Advertising generally has one chief goal: to bring in new business. Whether you’re running display ads or blasting out an old-school direct mail campaign, the intent is to catch someone’s eye and provide them with incentive and the means to act. Given this concept, it’s every ad agency’s dream to draw a straight line between campaign efforts and revenue dollars.
If only it were so simple.
There’s a lot to be said for perfecting the process: identifying your audience, picking a medium, tailoring the creative, etc. But there’s often not enough said about advertising as a mechanism for brand building. That’s marketing’s domain, right?
What many brands (and agencies) overlook is the potential to advertise for purposes beyond direct acquisition. In truth, there are several audience segments worth advertising to—each with its own opportunity for qualitative and quantitative ROI.
Meet your audience (not for the first time)
At JXM, we do considerable work with BFSI organizations, which is what heralded our discovery of acquisition-adjacent audiences.
For banks and credit unions, there’s an entire community to consider beyond new members you’re trying to attract. They’re not apt to make a decision about their financial future based on a display ad or a mailer. And, in fact, it’s getting even more difficult to target this way. Instead, their decision is often the product of reputation: your standing in the community.
If this sounds a lot like word-of-mouth advertising, that’s because it’s close. Positive word-of-mouth reputation is what you’re trying to generate—and to do that, you need to make a concerted effort in advertising to the people and organizations who have influence in your community. Consider these ad audiences, for example:
- Team members are your biggest cheerleaders.
- Current customers are your best ambassadors.
- Community members are your prime opportunity.
- Partner organizations are your intermediaries.
There’s incredible value in each of these audiences based on their influence in the decision-making prospects of potential members or customers. Bob’s Painting Company is a beloved institution, and they choose to bank with you. Your bank earns trust with new customers by virtue of doing business with Bob—doubly so when Bob has nothing but good things to say about his experience.
Multiple paths to the same destination
Ever wonder why Dewey Cheatham & Howe Law Offices sponsors the local high school baseball team every year? Curious about the value of sending a targeted LinkedIn ad to your own employees? Wondering what the benefit is of sponsoring a partner organization’s monthly email newsletter?
While it might seem like exposure is the common denominator in all these scenarios, the true value comes from building rapport with the people already in your orbit. Their perception of your brand dictates their behavior toward it.
Backing the baseball team shows you’re invested in the community, and earns the business of those who support the team. Advertising to employees creates an ethos of value, and employees who feel valued evangelize the organization. Building on partnerships strengthens the relationship, which promotes cross pollination of advertising efforts.
All roads lead to trust, buy-in, and inevitably, growth. None of them are a straight line to revenue, which is why they’re often overlooked by brands and agencies. Yet, there’s plenty of revenue to be had for those who care to tread the path to acquisition-adjacent advertising.
Speak to what matters to everyone
When advertising to audiences already in your orbit, you don’t necessarily need to sell them on a solution. Instead, it’s more effective to remind them of your value. Often, that value is rooted in your contribution to the community. Find the point of intersection between your brand, your audience, and your shared priorities.
- Your local bank helps Bob’s Painting Company manage its finances.
- Members of your community love Bob and his services, and use them regularly.
- You both have a vested interest in the success of Bob’s Painting Company.
Bob is the lynchpin: your appeal to emotion. Your support of Bob’s company means more to members of your community than any direct advertisement can convey. By advertising to Bob—and through Bob—you’re advertising to the customer by going beyond the customer. It’s a bit of a Jeremy Bearimy situation.
Advertising for the bigger picture
There’s always a temptation to define advertising success as a straight line from effort to revenue. But that’s not the only way to define it. Sometimes it goes beyond connecting Points A and B. In the case of acquisition-adjacent advertising, your effort might look more like a paint by numbers.
As you advertise to your team, current customers, partners, vendors, and anyone else already in your orbit, you’re adding color to a developing picture of trust. For those who aren’t in your ecosystem—who you might otherwise target directly—that picture of trust becomes an important influencer when the time comes for them to make a decision. Whether you’re a BFSI brand or another type of business, the reputation you’ll earn through acquisition-adjacent advertising is a force for acquisition in and of itself.
If you’re looking to paint your brand in a positive light by building rapport within your network, reach out to JXM. We’ll help you reach your audience through channels they trust, for meaningful impact.