Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This is Your Time

The other day, I had someone approach me and ask if we had any openings but she didn't want to do sales. Further in the conversation, I asked her what she was doing, she said looking for a job. "How long have you been unemployed?", I asked. 9 months was her answer.

The day before, I was at a seminar and sat next to a man who was also unemployed for nearly a year.

I can sympathize, however I am also shaking my head. There is no reason to be without a job if you are physically able to work. There are enough companies looking for good workers that will pay you to get off the couch and work.

The time to look for your dream job is not when you have no income. When you need a job, you get a job. Not a career perhaps, but at least a job. And once you have a job, you can start looking for a better job.

What does this have to do with advertising and marketing? Simple lesson. Just like the unemployed need to adapt to their current situation and do what it takes to earn money, so do businesses.

Now is not the time to cut back on advertising, hide and wait this one out. Pulling the covers over your head in this economy will only put you out of business. Instead, I'll let you in on a secret.

Now is a great time to get a good deal on your advertising. Many companies are cutting back. This means media and advertising outlets have more unsold inventory than they had a few years ago. And the smart ones would rather sell out their inventory at a lower rate than let it go unsold.

Now not everyone in the media and advertising business is going to follow this law of supply and demand. They will be stubborn and try and raise their prices and if they are doing this to you, beware, because they are looking out for their interests, not yours.

See, if I have more unsold inventory on my radio stations, then I have room to help some smaller business that need to get the word out to potential customers, and I will do it at a lower price per ad than a couple years ago, until my inventory gets tight again.

So Mr/Ms Business owner, this is your time:

  • Time to buy advertising that you couldn't afford before.
  • Time to negotiate with your current suppliers and get the best price
  • Time to grow while your competitors hide under the blankets.
Your comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What is Social Media ? Part 2

About a week before Christmas, I wrote part 1. Click here to read what I wrote.

I've purposely waited a couple of months before writing part 2. I wanted to get some perspective and find out what questions people had, and also do some exploring.

Here's a few thoughts:

- Social Media, also know as the Web 2.o is continuing to grow despite the lack of advertising revenue. How is it surviving?

People with money believe in it. I recently added another dimension to my social media world and that is Twitter. Twitter is a communication tool that combines elements of blogs and instant messaging and allows you to communicate with friends, family, strangers, even famous people that you don't know personally.

Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey of Saturday Night Live fame, Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher, Al Gore & Karl Rove are a few examples that I have found.

But how does it survive without advertising dollars? Venture Capitalists that believe in it. Last week it was reported they received an additional 35 Million bucks as they work on designing a revenue model. A report I saw yesterday says that 11% of Adults in the US are now using Twitter.

Twitter allows people to spread word-of-mouth (the best form of advertising) to anyone, anytime using 140 characters or less. Similar to Text Messaging.

This means if your company does something exceptional, the world can find out about it via Twitter. Likewise, if something bad happens, the word will spread fast too.

-"There are so many different social media platforms, I can't keep up with all of them," is a comment I heard a few times. My answer: Then, Don't.

Don't try and do it all. Only do what you have time for. Just like there have been stories in the news recently about the thousands of text messages our kids are sending each month, there are people who can get obsessed about keeping up with social media too, which is not good. After all your life was already pretty full, I bet.

I'm more active than most people I know but I have a system. Once a week I write on this website. I also spend time doing a lot of reading, along with cutting and pasting for ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom, but it's only a few minutes a day plus a couple of hours a week in my spare time to maintain.

Social Media is just a tool, but it is a two way tool that you can add to your marketing arsenal. The reason you want to is because you want to go to where your potential customers are. And if you are not, your competitors are.

Your comments are always welcome.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beware of Advertising & Marketing Ignorance

When I began in the Advertising side of the Radio Business 20 years ago, I went above and beyond the usual training and became a life long student of the entire marketing process and what actually motivates people to give you their money to buy your stuff.

Time and time again, I have been told by clients, that I handled things differently than what they expected.

Sometimes I have clients that are pretty smart when it comes to advertising and marketing and they don't need an education, or insight into the process.

However 80% of the time, the person that a business puts in charge of making the advertising and marketing decisions, is ignorant.

And it is not that persons fault, they simply were not trained in all the dynamics, or perhaps it is not one of their talents, or maybe it was dumped on them.

