Tips N Chat Throwback #3: "The Three Points Theory of Advertising"

This week, we’re taking a look at an "Ed Sez" editorial written by Ed York in the February/March 1974 issue of Tips N Chat. The focus of this piece is Ed's advertising strategy for service professionals, along with a fitting personal example of how that strategy works.

One of the first steps the on-location cleaner takes after deciding he wants to present a professional image to the consumer and increase his volume is to lay out an advertising campaign to tell his story. I am then asked to recommend an ad that will do the job. Everyone wants the catchy ad that attracts the homeowner and convinces her that she needs her carpets cleaned right now, and that our man is the one to call. I wish I could provide this perfect ad. I haven't found it, and I have tried hundreds over the past years. I have come to the conclusion there isn't such a thing. What appeals to one person is missed by the other. The best answer is not in the perfect ad, but in the repetition of three basic points: 1. You clean dirty carpets, 2. You are a qualified professional, and 3. How to contact you.

You can switch from simple ads to complicated ones. Serious ads to humorous ones, but they should contain and highlight these basic three points. It doesn't matter how many different ways you tell the story, just make sure you tell it.

A good example of my theory on advertising was demonstrated to me last week quite graphically in the form of a traffic ticket. I was driving my father to the barbershop in the morning and after entering the main street of our small town (Clovis, Calif.), I drove about 3 blocks when I noticed a sign in the crosswalk. It proclaimed the pedestrian's right-of-way. A quick glance to my speedometer showed that I was going around 35 MPH. I slowed to 25 and then noticed a big red light following me. A member of our town's finest proceeded to pull me over and presented me with a citation for doing 35 in a 25 mile zone.

I attempted to explain to the man that I had only driven 3 blocks on Clovis Avenue. While my speed was higher than evidently the speed limit was, I wasn't going too fast for road conditions and that I had slowed down on my own when I saw the FIRST sign indicating extra caution. He then advised that I had been clocked on Radar and that the speed limit was posted and I had passed 3 traffic signs in THREE blocks. Now, I can't fight the ticket, especially when it was clocked by RADAR, but I am observant of traffic laws and I can see a SIGN if there was one.

I had noticed a small pedestrian sign that didn't even mention speed and had associated it with my speed, so it made sense that there WASN'T a speed sign. He smiled, handed me the ticket and suggested I re-drive the three blocks and see if I could spot the signs. I did and was flabbergasted when I now was clearly able to see three signs, big as life, staring out at me during the short drive. The first stated in bold print the speed limit of 25 MPH. The second stated that traffic laws were strictly enforced, and the third cautioned that speed was checked by radar. My point is that the City of Clovis had in effect placed 4 ads in the 3 blocks I had traveled. Each of these ads were carefully worded, and should have alerted me to the fact I was either going too fast or if I continued, then I might be caught.

I failed to see or notice the first three. I did see the 4th one and took action to comply with it. My problem was that I was too late. The damage was done and I had a ticket for my reward.

A speeding ticket might not relate to carpet cleaning, but the facts of the case do. Your potential customer is busy doing something else and just hasn't noticed your ad yet. She is having carpet danger signs, but overlooking them. Hopefully she will see your next sign and take heed before she gets a ticket from you saying "sorry lady but you missed my ads too many times. Your carpet is past saving".

One ad may not do the job, it may take a steady flow of them. I do know that now since I have "bought" a ticket the first time, I see all 4 signs each time I travel this street. I also travel at 25 MPH. We don't care if your customer doesn't see all your ads, just so she has a second, or third, or fourth chance. Hopefully, she will before it's too late and become a regular customer. It would be a shame, however, if she never had the extra chance, and never had the pleasure of having as good a firm as yours serve her future carpet and upholstery cleaning needs.

~ Ed York (1974)

Michael M.
Marketing Coordinator
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