Last week, I had the honor to meet The Billboard Guy (or the Billboard Godfather, depending on who you ask), Eddie Saunders Jr, Marketing Account Executive at Comstor Outdoor. They call him the Billboard Guy because he puts himself out there --spending time in the local businesses as well as putting himself on billboards--and is very knowledgable about the industry. In fact, that has been his number one lead driver. It’s a whole other level to see a guy on a billboard and then have that same guy drop by your business.
Measurence: As a billboard owner, what do you see as the most important ingredients for a successful billboard?
Eddie: The first step in billboard marketing success is knowing and being very specific about your goal(s). In other words, it’s about keeping it simple and to the point. I have some customers (many who are small business owners) that want to put every bit of information of them on the billboard, then they complain that nobody has said anything about it after 12 months of advertising.
Another thing that is important is knowing your markets and billboard locations. If the message is right but the location is wrong, you’ll be once again flushing money down the toilet, and that’s the last thing you want to do.
Measurence: How can OOH be incorporated in a successful short & long term marketing strategy?
Eddie: Short term runs are good for fast food or gas station runs, basically anyone who is ready to open. The digital era has allowed the short term runs to run even faster because you can change your ad in a matter of minutes on a laptop. However, it’s really about a long term strategy for OOH, because you’re not seeing a decline in return like you see in newspaper, radio or other similar mediums that are dying.
Measurence: How has technology and location intelligence impacted the OOH industry? What do you think the future looks like?
Eddie: When I was first introduced to my markets, I made sure to drive through every single one, and experience each one. I ate at the local eateries, I ate donuts from the local bakery… By being active and personally knowing these markets has helped me better serve the needs of these individuals. It’s different for local businesses, especially in smaller communities, because most of them know the visibility of each possible location and know exactly where they would like to place their billboard.
As for the future, anyone who’s selling billboards has to know what’s going on in their market-- the location, demographics, infrastructure... If you’re not aware and you’re just taking a shotgun approach at your billboard campaign, you might as well throw your money into a bucket and burn it.
Technology is changing the billboard game for the better-- from an analytics standpoint, efficiency standpoint, cost structure standpoint, and allows for a lot more flexibility.
Measurence: While digital marketing ROI is easy to calculate, the same might not be true for OOH. I’ve been talking with advertising agencies and they say that their customers (big brands) have that need. How is ROI being calculated for OOH campaigns?
Eddie: It is difficult; some people would even argue if you can actually put a price on brand awareness. Big brands use advertising because it’s a powerful tool. People buy from them because they’re familiar. In a way they trust these brands because of the name they put behind themselves. So if these small businesses can mimic this, there’s really no true ratio or dollar amount that you can put on something as crisp as that in creating a legacy for these small businesses.
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