Not all online marketers can make this claim, but if you peered into my soul (or some would say analyze my circuitry), you’d see a direct marketer. I’m proud of it. And I feel vindicated when I read articles like today’s in the Advertising section of the NY Times. It’s about LowerMyBills.com and how they’ve annoyed millions with their silly online ads. And made a fortune. Here’s an excerpt:
The company, one of the Internet’s biggest advertisers, routinely festoons Web sites large and small with its ads, spending $74.6 million on them in the first 11 months of 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The surprising success of the ads led LowerMyBills to a significant payday: the credit agency Experian bought the eight-year-old company for $400 million in 2005.
But on the path to prosperity, LowerMyBills has run into a lot of people who say the undulating characters in the ads are highly distracting and have so little to do with low-interest loans that they border on the surreal.
The most memorable LowerMyBills banners feature silhouetted dancers like the prancing cowboys, or the couple doing a jig on their roof under a full moon.
As a direct marketer, I know that the only way you can tell if an ad is working is by testing. And there is little logic to what works and what doesn’t.
My background as a direct marketer makes me passionate about the opportunity that the web provides to test many creative concepts and refocus spending on the best of those, in a matter of hours instead of weeks (as is the case with direct mail). This same background makes me quite boring. When I client says, “Should we do it?” — whatever it is — nine times out of ten I have to tell them, “Let’s test!”
Congratulations, by the way, to James Gardner, whose online “hobby,” Adverlicio.us, got him some ink in the article. He’s a great guy and deserves all of the attention this article is sending his way.