Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing · Radio

Ad avoidance is a major problem for anyone in the marketing field. We buy, schedule, and target our media under the assumption that it’s going to get noticed. But often it does not. 60-70% of television ads can now be bypassed by DVR. Only 1/2% to 2% of direct mail is opened. According to scientific studies, over 80% of internet ad units are purposefully avoided.

Radio, on the other hand, is only ignored about 8% of the time*, but that’s not what this is about. This post is about making simple changes to your advertising or marketing approach to vastly increase the likelihood that your audience actually pays attention to your message.

Yes, consumers will pay attention to ads. Many do today, even with the tools that they have to easily avoid them. But only the ads that speak to them, and that’s the key – the ad actually has to make the consumer think that it’s about them, not just the company that’s advertising. Here are four basic things (and one advanced technique) that you can use immediately to improve your connection with, and therefore your engagement to, your target audience.
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Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing · Radio

Odds are that you or one of your key staff excels at sales; Few businesses survive long, no matter how great their product, pricing, or service, without at least one strong rainmaker on the roster.  If you could clone your Rainmaker several times — effectively doubling, tripling, or quadrupling your Rainmaking expertise — you’d probably be able to grow significantly.  The problem, however, is this can be costly and sometimes it’s just impractical.   Due to the specialization/experience required, training, the inevitable ramp-up phase, and the fact that many new hires don’t work out, sales is very difficult for most small businesses to expand and profitably grow to a meaningful scale.

Enter advertising, the tool that many businesses turn to increase revenue at a meaningful and profitable level.  Advertising, when done right, is simply Mass-Selling.  When it does the exact same things that a good Rainmaker does, advertising can actually ‘sell’ to thousands, if not tens of thousands, of prospective customers at once.

Many businesses that advertise (or used to) might argue that this is idealistic at best and wrong-headed at worst.  They’ve tried advertising and it doesn’t deliver (at least to the scale that they’d expected).  Having seen hundreds of small businesses experience significant growth through advertising, I’d argue that many of these unimpressed businesses simply don’t advertise the right way.  If they’d thought of their advertising as mass-salesmanship, and actually applied the principles of strong one-on-one selling, they could have experienced much different results… Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing · Radio · The Economy

Most small and mid-sized local businesses have had to make all kinds of tough decisions since the Recession began.  According to American Express, only 20% of these firms have been able operate profitably without major cut-backs in staff and operating capital.

Marketing is an obvious target for most budget cutting.  The only problem with chopping the marketing budget is its damaging impact on sales.  According to numerous studies over the last 80 years, firms that eliminate their marketing decline rapidly during tough times.  Those that even cut back modestly lose significant market share to the few firms that don’t cut.  They also tend to miss significant gains in the first 2-3 years of recovery.

So how do you make a tough budget decision that preserves your near-term viability without causing an even greater long-term problem?  Simple:  cut your marketing budget to the bone, but spend your remaining dollars to dominate an audience – no matter how small that audience may have to be.  It’s a principle that smart advertisers have been using for decades, through good times and bad, but one that proves essential for every firm when funds run tight. Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing · Radio

What will you do to win more than your fair share of the Spring ’10 spending season:  The 2nd busiest shopping season of the year?  When it comes to gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Graduation events, there’s no right choice.  The firms that market the best win the largest share.  Even though there may be conventional “fail-safe” gifts for each occasion, it’s within the power of almost any business to win an impressive share of this season’s gift spending.

According to the National Retail Federation, there will be about $87 of spring gift spending per 18+ consumers in your market (if there are 200,000 adults in your trade area, this is about $17 million).


How do you win?   Tap into an emotion that drives your purchase. Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing · Radio

Here’s the second in a series of simple tips to improve the quality of your advertising.  This month, we focus on the power of emotion and the appropriate use of facts and logic.  As much as you’d like to communicate all of the things that make your business special, your best message is one that makes your strongest differentiator undeniably clear.  If you can express this difference in emotional terms – specifically as a benefit that has emotion at its core, you’ve got it made.  Remember, for every charming gecko, memorable slogan, or unforgettable jingle, thousands of businesses advertise very effectively by being authentic, direct, and adhering to a couple of simple ideas.  You don’t have to be a creative genius to use advertising effectively! Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Radio · The Economy

Anyone who’s had an opening or two recently has probably seen hundreds of resumes.  More than a few from folks who have enough experience to run the place.  And we certainly can’t complain about salary needs: recruits are demanding much less than they were several years ago.

So what’s the problem?

