Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Welcome Back.

Hope you’re having a great day today. Are you one in a million? Perhaps one in 100,000? Maybe sneaking in there at one in 3,000? The hardest part of making yourself memorable is finding a way to STAND OUT. In a sea of daily messages, it has been estimated we are exposed to upwards of 3,000 advertising and marketing messages each day. That will be enormously inflated or woefully inadequate, depending on whom you consult.

Even erring very conservatively to say we are exposed to only 10% of that, that’s still 300 messages daily. Starting with the packaging from your soap and toothpaste providers each morning, to your coffee, juice, cereal sources, plus the pitches from radio and TV in the morning as well as e-mail and spam messages. Lets not forget the images you see on your way to work, on the train or bus, on other vehicles, on fixed signage outside, on ads in the newspaper your busmate is reading, and when you go through your entire day- in and out of the office, to school, the health club, and the grocery store.

Of course there’s the prospect of further ads at the movie theatre, the golf course, the restaurant, the gas station, the convenience store, the parking garage, there is an endless barrage of sales messages you absorb every day. Do you remember any of them? Could you recollect five of them for me now? Go ahead- take a minute. It’s just between us. Let me see…did you see an ad for:

Fresh bagels?
Shoe repair?
Fresh breath?
Fast food?
Financial service?

Give yourself a point for each category you remember. Now double the points if you can remember even three of the brand names you saw. We are a forgetful group? Phone number of your first employer when you had a part-time job in high school. No sweat: 555-735-7282. Dennis – what’d you have for lunch today?...Ummmm?

This is what advertisers thrive on. We need to have constant repetition of the message until it becomes part of our subconscious. So how often is enough? The answer to that alone could make one very wealthy. A new brand needs a lot more exposure to get started and build up some profile and equity for the long term.  More established brands have already paid their dues. While they are constantly refining themselves to stay relevant and fresh. Today they enjoy the residual of decades of advertising history which make them household names even today. It’s been expressed in various circles that a 3 to 5 times frequency during a campaign is a good barometer to work towards as far as establishing some breakthrough and recognition.

Conversely it’s been noted it can take 6 to 8 points of contact- ad, e-mail, phone call, newsletter, etc. before people respond to you. Perhaps the optimal is to keep marketing all the time. Maybe not always at the same intensity, unless your wallet can handle this. But continually have some presence out there. You will grow tired of your messaging before your audience does. If they see you in multiple places, over a longer period of time, you will earn their trust and confidence.

As that exposure delivers more awareness and sales, you’ll be better able to keep up the marketing efforts. As we’ve expressed to date, we are trying to build long-term customer relationships. If we make an initial sale, that’s great. But we are striving to compete head-on with potentially multiple thousands of other messages every day.

To paraphrase legendary Roy Williams: Despite your best efforts, you can’t predict the moment any client will purchase any product or service you provide. But you must provide an ongoing stream of service samples and education so that when your client needs your product or service, you’re the one they think of.

In order to make yourself stand out, BE OUTSTANDING.

Stay tuned.

P.S. One of the overlooked benefits of long-term exposure is how it seamlessly becomes part of the fabric and pattern of our daily lives.

When I was a younger- and thinner man- one prominent insurance company used two forms of advertising that I knew of. I heard them on the radio as a regular feature sponsor, and they used exterior rear bus cards. That’s IT. But they were ALWAYS there. For more years than I care to remember. But that consistency made them memorable for me more than 4 decades later.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Hope it’s a great day. Thanks for coming along. Believe me, I didn’t forget you. We’ve only known each other a little while now, but I wouldn’t forget you. In a recent message, we advised there is a century old benchmark for advertising. More than 100 years later, this definition is masterful in its brevity and has never been improved upon. Quite simply: Advertising is Salesmanship in Print. That line is attributed to John E. Kennedy in 1904. He joined Albert Lasker’s, Lord & Thomas advertising agency in Chicago and went on to enjoy some grand success as a copywriter. Not surprising that it took a copywriter to distill it to its very essence.

It seems the faster and faster communication has evolved to be, the less and less we communicate. You have to learn to like living by initials apparently, as no-one has time for full words these days. Yes I get we’re all in a hurry- where we are all rushing to I’m not sure, but we are racing there at blinding speed. Only to arrive and then jump on the next hover-board or jet pack and be whisked to another dimension where we have an even bigger in-tray to wade through. In the face of all this, isn’t it refreshing to read.  Multiple lines. Full sentences which articulate a thought or a sports story or the news across the country.  A century ago, the speed of life was as fast as a railway train, and newspapers were a learned man’s bible.

There is a perception running rampant that newspapers are on the endangered species. A fear which if left unchecked will certainly hasten its’ demise. However, in spite of increased competition from broadcast media, and the omnipresent world of online, newspapers continue to enjoy a loyal readership and trustworthiness with the reader. At this writing, there are 122 daily newspapers published in Canada. Fully 77% of them paid circulation, the balance are free distribution. Our appetite for the written word is insatiable.  Although many papers have a sister version via on-line, or they mirror their print edition with an electronic one on their website, the printed edition continues to be the most popular way to enjoy the newspaper.

