Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Welcome. It’s always a treat to have your eyeballs meet my page. At this writing, much of my city and all the local golf courses lie sleeping under a cold blanket of white snow. Very pretty, but handcuffing for my golf game. Do you like to golf, dear reader? I do, but be assured the players on tour are not losing any sleep with me out there. I just marvel at how they squeeze so much out of every club.

Knowing what club to use depending on distance to the green, the weather, the wind, their position on the scoreboard. Should it be a high lob from 87 yards with a pitching wedge to a pin tucked in the back corner of the green? Or is it a low pitch and run with a seven iron designed to maximize roll a better choice? The reason they’re on Tour and I’m writing is Testing. You might call it practice.

They are out there everyday when no-one sees them.  Driving. Putting. Chipping. Short game. Long drives. From the bunker, from the edge of the water. from a downhill lie. Ball above the feet. Below the feet. Hook it around a tree. Out of the rough.  In sunshine. In wind. In rain. There are no off-days to testing. And all of this testing in all kinds of weather so that when it counts- when they are in the closing holes of a tournament, they know what they can do. They know how each shot will perform and they can trust what each club will do because they’ve been Testing.

One of my favourite golfers is Mr. Mike Weir. A fellow Canadian and a fellow left-handed golfer. He was the toast of the nation when he won The Masters™ Golf tournament in 2003. More recently he has struggled, but his persistence, perseverance, tenacity, and diligence is paying off as he is seeing a slow return to his winning form. Your campaign should be like that too. Always out there attracting clients. Testing what works. Treating failures as learnings. Trying new media. Trying different approaches/shots to see what delivers the best results.

When you see what works best, set that as your benchmark. Then keep trying to top it. Even when Mr. Weir is struggling, his worst game will always be better than my best game. Because he has already established a level of excellence few golfers achieve- winning a Major- and he knows what it took to get there, and he’s working hard to get back there.

Don’t be afraid to experiment in your advertising. Continually testing is how you discover what works best and just like the pros, you know you can count on it when the pressure is on.

Stay tuned.

P.S.  Want to know why your ad campaign is closer to golf than you think? Then you’ll want to join me on the next message.

Monday, December 29, 2014
Hello again and welcome to Media Spikes Checkpoint Number Two. A summary of our second wave of 10 more Media Spikes, together.

#11: Marketing messages are everywhere. Consumers have short memories. Keep marketing all the time. In order to Stand Out, Be OUTSTANDING!

Deliver your message with Impact. Punctuate Your Point

#13: What challenge are you solving for your client? How Can I Help You Today?

#14: There's too much money at stake to rely on 'gut' or a 'hunch'. Test your ads. Remember with Testing there is No Failure- only Results

#15: People love to be communicated to in different ways. When you've tested your ads, and see what's working, use multiple media mixes to be in front of your target  group as regularly as possible.

#16: Television remains among the most dominant and influential media choices available.  It is constantly being reinvented and refreshed, but it still commands mass audiences in a  world filled with niche targets.

#17: A world of communications at our fingertips- Thank You for staying connected with me!

The relentless barrage on our senses with media everywhere makes it a greater challenge to be recognized. When you've found a media- or multiples- which work, stay there constantly until they stop working.

#19: Your headline is carrying the bulk of your ad. If that doesn't attract your candidates, then the best media placement ever is moot if no-one reads the message. Create Stopping Power!

#20: There's a lot of behind the scenes work to make any campaign look easy. If you remember my clients' messages and pictures but don't recognize me, then I've done my job very well.

Once again it continues to be my privilege to be welcomed into your day.
Thank you for your continued interest and support. The Media Spikes will resume their standard delivery pattern. Don't hesitate to send me any media questions. I'll do my best in response. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Oh good, you’ve come back. Nice to see you again. By now you’ve gathered I take my media planning buying and role very seriously. There is a lot of behind the scenes work in creative and production and media planning departments before any campaign makes it to the media. But once it’s out there ‘on the page’ (or other media), then you’ve put all your eggs in that particular basket. Buying the space is the last stop before the campaign reaches the point of no return.

We also recognize that each media is different to different people. And my services, while all in the same portfolio of media planning and buying, are delivered in unique combinations to each client as required. So as our series continues, we will offer up this opportunity for your consideration.

What would you like me to write about?
A particular media challenge?
A brief How To on purchase and placement of ad space?
Where should we advertise?

In our response, we will be as thorough as we’re able and share your question and our answer with all readers. To protect identities, but to ensure I do provide authenticity, your initials and your city will be the only acknowledgement posted as the source of the question.

