Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Playing Favorites?

Or making excuses.

First, a true story. Followed by a Challenge.

In my real life, I spend my 40+ hours working for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

I've been here nearly 7 years, and have been in the radio business for over half my life. And I've worked outside of the radio and advertising business too for about 10 years.

Last week I had what I call a "come to Jesus" meeting with one of the advertising agency media buyers that handles one of the two major hospitals in our region.

For the past several weeks, I've been hearing radio ads for a "Don't Text & Drive" campaign on a number of radio stations, but none of mine. I was told in the meeting that with limited funds, they only bought the radio stations that had the highest ratings.

I pulled out the numbers which demonstrated our station was top dog for their target.

Then I got the truth.

She was prohibited from buying "certain stations due to the music they play".

These 3 stations represent over 219,500 listeners out of 792,000 people. Just over 25% of the population that they are not inviting to do business with them. These stations target the 18 to 35 year olds. The people starting families, establishing doctor relationships, etc.

I represent one of the stations. Fortunately I have 3 other stations to offer to this hospital and health care organization. And I will also go to their competitor and see if they are as limited in their vision and stereotypes.

Now, here's my Challenge to you:

What is holding you back from making smart, forward thinking marketing decisions?

What assumptions are you making that is crippling your growth?

You can't blame the economy. Even if we had 20% unemployment, that means 80% of the population is making money and spending money.

If you need help figuring all this out and want to plan for the future, and live/work in Fort Wayne, Indiana; contact me.

Scott @ ScLoHo.net is my email.

Mention this blog as I get a couple hundred emails a day and want to make sure I get yours.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Go Out on a Limb

Yesterday I met with a gentleman that oversees 30+ restaurants.

It's a national chain, but locally owned.

We talked about what makes them different than other, similar chains.

His answer was basically, "we do a better job of doing what everyone is supposed to do."

In other words, "we are better at being average than the other guys".

Or perhaps, "we don't piss off and annoy as many customers as our competitors do".

I challenged him to make a customer promise.

A customer promise that they would stand behind, no matter what.

And to empower their front line employees to stand behind the customer promise without having to get permission from "the manager."

I could see he was getting nervous about this idea.

He came up with a half dozen excuses as to why they couldn't do that.

We'll meet next week again and see if I can push him out of his safe box, which is really a very dangerous place to be.

In the meantime, I'll share with you a few places that I know first hand will exceed the average.

Last week I was wrapping up a short vacation in Michigan and nearly every place we went to and spent money met our expectations.

Most of them exceeded them, one way or another. The restaurants, bed & breakfasts, the hotel.

The fast food joint was average. So were the gas stations and the movie theater.

But the other places that did a great job, they deserve credit.

We started at the BaySide Inn. Spent two nights there. http://www.baysideinn.net/
Really enjoyed the outdoor hot tub along with the usual B & B experience.

We also spent 1 night at Heritage Manor Inn. Very nice hosts and the breakfast was excellent. http://www.heritagemanorinn.com/

We ate here twice! http://www.saugatuckdouglas.com/phils.htm

Also here for lunch 1 day: http://www.thewilddoggrille.com/ Check out the Guinness & white cheddar soup.

Burgers: http://www.thebutlerrestaurant.com/ Got 'em twice!

We only had desert here, but would have had dinner too if we hadn't already ate: http://www.restauranttoulouse.com/

A local coffee shop that is also a coffee roaster: http://www.uncommongroundscafe.com/v1/index

These guys got our money twice (That's a good thing!) http://www.wickspark.com/home.html

We also had lunch one day at: http://www.8thstreetgrille.com/

And one of most unusual surprises was the last night of our trip where we ate, drank & spent the night: http://www.cityflatshotel.com/

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why Advertise?

One more this week from the archives:

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Don't Need To Advertise

It's one of the objections I will run into every once in awhile. And it may be true.


Do not fool yourself into thinking that you don't need to be actively marketing.

I'll take a second here and explain the difference.

When most people think of advertising, they think of paid advertisements. This includes direct mail, newspaper ads, magazine ads, billboard ads, television ads, radio ads, etc.

(Notice the word ad, fits nicely behind each of those options.)

Advertising is a part of your marketing.

Marketing is how you and your company presents itself to your market.

This includes everything from your business cards, how clean your windows are, how your phone is answered, the way you treat problems, the way you thank your customers, etc.

If you have a waiting list of customers and clients then maybe you don't need a paid ad campaign.

But you better be sure everything else is as remarkable as possible.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Foundation

I'm bringing back a few chapters of this book. This was from two years ago:

The Common Thread to Successful Marketing

This week, I have:

  • been to a reception with Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream fame
  • talked with a second generation business owner that is planning a consolidation/expansion this spring
  • met with a young budding entrepreneurial photographer who signed up to be in our radio station bridal show
  • met with a husband and wife that took over a furniture and flooring store and are expanding in the face of a "down economy"
  • took part in a board meeting of our local Advertising Federation, where we picked each others brains about how to improve our organization, to serve others and honor those that have done a good job.
  • met with a long term client that 18 months ago wanted to cancel their advertising because it wasn't working, and today they doubled their advertising because it is working.

I also added internet advertising to two clients advertising plans for 2008. And tomorrow I am guest hosting a radio show on real estate.

No, I am not in the real estate business, but I am in the marketing business and I have been involved in a few real estate transactions over the past 7 years.

So, what has been the common thread running though all of this?


Jerry Greenfield was honest in both the casual conversation we had, and in the presentation he made to a few hundred folks later that evening.

Honesty was spoken when I talked about expectations with the business owners and advertising agencies this week.

And I'll talk honestly about real estate on the radio Saturday morning.

There is no other way to really succeed.

There are no tricks or schemes to marketing, because marketing is about building relationships.

Dishonesty rots your soul, robs you of the joy of a clean conscious, and prevents you from living to your full potential.

So, I urge you too, to be honest, to speak up for yourself and others too. Stand for what you believe in, or sit down.

Follow the Golden Rule and you will have a basis for all your marketing efforts.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Marketing Ignorance

Time to repeat something I wrote last year:

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 3 or 4 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.