Thursday, May 28, 2015
Thank you Masthead readers.

Sometimes things go off the rails.
Despite all your efforts, diligence, vigilance and savvy, the unexpected happens.
You’ve had days like that?
Me too. Today in fact.

To my horror, I learned of the Dreaded ERROR 404.

Something went bump in the night, and a valuable link for you was disconnected. No you’re right. It shouldn’t happen. But it did. It’s time to make it up to you.

The connecting link which was to bring you to my Nine Secrets of How to Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition was severed. Broken. Lost. All behind the scenes. Unknown until today.

If you were a victim of Error 404, you have my sincerest regrets for the inconvenience. You are equally the first audience I appeal to with a special offer. You already know this Nine Secrets e-book commands $197. As a Masthead reader it was offered to you for $30 before you completed the series.

In appreciation of your loyalty, and in recognition that June 2015 marks my 20th Anniversary owning First Impressions Media, and as my way atoning for the link hiccup, you are offered a 20th Anniversary discount.

Nine Secrets is available for an unheard of deal of $20. Yes that’s right, only $20 for Nine Secrets which may transform your business, JUST LIKE THAT.

100 Days Of Summer Savings
This is a summer discount of 100 days and will end at midnight, EST, on Friday September 4th, 2015.

The new link for this special offer is: Nine Secrets - 20th Anniversary - 100 Days of Summer - for $20 Deal

Thank you dear Masthead readers for your loyalty. My regrets for any inconvenience you encountered.  I hope you enjoy Nine Secrets and I encourage you to invest in YOU with this Special, One Time Only, 20th Anniversary offer for $20.

The new link again is Nine Secrets - 20th Anniversary - 100 Days of Summer - for $20 Deal

Stay tuned.

Dennis Kelly

Monday, May 25, 2015
Thanks for joining us again. Sit down anywhere-we’re about to get started.

The Revolution is HERE!

Maybe you’ll recall we visited with Chicken Little way back on Media Spike #26 about the explosion of social media channels and how we have to revise our lives around it.

Not too long after that in Media Spike #35, we posed the question if social media is truly the advertising saviour that ‘they’ say it is. The debate continues.

Social media in many of its channels, offer immediacy, engagement, relationship building, one-to-one exchange with interested customers, and can deliver thousands upon thousands of impressions and awareness building without costing a cent.* You can buy based on Cost Per Click. (CPC)  Cool. But if no one clicks, what’s been the value in even creating the creative?  Impressions without action are still no sale (* don’t be fooled about alleged FREE on social media. It still costs you in time to create and or maintain presence there. No charge exposure is nice, but you still paid in other currency to be there).

Some of the most prominent social media platforms include, but are not limited to:

Platform Registered Users Alexa Ranking
FourSquare  20 Million  #817
Facebook 1 Billion  #2
Google+ 500 Million  N/A
LinkedIn 200 Million  #12
Pinterest 70 Million   N/A
Stumble Upon 20 Million  #146
Twitter 93.8 Million #8

Goodness if ever you wanted choice, you can get lost in the buffet of options in social media alone.

Their combined connectivity is staggering with worldwide communication with friends, family, businesses, clients, new clients in the millions every day.

Are they all online? Of course. Are they all buying something? Well the jury I believe remains divided from what I can ascertain.

Several platforms have been diligently working to monetize their platform with mixed or sometimes very dismal returns.

In fairness, some platforms have done exceedingly well by advertisers who have taken the time to learn the nuances specific to each platform.

At this juncture, I would concur with Mr.Joey Ambrose of Joey@GoWebSolutions, in Tucson, Arizona who comments on the merits of Facebook advertising this way from Monday November 4th, 2013:  I think it’s like any platform: You get what you put into it ie: creativity and targeting, and 2. You test, refine, wash and repeat. We’ve had great results with Facebook advertising, but it’s not for every advertiser, and you have to measure it.

How perfect. Even in this Digital Universe, the best way to find out if it’s working is...TEST IT.

How boring is that mantra? Test It.

The media options, paper, airwaves, electrons, are simply the tools we use to distribute the message.

Want to know which one is working best? Test it. (Just like we said way back in Media Spike #14 (about 8 weeks ago now) In testing there is no failure, there is only results.

Online is now among the fastest ways in which to do the necessary trials and testing to see what works.

Can these platforms truly be money producers for you?  Perhaps. But it seems to me at this stage that with social media you have to constantly work hard on your ads, rather than your ads working hard for you.

Stay tuned.

Dennis Kelly

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Welcome once again.

Hope the day has dawned bright and sunny wherever you’re reading this.

