Welcome to OOH Insider, the first podcast made just for media and marketing executives about how to create alchemy in the real world - blending marketing art and marketing science to create brand experiences that drive impact you can measure.
My name is Tim Rowe and for the past three years, I’ve been interviewing industry experts for their unique insight on this topic and today’s recap is of episode 99 with Wes Frick of Wes Frick Design Services.
This was the first episode that really talked extensively about creative which makes it a really important episode in general but I’m going to share with you the top 3 things I took away from the conversation with Wes and some practical examples of ways you may apply them yourself but first I want to get a little bit of housekeeping out of the way.
Whether you’ve been listening to the show for a while or you’re new here, you have probably recognized there are a few different types of core content that we cover here and when I started this, I never imagined getting to a point where there would be “seasons” of episodes, so it wasn’t something I had planned for, yet, here we are, closing in on 200 episodes and they really fit three core buckets. There are the great guest spotlight episodes, the 1 on 1 conversations with awesome thought leaders, there are these types of episodes, where I recap that longer form conversation for you into something a little more bit size, and then there are the kinda op-ed episodes, where when I have something to say, I say it because I believe it either needs to be on the record or that it can bring you value, or both. Okay, so three main buckets, so here’s what I did, and I’ll remind you of this for a while, but now you’ll see there are 3 seasons of OOH Insider. Season 1 are your guest spotlight 1 on 1 conversations. Season 2 are the recap episodes, the condensed version of what I took away from those 1 on 1’s. And lastly, Season 3, all of my random little riffs and tiffs for your listening pleasure.
Okay? So 3 seasons as of now, each with it’s own purpose, so take a look around and get acquainted with the new furniture layout. Now, onto what I learned from my conversation with Wes Frick.
Originally, I had reached out to Wes because something he was doing in his billboard designs caught my eye. Not only does Wes design awesome OOH creative, but he was including a little message of encouragement and appreciation on the edges of the vinyl billboard material that would only be seen by the men and women who make our industry a reality. If you were not working as a billboard installer or on the operations team handling the billboard, you would never see this little message, so I think that tells you a lot about the type of guy Wes is.
Top 3 Things To Get Right
- Don’t make the message for the business, make it for the customer
- Don’t get cute. Do get tactical.
- Cheeky copy with no strategy vs SEO keywords
- Simple is hard. Simple is mandatory for OOH.
- Design for the location
- Billboards solve awareness, OOH is grassroots at scale for national brands yet 80% of OOH is local advertisers because it is the reigning champion of hyperlocal credibility building BUT that can be a double-edged sword if wielded inappropriately. And here’s how…
- Think through what your objective is as advertiser, usually you’re gonna be in one of two buckets - brick and mortar business trying to drive foot traffic or an online business trying to drive web traffic. Now maybe you provide a service and don’t sell a product, but either way, you’re trying to get folks to go to one of those two places.
- Awareness comes before action and you’re doing OOH for the very first time. You’ve given consideration to where you’re trying to get folks to go once they see you in the real world, the action you’re trying to get them to take, but once happens once they get there?
- For website visitors, if they’re unimpressed and leave, we call it bouncing and we leave to resume whatever goldfish-brained thing we were last doing
- For a brick-and-mortar store visitor, if they’re unimpressed and leave, we could still call it bouncing, but they’re also very likely never coming back or it’s going to be a long time and take a lot of effort to get them to give you another shot
- See OOH is the ultimate in credibility booster, but the opposite of “it worked” isn’t “it didn’t work” the opposite of “it worked” is actually “it hurt our business” and Wes really cautions to giving thought, especially as a local advertiser, to what the customer is experiencing throughout their entire ad experience. Not just from the moment they see you, but all the way through to what happens to when they take action. Awareness comes before action. I really like that.
- Okay, here’s another one, another note I have here is that great creative actually acts as a hedge to the capital risk of advertising
- We’ve all heard the half of my marketing works I just don’t know which half, well one of the easiest ways to hedge against whatever’s not working (or however much money is being wasted by programmatic ad fraud), is by having great creative
- And one of the points Wes makes that I think really sums up how to measure “great creative” is that:
- People don’t remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel
- We got to talking about handpainted billboards, embellishments, cool materials, things that glow in the dark, extensions, inflatables, all of the cool things at our disposal that can take an ordinary piece of creative and make it something special, something that makes people feel something
- And we also talked about the flipside of that coin, that how with marketing, like other things in life, our expectations change to the best experience we’ve had
- Digital marketing made it easy to go fast
- The idea of going fast or needing to go fast can make creative seem less important, and often times are resource restricted and have to settle for ‘good enough’ (despite I think it being universally accepted that as marketers we ALL want to do cool shit)
- So if we consider what the job to be done really is, maybe we can reframe some of the conversations to find a happy middle ground for everybody
- The job to be done here is what? To bring back our best customers and find new ones like our best ones
- So what do we do as marketers? Create emotional engagement with the people most likely to fit into either of those groups
- And how do we do it? By trying to impress that audience during their daily lives …with…impressions
- And there is a unit of measure we all agree to as the standard unit of measure for the cost to deliver 1,000 impressions and we call it the CPM or cost per thousand.
