs, and just stop advertising. If you want my attention, earn it. Offer me something of value, in exchange for my personal information. Then, handle that experience in an interesting way, and you’ll have a customer or, better yet, a fan for life.

Once you embrace an inbound marketing approach, you quickly see that you get even more for your marketing dollars when you work to help, advise, educate or counsel me in some way.

To stick with the Cajun sauce company that insisted on cluttering up my TV with its on-field ad: What if it had taken that money and worked to be more highly ranked on search engines? A quick search on Google shows that around 100 people a month are actually looking for Cajun sauces online. Another quick search showed that this Cajun sauce company wasn’t anywhere near the first page.

I don’t know what this company paid for that ad, but I know a small percentage of that cost would have gotten it on the first page with a pay-per-click ad. And with some content, it probably would have been on the first page of Google for even less. Why focus on all those people who don’t need your product when there are so many who are looking for your product RIGHT NOW?

I know it’s safe, easy and conventional to advertise. I get it. I once paid $85,000 for a full-page ad. I know it feels right to be spreading the word and getting your name out there and that the lure of all those potential customers makes it seem right, but it’s not.

You’re not getting what you’re actually paying for. Most of those people NEVER actually see your ad, and of the ones that do, most won’t remember it and won’t be interested in your products or services. So, unless the outlet is interested in a pay-for-performance model (in which you ONLY pay for people who visit your website or become leads for your business), it’s never going to deliver a return on marketing investment that even comes close to the return from an inbound marketing effort.

Start Today Tip – If you're advertising, stop. If you’re considering advertising, hold off. Remember, we consider advertising to be anything that interrupts. This includes direct mail (right into the trash), cold calling (delete unrequested calls or, worse, don’t answer numbers that we don’t know), banner ads (Chrome’s ad blocker takes care of that) and other old-school marketing tactics. Start thinking about creating a remarkable experience for people who want to hear from you right now instead of trying to interrupt those who have no interest in what you have to say.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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