Today, more than a century later, the train can’t match the speed of e-mail, nor be as trend setting as a carbon-fibre bicycle, or the next self-propelled invention, but even if your train ride is only a commute to the office, it’s a great place to read the newspaper isn’t it? So what did Mr. Kennedy teach us in this iconic phrase of 100+ years ago? Quite simply, I believe, that our salesmanship, in any and all media, is how we weave 26 letters to create compelling stories to touch one another’s hearts. The words we use to persuade another to take a particular course of action, including purchasing our product, are at the core of every message. Do I want you to use different media combinations? Absolutely. But the media is only the carrier of your message. The message has to be leading the charge. Your media mix will increase your chances of being seen. How you weave the alphabet will be the trigger for action. 

Stay tuned.

P.S. Closing with a nostalgic sales pitch: Read All About It!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Greetings once again. So glad you could join us for a few minutes. You might remember yesterday, we were having a great discussion with Peter.
He was asking what it meant to purchase a radio sponsorship. What it means, Peter, is you are making a purchase to be specifically aligned to a particular report so that listeners get to know you as the one always associated with that feature. To make it worthwhile for both the advertiser and the station, these are usually 13 week features.

Ideally you want a feature that ties into your product or service if available:
Ie: Today’s Ski Report is brought to you by Razor’s Edge Ski Wax*
This Traffic Report is brought to you by See Your Way Clear Windshield Wipers*
This Daily Business Report is brought to you by Retirement Mutual Funds•
(* all fictitious names. Any similarity to actual products is purely coincidental)

It doesn’t have to be an exact match, but it makes a great affiliation and name recall if the ad and the report are closely aligned.

So, Peter asked, is this all I need? Just one sponsorship and don’t do anything else?

Interesting question.  If funds are limited, a sponsorship is an excellent way to target a very specific audience-your audience-and make sure you maximize your exposure to them. Even if you have more than enough funds, a sponsorship is an excellent way to be in front of your audience on a regular basis. If I have the opportunity, certainly I’d add more radio time and more media to my buy. But this can be an excellent starting point and anchor for any campaign. Just know that within Radio and all media, there are multiple layers of choices for where and how to invest those ad dollars. Until we revisit this, you can also take a peek at our Radiowaves PDF found here. This will offer you some additional ammunition as you’re planning.

Stay tuned.

P.S: The Power of Theatre Of The Mind Radio: Some readers may remember ‘The Lone Ranger,’ a very popular TV series which ran in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. It was also recently a feature film which had limited success. But before movies and TV, The Lone Ranger was an immensely popular radio series which started in 1933, and aired over 2,900 radio episodes. And no-one could see him, but everyone knew exactly what he looked like.  The Power of Radio is as visual as your imagination.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Thanks for taking the time to join me. Not too long ago I heard a familiar statement from one client who said they’d like to start advertising again. I replied with customary – WONDERFUL!! enthusiasm and began asking a few questions.

Well that’s exciting Peter, have you thought about which media you’d like to use?

Without missing a beat, Peter said, ‘Absolutely, we’re going to use Radio!’

An excellent choice I countered, how are you going to use it?

This prompted the first of a series of quizzical looks?

What do you mean, how?  We’re going to be on radio.

Yes, and that’s exciting but HOW do you intend to use it?

A blank stare met this second question.

Okay Peter, here’s what I mean. Radio is deemed both the physical unit which delivers the sound via airwaves, as well as the media which communicates with no visual experience. Because each of us experiences radio through the listening to our own tastes, time, and location, radio has become a very personal experience. Unlike Television, where viewers are program loyal, radio listeners are station loyal and tend to keep it fixed on one dial position for the majority of their tuning day. What we want to do in our radio advertising is find the best station or stations that our target group is listening to. Put our message in their ears on an ongoing basis, in a format that is appealing and relevant to them.

Peter was non-plussed so far. But Dennis you told me that Radio reaches over 90% of Adult listeners every week. What difference would it make, as long as we’re on ‘Radio’? Peter does raise a valid point. Nearly every forum of advertising is good and it will help get your name and message out there. But the important part of putting that sparkling message out there is making sure it reaches the people who count, and you’re not just counting the people you reach. The way you reach them is the How, I was asking about. 

Let’s just take our home base to start with Peter. We are in a prominent city in Canada. We have, in our city alone, twenty-one (21) radio stations at this writing. Each of them with a different mix of music, personalities, information, sports, talk, weather, language, and everyone of them looking for your advertising dollars. In each of those stations, the audience composition will vary depending on gender, age, education, musical tastes, affection for the radio personalities at each daypart, and the location (home/drive/office/patio/other) of the listener.

