Posted October 27, 2011 11:27 am by with 1 comment

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Website owners and companies with sites are obsessed with traffic as well they should be. It’s the lifeblood of any online presence and it’s not as easy to generate as most would think. What is becoming more and more apparent is that we live in a mixed marketing world. many of the older “go to” marketing ideas are struggling or flat out dying. The way we live life is changing and marketers really need to adapt or die.

There is, however, a bit of a marketing sweet spot of sorts that can be found that mixes some traditional activities that are not going away and the new world order of online life.

A great example of this is reported by AdAge where the NY State Bridge Authority has taken a piece of their real estate, the toll booth arm, and turned it into an advertising opportunity. And guess what? It works.

The New York State Bridge Authority is selling ad space on the toll gates at its five bridge crossings in upstate New York. Yup, the big mechanical arm that comes down at every toll booth — and doesn’t go back up until you pay the $1 or it recognizes your EZ-Pass reader — now features advertising. And local marketers are jumping at the chance.

“This is so ‘in your face’ advertising we couldn’t pass it up. It’s brilliant,” said Nancy Jubie, who co-owns the popular seasonal attraction Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park, N.Y., just south of Kingston, with her husband Mike.

And guess what fits on the toll booth arm perfectly? A web address. The Jubie’s have a seasonal business that they were looking to give a boost to and they noticed that another local business had started advertising there. In a stroke of local advertising brilliance a car dealership was using the space to pick up the slack where their other ad spend was failing. And the results?

Ms. Jubie began advertising only after she saw a local car dealer who bought up space on the toll gates, Kingston, N.Y.-based Colonial Subaru.

“Newspapers, for my product, are becoming less and less of an impactful, effective advertising source,” Colonial Subaru owner-president Tom Murphy, Jr. said. “I reallocated a lot of funds away from [print] to do the bridge ads. It’s really an interesting new form of advertising. Frankly, it’s been incredibly effective.” Since he first started advertising the dealership’s website,, on the bridge toll arms in August, Mr. Murphy said traffic to the site has gone up 32% and his bounce rate — the amount of people who come to his website and look only at the opening page — has gone down.

OK so let’s put on the online marketing brakes here for a minute. We live in a world that has one foot in the marketing past and the other in the marketing future. We get all fired up about what the future holds but can often overlook where there is a truly effective intersection of traditional and online marketing that will result in the holy grail of any business: revenue.

I travel the I-95 corridor through Philadelphia often and I am amazed at just how effective highway billboards can be to make me think about taking an online action. And the numbers that traditional advertising opportunities like these generate are pretty impressive. The NY State Bridge Authority gives the following statistics that would make many marketers salivate because they can get a person’s attention while they are stopped in a daily activity that has far less ad clutter around it.

NYSBA operates five bridges that traverse the Hudson River in a 70-mile span between Hudson, N.Y. and suburban New York City. According to NYSBA figures for the year of 2009, the most recent year available, 58 million cars went over the five bridges combined.

So how did a seasonal business do it? By taking existing ad budget that wasn’t working (I like to refer to this as dead marketing spend) and reassigning it to something that might. The cost? $18,000 for three months. The results tell the story.

“We can’t begin to meet the demand. We have been sold out for the season,” she said.

So what’s the point? You might be thinking “Yeah, that’s great for New York but what about me? Well, what about you? Have you really looked to be creative in how you can reach people with your message. Have you decided to be an “online only” type that might be missing marketing opportunities that may not be as sexy as social media etc but are, gulp, effective?

As marketers in an increasingly noisy world it is our job to fight through the clutter and not simply add to it. What are you doing to fight the clutter. Could you use traffic to get traffic in your area?

Image credit Javier Pazo / Shutterstock