In the past 72 hours, I’ve had one client who waffled about the daunting cost of a combined radio & TV campaign at a quarter million dollars, to wanting to champion a new campaign of TV only at more then double this investment.

What is it about television that still seems to trump all other players?

Well let’s take a look at the lure and allure of the iconic ‘boob tube.’

In Media Spike #16, I was asking if you’re a fan of TV, and in Media Spike #21 I was referencing TV as the driver off the tee, to pursue the golf analogy, plus in Media Spike # 26 I spoke to TV’s incubation in 1927 and reaching commercial birth in 1947.

I mention these previous efforts to show that despite the naysayers, television is alive and well and living in your home. You’ll find it in your living room, maybe the media room and then I’ll bet you there is a screen in your bedroom and maybe one for each of the kids too?

Yes it is now on your computer, and handhelds, and tablets and at the cottage, probably on the boat too. Our thirst is unquenchable.

Perhaps moreso than any other media, television has to continually refresh and reinvent itself. Whether you like any of the content on all 132 channels is up to you. But the mere presence of that kind of TV universe (and probably more) is testament to its’ enormous staying power.

Its’ immense footprint as a persuasive platform make it irresistible to many deep pocketed advertisers who reap the benefit of its’ enormous reach.  Such reach and influence comes at a price. A price that many advertisers are prepared to spend to put themselves in front of millions of candidates every day.

Television brings, audio, and video in the same experience. Motion, light, sound, demonstration, bring the world to any and all of the above mentioned rooms that house the aforementioned TV’s. Because it’s in front of us all the time, it’s easy to get complacent about it, but the technology that brings images from around the globe to our eyeballs in fractions of seconds is truly staggering and magic.

It’s hard to not be tempted to be a part of that. I think that’s why this particular project had the client salivating. The prospect of being on television, to a huge pool of candidates (provincial at 5 million plus) was hard to ignore.  The jury is still out on whether this will be the course of action, but the prospect of showing off is enticing.

Showmanship is always exciting when delivered with the necessary panache. Television can do that.
  • Television continues to delivered unmatched mass reach.
  • Despite rumours to the contrary, consumers still spend more time with television each day than they do with any other media.
  • TV continues to be the screen of choice, and is considered the most persuasive and most exciting media to be a part of.
  • It is not an either/or environment, but one of coexistence where TV is the ultimate stand alone media, as well as being a team player supporting any and all other media with targeted, extensive audio and visual muscle.
  • If you’ve wondered about the appeal outside the home-pop in to any sports bar where multiple television screens large and small dominate wall space or on suspended cradles. A panorama of hockey, football, golf, tennis, curling, car racing, baseball, horse racing, boxing, and wrestling compete for attention for hours on end.
  • This entire 57 Media Spikes series could have been devoted to TV and still not have enough space.
  • We have and continue to advocate testing. TV can be an expensive arena to do that. It’s why advertisers in my experience, come to ‘graduate’ to television. Once testing and learning has been done on a small scale, then the successes can be rolled out to bigger and wider audiences, confident they have a greater chance of success. Television sends a message to your prospects that you are successful and serious, and worth paying attention to.
  • The greatest challenge for most advertisers is the cost of TV advertising. As scary expensive as it is – you’ll remember my reference to one spot was whopping $77,500, in Media Spike #16, television continues to be among the most efficient media available.  Not unlike most media, you have to shop and negotiate for the best value, but dollar for dollar, you’ll get excellent value for your TV dollar.
  • Make your TV ad work very hard for you.
  • Buy the airtime smartly. The better you can target your audience by age, gender, geography, income, education etc., the better your programming selection can be, the more targeted your buy, the better the efficiency, the more mileage you get from your budget (Coming back to The Spike of Angels Media Briefing Template that got you started).
  • Select or recommend the type of programming you’d like to be associated with (IE: More comedy and drama and less reality TV, more sports and less news, more afternoon talk shows and less sports, only the dinner window of 4.30pm to 6.30pm, and after 11pm).
  • You will in all likelihood, need a variety of programming to reach your audience. But I’ve found using a few well chosen anchors of programming in a schedule makes for more memorability than being everywhere for the sake of it.
  • Don’t dismiss cable TV programming as it delivers enormous penetration and can often improve your efficiencies by consistent performance.  As Tom Cruise voices in ‘The Firm’ about mail fraud: ‘It’s not sexy, but it’s got teeth.’ Cable may not have glamour written all over it, but it works.
  • Keep your expectations in check with real, measurable, objectives. This is true of all media, but especially TV. The expense devoted to it means we expect instant sales and salvation.
  • As I expressed in our very first meeting of Media Spike #1, Don’t ever give away a time at bat.
  • TV means you’re ‘On Stage’ performing. Don’t miss this chance to shine.

