Top of Mind Awareness: The Benefits of Running an Ad Campaign

Top of mind awareness" is a term originated from Ellis Verdi, former president of the National Retail Advertisers Council in the US.  He commented that most people wrongfully seek to achieve their promotional objectives through discounting, a short term cash flow solution.  Although discounting brings in some business, when the promotion is over the attractiveness of the product or service decreases. Top of mind awareness, however, does not need to use discounts as a promotional tool.  It psychologically impacts consumers to think of your business or product first to fulfill their needs above all others. 

Marketers like Macdonald’s are experts of achieving this “top of mind awareness” and understand how it can increase market share, which in turn increases sales and drives profits.  For example, you will probably admit that Macdonald’s does not have the best food, yet how many people think of them first when they need a quick meal on the go?  It is no wonder they can boast billions and billions served.  Similarly, not everyone loves Starbucks coffee yet when put in a situation to meet a friend or business associate for a coffee, how many people automatically suggest meeting at a Starbucks?  These are great examples of how top of mind awareness can lead to growing your business.
Running a small business you understand that generating top of mind awareness is important, but you would also like to be able to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.  Obviously you do not have the resources to run a huge marketing campaign like Macdonald’s or Starbucks but you can achieve similar results on a smaller scale.  Below are a few tips that will help to let you know if your campaign is working or not:
  1. Put a phone number in the ad.  When people respond to an ad by phone, make sure the person answering the phone knows the ad is out there and ask them to keep track of the calls coming in.  Instructing them to ask “how did you hear about us?” is an easy way to get a feel for if your ad is working.
  2. You may need to follow up the “how did you hear about us?” question with another question, otherwise the caller might simply say they heard about your business on the internet even though they thought of googling you because they saw your ad first.  Make sure your ad is given credit where credit is due.
  3. Get people to text your business for more information.  By asking people to text for more information you will know if people are seeing your ad.  Furthermore, you can use the phone number to follow up with later by phone.
  4. Look for an increase in hits to your website.  Most business will put their website address in the ad.  Know how many hits you were getting before the campaign and compare it to the number after the campaign commences.
  5. Put a picture of your ad near the cash register or checkout.  You will be surprised how many people will comment, “Oh I saw this ad down the street yesterday!” This will give you an idea if the ad is working for you.
  6. Ask people if they have seen your campaign.  For example, if you know they took the bus to your business, ask them if they saw your ads above the windows recently.  This will test what is called the aided retention of a campaign.  Although they may not attribute using your store to seeing your ad last week, there is a good chance they did.  Many people do not like to admit that advertising has influenced them.
  7. Come up with a call to action campaign that is specific to your audience.  For example, if you’re advertising to commuters, offer a discount to those that show a transit pass or ticket stub at the time of purchase.  If they do this you know they saw your ad.