The Inside Marketing Team

There are plenty of reasons big corporations...and small businesses...use an "inside marketing team" or Marketing Department. You know, the folks who work where the product or service is being delivered also do the marketing. The common reason is "They know what we do so we don't have to train Man Shock them." or "Rather than have the expense of an outside marketing specialist we save the money and do it ourselves."

We get it...sort of.

But, when the stuff hits the fan because the "inside marketing team" was too close to the product or service and not connected with the consumer it can be a problem.

Don't believe me?  Ask Pepsi...

They rolled out this hideous piece linking Pepsi to calming civil unrest. But worse, they co-opted the Black Lives Matter Movement and were forced, by consumers, to pull the effort less than 24 hours after launch:

 

Ouch...

Then there is this which started this week from Nordstrom, "Muddy Jeans" for $425. Just how out of touch can a company be? Celebrating Muddy Jeans Nordstrom the rugged American Worker at a price...they (we) can't afford. 

Ya want some muddy jeans?  Come to Iowa...we've got the real thing.

But, on the positive side check this video clip from Heineken. 

 

While it doesn't convince me that Heineken really cares about transgender issues, feminism or climate change it's much more thought provoking than...the other two.  And, yes, it was created by an "outside agency".

So, why use an outside agency? Because we're often the folks who, perhaps, know consumers and can be much more focused on a positive outcome. Truly had Nordstrom or Pepsi come to us and asked, "So what do you think of this idea..." We would have saved them...millions in "brand hurt".

Just a thought....

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Hire Me to Roof Your House

Often when talking about our craft of advertising and marketing people nod their head as if they understand what it is that we do. And Roofing Workerssome folks do get it. But most people don't have a real good idea of what an advertising agency does or what we create. Worse yet many business owners think they already know about marketing and advertising so getting professional help isn't necessary. "I've got this." they may say and go about their business of providing a product or service while "dabbling" in marketing/advertising.

It's sort of like hiring me to roof your house.

Make no mistake I have a house with a roof. I have seen roofers in action. I have even gone so far as to go up on the roof and clear branches and clean gutters. But, I know my limits. I'd be a lousy roofer.

Let me give you an even better example. The house next door to ours is having their roof done. The place is awash with workers stripping the old roof, setting up new plywood and stacking shingles. Busy....busy.

But wait...three years ago the house next door had a roofing job. I know because I heard and saw them struggle through three weeks of work. They were not professionals at their craft and today, a scant three years later, the homeowner is paying, yet again, to have his roof singled.

Get the idea?  My neighbor figured he could save some money and hire some kids to come over and do the job. He settled on doing it himself...cheaper and in the end it cost him thousands more.

We don't roof houses, take out gall bladders or do root canals. Our craft is creating words and images that capture the attention of consumers so they will buy more of what our clients make...or provide.

Just a reminder. 

Thanks for reading and as always we're interested in your take. 

Next up: The Danger of an In House Marketing Department (no, really)

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How Much Should I Spend on Advertising/Marketing?

Some time ago I wrote about this topic and said then the answer to the question..."depends".
It depends on what you are selling, to whom you are selling and where you are selling. There are so many variables that it's difficult to answer the question without more information. Man Wine Guessing

This week I read a piece authored by John Heenan who assists advertising agencies in marketing themselves. That brought to light some interesting statistics that I think you'll find interesting as you attempt to advertise/market your company B2C or B2B.

When we look at some numbers we find the percentages are all over the board. According to Heenan, "Apple spends 7% of their revenue on sales and marketing, Tempur Sealy spends 15%, Oracle spends 20%, and Salesforce spends a whopping 56%. For B2B companies the simple answer is 6%. But it’s never simple."

Notice that last line..."But it's never simple."

Heenan goes on, "According to a 2014 AMA and Duke University study, 10% is the average for B2B. Does that mean 10% is the right number for you? Not necessarily. There are many factors to consider..."  So let's break them down:

  • Your Market - Who are you trying to attract to your product or service? If you are a retail business the answer may be very broad. If you are selling products or services to farmers your market gets less broad. If you are selling a service and you know the dominant decision maker your market gets less broad;
  • Your Market Hangouts - Where are your people? For example over 1 million people attended the Iowa State Fair in August if you are marketing to a broad range of people maybe you should have been there. Conversely, perhaps your target market is teachers in that case you need to be where they gather for events;
  • Your Current Customers - They are already coming in your door make sure they don't forget about you and continue to massage them with personal notes, calls and/or events. Just because they purchased what you are selling once doesn't mean they will be back unless you continue that relationship. Remember it costs less to keep a client than to find new clients;
  • Your Cost Per Customer - What does it cost you now to land a new customer and where did they come from? Do you know or do you think you know? "Word of mouth" is a common answer as to how they heard about your product/service however that answer isn't always right...but it is the easiest. 

