Chris Dayley on disruptive advertising – MAF201

Some say advertising is dead. My guest this week, Chris Dayley, disagrees.

It’s very much alive but we need disruptive advertising to succeed.

Welcome to episode 201 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Chris Dayley on disruptive advertising - MAF201

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How modern advertising works
  • How to be a disruptive advertiser
  • Why the AIDA formula is still relevant today
  • How to develop a good ad strategy
  • Successful advertising with a smaller budget
  • Why you must advertise your business even if you use content marketing

Who is Chris Dayley?

Chris describes himself as ‘a marketing guy who got into it by accident.’ He had no plans during college, but a relative recommended him for a sales role at a marketing agency.

He worked in SEO services and, intrigued by how it all worked, fell in love with it. At his next company, they tripled their traffic from Google over six months, but didn’t convert.

This encouraged him to analyse why visitors weren’t converting, which led to website testing and conversion rate optimisation – a way to learn what consumers really want. After five years of offering the service through his own business, he merged with Disruptive Advertising, where he is now.

Summary of our chat

Some people believe that social media and influencers will lead marketing in future. However, while traditional advertising might be ‘dead’, it’s not going away, it just has to be done differently. New tactics, channels, innovation and understanding the customer will bring the results that companies want.

Too many businesses make (wrong) assumptions about their audience.

Being a disruptive advertiser or marketer is about constantly challenging your own assumptions and biases, and never thinking you have it all figured out. There are no best practices. Once everyone uses the same tactic, the audience is used to it.

The advertising principle of AIDA (Attention. Interest. Desire. Action) is based on psychology, which is why it still works. There’s no formula for getting someone’s interest – it changes every time. A technique which works on one audience is not the only way to market your offering. Marketing is a continual process of keeping the audience engaged.

Chris says each business needs to work out the best marketing tactics for themselves. Some do well with Facebook Ads, while others struggle. Consider what your business offers and find the platform that fits your audience. However, there are no hard and fast rules, so experiment.

If you have a smaller budget, think about how much each customer is worth – how much are your offerings? Then ask yourself, how much you’d spend on advertising to get them. How much traffic do you need to drive to your site to get one sale? Analyse where conversions from and focus on that.

Just having great content on your site isn’t enough to promote your business. People don’t want to see it all. Work out what’s most important to your customers, and make it easy for them to find appropriate information. Advertising makes it easier to identify and promote your best service, and then highlight it on your website.

A marketing campaign or product which grabbed Chris’s attention

Amazon impressed Chris while he was doing his Christmas shopping. He liked how they personalised search results to match what he might be looking for and gave him targeted products.

He searched Amazon for popular toys to get gift ideas for his two small girls. Although he didn’t buy straight away, they then sent emails to recommend other toys, new products and items on sale. He said the suggestions were really helpful, and he bought several of the toys, spending more than he’d planned.

Recommended Business Book

One of Chris’ favourite books of all time is The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. He says that people often say, ‘Oh, I could never only work four hours’, but that’s not really what the book is about.

What Chris likes is that Tim talks about some innovative ways to think about and approach business and marketing. He gives ideas for simplifying them to give you more time to focus on thinking creatively and strategically.

People fill themselves up with so many ‘to-dos’ that their time is taken up, so they don’t think outside the box. Being creative gives your business a real competitive advantage.


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