SELL ME THIS PEN – A lesson in paid media advertising

Posted on Advertising, Marketing, Paid media advertising


Sell me this pen. There’s an important lesson to be learned from this little phrase which has taken on a life of its own in the world of marketing and paid media advertising. If you’re an advertiser, you’re all too familiar with the phrase and have probably thought through your own answer a couple times. But what makes this question so great is that it indicates to an interviewer the mindset and problem-solving approach of an advertiser. If you understand that the interviewer does not want to buy the pen, you begin to understand the question.

All too often marketing campaigns fail because of a one-size-fits-all approach to selling products and services. Let’s take a step back here and think about a broader question for a moment: What is your role as an advertiser? To sell products! The bottom line is certainly important, but the journey of a successful marketing campaign relies heavily on the initial mindset and approach that the advertiser adopts. In my mind, the single most important thing you could do as an advertiser is to learn. Learn about your client; learn about the product you’re selling; learn about the audience you’ll be talking to. 

The most successful paid media managers are those who really take the time to get inside the head of a buyer to understand their needs and wants, and what makes them tick. The ability to optimise KPIs over time or manage an ad account is something most advertisers can do, but it’s the learning process of understanding an audience that separates the good from the great.


Do your research before going live


A lot of marketers conduct their work as though ad accounts are the only tools they have at their disposal, but we live in a day and age where a wealth of information is available to anyone with an internet connection. The ability to browse forums, watch videos and explore other websites cannot be understated. You are able to conduct research and hear from your audience before even setting up your first ad.


Demographics matter


There are many ways in which you can segment audiences to define who you’ll be talking to. It’s important not only to profile the audience before launching your campaign, but also to use demographics to split things up during the campaign in order to test and learn which segments of your prospective audiences respond the best to your ads.


Observe the competition


Getting to know your competitors within the same space is absolutely crucial when profiling your audience. Not only will this help you gauge who you’re up against, but it also helps you build a case for what makes your product or service better. It’s also important not to fall into the trap of sounding the same as your competitors. Rather, curate your messaging in a way that makes you stand out. Place yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer who’s seen three ads for the same product but from different companies. Whose combination of creative and messaging wins the sale?


Selling the pen


Now that you’re armed with research and an understanding of the market, your competitors and potential customers, you’re ready to go live! However, another crucial thing to remember when marketing is that the learning process never stops. Optimisation over time requires continued testing and refining of your messaging, audience segmentation and visual identity. The more you learn, the more you win!

Looking for more paid media advice and insights? Don’t miss our 4 ways hard sell should be used on social media blog, or get in touch with us today.