We often hear the debate of which is better for marketing, billboards, or social media. The answer is that it depends on your specific campaign and what you are trying to achieve.
OOH, or out of home advertising, is a simple way to gain brand recognition, attract new customers, and showcase new products, services, or business locations.1
While an OOH strategy might be on your radar, you and your marketing team must undertake a few crucial steps before kicking off a successful OOH advertising campaign. Luckily, OOH media planning is simple, as long as you take it step-by-step.
In this article, we’ll explore seven steps to building a successful OOH advertising campaign. The most important takeaway? Preparation is key. While investing in traditional OOH billboard advertising or starting a grassroots poster campaign might sound like a quick process, the steps below will ensure that your plan for a successful, impactful OOH goes off without a hitch.
#1 Undertake Market Research
OOH media planning requires significant market research. While the term is broad, market research generally refers to any process you use to study your competitors, their products, your target market, and the existing landscape for your product. And, even if you’re starting an OOH campaign with a limited budget, you can’t afford to skip this integral step.2
Some common market research tactics include:
- Testing your product or service side-by-side with your competitors
- Gathering data about your competitors’ customer base, including:
- Demographic information (like age, gender, and household income)
- Level of brand loyalty
- Satisfaction with your competitors’ products or services
- Where they purchase your competitors’ products (online or in-store)
- Observing your closest competition and their OOH advertising strategy
- Organizing focus groups to determine potential customers’ impression of your brand
- Researching your competitors’ social media presence and other advertising tactics
Gathering information about the landscape where your product will be situated can offer significant insight to guide your OOH media planning efforts. With a better understanding of how your product or service will compare to others, how potential customers decide which products to buy, and how your competitors are gaining clients, you can create a more effective advertising campaign. For instance if your competitors are buying billboard rentals in Atlanta, you may want to consider purchasing billboards in the same area.
#2 Hone in on Your Branding
Before you begin designing a digital billboard or junior bulletin, you and your marketing team should ensure that your company’s branding is complete, consistent, and effective.
When you begin designing your actual OOH ads, focusing your team’s creative energy on that task—instead of trying to work on OOH planning, font decisions, copywriting, and logo design simultaneously—will ensure that your final product is focused and impactful.
If your business is new to the market, you may not have spent much time honing in on your brand identity. Since a brand encompasses all of the imagery that sets you apart from your competition and embodies your product or service, you’ll want to complete the brand-building process before you begin shouting your company’s name from the rooftops.3
Crucial brand elements—which should be set in stone before you begin your OOH media plan—include:
- Signature fonts
- Color palettes
- Slogans or mottos
- Product labels
- Tones and moods for social media, web, and blog copy
- Company ethos
Once these brand elements are determined, you’ll be one step closer to crafting an impactful OOH campaign that attracts a loyal customer base.
#3 Refine Your Products and Services
One of the main goals of an OOH campaign is to attract new customers to your company’s website, social media, or physical location. But, when consumers arrive, what will they see? Although there are many advantages of using billboards, if your products and services still need some fine-tuning, be sure to complete needed tasks before tacking your OOH advertising in order for your billboards to be effective.
This will ensure that your product or service is perceived as trustworthy and professional.
So, how can you ensure that your offerings are market-ready? Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Does my product work without (or with very few) malfunctions?
- Is there a consistent, simple way for customers to access my product or services?
- Am I confident that my products or services will garner positive reviews?
- Is it clear how my product or service works, or what it can provide to the market?
- Is the website in which the product or service is found aligned with my brand identity?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” you may need to invest more time refining your product or service before you advertise it to a wider market. While you can still market through word of mouth, social media, or web-based campaigns, OOH has the potential to create brand awareness to a much wider and more diverse audience.
When that larger user group interacts with your offerings, they’ll expect a working, complete product, as advertised.
#4 Fine-Tune Your Media Presence
When a potential customer sees your billboard, poster, or bus stop ad, where are they most likely to look for more information about your brand? In most cases, they’ll consult their smartphones to find your website, get directions to your physical location, or review your social media presence.
