Whether category-focused, product-focused, or client-focused, all of your ads must have a focal point. Focused marketing ensures you understand your niche and the most effective way to reach them. After all, we want your business to succeed and not get trapped in the void businesses long since forgotten.
Understanding focused marketing strategies, their uses, and which type best suits your niche will drastically improve your advertising game. Not sure what focused marketing strategies exist, how they differ, or what they could mean for your advertising approach? No worries. That’s why your friendly neighborhood Wizard of Ads® crew is here.
The Good and the Bad Ad
Before we sink too deep into focused marketing strategies, let’s step back and look at the meaning of advertising. Genuinely understanding the purpose of advertising is the difference between making good and bad ads.
According to Roy H. Williams, “Bad ads waddle like a porcupine and make lots of little points. Good ads charge like a rhinoceros and make a single point powerfully.”
Put another way, poor advertising has no end goal in mind. Poor advertising is clumsy, brushing into anything that crosses its path, but it lacks intent. It doesn’t know what it’s trying to promote or inspire your audience to do. It’s simply going along for the ride and enjoying each moment without a care in the world.
On the flip side, effective advertising has a goal in mind. It aims to tell a story that promotes, persuades, and inspires your target audience to take action. Effective marketing works because it understands your customers’ needs and sets your services/products as the solution to their needs.
If your ad can do those three things consistently, you have an excellent ad on your hands. If your ad fails to do even one of these things, you’ve lost your intention, and the ad will fall flat. We’ll give you good and bad advertising examples to give you a more concrete idea of what works.
Wait, what? We’re providing bad examples of ads? Yes, we are. Here at Wizards of AdsTM, we follow a philosophy of one bad, two good. For every two quality examples, we’ll give you one horrid example. This way, you can see both sides of the advertising coin. After all, we believe knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do.
3 Types of Ad Focus
We’re sure this goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway. Each ad type is designed to achieve a specific goal. If that goal aligns with your own goal, we highly recommend trying that approach for your next ad campaign.
Category-focused ads are geared towards the category your business falls into. If you sell skincare, category-focused ads stress that you sell skincare.
Put another way, if you’re a dental practice, category-focused ads emphasize your company specializes in orthodontia. If you’re a restaurant…You get it. These ads aren’t designed to help you stand out from the crowd. They’re not intended to help anyone stand out. Instead, the only goal of this technique is to highlight the category your business falls into.
Off the record? This is the least effective focused marketing strategy of the three we’re covering today. Yes, you will be given a lovely example of why later in the article.
Product-focused ads make your products and everything that makes them special the stars of the show.
Translation: this advertising technique is great for bragging about your products. Going back to our earlier examples, let’s say you’re trying to promote your medical company. Product-focused ads allow you to stress what’s great about your products and why they’re better than the competition’s. Product-focused ads could highlight anything from the latest techniques your practice utilizes to less invasive ways to perform tests.
Let’s say you’re promoting your cosmetics company. Product-focused ads could feature the ingredients used in your eyeshadow palettes or accentuate your humane makeup testing practices.
Client-focused or customer-focused ads are designed specifically with your target audience, or customers, in mind.
Rather than focusing on you and your business, customer-focused ads underscore how you can best serve your clients. These ads address your clients’ unmet needs and then explain how your services or products relate to this need.
Let’s go back to your pretend medical company. Customer-focused ads could feature customers’ fear of needles. The ad could create empathy by relating the customer’s struggles to a new, painless method developed for others like them.
What about your make-believe cosmetics company? Customer-focused ads could stress customers’ difficulties in finding the best products for their skin type or tone. These concerns could be followed up by empathizing with these struggles and how they inspired this product’s creation.
Understanding your customer’s needs, conveying your empathy, and bridging the gap between them is critical for this strategy to work.
Category-Focused Ad Example
The oh-so-talented Roy H. Williams briefly mentioned a category-focused advertisement script in an earlier blog post. He was very vocal about his distaste for the following ad.
However, he didn’t explain why he detested the ad so much. Let us rectify that oversight.
The ad in question:
MALE: I used to hate going to the dentist, but then a friend told me about Dr. _________, ‘the gentle dentist with the healing touch. ’
FEMALE ONE: I love Dr. __________. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.