Sound good? I hope so? Tell me what you’d like written about? How can I help?

Stay tuned.

P.S.  Watch this…when you actually begin to formulate the question and write it down, you will often reveal to yourself the very answer you’re looking for. See for yourself. Ask me a media question. Before it gets to me, I’ll bet you have a clearer idea already about what needs to be done. Self discovery is amazing.

Monday, December 22, 2014
Thank you for coming back. “It was knockout blow. A punch so overwhelming that I didn’t get back on my feet for 14 years. And to deliver a blow like that, they went to a lot of trouble.”

So begins the international best seller Papillon novel, by Henri Charrierre. His account, originally deemed a fantastic autobiography has been challenged for accuracy and more recently is considered a hybrid of his and other inmates experiences making it more a work of fiction. Regardless, it remains a masterpiece. His opening line, like any good ad, was a powerful attention getter.

What was the ‘knockout blow? How hard did you get hit to be knocked out for 14 years? Who are the ‘they’ that delivered such a crushing punch? This is the kind of memorable impact and recognition advertisers would ‘kill for’. They go to great lengths and enormous expense to put a message which delivers a lukewarm response, anemic sales, and fails to build any brand awareness or excitement.

Before you spend a dime with me – I hope you do of course- but long before that, I want you to look at some advertising history:

David Ogilvy: http://www.copyblogger.com/lessons-from-david-ogilvy/

John Caples: http://www.lawrencecreaghan.ca/Archive/JohnCaples.htm

Victor Schwab: http://www.infomarketingblog.com/100-good-advertising-headlines-victor-schwab/

These three links will give you a glimpse into the thinking and strategies used by these three giants of the industry. Their ads are legendary. Their strategies are repeatable. Their results are irrefutable. The headline is carrying the freight of your ad.

Probably as much as 80% of the success of your ad relies on the headline being interesting or provocative enough to get the reader to read the next line, then the next and so on. When the time comes for placing your ads, I will spend your budget very efficiently.  Saving you money, and delivering some tried and true and new media combinations to maximize the visibility of your message. But all my efforts are in vain if your ad fails to get anyone to read it. Or watch it. Or listen to it.

While Mr. Charrierre was not writing an ad when he composed Papillon, he was clearly provoking awareness. Creating interest. Stimulating desire. Initiating action. That powerful opening line was enough to hook me into his 300+ page turner. He got my attention. And the attention of thousands of other readers around the world. Talk about a knockout opening line.

Believe me, no-one has more interest in seeing you invest in advertising space and time than yours truly. But it pains me to create a wonderful media stage of excellent players, platforms and media opportunities to highlight an ad which was not going to raise an eyebrow.

Just because 80% of your budget should go to media placement, I am equally interested in the remaining 20% being used to full creative advantage as well. Please click all of these three links to open a world of powerful ad history that has stood the test of time and will certainly bolster your future communications.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be here after you’ve read them and together we can put your best ads in the best places to be seen and acted on. Here are those links again.

David Ogilvy: http://www.copyblogger.com/lessons-from-david-ogilvy/

John Caples: http://www.lawrencecreaghan.ca/Archive/JohnCaples.htm

Victor Schwab: http://www.infomarketingblog.com/100-good-advertising-headlines-victor-schwab/

Stay tuned.

P.S.  Did you STOP yet?  Way back in article Media Spike #7, we encouraged you to stop advertising if they’re not working. If your ads have no STOPPING POWER, then please, Stop Running Them!
Friday, December 19, 2014
Greetings and salutations,

With appropriate apologies to Mr.’s Paul McCartney and John Lennon, I will borrow from a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album (©-Copyright 1967 The Beatles) track with an abridged title of ‘A Day In The Life…of your Customer’. You want to stand out. Make an IMPACT. Be memorable.  Okay - here’s a snippet of your daily competition where you are trying to get noticed in this message at every turn lifestyle.

Our hero, Andy (insert heroine if you’re so inclined) wakes up to the radio, and an alarm, or song or ad catapults him from the bed to the floor to start the day. Perhaps he flicks on the TV in the bedroom while getting ready for work.  Maybe several ads appear during the weather for the day and the sports highlights. But there’s a daily reminder of branding on his toothpaste tube, on his soap and shampoo too.

If time permits, Andy has a moment for a quick check of his e-mail before leaving the house for work. If Andy’s a public transit guy, he picks up a newspaper or magazine to read on his way to work.  He will doubtless be exposed to ads on the outside and inside of buses and or subway/train halls/walls/corridors. Chances are good he’ll see some TV monitors in the subways and while passing through food courts.