I recall a few years ago talking to the new marketing director of a local bank that had no idea who they were targeting, who their current clients were and what their plans were for the future. But she had a degree and she aced the interview which landed her the job.

On the other side of the coin, you have media and advertising salespeople that do not understand the dynamics of their business, all they care about is their own sales goals and budgets. Last year they sold office supplies, next year they could be selling pre-planned funerals. They are professional sales people, and the product they are selling really doesn't matter, as long as they can earn a living.

Now when you combine these two, you can either get lucky and it will work, or waste your time and precious money and grumble about how such and such media, doesn't work.

Nearly any media can work, IF you do it right. Unfortunately, that's not the way most advertising is handled.

Please, do not blindly buy something just on price. Buy from the person that you trust will work his or her rear end off to get it right.

And if you are a professional salesperson that just happens to be in the advertising business right now, either start educating yourself so you can be a true advertising and marketing resource, or get another job selling something else.

If you want help, you can contact me directly by writing to Scott@ScLoHo.net.

You can also go to my other site, ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom which is updated 6 times daily/ 7 days a week. The first article each day is a sales training piece.

Finally, read more. On the Collective Wisdom site on the right side of the page are some free e-books you can download, along with a Collective Wisdom Recommended Book Store that features 5 books that I highly recommend. You can click and buy, you will be buying from Amazon.com.

Your comments are always welcome.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Branding Or Selling?

I met with the marketing manager of the largest Verizon Franchise this week and our conversation inspired this chapter.

If your parent company is doing an excellent job of Branding, don't waste your money doing your own branding.


Always include a branding message in your advertising.

Do those statements contradict? No. and here's why.

The storefronts for these Verizon outlets feature the Verizon name and logo above their company name. So the stores are letting Verizon be their brand, along with their own identity.

But if that's all they did, no one would care about the individual store. Here's where this franchise also sells:

Three times a year, during peak buying times they run their own advertising campaigns, which they call promos. These are special offers that are not available at all Verizon stores, just theirs.

Of course, Verizon is mentioned in all of those ads too as a tie-in to the Verizon Brand.

One more way that these stores set themselves apart from other Verizon stores:

They offer their own service plan which is better than what Verizon offers. And you have to go to one of their stores, not just any Verizon store to get this better deal.

One last lesson they shared with me:

Their focus for their promos are adults 35 and older.
However, it was my 18 year old daughter that persuaded me a couple years ago to switch to Verizon.
Yes, the marketing manager said, "your daughter told you which brand she wanted, but you did the buying and picked us because of the deal we offered."

Your comments are always welcome.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sell More to People who Want to Buy-Part 2

Have you ever heard of the term "Marketing Bridge"?

On the right side of this page I say that Marketing is so much more than Advertising and here's a checklist that you should use to see how you can Sell More to People who Want to Buy.

The Marketing Bridge is what connects you and your business to your customer so the exchange of money for goods and services can take place. You need to take a look at each of these elements and honestly evaluate where you are strong, and where you can improve.

Starting on the left side of the bridge we have:

Your Business:

  • Quality Products
  • Location
  • Reputation
  • Service
  • Financing
  • Parking
  • Business Vitality
  • Delivery
Your Pricing:
  • Are your Prices Right for the Value received?
  • Is your Price Competitive?
  • Cleanliness
  • Attractiveness
  • Display
  • Lighting
  • Items Properly Marked
  • Orderly
  • Timely
Personal Selling:
  • Product Knowledge
  • Suggestive Selling
  • Product Benefits
  • Sincere
  • Helpful Attitude
  • Smiling
  • Dress
  • Grooming

As you see there are all kinds of factors that contribute to your marketing success. If you can improve on any or all of the above, you can increase the value of each customer that comes to you to buy.

Advertising then is primarily designed to bring customers to you, to create an awareness of you so that when customers are going to buy, they consider buying from you. In order to accomplish that with your advertising, here are a few key elements regarding your Advertising:

  • Proper Medium
  • Quantity
  • Consistency
  • Planning
  • Timeliness

In the weeks ahead we'll dig deeper into all of this and as always your comments are always welcome. And if you need help, contact me at: Scott@ScLoHo.net