FEMALE TWO: So you recommend Dr. _____________?
MALE: No question about it.
FEMALE ONE: Absolutely! He’s ‘the gentle dentist with the healing touch. ’
FEMALE TWO: I’ve had bad experiences at the dentist’s office. Dentists scare me.
FEMALE ONE: Not Dr. ______________! He (she) is truly concerned about his (her) patients. He (she) cares. And his (her) friendly staff will even fill out your insurance papers for you.
FEMALE TWO: Does he (she) charge extra for that?
MALE: No! It’s a free service that Dr.____________ extends to all his (her) patients.
FEMALE ONE: I’d be willing to pay twice as much to go to Dr. ____________ because he (she) has the healing touch, but he (she) doesn’t charge a penny more than those other dentists!
FEMALE TWO: I’m convinced! Do you have Dr.______________’s number handy?
MALE: I have an appointment card here in my wallet. [short pause] Dr. ______________’s number is XXX-XXXX.
FEMALE TWO: Was that XXX-XXXX?
MALE: Yes, XXX-XXXX.
ANNOUNCER: Dr. _________________ . The gentle dentist with a healing touch. Call today for your appointment. XXX-XXXX
FEMALE ONE: XXX-XXXX. The gentle dentist…
MALE:_…with the healing touch.”
So, what about this category-focused ad made Roy H. Williams cringe? Do you want my guess?
Well, I’d say this advertisement used many words to tell us a whole lot of nothing. We know there’s a gentle dentist with a healing touch and how to call them. Surely, that must count for something, right? No, my young padawan. Not it does.
In addition to not telling us anything, this advertisement misses the mark at a fundamental level. Remember what makes a quality advertisement? It has to promote, persuade, and inspire. Did this ad promote Dr. Gentle Dentist? If name-dropping counts as promotion, then I’ll give you that one. Did this ad persuade you to book a call with Dr. Kind Hands?
After reading this ad, you were inspired to face your fear of the dentist by booking with Dr. Healing Touch? Did it, Pinocchio? Hmm? I didn’t think so.
Product-Focused Ad Example
With each Fenty Skin addition comes a new product-focused ad describing what sets Rihanna’s products apart from other skincare brands. Sure, having a billionaire like Rihanna at the helm would instantly draw customers to the product.
However, for product-focused ads to work, you need an exceptional product that delivers everything the ad promises. Rihanna has many exceptional products with ingredients to deliver everything her ads promise:
“The Fat Water Hydrating Milky Toner Essence. You can feel that milky texture just locking all of the hydration in. You can see my skin plump up a little bit from the tamarind and hyaluronic acid. Another ingredient is niacinamide. This, over time, starts to reduce the look of dark spots. All of you who know(s) the struggle of dry skin: this is for us!”
As you saw in the script, she focused on what makes her product unique: its ingredients and benefits.
The product delivers as it has the ingredients needed to do everything she promised in the ad. She even dipped a toe into customer-focused advertising with her final shout-out.
Client-Focused Ad Example
Very few things scream customer-focused advertising more than having actual customers tell their stories in your ads. Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry, took this approach with their 2021 and 2022 campaigns.
In the ad for the Pnina Tornai newest addition called One, we meet a woman and her husband, Chris.
“Wife: Chris got me this ring, and in the back, he added that “love endures all things.” Right after we married, I got very sick, and hospitalized. He would come every day after work to help me walk again. And now I’m back. I walk, dance, and he’s still beside me. This was definitely a reminder…
Chris: That love endures all.”
Do you need a tissue after reading that? It’s okay– we definitely did. This ad works because we get a glimpse of the life of an average couple.
They’re no different from you, me, or a complete stranger you’d pass along the street. We don’t know Chris and his wife personally, but you definitely feel invested in them. A newlywed wife becomes devastatingly ill. Her new husband works long shifts but never misses the chance to visit and help her regain her strength. Now that she’s better, the ring reminds him of his loyalty to and love for her.
No one relates to the customer better than another customer. Hearing what the item means from another customer could make other customers yearn for a similar feeling. Jared should give a raise to whoever created such a simple, yet ingenious strategy.
So, with all of these focused marketing strategies, which one do you think best suits your current needs? If you’re still unsure or want to learn more about focused marketing… Book a call to get started today!
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