Resolution is common practice in music theory, and I believe that it can be directly applied to advertising, especially sequential advertising.
The music theory of resolution is simple – when a melody ends, it must resolve itself. There needs to be some point at the end of the song that shows you what to do. For example, musicians often mark the end of their songs by a variable note, chord, or even fading out the mix. It’s a clear ending and it shows the listener that the song has concluded.
Composing an ad sequence is like Mozart designing his music in accordance with the desired journey he wants the listener to take. He doesn’t start with a crescendo. He takes the listener through different emotions and ends with a crescendo.
A melody must capture attention, keep the listener hooked, and then resolve itself.
The melody of sequential advertising
Let’s look at advertising now.
Face value shows us that advertising must capture attention and have some kind of a call to action (CTA)– a resolution, a purpose.
Only good marketers can keep consumers hooked with their advertising. The aim is to implement repeat messaging that takes users on a journey to where you need them to be.
Advertising is like music in this sense. It shouldn’t just capture attention and resolve itself with a CTA. Incredible sequential advertising should take consumers on a journey.
Let me explain the importance of touchpoints with a simple thought experiment.
If a mobile phone business that you had never heard of came to you and said, “We have a really good mobile phone, you should buy it”, would you buy it? Would you even consider buying it? Would you instantly switch off, ignore them, and disregard any future communication from them?
Now, if you see an email from Apple that says, “We have just launched our latest model of iPhone, you should buy it”, would you buy it or at least consider making the purchase?
My point is, that if your first touchpoint with a customer is one of a sales-like nature, or you’re asking something of them, the likelihood is that they’re going to ignore it and even discredit future communications from you.
I see, time and time again, that B2B marketers on LinkedIn run ads directly to a gated eBook or a Best Practice Guide, with no lead-up or nurture strategy prior. In essence, they are reaching out to people who don’t even know who their brand is and asking them to hand over their details.
My example of No-name mobile phone seller vs. Apple, is a rather exaggerated example, but it demonstrates the importance of consumers first knowing your brand, and trusting you, before they even consider making a purchase.
You may be wondering how you can speed up this process. Not every business has enough time to simply focus on brand building and awareness for 12 months before even moving in for a sale.
Well, touchpoints are vital. Every time you get in front of a consumer, it’s a touchpoint. Studies show that it takes approximately 10 touchpoints before a consumer even considers purchasing from you.
So, the answer to how we can speed up the process of awareness and brand building is simple. We 1) narrow our audience to ensure that budget isn’t spread too thin, and 2) improve the quality of the touchpoints.
Let me be clear. You can start with lower quality touchpoints – this can be an ad that just has your logo and tagline on. It just needs to be in front of their eyes. But to get from the first note of the song to the crescendo, you need to build your way up.
Take the users on a journey.
Start with simple brand awareness – getting in front of them with your logo and who you are.
Move forward to engagement – “Here’s some useful content.” This step needs to continue for a while to be successful and it should include a mixture of blogs, content and resources. You can state observations about the market, or specifically outline the problem that your company resolves here.
You then need to progress to what your company does – i.e. how you can solve the problems in their space and make their life easier.
Note, up until now, absolutely no ‘salesy’ transactional language should have been used. You were purely teeing them up for this next step.
This is the crescendo. You move in and ask whether they want to find out more about your solutions or even request a demo with one of your experts. This doesn’t need to be subtle. The mistake I see a lot is that people run ad sequences that are subtly transactional throughout. To create successful sequential adverting, you need to take people on a valuable journey of trust that ends with a clear CTA.
For example, if you were trying to sell network support to manufacturing companies, the following would give you a great shot at getting leads.
Many companies would just advertise that they can support a company’s IT network for £X per year. The problem is, these companies aren’t known or trusted by consumers, so they won’t have much success with their advertising.
But if they sequence the ads as in the following example…
Sequential advertising example
Ad 1 – “We are X – world-class network experts.”
Ad 2 – “We are X – local to London with world-class experience.”
Ad 3 – *Highlight a problem with network lifecycles*
Ad 4 – “Here’s an infographic explaining the network lifecycle for a manufacturing business.”
Ad 5 – Here’s a blog from a network expert, talking about how companies can drive towards a continuously self-optimising network.”
Ad 6 – *Highlight the best way towards a self-optimising network*
Ad 7 – “Here’s how we can solve that problem for you.”
Ad 8 – Book a demo with one of our experts
Ad 9-> (ongoing) – Retargeting the users that didn’t convert
How this all comes together
By establishing themselves as experts, pointing out the problem, and then suggesting that they can solve it, users are more inclined to trust them and subsequently hand over details for a demo or a piece of gated content. This type of ad sequence would be great on LinkedIn Ads over the course of about 2-months, targeting an audience of <500 people.
Next time you want to carry out sequential advertising, think about how you work your way up to the crescendo. Don’t start with it, don’t let your melody remain the same throughout, compose an ad sequence that truly takes someone on a journey. Be more Mozart.
Want to read more about digital advertising, read our blog post: How Tesla Can Get Away With Not Using Marketing