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Case Study: How to Do Advertising Right

May 18th, 2008 · No Comments · Advertising, Marketing Techniques and Philosophies

With advertising that you pay for, even more than other types of marketing, you want to be effective. Yet I see so many businesses who clearly don’t have a clue; they spend a fortune putting a non-offer in front of a non-targeted list, and what little interest they do generate is too often squandered when they get to Step 2.

So it’s nice to see someone doing it right.

I subscribe to several dozen e-newsletters, including the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). I was reading that one this morning, and came across this ad:

EDEN FOODS OFFERS OCA CUSTOMERS 15% DISCOUNT

Eden Foods is one of the few national organic food producers who goes beyond the USDA Organic Standards. Although Eden Foods is USDA certified, their products do not bear the USDA seal, because they say the USDA standard really represents a “minimum standard” that Eden Foods goes far beyond. As a subscriber to Organic Bytes, you can enjoy a discount rate on any Eden Foods products by When you follow the link, you come to this page, where you’re greeted by a headline that proclaims, “Welcome OCA Customers.”

The copy on the page builds a relationship–and the discount offer is clearly visible at the top right, and the single instruction is easy for anyone to follow. The tone of the landing page is warm and friendly, utterly hype-free, clear and focused on the hot buttons that would speak directly to an OCA reader:

Eden Foods are Free of:
• Irradiation
• Preservatives
• Chemical Additives
• Food Colorings
• Refined Sugars
• Genetically Engineered Ingredients

That means our foods are safe, nutritious, and most are kosher and parve. Oh yeah, they taste good too! Family to Family, welcome us to your table as we give new meaning to “comfort” foods.

So why does this ad work?

  • The market segmentation is an exact match. OCA already reaches people with an interest in natural and organic foods–the exact market that Eden wants to reach
  • Eden’s ad almost seems like part of the newsletter content, hooking in to the reader’s trust of the OCA brand
  • The link is tracked, so Eden and OCA both know how effective it is (presumably, Eden also tracks how many of those visitors actually buy something)
  • As soon as visitors reach the landing page, the headline tells them they’re in the right place
  • The discount offer is repeated, very visibly, and is easy to take advantage of, with no strings or conditions other than excluding full cases and sale items
    The ad and the landing page both use a tone that respects the reader and builds that relationship
  • If you’d like to learn more about effective marketing and advertising, my fifth book, Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, would be a good place to start. A Finalist for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, seven of its 39 chapters specifically cover lowering the cost and boosting the effectiveness of advertising; the other chapters focus on strategies that are for the most part much cheaper than paid ads.


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