Enter Data CaptureThere are more than a few philosophies about what advertising should do. They all have merit.  If you’ve tested something and it’s working for you, DO IT!  I’m not going to make this into a white paper about all my research on the various ways to approach advertising.

I’m simply going to make a case for the philosophy that makes the most sense for the most people based on my experience watching everyone’s campaigns through FrontGate Media.  Some people pursue immediate conversion: see their ad, buy their stuff. Other people use their ads to generate awareness as in “Available Now!”  As for me, most of the time I think advertising should be all about Data Capture. 

Data Capture means that main purpose of your advertising should be about getting the viewer to give you their contact info in one form or another.  Your call to action should drive them to a place where you can capture their information.

In many cases, I don’t think advertisers in the Christian or faith-based market have the brand awareness and overall clout to make an immediate convert from an external audience.  Immediate converts are great. In a perfect world, I’d love to have everyone respond to my pitch and buy what I’m selling.  What makes advertising an art and not just a science is the imperfect world of trying to get your message seen or heard.

How much more effectively can you communicate about your product or service in 3-5 touch points instead of a single exposure?   Why not give your target consumer an easy to say “yes” item!   Collect everyone’s information so you can reach out to them at least 3-5 more times to deepen their interaction with you.  Get as little info as you need in order to reach out to them again. That may be a first name and a mobile number or email.  If they tune into your brand, you can probably get more info from them later. 

All of this depends on your brand strength.  Max Lucado, TobyMac, and Compassion certainly have a stronger relative brand value, and can expect stronger response following ANY advertising philosophy versus a new author, artist or cause.   Most of us working in marketing are not working for a Max or Toby.

In exchange for a viewer giving you their mobile number or email, give them something via a contest, or even better, an immediate gratification item like a free music or book download right there online.  Companies and ministries working the crowds at our FrontGate Media festivals and events get this. They almost always do data capture at events.  The latest data capture prizes at events are iPads and Flip Video, but really it’s all about what your target audience might want, and how you can tie that to your brand.  Giving away an iPad is great if you know the people you are connecting with are the actual people you want. 

These types of approaches work just as well online, in print, on the radio or on television.  They work especially well on the internet because of the relative low cost to advertise versus other media outlets. We’ve run campaigns through our media group that have yielded tens of thousands of consumers for the advertiser, and that can be just from one large promotion like our annual Spiff Your Space campaign via HearItFirst.com and Winter Jam.

What are your thoughts on this topic?


Update: Mashable posted a good article today on landing pages: 9 Well-Designed User Registration Pages To Learn From