starts by asking, "What do you want to achieve?" Because that's more likely to solve your brand and marketing challenges than asking, "What do you want?"
The biggest problem with web-based advertising is that you can actually measure their relative effectiveness.
The advent of analytics has given short-term conversion priority over long-term brand building. Which means that now your overall brand image can be sacrificed for the instant gratification of a spike in web traffic. And that non-creatives, non-marketers, non-branding pros, can dictate how to communicate your brand based on data and charts and analysis.
I have seen entire email campaigns designed around questionable user data such as button “click-ability” and arbitrary “above-the-fold” arguments. It's what leads to those horrible flashing banner ads, and the ones with random images of beautiful women next to a totally un-related message about insurance. Not that I'm complaining about pictures of beautiful women...
I have also seen outstanding creative fail to deliver any clicks at all due to completely non-creative reasons. Reasons like bad email lists, poor media placement, confusing offers, or products that just won’t sell.
The point is that smaller business are forgetting that there is more to advertising than instant conversion. And that twisting your brand to match user trends is dangerous and short-sighted since those trends are just trends and trends tend to change. Take that Dr. Seuss.
Think of all the emails you get - both solicited and non. How many do you click on? Why? Was it because the button looked “clickable” or the whole message was squeezed into a business card sized area so it would be "above the fold"?
Did you ever click on a banner strictly because of the gigantic "click here" hyperlink? Or was it because it came from a source you recognized and included an offer that was attractive to you? I'm not saying that the emails or banners should not be well designed or designed with best practices in mind. Quite the opposite in fact. But they should be designed to deliver on your brand promise and leave the user with such a positive impression that when making future purchase decisions, they remember your brand first.
Bonus points if you can get them to open, read, click and buy.
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