I often wonder, riding the bus home, whether its intentional that all the advertisements I see on the bus are for “grudge purchases” or services.
Debt relief. Chewing gum. Public service messages about abuse. Last choice jobs.
I’m certain the collection of sentiments isn’t intentional at all, but it is curious. After all, with all the sexy businesses like web services, marketing agencies, and real estate moving into the social web – there’s a gap that has to be filled, and these businesses are taking the opportunity where it exists.
Wait… Why aren’t these businesses doing social media again?
It’s an opportunity thing. Where’s the space to talk about insurance – a grudge purchase if there ever was one – in the midst of all the Occupy Wall Street furor? How could a debt relief agency find the air time to make a dent in people’s awareness as anything other than yet another tag-along subject?
So, if you can’t do social or inbound marketing, what do you do?
You find captive audiences. On the bus – or any other public transit – you’re a certain kind of captive audience. There isn’t much to look at if you’re used to your city. The road might be too bumpy to reliably read a book. Your eyes end up wandering – you people watch, you try to look out the window, but eventually you’ll probably catch sight of the ad banners just overhead.
Their job isn’t to make insurance look sexy – grudge purchases never are. Their job is the same as the simple (and occasionally described as insipid) app Yo – a weak smile and wave from across the street, just to remind you these services exist.
It can’t be tracked. ROI’s hard to calculate. So why do they still exist?
Stab in the dark? Even when your business is based on reliability and pacing – and not explosive profit and innovation – remaining in motion and maintaining that pace is important.
Because “what else would we do?” is still a valid argument, and similarly, doing nothing is not an option.