How to improve your mobile marketing

Oct. 1, 2009
Marketing authority Matt Michel on using your trucks as mobile advertising billboards

In cities across the nation, companies are putting trucks on the road to advertise. Mobile advertising, a new form of advertising, is actually a tried and true method.

Mobile advertising is a fast growth industry because there's a demand for it. Think about it — many businesses spend a fortune on pole signs, which never get an opportunity to work if a consumer just happens to drive down the next street. Similarly, billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising only work if people drive by and notice them. Often, outdoor advertising fades into the consumer's landscape as we subconsciously deal with the information overload that's become part of modern life.

Trucks, however, get in your face. They can show up anywhere and everywhere. And with traditional media losing effectiveness — as yellow pages become doorstops, newspapers' circulations plummet, television commercials are fast forwarded because shows are increasingly digitally recorded, and radio moves to satellite subscription programming — companies are turning to trucks.

Plumbers have used trucks as mobile billboards for years, although not always well. Mobile advertising is more than simply slapping your name or logo on a truck. The following are some helpful tips I came up with that can improve your mobile marketing:

The logo: Make your company logo as large as possible, so it can be seen from the greatest possible distance. Also think about making your Web site URL your logo — everyone checks Web sites now.

Logo position: Position the logo near the top of the truck, so people can see it over traffic.

Alpha number: Alpha numbers are remembered. You might want to incorporate one in your logo.

Graphic elements: Use graphic elements to draw attention to the logo, but don't let the graphics become the focus. Use similar, but slightly different graphics on different sides — it makes your fleet look larger.

Keep the design simple: Van wraps offer amazing new capabilities, but the tendency is to go overboard and clutter up the truck, reducing emphasis on the message.

Phone numbers: Make the phone number small and out of the way. People only reference the number when the truck is parked.

San Serif: San Serifs, like Arial or Helvetica, are easier to read from a distance.

Upper and lower case: Using all upper case letters is difficult to read.

Angle the text: Angled text breaks the plane. It's unexpected, thus noticed.

Outlines: Do not use outlines in text. Outlines disappear at a distance.

Color: Use color. When not overdone, colors draw attention. Consider using color for the most important elements only; the elements you most want to emphasize.

Colored trucks: Painting trucks with a unique color costs more, but makes them unique and noticeable.

Borders for contrast: Separate colors that clash or vibrate with a border.

Market on the back: People who are stuck behind your trucks in traffic will read your marketing message, so provide one with a phone number and call to action.

Logo the roof: Anyone can see the roof of your vehicle out of a second story window, even if you use ladder racks.

Tell people what you do: Don't assume people know what services you offer, so list your services on the sides of the truck.

Reflective decals: Use reflective decals to make your truck light up at night.

Be a true mobile billboard: To be an effective mobile billboard, make an offer with a call to action.

People, kids and animals: Put people, kids or animals on your trucks. It humanizes your company and warms your image.

Selling proposition: Make sure to state a unique selling proposition. Tell people what's different about your company.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable,, plumbing's largest contractor business alliance. For more information about the Service Roundtable or for a FREE copy of Truckvolution contact Liz Patrick at 877.262.3341 or by e-mail at [email protected]. Contact Matt by e-mail at [email protected] or on his mobile at 214.995.8889. Matt is on Facebook and LinkedIn. Follow him on Twitter @ComancheMktg, or read his blog at

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