We recently published an article about social media usage in Zimbabwe. The aim was to inform you how many people in Zimbabwe use different social media platforms. The other pertinent insight I wanted to underscore was the importance of traditional media or marketing. There is a general misconception in Zimbabwe that social media marketing outweighs traditional marketing. I encourage you to go through that article. You will learn a lot. Based on that article, I figured discussing some common traditional marketing or media methods was necessary. Today let us start with billboard marketing ideas you can use in Zimbabwe.

Tenets Of Billboard Marketing

Hubspot defines billboard advertising as using large-scale digital or print ads to market a company brand, product, service, or campaign. The essence of effective billboards is placing them where there are high human and vehicle traffic volumes. Though that may typically imply roads, it extends to many other locations. Billboard types, designs, and sizes also vary. Here are some billboard marketing ideas you can consider in Zimbabwe:

Roadside Billboards

These are the most common (traditional) and are still relevant. Maybe what you can do is to get more creative in how they look. For instance, you can invest in making it a digital screen as opposed to being otherwise. Another approach can be to make it a rotating one. Another approach can be to have it placed astride a roadway. The possibilities are endless; what is important is to make it noticeable. Most roadside billboards are generic and unoriginal; distinguish yours from that.

Billboards On Strategic Walls

This comes in many different forms. You can design and print media that you can set up on walls. This can be walls of a building, perimeter walls, dedicated walls faces, and the like. Another creative approach is to use murals. A mural is a large painting usually drawn on a wall. Making the painting 3D-looking can even make it more alluring. I just gave you the basic idea here, but the possibilities are infinite. Identify a strategic wall and see how you can model it into a billboard.

‘Moving’ Billboards

This is a broad and diverse range. It entails billboards that can be placed on moving targets. Common examples of such moving targets are vehicles. It can be light motor vehicles, trucks, kombis, buses, etc. The idea is to design something colourful and informative that can be imprinted onto the body of a vehicle. Vehicles are strategic in that they are not fixed; thus, the number of people to see them is limitless. Do not forget other moving targets such as vending carts, mobile food trucks, etc. Think broader; anything on wheels with a large enough surface area can be used.

3D Billboards

There are two approaches to these kinds of billboards. You can make 3D-looking 2D print billboards – this is easy and relatively affordable in Zimbabwe. Such billboards are more engaging in that they draw more attention. Then the other approach is digital 3D billboards. I understand such billboards can be costly to set up. Such billboards are quite common in countries like China. They would be a disruptor if you could get such billboards set up in Zimbabwe. I challenge business people in Zimbabwe to explore this avenue of digital 3D billboards.

Tips On Making Billboards Engaging

The goal is for a billboard to engage people’s attention. Thus, making it dry and generic may not achieve that. One of the tips to explore is to make the billboard interactive. An example of a strategy in this regard is using a digital billboard. The 3D approach again is another strategy. Remember how we have been discussing storytelling a lot lately? That is another strategy to employ that makes a billboard engaging. Do not let it be just a dry billboard; let it tell a story. Another strategy is to be minimalistic, precise, and concise. Bear in mind that for most people, the window in which they get to see the billboard can only be a few seconds long. Make the most of that window by being short enough to draw attention but long enough to cover the essentials.

Some Guidance On Setting Up Billboards

What I am about to mention here may not apply to all billboards. Regardless it is important to note that you cannot just set up a billboard anywhere. First of all, you must find out if there are any regulatory aspects you must adhere to. For instance, you must apply for a permit to erect an advertising sign from your city council or local authority. This applies to advertising signs, billboards, or signage.

As a business, you must invest in billboards. Studies have shown that billboards have a return on investment (ROI) of roughly 40 percent. It can be more if you get creative in rolling them out. Billboards can be more effective because they are less intrusive than online ads. Traditional marketing is still a big deal in Zimbabwe. I have seen that many businesses are neglecting traditional media. You are bound to reach and even convert more people via such in Zimbabwe. According to MISA Zimbabwe, in 2019, about 2.34 million homes in Zimbabwe had radios. From that figure, 71 percent of urban homes and 58 percent of rural homes had radios. Consider that in most cases there are several people per household. You do the math. One thing is abundantly clear; radio is a big deal in Zimbabwe. Next up, we shall discuss radio advertising ideas in Zimbabwe.