Last week I was on the phone with a national corporate marketing department trying to make sense of their "historical experience" in marketing and advertising to females 29 - 55. This company hinges its marketing/advertising on two things: Television and Direct Mail. "Our historical data tell us that specific television buys (3 weeks three times a year) and direct mail (1x monthly) has produced success for us and that continues to be our recommendation."
ME: "How about radio? You know in specific markets radio can really assist in brand building."
THEY: "Our history dictates that radio has been a dismal failure everywhere it has been tried."
"OK...but have you tried it with (gulp) us? You know, the folks that actually know something about radio advertising?"
"We can not, based on history, recommend it."
Sensing that was going down the wrong path I tried something REALLY RADICAL: Social Media. "You know, with this system you can engage your base, communicate in conversation form, get found, target folks on an opt-in system and have them truly understand what you are offering using an ongoing approach that is not only effective but also very affordable."
THEY: "Social media is untested and in our mind until we see solid evidence that social media might work for our dealers/franchise locations we're not recommending. Oh, and besides, there is the legal problem. Any comments would have to be cleared through corporate."
And...that statement was from their new On-line Media Director....followed up with, "Well, maybe you could test social media this time of year, when it's cold and people are huddled in their homes."
ME: "One final question, what is your historical rate of return on direct mail, one percent?"
THEY: (Chuckle) We're not quite sure but if it were that high we would be ecstatic!"
"So you guys want our guy to spend $120,000 on direct mail & television trying to reach 7,000 people (not all, by the way, who need or can afford his product/service) in this market and you are hoping for what, a 0.25% return? For $120,000K we'll pick up the phone and call 'em."
Gosh...I wish I had the wisdom of New York!
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - If you are seeking cost effective ways to build a brand and engage potential customers...we hope you'll call.