Advertising Marketing Media Strategy

Pig blood & deer, or How to fix an unsuccessful advertisement

hidear.jpgEver try to keep the deer out of your yard, garden or especially, your raspberry patch?

Here in the boonies, it’s a serious problem. Deer are everywhere. They love your ornamental trees, roses and whatever happens to be the most expensive plant in your yard or garden. They never seem to eat the dandelions.

My forestry friends tell me that spraying pig blood on the plants will run the deer off, but that isn’t an option if you want your garden to smell like the flowers you planted in it. Trust me.

Kinda like the drugs on TV these days, pig blood has unwanted side effects: It’s nasty smelling stuff – and that’s the good part. The bad part is that it’s like sending a dinner invitation to every bear in the area. The upside is that it doesn’t cause diarrhea and “personal malfunctions” (at least I dont think so, I haven’t asked the deer).

Today, I came home from running errands to find a herd of them out by the trampoline. I took this photo from the car window – if you look closely at the picture, you’ll see 5 deer. 1 more little guy is out of the frame to the right.

Apparently a guy in a Suburban with a big dog in the back is of little concern to the deer, they’ve seen it all before.

Once a deer gets used to you, the car and the dog – it’s like you aren’t even there. They just go about their business until you make a move toward them. Unless you do something to really get their attention, you may as well be talking to a teenager.

Marketing is that way too.

Last week, I heard from a reader who had an ad in the newspaper classifieds, and another in the local shopper paper – and neither are performing. The reader asked for some help, noting that they were a new business and were wasting money on advertising that is not proving effective. You can see a reasonable facsimile of the ad below.

Acme Property Management

33 Acme Lane, Suite 1
Acme, MT 59912

Acmetown NEW condo! On the lake with boat slip!
2BR; 2BA; Great room w/gas fireplace; washer/dryer
Garage; heated year round spa; 1 year lease
1st floor unit with patio; no pets $ 1,500.00/mo

Acme Acres – 45 Acme Lane
10+ acres with FANTASTIC views of the lake!
3BR; 2.5BA, LR DR, eat in kitchen, partially furnished
small dog OK w/deposit Horses too! $ 975.00/mo

Acme Lake – Vacation rentals at AcmeWater Condos!
Exercise room, Spa, Marina, swimming and fishing
2BR, 2BA, sleep sofas – furnished 7 night minimum
4 units available – $ 1,500/week

Now accepting new rental properties.
Call Acme Property Management to
maximize the return on your investment


Visit us at:

Here’s what I told my reader:

They are like everyone else’s ads in your market. The problem with that is that most businesses donâ??t measure the response to their ads so they have no idea what is working and what isnâ??t, so they just keep on running them. Often it comes down to which media salesperson shows up to make you a deal.

Because the ads look like everyone elseâ??s, itâ??s difficult to rise above the daily clutter and stand out from everyone else long enough to get them to read your ad, much less make a call.

To figure out how to do that takes some thought. Think really hard about who the IDEAL prospect is rental-wise. Do the same for the property owners. “Someone who wants to rent a place” is not the answer.

Instead, come up with a profile of your ideal client that sounds something like this â?? more detailed if possible: “Our typical client is a newly-retired couple, or a newly empty-nester couple who wants to settle down by the lake, can afford $1000-2000 a month, wants to be within 30 minutes of town, and doesnâ??t own pets.” Or has horses and needs land, and so on. For higher end properties, you’ll want to do this for EACH property.

Armed with that, you can focus on writing an ad that directly addresses their desires, wants & needs, makes them think to themselves “That’s for me”, AND prompts them to take the next step.

The shopper ad is aimed at 2 audiences (renters, and people who own rentals). Itâ??s best to target one type of prospect per ad. â??Whatâ??s in it for meâ? really is at the top of their mind and you have just moments to get their attention enough to read the ad, much less make the next call. If the ad is trying to sell 2 things â?? it makes all of that more difficult.

Both ads start off using valuable headline space to say your company name. Donâ??t take this wrong, but neither renters nor property owners care about your name. Even if it’s a household word, that info is just as effective at the bottom of the ad â?? because you do want them to know how to contact you. As they scan the page of the shopper or the local daily paper, â??Acme Property Managementâ? isnâ??t all that likely to attract attention from renters, much less from all the other ads out there.

The ad targeting property owners needs to talk about what drives them crazy about property management companies (and how you guys donâ??t do those things), what they want from their rentals and arenâ??t getting, etc. One thing is easy: What is on every property owners mind right now?

Likewise, your renter ad needs to do the same. Hit the hot buttons that every renter has on their minds. Is it deposits? Pets? Killer lake views? Large modern kitchen? Close to shopping?

Your ad needs to speak to your ideal prospect so they will react and take action, thinking “That’s for me”.

One reply on “Pig blood & deer, or How to fix an unsuccessful advertisement”

Go to the barber shop or beauty salon, and collect all of the hair that they sweep off of the floor. Throw it in your garden. It will keep the deer away. I don’t know what the bears will think of it, though.

Kermit Johnsons last blog post..Lotus Lake Chanhassen MN Report

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