Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ignorance is not bliss...

First, let me explain my entire marketing philosophy:

  1. Marketing encompasses everything that you do and don't do that creates an impression upon your "market".
  2. Your "market" is your current, future, and past customers along with those that will influence those people who may not be directly your customers.
  3. Successful Marketing understands and follows human relationship principles.
That's the basis for ScLoHo Marketing Solutions.

Now let's look at the real world.

For about 10 years, I took a break from the advertising, sales, and marketing world and worked a few "real jobs" and rediscovered what a consumer goes through in real life. So I have a unique background of working in the communications and entertainment world, working in the advertising and marketing world, stepping away for about a decade and then returning with a keen understanding of all sides of the picture.

And now I get to work with business owners who are being sold advertising schedules that sound good by advertising sales people who earn a commission on what they sell.

Often, due to an emphasis on selling, these advertising schedules are either a failure or cannot be justified because the advertising sales person has limited knowledge of the three marketing points I listed, or is more interested in their own paycheck.

And sometimes it's simply a matter of ignorance, no one knows any better, so the business owner buys what sounds good and the advertising sales person sells what they've been told to sell.

Some business owners decide to hire an advertising agency to take care of all of these things, so they can focus on what they do best, running their business.

Problem is that advertising agencies are similar to advertising sales people a lot of the time. I know because I work with several of them. I've even considered joining one or two if I could find a good philosophical fit.

In the ad agency world, they create marketing pieces and advertising copy and commercials, print ads, billboard signs, etc, etc, etc...

A couple years ago I attended our local Addy Awards, the competition that the creative types in ad agencies want to win, because, well, it's like getting an Oscar, Emmy, Pulitzer, except it is for advertisements.

I was impressed with the talent we have in my city, when I saw the work that was presented.

And I am also impressed with most of the agency owners that I know. Their hearts are usually in the right place.

I usually work with the media buyers at the ad agencies however, and this is where the cookie starts to crumble.

In Radio (and also Television), most media buyers place advertising based on a rating system called Arbitron or Nielson. These companies are paid thousands of dollars to conduct surveys of individual listeners and viewers habits and then come up with numbers representing the strength of each station based on this data.

Without going to deep into the details, of why this is usually a flawed system, it is also the wrong system to use to buy advertising because it ignores principle #3 above. I look at it as more of a justification for the media buyers to explain why they spend their clients money here and not there.

While I am not about to change this practice singlehandedly, and I do enjoy working with media buyers, I disagree that an advertising agency is always the best way to handle your marketing.

Because there is a big difference between advertising and marketing. Look at principles 1 & 2 above and consider all the items that don't include paid advertising that are still part of your marketing.

Is there an answer to all of this?


When it comes to the success of your business, look at the big picture from an outsiders view.

Look at the small details of what influences people to do or not do business with you and fix what you can.

Make sure your advertising efforts follow human relationship principles.

Beware of slick talking salespeople who either care more about their dollars than yours, or are just too ignorant to truly help.

Your comments are always welcome.

More on this next week.

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