Posts Tagged ‘marketing tactics’

Outdoor signage-billboard advertising lessons from the road.

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Driving the highways of North America provides a remarkable education for marketers. In particular, mile-after-mile of outdoor signage (billboards ) show us how advertisers deliver their marketing messaging in both effective and ineffective ways. With the tremendous marketing training resources available online and offline, and often at very reasonable costs,  marketers with a budget should have no excuse to spend their marketing dollars on just plain BAD ads.

 What makes a bad billboard?

On a recent trip from San Diego to Houston I was bombarded with useless signage that displayed

  • unreadable font styles and colors
  • text that’s much too small to be read
  • too much text
  • and my personal favorite – confusing messaging – leaving viewers who may care bewildered and uncaring

So, what makes a great outdoor ad?

On the other hand, there are some truly effective marketers entertaining us out on the road and those providing a valuable service by giving us their message in an effective and easy to process manner. Drivers are looking for products and services – so make it easy for them.

Here are some tips …

  • Keep it short – in fact try to keep the message to 5 words – 8 at most!
  • Be clear and concise – you can still be confusing using only a few words – so make sure people can INSTANTLY understand what you’re trying to say – 80 MPH is pretty fast and doesn’t leave a lot of time to process. The more simple the concept, the
    greater the impact.
  • Simple and BOLD fonts – san serif is best.
  • Capital letters are hard to read – stick to lower case.
  • Yellow makes a great accent – but a terrible font color – stick to primary colors with depth – red is always safe
  • Frequency is critical.  One billboard along a 100 mile stretch is like 1 drop of water in the local swimming pool.
  • Humor can be effective, but can also backfire – so be cautious.
  • Think outside the box and add something to your design like an add-on – there are some fabulous ones out there. I particularly like the spicy chickens and of course, the success (and 911 calls) from the man maneequin and bear sitting on the BMW billboard will be case studied for years to come (see photo below).
  • Save marketing budget or get twice the frequency by partnering up with another relevant business. And, if you sell major brands (online or offline), you may be able to access “co-op” dollars from them to appear on your billboard.
  • Include a “call to action.” What do you want them to do – call, text, visit your website or exit now?  What are they likely to have access to in the car?
  • Follow the 3-Step Marketing Model – (Step One) Identify your IDEAL BUYING customer, (Step Two) Craft a Message that Speaks to your IDEAL BUYING Customer and (Step Three) use this effective tactic ONLY if it reaches your IDEAL BUYING Customer – otherwise, use these same best practices for other platforms.

Here are some of my favorite examples of the good and the bad which just may provide you with some business marketing ideas …

Short and great humor gets big marks for an effective billboard campaign.

Don't think that everyone has your same sense of humor. Is it worth it to eliminate 51% of potential customers - unless, of course, you're not going after women at all.

Billboard Advertising

This is really thinking outside the billboard advertising box!

Terrific add-on to this already cleverly written billboard.


Exit NOW ... not Exit Here, Exit in 2 miles or just plain Exit ... Exit NOW!


Could just be me - but this one takes WAY too long to get. Confusing and ineffective.


Keep in mind that ALL of these billboard advertising tips also work as best practices for most ad campaigns using a variety of platforms – radio, tv, print, online display, emails, etc.!  I’d LOVE to see any of your favorites – so please, send them my way!

All the best to your marketing success.  Now … go get at er!

Charlene Brisson,


How ethical is your marketing bribe? 10 Tips to make it sing!

Friday, August 5th, 2011

 Tired of signing up for free reports, newsletters and email drips that you never have time to read or watch?  If you are, then so are your customers! 

In marketing, these tactics are called ethical bribes – when a prospect gives you their contact information (usually name and email) and YOU give them an information product of value in return (for free) – often a free report, white paper, newsletter, high-profile interview, ebook or a series of tips. 

But how can it be ethical if your prospect never has time to read what you’re sending – or it’s not “viewed” as being of value??  Afterall, they’re helping you build your opt-in list of targeted prospects. On-going targeted list building creates a potential gold mine of future sales for your business.

So here’s a business marketing idea … only create a sign-up (ethical bribe) for something that you, yourself would take the time to read or watch – otherwise, you’re not doing yourself or others any service.

You only get one chance to make an impression – so if that impression sucks, chances are VERY high that all the rest of your emails or messages, no matter how clever and valuable, will be ignored … forever. 

To ensure that your marketing bribe is ethical AND delivers results …

  1. Put a value proposition in the title (what value will they get from it). Using numbers is always effective … 12 ways to XX; 9 major mistakes XX make and how to avoid them; etc. 
  2. Always deliver the value you promise – PLUS more. If it’s a list, give a bonus 13th or 10th; add in a few resource links, etc.
  3. Is it easy to read? Lots of whitespace and adding a few professional graphics is important for print/electronic layouts. Use standard fonts – no swirly, kiddy or colorful text – it makes you look unprofessional. Arial, Helvetica or Times are safe bets.  
  4. Keep videos SHORT and to the point – people don’t have TIME.
  5. If it’s a series of tips – make sure the FIRST ONE is your BEST … so they’re excited to get the next one.
  6. Use an autoresponder like,,  or to deliver the information product immediately and looking professional. Set up a series of emails to be sent automatically after they receive their free info product (bribe) … a couple with more value to build relationship and then send the sell email
  7. Autoresponders have webforms (sign up form box) that you can easily put on your website, in emails and on your social media sites like your FB official biz page (formerly: fan page).  Only asking for name and email will get you a higher response rate – you can get more info about the prospect at a later date if you want.
  8. If emailing a sign-up email to a new list, use a powerful and catchy subject line. Controversy; adding a sense of urgency; including keyword phrases; or including those numbers again will get you a higher open AND sign-up rate.  DON’T use a trick – like one I received “your order has been processed”. You’ll get a high open rate, but totally lose credibility and few sign-ups.  
  9. Be unique. Don’t do what everyone else does, but keep in mind, not everyone may enjoy your flavor. And that’s ok – those aren’t your IDEAL BUYING customers.
  10. Have fun.

As a marketing speaker, offering an ethical bribe for list building is a ”must” have of the business marketing ideas I share with business audiences regularly when talking about the 3-Step Marketing Model.

Now go get at er and make your marketing bribes ethical – your prospects will appreciate the value you have to offer. 

Charlene Brisson,
Marketing Speaker, Trainer
Marketing Author of 148 Ways to Advertise & Pronote Your Business AND 16 Major Mistakes Marketers Make … and How to Avoid Them.

PS … sign up for my ethical bribe at for lots of fabulous marketing tips delivered twice weekly in a fun and SHORT video format!


Marketing MashUp-Marketing on the Go Episode 5

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

As I continue my travels around the United States, I’ve had a number of marketing experiences and observances that I love to share with other business owners and marketing professionals. In this episode of 3-Step Marketing on the Go I share an incident with “poor” customer service and “fabulous” customer service and to  recognize how important CS is to your marketing strategy.  In addition, I talk about apps, radio sponsorship and a couple of other areas that we should all be thinking about for our marketing success. 

I love to get feedback – so if you have some, please share. 

All the best to your marketing success. Now go get at er!

Charlene Brisson,


Disneyland Brand Breakdown – Marketing on the Go Episode 4

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Unquestionably Disneyland is one of the world’s top brands. The colossal success created by Walt Disney can be attributed to his steely focus on character representation combined with impeccable standards set for the Disneyland Park “experience” which integrated a pristinely presented fantasy environment backed up by staff that maintained a cheery and helpful disposition under all circumstances. 

My last visit to Disneyland was almost two decades ago. Naturally things have changed. I arrived excitedly expecting a mega-infusion of marketing ideas, marketing tactics and tips. What I was met with was an overcrowded theme park with disconnected messaging, inconsistent visuals and abrupt staffers. What a disappointment.  A merchandisers paradise – the Disney Corp would be wise to spend as much energy on brand focus so that their revenue doesn’t also erode in the long term.

All the best to your marketing success. Now go get at er!

Charlene Brisson,


Is Radio changing the channel?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Most marketers would be shocked to hear that according to a 2010 Arbitron Report 239 million Americans listen to radio each and every week, that’s 93.1% of the population over 12 years of age. Surprising to marketers because we are mostly consumed by online hype and proclamations of how radio is dying a slow death along with all other “traditional” media.  

Based on these numbers radio is definitely not dying, but it does seem to be changing form, or rather changing channels which is moving it into the Online domain. For example, an annual Arbitron and Edison report claims 70 million people have listened to online radio last month (see the chart below). And of those, 40% listened to their regular radio stations through their computers. This is called streaming and has presented a whole new advertising model as custom pre-roll spots (15-30 second ads) are incorporated into the “Listen Live” process (ad runs after clicking “listen live” and before the actual on-air broadcast is streamed). In addition, attractively priced online/offline combo ad packages that include click-thru display ads and on-site pre-roll along with traditional on-air ads are being offered to advertisers.  Campaigns that I’ve run using the online display ads on targeted stations’ websites have actually produced quite good results and are very inexpensive.  

70 mil Americans 12+ listened to Online Radio last month

The remaining 55% of the 70 million online listeners are listening to internet-only radio (audio) … or what is often called Blog Radio and it’s grown from 46% in 2006. This format seems to just now be developing their commercial legs – although still wobbly (their legs that is), advertisers can purchase intro and extro spots as well as spots integrated throughout the programming. This model is similar to program sponsorship offered on traditional radio.    

Listeners prefer Online Radio Only over streaming a traditional station.

It was hearing that Motivational Radio celebrated a milestone of online listeners in August that sparked my interest in this topic along with my fondness for watching the traditional electronic marketing tactics morph into their online forms.  

Motivational Radio is produced, hosted and broadcasted out of New Zealand and delivered globally online using their own streaming server that can be accessed from their website at This is what sets them apart from most online radio stations, and in fact, makes them more of a traditional station operating online than others that run off of a blog radio platform.  As with most online-only radio, live programming is scheduled during a few hours throughout the day and then posted for members to listen during off hours. Many of these stations make listeners create an account and log in to access the programming. These are fabulous list builders and can be used to sell combo packs to advertisers which include the online spots, display ads on the website as well as solo blasts to the lists.  A smart online radio site can do really well if they can attract high listenership. Like all online marketing their success is about agressively driving traffic to their site and delivering what their listeners want. 

I have included traditional radio, online radio and satellite radio in my new book 148 Ways to Advertise & Promote Your Business: The Ultimate Guide to Traditional and New Media Marketing Tactics that’s available online now.  Having started my career in radio I’m partial to the medium. And although I say in my book that I believe AM radio will be extinct within another generation – it’s possible that some of the more clever stations will attract a “new generation” listener base to their online live listening, although it’s doubtful.

All the best to your marketing success,

Charlene Brisson, 3-Step Marketing Pro