It’s time for the “I’d be mad not to buy it” approach with advertisers

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


When I worked for the UK national media giant The Daily Mail, I was responsible for the major promotional marketing campaigns targeting higher causal, newspaper sales. The majority of our sales came, in those days, from “on the day, over the counter” purchases. Amongst other channels, we used the front page to highlight that day’s promotion.

On my first day in the office, my managing director called me into his office. He didn’t ask me to sit me down as he said he just wanted to convey a simple, short message. That message was:

“Every day, Mrs. Smith of Oxford walks into her local newsagent or supermarket. She looks at the array of newspapers on offer all lined up in a row and makes her choice. She is somewhat influenced by the front page of the day. What I want you to do, Mark, is create me a newspaper front page each day with an offer/deal/competition/promotion that when Mrs. Smith sees it, she thinks to herself “I’d be mad not to buy it”. That’s it. Enjoy your career with us.”

I have never forgetten that.

Create something where the buyer thinks “I’d be mad not to buy it.” Isn’t that what we should do today with our advertisers? Create a campaign suggestion, an advertising proposal, a series of insights, a new idea … where the advertisers thinks, “I’d be mad not to buy it”?

Media companies need to make advertisers an offer they can't refuse.
Media companies need to make advertisers an offer they can't refuse.

Our mantra in 2022 as it was for me back in 2002?

As our advertisers start to re-think their own buying audiences — either by amending their target customer profiles or reconsidering their advertising channels and/or target customer lists — we’ll need to refocus away from the things that don’t consider the times we live in.

Maybe we have have had cuts in budgets to work with and, yet, there’s an expectation to keep delivering high-value campaigns. Yes, we need to be more creative, give more “bang for the buck.” But keep close to your clients. Understand what they are trying to achieve fully. Be their “go to” industry person for advice through the choppy waters we all face.

And along with more creative ideas, knowledge, and understanding, we need to get advertisers used to embracing the crucial metrics to aid their decisions. Metrics such as targeting based on engagement and intent whilst tracking customised campaigns and the buying signals with prospective customers based on their communications, interactions, Web searches … and even the customer enticements from competitors. 

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About Mark Challinor

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