Three tips to creating a memorable trade pub ad

Picture 1 The beauty of the trade pub is that the niche is very narrow.  You know it's aimed right at the heart of your target audience.  It doesn't matter if we're talking about a business journal, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing magazine or Nutritional Outlook — there's a niche trade pub for just about everyone.

So once you find the right one, how do you make the most of your ad space?

Surprise them.  A couple years ago, we did a series of ads for a client whose core audience is credit unions.  If you open Credit Union Times, the bible of the industry, practically every ad has a credit card (or the ever popular hand holding the credit card) as the main visual.   So as you can see by the ad to the right, we went a completely different direction.

We knew our visual had to stop the reader cold.  It had to be unlike anything else in the publication.  And it had to be something, that at first glance, had nothing to do with credit unions, credit cards or money.

Buy creatively.  Talk to your rep about your options.  Could you buy an insert instead of an ad?  Rather than running one large ad, could you use the same rate to run to horizontal ads on adjoining pages so you control an entire spread?  Could you get their subscriber list as part of the package? 

The ad rep's job is to make you happy and successful.  The better your ad works, they more money they stand to make on subsequent ads.  So let them work for that money.  Ask them to tell you about the 3-4 most creative ad buys (not the ads themselves) they've seen.

Don't buy at all if you're only going to buy one.  Even if you have a very specific reason (trade show, one time sale, etc) for wanting to be in the publication — remember the need for frequency to capture your audience's attention.  You can either run a series of ads with enough common elements that the readers will know they're part of a whole, or you can re-run the same ad.  But….don't think your one hit wonder is going to do the trick.

Remember — if you don't have the patience or money to do it right (so it works), then find a different tactic.  Why throw your money at something you know isn't going to be effective.

Bottom line:  Trade pubs are a beautiful way to talk to a specific audience.  But, only if you can actually get their attention.  Use your creative, your ability to buy in a fresh way and some frequency to win the eyes of your target.

The truth is, most trade pub ads are utterly forgettable.  So I'm curious….can you recall a great trade pub ad?  What made it memorable?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

8 comments on “Three tips to creating a memorable trade pub ad

  1. elizabeth says:

    Great point — and congratulations on another great marketing aspect, that of bringing out the point of difference in a persuasive, compelling, inviting way. You also set this company apart in a sea of financial-safe-sameness by showing that they are willing to paint outside the box – pun intended.

    Thanks for this moment of inspiration. Happy day! Elizabeth

  2. Mara Roberts says:

    I like the ad- definitely going to use your line of ‘the better our ad does the more money you can make for the next’. I definitely agree that one shouldn’t waste their time and money just running one ad- that ties in with my blog from last week.

  3. Brian says:

    For those that are curious, it’s been one of our more successful campaigns too. At a time when we didn’t have good name recognition in the marketplace, we used this series of marketing pieces at conventions and trade shows too. The comments were almost the same every time, “Oh, you guys are the ones who ran this ad, I remember seeing it!”

    It helped us get recognized above the clutter and it gave us an opportunity to start a conversation…what more could you ask?

    My favorite in this series uses ice cream, I’m guessing that Drew is saving that one for August when the temps are a little warmer! 🙂

  4. I can’t remember a good trade pub ad, to be honest. I’ve tried it myself with the headline “Mosquitoes Suck,” for a mosquito product. I think the ad fit the bill in terms of getting attention, but I certainly missed the boat on frequency.

    To me, the point of frequency is the real light bulb moment of this post. To many folks, executives esp., think one ad should do it.

  5. Elizabeth,

    Thank you — that was our goal. To make the most of their budget by making sure that their ad got noticed.

    We didn’t want to just slap a new coat of paint on an old campaign. (pun intended)


  6. Mara,

    Sometimes it’s a challenge to tell a client no. But I believe that’s part of our responsibility. We have to spend (or not) their money like it was our own.


  7. Brian,

    That’s one of my favorites too. I picked the paint one because I thought it would show better in the smaller size.

    This campaign is one of my favorites that we’ve done as an agency in the past few years. It was an excellent blend of visual appeal and punch the message home copy.

    Glad to see you’re still checking out the blog!


  8. Brett,

    And unfortunately, too many agencies will let the execs continue to believe that — just to make the sale.

    We always tell our clients — if you aren’t going to commit to something for a minimum of 6 months, don’t even start.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *