A guide for building the best advertising templates. (Part 2)

You can’t please everyone, right? Wrong. You can, at least when it comes to creating advertising templates. (As for where you decide to take the family for dinner on Friday or what movie to see on Saturday with your friends, you’re on your own.)

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Templates allow local marketers to create ads that adhere to national brand standards. Click the image to read Part 1 of this series and learn how to build the best advertising templates.

 

When creating advertising templates–or customizable marketing assets–national brand managers feel the heat from two different ‘customers’: the local affiliate and the consumer themselves. The good news is, it is possible to create the best possible templates that connect with both “customers.”

Who are the customers?

From a corporate marketing perspective, customizable advertising templates must serve two unique stakeholders:

Local affiliates: the distributed partner businesses selling on behalf of the national brand. Often referred to as dealers, agents, franchisees or distributors, these are the people who are actually using the template to accomplish their marketing. For the sake of our conversation, it’s worth noting that some local affiliates (e.g., a franchise location) use branding that is nearly an exact match to the corporate brand, while others (e.g., a manufacturing distributor) have their own brand and other potentially competitive brands to market in addition to the national brand that is creating the advertising template.

Consumers: as the recipient of the advertising message, the consumers ultimately should never know that it was created using an advertising template.  Regardless of the creative options within the template, the marketing asset that is created should appeal to consumers and call them to complete a specific action.

Four tips for creating advertising templates that work for local marketers and with consumers

It’s all about connection.  Here’s how brand managers can keep the local marketer and the consumer connected to their national brand through an advertising template and drive more ROI for their distributed marketing programs:

1.) Keep a clean design: Consumers will ignore something that is too busy or overwhelming; they’ll be attracted to something clean and informational. It is vital to keep the creative design succinct with the brand. Independent networks of distributors also want something simple. They want a template that can be unique to their store and their brand: a big store name and logo with a very visible address or location.

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The ad on the left is much cleaner and easier on the eyes, which is what customers want. Click image to enlarge.

2.) Make it easy to use: Both the consumer and the local affiliate are looking for something simple to use. The local affiliate wants the process of creating the template to be simple, while the consumer will only get the message if it’s a clean, attractive ad with a clear and simple call to action (CTA). If the CTA is too hard for the consumer to do, they won’t do it. For example, if a company is sending out a direct mail piece with its social media links on it, the customer will be less likely to visit your page than if the social media links were included in an email from the company just one click away.

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The one-stop shop mentality: coffee, WiFi and free printing. Click image to enlarge.

3.) Provide value: Promotional messaging (sales, rebates, coupons, etc.) provides value to attract consumers if the promotion is significant and relevant to them. The consumer will also see value in a one-stop-shop ad, i.e., seeing an ad that presents a solution to their problem rather than just pushing a product/service. For example, a coffee shop that advertises free WiFi and printing services, (on top of its delicious coffee and warm pastries), would attract local students or businesspeople because of its ‘one-stop shop’ mentality.

On the flipside, the local marketer needs to be able to recognize that the designed template will be valuable to his or her business so he or she is motivated to use and distribute it – promoting only free WiFi doesn’t make the local coffee shop any money. Without a valuable template, neither customer will see the purpose in pursuing it.

4.) Target the correct audience: Consider who the audience is before creating templates for an ad or ad campaign. Someone older might be more likely to use a direct mail coupon, while someone younger might be more likely to use a coupon they received via text or social media (although this isn’t always the case!). In these instances, it’s helpful for templates to be developed to work across media types (at Brandmuscle we call it cross-media template production), which helps both national and local marketers reach their entire audience across multiple platforms either concurrently or during an integrated campaign.

Brand managers must get more involved with both customers:

Whether a national brand manager realizes it or not, he or she has a strong impact on the local consumer and the program’s ability to drive channel sales. Here’s how a national brand manager can succeed:

  • Give local marketers a choice. Although the brand manager shouldn’t completely let go of the template-design reins, he or she should give local marketers enough slack so they make the ads their own and will remain motivated to use and distribute the marketing materials. Distributed marketing will lead to several opportunities such as sales, brand awareness and customer loyalty at the local level.
  • Be engaged in the process. Brand managers (and regional leaders) need to believe in the tools and templates they are creating if they expect local marketers to use them. This is where the top-down approach plays an important role in the process. Brand managers must not only put effort into designing the template, but should also motivate their local affiliates to use the templates and showcase the success other local marketers have had by using them.
  • Know what’s happening at the local level. Brand managers should remain in contact with their local affiliates to stay informed and receive feedback on what’s working with local consumers and what’s not. This also allows the local marketer to serve as the voice for the customer, suggesting tweaks to certain aspects of the template or ad campaign based on actual experiences in his or her local area. With this feedback, brand managers can create better templates that truly serve both customers.

 

The key to creating a great template at the national level is focusing on the local level. Brand managers must remember their local partners while also thinking about the consumer.

Does your advertising template resonate well at the local level? Are you appealing to both customers when creating templates at the national level? Brandmuscle wants to know; comment below and leave your thoughts.