Those four areas will help you start to define where and who your target market is and those are the first steps before you spend one dime on advertising. Remember finding out the answers to those questions all have a cost associated with the research...don't forget to include that in your base number.

See, told you "it depends".


Ad Blocking - What it Means for Business

Hang on because those of you who are spending money on popup or banner ads on websites Road Closedare in for a bit of a shock. The use of ad blocking is growing rapidly. A full 25% of internet users currently use ad blocking software and that number is expected to double in 2016. Double... Here's the story from eMarketer.

We already know that people are skipping through ads on broadcast television. We already know that people tune out ads on the radio. We already know that click-through rates on internet ads is dismal. We already know that most email marketing has a lousy click through rate IF it gets past the "Junk Mail" folder.

Why?

Because most advertising done on a local level is just plain...bad. There is no incentive to NOT block or skip or open the marketing message because...it's usually done poorly.

What to do?  Here are some solid tips to help you and your business get noticed:

Get Creative - Yes it costs money for good creative but you want your message to be seen/heard...correct? Lousy creative means lousy response. Give consumers a reason NOT to BLOCK your message. It makes no sense to spend $5,000 on an advertising campaign and spend zero on creative. It's called "burning money";

Get Social - If your marketing is not correctly using social media you are not going to be successful in reaching consumers. It takes planning and thought and work and consistency to pull off a successful social media campaign...not some "intern" who "knows the internet". Sit down and think...think about your message, your customers, where they hang out, what they want and then communicate with them...socially.

Get Busy - Reaching out to your current or potential customer requires you to know what is hot and what is not. There are, according to my good friend Mike Wagner, only three reasons why people are not buying what you are selling: 1) Wrong Product, 2) Wrong People, 3) Wrong Message.

There is help available. I know dozens of professional advertising/marketing people in the country. The question to you is...do you want the help or are you blocking this message?

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Worst Ad of the Week?

It's been some time since we've done a "Worst Ad of the Week" mostly because we don't like Vitamins and Corntaking shots at other businesses. It's just not kind and, more than likely, many of the ads we see were not created by a professional but by somebody that "thought" they knew advertising and marketing because, after all, "I've seen plenty of commercials on television!".

But we could not let this one go by.

We seem to have a fascination with our bodily functions here.  Go ahead click on the image and spend a moment thinking about it...

I guess that is one marketing message that we'd never thought of. "Buy our vitamins or else see them in your poop!"

But you will be pleased to know that CardioTabs are available at your local HyVee...so is corn.

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Turning a Blind Eye...

Have you ever been so enamored with one or two forms of media Woman Blind Eyeadvertising that you turn a "blind eye" to everything else? Hey, you're not alone. That's why, years ago, we made the decision to listen to all the pitches we got from advertising folks. You never know when you might hit on the "silver bullet".

So, let's talk about an ancient advertising vehicle that you may dismiss because, heck, that "social media stuff" is new, flashy and..."free"! (Well, not really but you know what I mean.)

So, let's talk radio.

What? "Boring old radio?", "Nobody actually listens to radio anymore." "I only listen to satellite radio!" I've heard them all and never mind that, according to the Pew Research Center on Journalism and Media"Traditional AM/FM radio, meanwhile, continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the American public – 91% of Americans ages 12 and older had listened in the week before they were surveyed in 2014."

Yeah, never mind.

Chuck Meford MPL Talking Two 3 march 2015The issue isn't that "nobody listens" to AM/FM radio the issue is that you don't know how to advertise on radio and you won't listen to people who know the business. So, rather than seek the answers, rather than ask the question, rather than do the work...you turn a blind eye toward radio.

So, let me make this really easy for you. And if it seems like I'm shilling...well fine...but it's because I believe this might help your business.