Before launching an OOH campaign, ensure that these landing locations have enough information for potential customers to learn about your product or service. Some ways to flesh out your media presence include:
- Creating and enacting a plan for social media uploads (i.e. which days and times content will be posted)
- Registering your company name, location, and hours with search engines
- Completing your website, including any appropriate landing pages
- Establishing your brand on third-party review sites like Yelp
A fleshed-out online media presence fosters confidence and communicates that your brand, products, and services are high-quality and professional. With a broad online presence, potential clients will be more likely to purchase your products or services after seeing your OOH media.
#5 Choose a Medium
Once you’ve completed market research, honed your branding, refined your offerings, and fleshed out your online presence, it’s finally time to dig into your OOH media plan.
After you complete these preparatory steps, you’ll be much more equipped to make the first crucial decision about your OOH campaign—which OOH medium you’d like to use.
You have nearly countless media and trends in out of home advertising to choose from, including:
- Billboards (including digital varieties)
- Street furniture
- Posters and banners
- Junior bulletins
- Ads on informational kiosks or pillars
Market research is very likely to inform the medium you choose, especially if you research how your competitors are advertising outside of the home, where their ads are, and how effective they seem to be. To set yourself apart from the competition, consider the following tactics:
- Find their blind spots – Where isn’t your competitor advertising? If you think they’re missing out on customers by skipping a prime location, shortlist it for your campaign.
- Add innovation to their effective ideas – If your competitors’ OOH campaigns seem to be garnering new customers, up the ante. To best your competitors’ street murals, for instance, you could add social media challenges, selfie stations, or other interactive elements to achieve more public engagement and higher interest in your brand.
- Use completely different media – Why isn’t your competitor using classic posters with pull tabs or traditional billboard advertising? If you think these tactics could effectively draw in new clientele, pick up the slack and break new ground where your competitors haven’t dared to go.
#6 Design a Campaign
Once you’ve chosen a medium (or multiple media), it’s time to start designing your campaign. Whether you complete this in-house or enlist the help of an OOH professional, you and your creative team will have to answer some important questions that will determine how your ad will actually look:
- Will you opt for maximalist graphics or simple, minimal designs?
- How will you use the ad to direct clients to your online media? Will there be a QR code or a website URL?
- How much time do viewers have to absorb your OOH ad?
- Will you use an image-only ad, or integrate copy?
- Will your OOH ad include your logo, a product photo, or any other branded graphics?
Most importantly, an OOH ad should embody your brand. For instance, if your palette is mostly monochrome, creating a multi-color, graphic-packed ad might send a confusing message to potential customers. Stay on-brand, and make design choices that will encourage public engagement with your products and services.
#7 Launch Your Campaign and Collect Data
After a significant time and energy investment, it’s finally time to launch your campaign. But, once your billboard, street furniture, or mural is live, what happens next?
Collecting as much data as possible about the performance of your OOH ad will help guide future campaigns, gauge customers’ reception of your brand, and complete future tweaks to your advertising master plan.
Before launching your campaign, make sure you have data collection tools or procedures in place to effectively determine how well your ad is working. Perhaps you’ll assign a social media manager to monitor online engagement, ask your webmaster to track website traffic, or tell your inventory manager to track product sales after the launch of your campaign.
True Impact Media: Making OOH Advertising Simple and Successful
Your brand is ready to grow. But, before you dive headlong into a record-smashing OOH campaign, complete the seven steps above to prepare. Using this guide will ensure that your products and services, web content, and metrics-collecting tools are ready for the rush of fresh, new customers.
OOH media planning doesn’t have to be arduous—at True Impact Media, we’re combining the technologies of the digital age with the most effective elements of traditional OOH to provide your brand with the best possible OOH media buying experience. Our creative team can help you create a campaign, find a location, and monitor it with ease—and we thrive on your success.
If you’re ready to launch an OOH campaign that’s sure to entice new brick-and-mortar visitors, more social media engagement, and improved sales, True Impact Media is ready to make it happen.
- Out of Home Advertising Association of America. About OOH. https://oaaa.org/AboutOOH.aspx
- Forbes. Why Businesses Can’t Afford to Skip Market Research. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2021/11/04/why-businesses-cant-afford-to-skip-market-research/?sh=5144c12745b1
- American Marketing Association. Branding. https://www.ama.org/topics/branding/