Peter was starting to shift his weight, that kind of glazed over look was forming? Wait a minute. Are you saying that all of this happens on each station!?!

Yes Peter. That’s it exactly. In addition, when radio airtime is sold, it can typically be sold as a 60 second commercial, or 30 second commercial and there are options for using a 15 second spot now as well. These are often sold in timeblocks or ‘daypart’ segments best known as:

• Breakfast: 5.30am – 10.00am
• Day: 10.00am – 3.00pm
• Drive: 3.00pm – 8.00pm
• Evening: 8.00pm-1.00am

There are sometimes minor variations from market to market and station to station, but in the majority, these are the segments you are purchasing. You might already know, Peter, these are typically sold as a Reach Plan meaning you purchase an equal number of spots in each of the dayparts.  For example, it can be a 16, 20, 24, 28, 32 spot weekly reach plan. Meaning that each of our 4 dayparts would air 4 , 5, 6, 7, or 8 spots per week. This gives you a balanced rotation of commercials to stay with your listeners all day. It also means that deeper pocketed advertisers don’t swoop all the ‘Breakfast’ period spots and leave the rest of the day to other advertisers.

So, Peter asked, if I only wanted say 20 Breakfast spots per week, I couldn’t do it?

Well, depending on the stations’ available inventory, you might be able to, but it commands such a high rate premium to isolate just one daypart that it’s often not advantageous to do this. You pay a very high price to reach the same audience, and only those listeners, multiple times. It’s a smarter strategy to extend the reach using multiple dayparts, AND if budget allows, to use multiple radio stations.

Does this mean I have to buy reach plans?

Not at all. There are opportunities for you to buy just a specific daypart, but higher premiums may deter you. Some stations will allow you to go a bit heavier on some dayparts where it’s more relevant for you. Ie: Move a spot or two from each of Day and Evening into Drive daypart if you offer say ‘Take Out Food’ and want to reach the crowd going home after work. One strategy we’ve used to great effect, and it’s easy to do, is to buy a sponsorship package.

What does that mean, posed Peter?

It means Peter, it’s time to exhale for today and continue this discussion tomorrow. See you then.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Welcome along. Is your advertising working as hard as you are? Genuinely? Is it? Is it stimulating awareness? Provoking trial by purchase? Inciting repeat purchases by more and more customers? If it is, break out the champagne and celebrate. That’s fabulous. If it’s not doing any of those things-then STOP. Right now. STOP your campaign dead in its tracks. The whole intent of your advertising is to generate sales. Sometimes that’s an immediate lift in response as measured at the cash register.

Sometimes it’s a measurable call to action to visit a website and get a coupon, a free report, or to place a phone call for more information.
Sadly most advertising fails to leave a mark. Worse, it fails to make a sale. Even enough sales to justify the cost of the ad process from concept to placement. So if you can look at your ads right now, and they’re not working- then stop them, NOW!!

Some years back I had a very prominent specialized financial lender as a client who used business newspapers, and a few magazines very smartly.
His audience was well targeted. His ads were well written. An engaging testimonial style with an inviting headline for each of them. Beneath their logo they placed a 1-800 Number for anyone to call in. They did this for two years and enjoyed great response by all accounts.

One fateful year, they asked about the relevance of the 1-800 Number. I suggested customizing it a bit more by adding a specific ‘Extension’ number in the ad. Or to ask for a certain person whose name appeared in the ad. This way it could be accurately measured and tracked which ads were working and which inquiries were coming from which papers in each market. This was dismissed as being unnecessary as they ‘had a pretty good idea’ where the replies were coming from even though they couldn’t measure it.

I don’t know about you dear reader, but when I’m spending $100,000 on a campaign, I WANT TO KNOW where my replies are coming from, not just a pretty good idea!

Which ads are working?.
How are they working?.
Are we getting a better response from ad A or B or C ?.
This is the underpinning to all future successes.
TEST your ads. Track what’s working or not.

It strikes me that too many advertisers are worried about the cosmetics of the ad and less about the return it can deliver. The role of your advertising is to make sales.

You don’t have to take my word for it.

There is a century old benchmark of what advertising is, but that’s for another day.

For today, concentrate on stopping your advertising that’s ineffective, dull, boring, and not driving any business. That first step to stop will be a pivotal moment for you and your future success. You’ve worked hard to get this far. Don’t let your advertising let you down.

Stay tuned.

P.S. Recently someone posed the question of why I advocate TESTING. Heck let’s just put all our media muscle behind the campaign and run with it. Hmmm? Trouble is, without knowing if it’s working, you can run the campaign off an expensive cliff and suffer a very pricey fail.  

Here’s a favourite analogy for you: You don’t need to eat a whole bowl of soup to discover if it’s too salty. One or two spoonfuls should tell you. Treat your campaign the same way.

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
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Thank you Gloria. What a perfectly apropos link. Thank you for sharing that. You are quite correct. ...
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