There may also be an ad on Andy’s ticket or bus transfer, not to mention all the signage at every convenience store he passes along the way to the trains. If Andy’s driving today, he will see all the ads on buses, outdoor ads, mobile ads on trucks passing by while he’s listening to the car radio.

Maybe Andy, you’ve got headphones on to listen to the radio station streamed from the lap-top computer while you enjoy the trip in on the local commuter train. We can be certain there is signage for everything from shoe polish to travel agents, to coffee to soda pop as you make your way through the train tunnel or the underground parking garage.

You are greeted by more TV ads as your office elevator has a TV monitor inside.
When you at last get to your desk, you begin to sift your way through multiple newspapers and you barely glance at the belly-band ad on that new magazine.

Just as you exhale, Andy, you are bombarded with 117 e-mail messages and a host of on-line and social media messages that threaten to hold you hostage all day long. Some you can turn off. Some are incessantly in front of you. You take a few minutes at lunch to read the newspaper and when you go for a coffee you read an article on your sports hero (or heroine) in the magazine someone left open in the kitchen.

Maybe you’ve got ten minutes to catch a breath of air and walk around the block and see all the ads in the store windows and on garbage pails, and on taxicabs as they fly by, not to mention the street flyers and coupons being thrust at you. You make a pit stop in the washroom before going back to your desk and there is signage in the bathroom in the stall door or beside the vanity mirror. Returning to your desk you have 14 new e-mail messages, and often many of them are accompanied by an ad.

As you wind down the office day, you reverse the process and see the elevator and parking lot ads again. On the way home, you want to work out the kinks and decide to hit the gym where there are more ads in the change room, on sports bags and water bottles- heck even the sweatband has a logo promoting the manufacturer.  Fresh from the gym and shower Andy decides to pop into the local bookstore for a new book and you thumb through sports or dog magazines looking for a new story and maybe you buy one or two titles.

As you leave the bookstore, you remember you’re solo tonight, and decide to take in the latest George Clooney movie, and you’re dwarfed by all the movie stuff in the lobby, then further held captive by the commercials running on Cinema Screen interspersed with all the new movie trailers.

Two hours and twelve minutes later, you leave the cinema and zip to any fast food chain for a ‘healthy’ burger. (You’ve just worked out after all) and you see all the restaurant signage and it’s written on the bag and the cup for your drink. You then detour a few minutes to the grocery store to pick up a few items for the next day and messages are everywhere. On the door, the floor, the grocery cart, the aisle end displays, the shelf stickers, the divider on the conveyor belt before you pay.

As you at last arrive at home and the remaining strains of car radio music fade away, you find the mail composed of a letter from your sister, a flyer for driveway paving, 2 new restaurants in the neighbourhood, a local accountant, the mechanic, a dry cleaner and a hospital charity lottery, as well as the community newspaper that you’ll ignore until the weekend.

Just when it appears safe to unwind with a drink in front of the TV you’re inundated with a litany of commercials from furniture to pantyhose, and knife deals galore...and somewhere in this continuous swirl of disjointed messaging that is in front of your customer everyday, YOU have to stand out and say – I Am Here.

You might remember that at the end of message Media Spike #11, I noted an insurance company used only two media—at least in my experience- but I remember them because they were there constantly.  This is what you need to do in your media placement. When you’ve tested and tried and measured and know which media are working for you, then stay with them. Build the loyalty, trust, recognition and consumer confidence by always being there.

You don’t need to be in EVERY media. You just need to be in the one(s) which your target group will see regularly and respond to over time.  And you know which ones they are because you’ve been testing them...Haven’t you?

Stay tuned.

P.S. If you intend to be a long term player in your industry, then treat your advertising like an ongoing marathon instead of a sprint. Buyers like surety and confidence bred of ongoing presence and not a flash in the pan- digital or otherwise.

About Me
Dennis Kelly
A professional to his fingertips, Dennis Kelly of First Impressions Media brings a deft touch as your media magician. Extracting incremental media value for you from suppliers is second nature for Dennis. His versatility in all media is bred of 3 decades of hands-on media planning & buying experience in the media trenches. As a steward of your media budget, Dennis excels in delivering smart, efficient, creative and targeted campaigns to showcase your creative to the right audience.

Dennis is the author of “ 9 Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising” and is available to Masthead Reader for $197 through a special offer at this link
Most Recent Blog Comment
Dennis Kelly says:
Thank you Gloria. What a perfectly apropos link. Thank you for sharing that. You are quite correct. ...
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