Let's Take It Outside, Shall We?

Outdoor media is perhaps the most original grassroots promotional tool.

Think about it: traditional outdoor media includes everything from the old Burma Shave signs to the signs for your front-yard lemonade stand or yard sale. You see outdoor advertising every day but perhaps you've thought it's not the best way to market your product or service.

That may be, but consider this: on a broader scale, outdoor media includes not only billboards but also taxi toppers, bus shelters and benches, and signage in shopping malls. And what about signage in stadiums, movie theaters and convenience stores?

Still think it's not for you?

Outdoor media is prevalent across our cultural landscape, and it's a simple and relatively inexpensive way to reach your consumers. Because of its cost-effectiveness, this tactic is becoming a larger part of companies' advertising dollars.

In a society that is time poor--and growing poorer by the minute--it's important to reach your target audience where they live and work. You can ensure they experience your message by permeating their world and surrounding them with your message, informing and persuading along the way.

Makes you wonder how you've lived without it for this long, doesn't it?

There are some general guidelines about how to create winning advertising for outdoor venues:

  1. Less is more. Use no more than two or three images to simplify the visual message your audience receives. Pick the most important message--the one that will make your prospect's life better--and communicate that.
  2. Less is really more. While outdoor media generally ensures that your message will be viewed repeatedly, use minimal copy to make sure it's read (and understood) quickly. The rule of thumb is a maximum of five to eight words.
  3. What can I do for you today? What is it, exactly, that you want your client to do? Call you? Visit your website? Go to your store? Tell them.
  4. Are you talking to ME? Make sure that your message is appropriate to your audience. If your message will reach a local Rhode Island audience, they'll understand references to the big blue bug. But if you're trying to reach a national audience, your message will be lost.
  5. And you are...? Remember that whatever design you use for your outdoor media, it should be consistent with your overall branding. A campaign that doesn't relate to who you are, or who you're planning to be, is probably one you should rethink.

Next month, we'll review one of the latest trends: guerilla marketing. Is it for you?