Friday, February 10, 2012

Are you selling what your customer buys?

Interesting question isn’t it? But what am I talk about? I don’t often talk about my own purchasing decision, but hear me out on this one.

On Friday 10th February, I picked up four rear window stickers for our company’s fleet of cars. Actually, I exaggerate a bit there: our business doesn't have a fleet of cars: they’re our personal cars, but hopefully we can now claim a portion of their usage as a legitimate tax (advertising) deduction.

The stickers are 600mm x 150mm and read “Are you pricing right? Ask…”. I estimate the stickers will last maybe two years, and they cost $A44 each.

Over those two years, a lot of people should see those stickers. If I wanted to be more precise, I could ask my friend, Peter Buckingham at SpectrumAnalysis exactly what the likely audience would be. Lets say 1,000 people a month see the stickers: that's 24,000 ‘views’ over my estimated life of the stickers.

Where have you heard that term ‘views’ before? Online advertising of course, where a view is also commonly called a page impression. Online advertising is a hit-and-miss affair: when was the last time you clicked on (never mind noticed) a banner ad? The stickers on the back of our cars are a bit hit-and-miss as well, but if you’re stuck behind my car at the traffic lights, I think you’re going to be a bit more intrigued by the sticker than you would if you saw it as a banner ad on a website.

But what’s more intriguing is that if I ran a banner advertising campaign, I would probably be charged around $40 CPM, which stands for cost-per thousand views or page impressions (the M being the roman numeral for one thousand).

This brings me full circle back to my opening question: are you selling what your customer buys? The company that I purchased the stickers from sold me four stickers and priced them accordingly. But what I actually purchased was an advertising product. What he sold me was not what I was buying.

I think we got an absolute bargain and the sticker shop left a fair bit of money on the table. Are you selling what your customer buys?