There’s a funny thing about our 10%+ unemployment economy:  it hasn’t gotten that much easier to find great employees.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you know that hiring now is tricky for two reasons.  First, most of the overqualified applicants aren’t going to stick around when the job market turns this year or next.  And second, the true cost of labor includes 1) the training that goes into replacing them and 2) the lost productivity that comes from having unfilled positions and/or a less-than-perfect fit.  When you consider these costs, our current ability to pick through the low-hanging fruit isn’t as compelling as it seems. Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing · Radio

Dr. Carmen Kavali, Kavali Plastic Surgery

When we think about the types of businesses that benefit most from strong consumer marketing effort, categories like retail, entertainment, and automotive usually come to mind.  This month’s exceptional marketer, Dr. Carmen Kavali, illustrates how professional services – even medical practices – benefit significantly by building market-wide brand awareness.

Dr. Kavali has built a strong brand around an emotional idea: a metamorphosis for body, mind, and soul.  Her logo, website, and on-air radio marketing work together to reinforce this idea.  She’s even branded one of her practice specialties “The Mommy Makeover” around this holistic idea of change and growth.

The emotional thrust of her marketing distinguish her practice in a marketplace that is extremely competitive and, like most other sectors, feeling the impact of shrinking consumer spending.  The branding is tasteful, relevant, and creates desire (while remaining well within the bounds of medical marketing canon).  Her radio advertising, which is targeted toward her adult female client base, is a powerful and cost-effective tool for bringing this emotion to life on a daily basis.  It’s built broad market awareness that other local practices can’t match.

Dr. Kavali’s proactive growth strategy has yielded enviable success.  As a recent letter to Cumulus put it, “In a few short years, my brand has become something bigger than just me.”  — a key point for all professional practices, medical and non-medical, alike.

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing · Radio

Each month, Access Points highlights a way for businesses to creatively and cost-effectively reach the large communities of radio listeners in their markets.  This post pertains to several specific types of businesses:  primarily the restaurant, golf, ski, and spa categories.

When someone hears the term “no cost” advertising, his or her first reaction is usually skepticism:  you can’t get something valuable for free.  (Their next reaction is often to wonder, as in “can I get some?”)

Yes, there really is a way to get valuable, high-reach, high-impact marketing for your restaurant, golf course, or several other specific businesses for no incremental cost.  The program is typically called “Half-Off” (while it is free to the business, half-off is the value proposition for the end-consumer).

It works very simply:  the business buys an advertising promotion from the station using gift certificates instead of cash.  The radio station then resells those gift certificate to it’s audience via its website – at HALF OFF.  $50 gift certificates for the business, for example, which would sell for $25 online, are typically sold out just minutes after they become available (these programs are immensely popular).  The customer then redeems the certificate at the business and enjoys a great meal, round of golf, or massage. Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Digital Marketing · Marketing · Radio

As reported by the Wall Street Journal this week, the board of Zales Corp fired it’s CEO and two other top executives over poor performance, particularly during the 2009 holiday season.  One of the major issues, according to The Journal, was CEO Neal Goldberg’s decision to shift most of it’s broadcast advertising budget to internet marketing.  This strategy clearly backfired as Zales’ prime competitors, heavy users of broadcast media, posted strong results.

Consumers are obviously using the web with increasing frequency as their source of entertainment and social connection.  Marketers should take caution, however, before they assume that this shift in attention equates to a shift in digital marketing effectiveness.

For all its promise, the web has yet do demonstrate an ability to influence desire and intent to purchase.  In fact, most web commerce is dependent on those triggers occurring before Google is searched, a banner is clicked, or a merchant’s site is opened.

The desire and brand choice that drives market share — online and offline — are still being created by effective terrestrial advertising.  This is particularly true for emotion-driven purchases like diamond jewelry, as Zales can now sadly attest.

Bottom line: Make sure that you’ve built the desire for your brand with effective offline advertising before you expect consumers to look for it online.

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing · Radio · The Economy

Wendy Harris, Team Harris Realty

2009 was a great year for Wendy Harris, of Team Harris Realty, despite the horrible macro environment for realty businesses.  While many of her peers reacted to the real estate downturn by reducing or eliminating mass-marketing, Wendy moved in the opposite direction with spectacular results.

Wendy recently wrote to share her story: “Thanks to Cumulus radio, I outsold every resale Real Estate agent in Fayetteville and continue to increase my business!”

Wendy took advantage of radio’s unique ability to deeply inform potential clients as part of the mass-reach/high-frequency branding process.  She differentiates her business with a unique listing proposition:  a guarantee to sell the house at a specified price by a specified deadline and backs her guarantee by agreeing to buy the home if she doesn’t hit her goals.  By breaking this concept down into several explanatory radio commercials she quickly communicated this program to anxious sellers.  “The phones started ringing the first week I started.” Read more »