- Now every impression is made up of two things:
- The first is extrinsic - It’s the space itself. This is the opportunity you have to do your thing as a brand.
- And the second is intrinsic, this is the value you create with the space itself, this is what you actually do with it.
- And these two rules hold true in all of advertising because the actual outcome we’re trying to achieve as marketers is to arbitrage what we paid for the ad space, the production, the strategy, all of the people-power, etcetera, all of that, hopefully we can sell enough stuff to generate a return that is GREATER than the cost of all of those things. Right? We’re really in the attention arbitrage business.
- Okay, hold on to your seat, because this is where it gets really interesting.
- OOH is like every other ad format in that those two rules hold true, but it’s also unique to every other ad format because those two rules also exist in another dimension for OOH that they don’t in any other ad industry:
- The value of ad space in the real world ALSO has extrinsic and intrinsic value
- The extrinsic value in the case of OOH is effectively a price per square foot equation. Just like it would be in real estate, whether shopping for a home or a storefront, if you boil the math all the way down you’ll come up with an average price per square foot of attention in a market. So whether you’re comparing billboards, or wallscapes, or taxi toppers, at the end of the day you’re paying square footage of real estate for the purpose of advertising.
- AND that square footage has its own intrinsic value. It has intrinsic value because of the neighborhood its in. It has intrinsic value becaue of the unique shape and sheer size in the meca of OOH, Times Square, or because it’s a handpainted wallscape and the literal art of that painting is the intrinsic value itself.
- So for brands using OOH, they have to consider all of these factors when cooking up a great campaign. How valuable is the attention of my audience? How valuable is the attention of my audience with MY creative team at the helm?
- How much more valuable is the attention of my audience with my creative team at the helm in this specific context? Or in this moment?
- It’s the understanding needed to close the spread between the bid and the ask from marketers who often need to deploy quickly, creatives who feel stiffled in being able to be creative, publishers who are trying to manager expectations yet know that better creative equals more effective campaigns and more effective campaigns mean more ad dollars and that what the brands really want is to have an effective campaign, I guess it’s all a long way of saying - we’re on the same team so here’s maybe a way to start. Whether you’re a brand or advising a brand, start with a target CPM in mind. I know, this is going to contradict outcome-based Tim, but humor me, it’s an exercise, let’s pick a base CPM for a format. Let’s pick OOH and say that our budget is $100,000. We know that targeting and measurement don’t matter without great creative, but we only have $100,000 to spend and creative is going to have to be part of that budget.
- Our target CPM is $10 and we know that what we’re really doing are delivering impressions, so we’re going to budget for creative based on that. Why not shift your objective to planning for a $9 CPM for your media investment and allocation $1 of the $10 CPM to enhancing those impressions. Another way to look at it is you’re going to buy a house to flip. You’re buying that house for $90,000 and have a $10,000 rennovation budget, so a total budget of $100,000 to flip the house and make a profit. That’s literally what we’re doing here. Except instead of flipping houses, we’re flipping attention from something the media owner or publisher is selling, unrented attention, putting your name there instead, and collecting a profit. Maybe we’ll call this the HGTV method for planning, I dunno, but this is a segue to the next episode - Everyone’s a DSP and how whether you’re a creative agency, a programmatic platform, a traditional OOH specialist, everyone is a DSP and from a competitive landscape, it changes EVERYTHING but I believe it’s the way you have to be thinking about where our industry is and going.
- Okay, definitely go back and listen to the episode with Wes, it’s linked in the show notes for your convenience, and be sure to connect with Wes on LinkedIn, also linked, because he’s been doing a lot of research into AI and sharing his thoughts on how it is already influencing OOH.
This is the first part of a follow-up episode, yet both will exist in different seasons of the podcast so I’ll make sure to link follow-up episodes in the show notes and things like that to make it easiest for your to consume as much content in as cohesive a way as possible.
Remember that no matter where you are in the world, if you are a growing OOH company or a growing company looking to add OOH-specific talent, visit double OOH Hired dot com, also linked in the show notes below. It’s a completely free career marketplace, free to post jobs, free to engage employers, totally free, just for OOH, part of the ever-expanding OOH Insider brand, so please make use of that resource and post your open roles or check out some of the great ones available.
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