Recently, we bought an ad. package of 4+4 (you buy 4 ads. you get 4 free) in HT city at Chandigarh. Almost 2 years into the movie rental business now, Chandigarh remains our lab to test and try things out. Our members in Chandigarh are the ones I really need to thank, for they have helped us in shaping our service and fine tuning it to suit the general population.
Coming back to the package we bought, we decided to publish one ad. each Friday. It made sense as that is the day when new releases are listed, and if our ad. was present beside the ad. of a multiplex, the chance of our ad. catching a movie buff’s eye was high.
We had 8 ads. in all, to publish over 3 months (almost). We planned a print schedule based on the inputs we had about what time during the month do people make purchase decisions, when are they pre-occupied with other things, etc. For instance, during diwali people have other things, such as buying Gold, preparations for puja, card parites, etc. on their mind and they may not bother too much about movie releases. Therefore, it made sense to skip an ad. during Diwali.
We thought we would plan an ad. series, with each ad. talking about one USP of ours and culminating with an ad. that highlights our features as against competition in the market. After some thought, I concluded that 8 different ads. spread over three months is too long a time for our audience to remember individual ads. Therefore, it was best that we chose specific messages we wanted to send across and repeat these messages over and over.
Repetition is for recognition. If a person saw my ad. last week and it did not initiate him, if I repeat the same ad. this week, it will help him recognize our previous weeks ad. and will initiate him this week. Therefore, I proposed that we limit the number of ad. designs and repeat each of them over and over again.
Here are some stats related to the ads. we published:
Surprising, since most of us really liked the ad. that highlighted our features. Many friends and family noticed the ad., they commended its aesthetic excellence. We all thought we had a winner of an ad., expected enquiries to pour in. But, nothing like that happened. Contrary to all our assumptions, we hardly got any traction to that particular ad.
It is important that we identify the key features of our product, which our target customers relate to and use our communication to sell those features. In madhouse’s case, low rentals was a sure seller, leader in a particular region was a good selling feature too.
For any new product / service in a market, especially so a startup such as ours, it is of utmost importance that we use the marketing channels intelligently. One could spread themselves thin by indulging in expensive above-the-line channels and gain nothing from it, except for a burnt pocket.
Focus on the target customers, their profiles, means to hook them to your service and innovative methods to reach them are vital. Not glamorous Page 1 advertisements, no fancy campaigns, no frills. Just pure entertainment. By way of a satisfying movie rental service in our case.
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