Win Big with the Small Crowd

It may seem like common sense, but when our backs are against the wall, and our reputations are on the line, we forget to be bold. We crouch behind what’s always worked or what we think will offend the least number of people.

Taking no risk at all, especially in advertising, is the riskiest thing you can do. In this business, being bold and different is the path to success. Who wants to see the same thing over and over? Does conformity sell? Do you really want to spend money on being the same as the next guy?

It’s one thing to catch up with your competition in terms of advertising at all. As Henry Ford said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” It requires investment and a commitment to consistency, but it doesn’t stop there. In order to get the most out of your investment, you have to be bold. Stretching your comfort zone and deviating from the status quo results in stretching your dollar more effectively. You will yield a higher ROI by being bold than by spending more and being safe.

Consider two clients: Client A and Client B.

Client A decides that they want to spend $400,000 on an integrated advertising campaign. They buy up TV time, place outdoor ads, purchase high drive-time radio, invest in Facebook ads and a direct mail drop. They run creative that tested well and that the CEO considers to be tasteful and appropriate. It’s aimed at the masses because Client A just needs more customers.

Client B spends $20,000 on video content and highly targeted Facebook ads only. The videos are experimental, fun and highly relevant to a specific subset of the audience. They are hit or miss with the masses, but are wildly successful with a smaller group. Polarizing, but powerful.

Who do you think yielded a higher ROI? Which campaign is more likely to be a success?

Client B didn’t try to appeal to everyone because they knew that they only had to earn the respect and engagement of a select few. Client A thought they were being risk-averse, but in reality they were simply throwing money at the masses. Client B wasn’t afraid to go all in on the right idea, and, as a result, were able to cater to their tribe.

Bottom line: if you’re creating advertising that appeals to everyone, then you’re missing out on opportunities to win big with the small crowd.

Toucan is a New Orleans-based advertising agency.

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