On the 3rd of November, here in Des Moines, a fellow by the name of Chuck Mefford is presenting a FREE seminar on branding and radio. Chuck isn't some "fly-by-night" huckster he's got years and years of success in Chuck Mefford Book helping big and small corporations focus on their brand and their brand message with a focus on increasing sales. (Because that's the real measurement.)

Here is a link to the Des Moines Radio Group Registration Page and NOPE they are not paying me, they did not ask me, they don't even know I wrote this (until now). If you need more proof here is a link to Brands Formation the Chuck Mefford company. (Don't let the BIG NAMES scare you..radio is still affordable!)

Your cost to attend?  A little time.  And, if you tell me, "Michael, I've been to these free radio seminars before and they don't work!" I'll tell you that the reason they don't work is that you didn't work the system.

Does that mean "print is dead"? Nope but that comes later.

Thanks for reading! 

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Grab the Tissues - Emotion Rules

This week I get to travel to Davenport, Iowa for the Iowa Association of Man TissuesBusiness and Industry "Taking Care of Business Conference" where I'll do a presentation of "Five in Twenty-Four - Five things a business can do in 24 hours to refresh their brand message and sell more...stuff."

One of the "Five Things" I'll share is that good creative works. And, creative messages that have an emotional appeal work much better than the campaign that simply offers "the facts".

Want proof?

Whirlpool sells cold, hard metal products.  Recently they launched a campaign that warmed the appliances. It's called "Every Day, Care" and features some tear jerking images of people caring for people with the underlying message that we do daily chores because we care for the people we love.  Here's an example.

 

The result?  Whirlpool's sales have risen 6.6% in the first six months after the campaign started vs. the year-ago period, four points ahead of the appliance industry. The brand's positive social-media sentiment has risen more than six fold. Purchase intent scores are up 10% from pre-campaign levels, which has translated into a comparable lift in market share.

So, if Whirlpool can warm cold steel appliances and that drives sales what can your business do to appeal to the emotions of the consumer?  Think about it because...it works.

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How About A Little Help

Got a marketing/advertising question?  Man Questions

Our business is marketing and advertising and has been for years. Our goal is, and always has been, finding ways to help our clients sell more...stuff.  To be able to do that consumers need to know your business exists.

Not long ago we went out to area businesses and asked them to ask us a marketing question.  We filmed the question and then offered a possible solution.  Here is the first in a series from our friends at 515 Brewing based in Clive, Iowa:

  

This may not work for your business but we've seen it work for many new or re-emerging businesses that want their neighbors as customers.  Thanks for reading and for watching!

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What Makes You Stop?

We've been in the world of advertising a very long time and Alaska Fish Signalways fascinated by what gets a consumer to stop...pause and consider a product/service. 

Countless print, radio and television ads have been created over the years and, we believe, the most effective are those which are simple and easy to understand.

Here's an example of what we think...works.  This is some signage posted in a grocery store near the fresh seafood section.  It was produced by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute promoting their industry.  Great photography and a fantastic headline, "Before you cook up a storm, we weather one."  Nice and it caught my eye.

There are others.

Mad HousewifeHere's a POP display for the wine Mad Housewife.  Funny and you can't miss it.  (However we would have opted for ONE sign rather than the two used here...but it's clear they are made to stand on a single case.)

The bottom line here is that great images and great copy can go together to win the attention and get a consumer to stop and...consider the message. 

For those of you who are still committed to loads of copy and all kinds of confusing images (think yellow page advertising or some newspaper ads) good luck.  Chances are very good the consumer is blowing you off.

Creative...works.

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If you would like to comment here, feel free.  Or let's connect on our Twitter Stream @InsightADV or our advertising agency Facebook Page is right here.




Targeting The Message - Television/Video

OK, this will not be a PC post.  Our friends at Hardees and Carl's Jr. need to shore up support from young males so they cooked up this new "Memphis BBQ" TV piece called "BBQ's Best Pair".  Clearly it is...targeted.

 

Beyond the targeting of the message I hope you paid attention to the work that goes into creating a high quality television commercial.  Notice the equipment, the attention to detail...all for just 30 seconds.  

So, our question to you is this: When you're spending money to showcase your product/service on television or in online videos don't you think it's important to spend an equal amount of time and energy in the creative

You can comment here or follow us on Twitter @InsightADV or our advertising/communication agency Facebook Page is right here.

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