This is Not the Time or Place

I was driving past a manufactured home dealer (the ones that come on wheels) and saw a big brand-new electronic sign. The kind of sign that lets you customize your message with cute little graphics and colors so bright you can blind motorists from 500 yards away.

Certainly, an expensive sign. No expense spared. (I could tell because they obviously paid for the upgraded retina searing hues package.)

So, there I was, getting Lasik while flying by at 55, my attention most assuredly gained, and what did they bother to tell me?

“Like Us on Facebook”

Excuse me?

Like you on Facebook?

Dear Madame or Sir, you have obliterated my night vision, I’m seeing spots, there’s on coming traffic, it’s technically illegal in this State to use my cell phone while driving, and you would like me to search your business name on Facebook and then tap that ol’ like button?

Let’s set aside, for a moment, that “like us on Facebook” is a deeply flawed advertising strategy and message. Even overlooking that, your request is ill-timed and ill-placed.

What effect can you truly hope to achieve with such madness?

And yet, the sad part is, this is not an isolated issue. Over and over again I see small businesses spending good, hard-won dollars, on initiatives doomed to fail.

What can be done?

If you are a small business owner, BEFORE you spend any money on how to deliver your message, make sure what you’re saying is worth spending money to say.

If you are a consultant or ad writer, please don’t let your clients spend their money promoting twaddle and throw away words.

And then, even once you’ve got something good to say, make sure what you’re saying is appropriate for the time and place you’re saying it.

And can someone please dim those dang signs?

– Zac Smith, VC