You’re fired!

That’s the message I am getting ready to deliver to the company managing Google Ads for my client.

For my larger clients, I oversee all of their marketing activities. Often that involves managing other vendors brought in to handle specific tasks.

In this case, we’re using a preneed marketing company for direct mail campaigns. The digital side of their organization also manages our Google Ads. They create the ad, configure it on Google, and manage the pay-per-click campaigns.

We have TV ads, billboards, website copy, and direct mail pieces all delivering the same message. For months I have been telling the other vendor that their Google Ads need to be consistent with the overall messaging campaign.

Unfortunately, their project manager has refused to use our messaging and has continued to run generic Google Ads that any funeral home could use.

And so….they’re fired!

Funeral home advertisements are often a waste of money. Not because the ads are bad (although they often are) but because they are not part of an overriding campaign.

Let’s say that you are running an ad about your new creative service offerings, and your call-to-action is to come to our website and learn more. But when someone comes to the website, the only thing they see are pictures of traditional funerals. You have just wasted the money you spent on the ad.

Bad messaging is a problem. But inconsistent messaging is almost worse.

The solution? Always design the campaign before you create individual ads. Campaigns may be a new concept for some of you, so I’ll elaborate and give you an example.

You begin by creating a Campaign Playbook. The playbook has eight components.

  1. Defines the Controlling Idea
  2. Posits the Story Question
  3. Agitates the Problem
  4. Defines the Stakes
  5. Positions you as the Empathetic Guide
  6. Provides a Plan
  7. Includes a Call to Action
  8. Foreshadows the Climactic Scene

Let’s say you’ve recently completed significant renovations and want to position your funeral home as the most contemporary one in town. Here is how you might fill out the Campaign Playbook.

Controlling Idea
Today’s funeral home should have modern amenities, contemporary styling, and a more casual place to gather with family and friends.

Story Question
What does a comfortable funeral home feel like?

Agitate the Problem
Most funeral homes feel overly formal and filled with outdated furniture you would never allow in your own home.

A funeral is a time to share and honor the stories of a lifetime. But, it’s hard to do that when your guests don’t feel welcomed and comfortable.

Guide Statement
At XYZ Funeral Home, we understand that funerals often become reunions as family and friends come together to share stories and reconnect. We also believe that the physical space plays a big role in helping everyone feel welcomed and comfortable.

That is why we recently underwent a complete renovation of our funeral home with the help of an award-winning designer. The new space includes a reception center, a Celebration of Life room, an outdoor firepit, and more.

1. Take a tour
2. Personalize the space
3. Welcome your family and friends

Come to our open house on Saturday, September 25th.

Foreshadow the Climactic Scene
Imagine welcoming your guests to a funeral service knowing that they will be comfortable and want to spend time sharing the stories of a lifetime.

Using elements of your completed Campaign Playbook, you create radio ads, TV ads, a press release, a handout, website copy, and more.

It is critical that you stick to the script!! Therefore, every marketing piece you create must only use points from the approved playbook.

In many ways, marketing is an exercise in memorization. You need to keep delivering your message over and over again until your audience memorizes your message and you have established a clear market position.

As for our preneed vendor, they’ll receive their 30 termination notice next week. My client and I have an approved Campaign Playbook, and any vendor who doesn’t follow the script will be shown the door.

Until next time


PS: If you’re not happy with the results of your advertising, it’s time to create a Campaign Playbook. Contact me if you need help.

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