How Do Your Customers Find Your Business?

One of our clients is rolling out a program this week to track where people saw or heard their advertising.  It reminded me of how difficult it is to get accurate information back from consumers.  Even if the ad is striking, it may be misremembered by customers.

A number of years ago, our agency was asked to create advertising for an attorney who specialized in defending traffic tickets. We spent about 95% of our budget on outdoor advertising and ran a very small ( 1 inch ad) in the television section of the local newspaper.

The billboard showed a tough cop with a radar gun with the headline “Gotcha” and offered to solve traffic problems for just $45. We placed billboards near known speed traps. The results were strong – hundreds of people coming into his office every week.

As a part of the sign-up process our client asked customers how they came to come into the office.

To our surprise over half the respondents said they saw our ad on television.

Since television was never in the mix, we wondered why.  After talking to several potential customers we found that they saw our competitor’s television commercial and they remembered it.  Since they didn’t have a traffic ticket at the time, they didn’t need the service.

Later, when they got a ticket, they also drove by our billboard and wrote the phone number down.  However, they still remembered the television commercial from the competition.

Now, does that mean you shouldn’t ask your customers how they found you?  Of course not. But you should not take as absolute fact everything your customer tells you.  Use some common sense, and when necessary probe your customers for additional information.

It’s not that your customer is dumb.  But most consumers are bombarded with hundreds of messages every day of “ buy my product, come into my business, call me now….” That makes it easy for them to be confused.

When you promote a product that competes with another active advertiser, the public can easily mix them up—especially if the ads are on broadcast media which doesn’t provide quick, effortless direct contact. Website, email and smart phone links make it easy for customers to reach you, but short-exposure advertising like billboards, radio, and TV are great ways to build your brand identity. The trick is to make them memorable and reinforce the information on other media as well.

How customers find your business is important.

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