Stay tuned.

Dennis Kelly

P.S.: If you’re inclined for more detail on many aspects of television, the Television Bureau of Canada is an invaluable resource to draw on. You can reach them here.

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Welcome. Does this sound familiar?

Late night radio/Take It everywhere I go/ My best friend when I’m lonely/ Is my late night radio!

This stanza, from the late musician, John Denver, speaks volumes about the power, the portability, the intimacy and the friendship that radio delivers. One reader expressed to me that not only is it my commuter companion, it delivers the songs that connect me to the past and present. So let’s take today to talk about radio.

Not tactile like the magazine readership experience, but no less intrusive as an audio experience.

Among the best sales pitches to me, (as a buyer I get a lot of them) came several years ago when the seller said please remember, on the radio, I don’t have to see your product to sell it.

The power of imagination by your listeners will paint the necessary backdrop. You may remember, that a little more than eight weeks ago, at the end of Media Spike #9, we spoke of Theatre of the Mind. That is the sticking point for all audio messages. The skill of the writer, without benefit of visual or written assistance, must establish the setting quickly, engage your attention, and deliver the message such that you remember it and act on it, long after the spot is done.

One writer (Paul Suggett) likened it to an Unlimited Special-Effects Budget. You can create any setting you want. The listener does all the work creating the scene in their own mind. You don’t need a host of visual clues and sets and action- the listener is doing all that from the words of your commercial.

And if you can make it humourous, that will be even better.

Thousand of comedians made their mark on radio through the years, long before TV, and the Internet. That capacity to entertain and create scenarios was not lost on smart advertisers who used this power of imagination to educate, inform and entertain audiences. These audiences were much more inclined to purchase from the advertisers who delivered this kind of experience.

I will ask you to please be careful of the potential distraction of sound effects in your ad. More than once I’ve pulled to the right hand side of the road to let an emergency vehicle pass, only to be angered it was siren used as a sound effect in a radio ad. Engage your listeners- do not enrage them.

If you’ve ever wrestled with using radio as a component to your media mix, we offer these guideposts:

  • Radio Builds Top of Mind Awareness – Delivering high, affordable frequency to your audience.
  • Radio is extremely portable-Considered the anytime anywhere media, radio is with them while they are doing something else.
  • Radio targets: By Station format
                          By Lifestyle
                          By Time of Day
                          By Environment
                          By Market or geography
  • Radio is a powerful stand alone media and a perfect team player with other media in your mix.
  • Radio is consistent all year round.
  • Radio is often the lifeline of your community, and THE source of local news, weather, traffic, school closings, special events.
  • Radio is My Audio Newspaper (thank you Pat G. for that excellent description)
  • For those of you wondering- yes radio and the Internet can co-exist. Indeed nearly one third of Canadian adults report they have the radio on while they are on-line. And, that Radio ads have often driven them to the advertisers website.
  • For those who are dollar conscious: Radio delivers more audience for the same budget than most, if not all other media.
  • Lastly, for now, the radio is often the last messaging opportunity before listeners leave the car for a shopping experience. The closer you can have the message to the cash register, the greater the chance of influencing the purchase.

So What Can You Do To Improve Radio In Your Campaign?
  • Take the time to get as clear as possible on your target group. (and NO- not everybody with a Credit Card)
  • Their geography, age, gender, income, education, hobbies, marital status, children in household etc.
  • As well as you’re able—and this should be easy in your local city—LISTEN to all of the radio stations. Not just YOUR favourite, but all the stations to gain a feel for their flavour, style, format, personalities.This will help you from a comfort level where your message should be delivered and how it should be constructed to reflect the profile of the listeners of that station. Your tonality should be adjusted to fit the station to gain greater acceptance by the listener, and not be a jarring tune out.
  • Contact several radio stations, and tell them your objectives. Who are you trying to reach?
  • What you want to happen as a result of airing the ads?
    Do you want them to:
                Visit your store or website to make a purchase?
                Raise awareness of your service?
                Drive them to an upcoming event?
                Rally behind a candidate?
  • Have them present a proposal to you, which gives you a reach plan presence across the station. When you’re ready, look to see if there is a sponsorship opportunity. Above all, do not commit to a long-term schedule until you’ve seen how your campaign is performing.
  • Please compose your ad so that you can track it’s performance. Some identifier that tells you any response could only be attributable to that ad. This will pay off in spades later in this campaign and others in the future.
  • When radio is utilized properly, it can provide an impressive Return on Investment for the advertiser.
  • Money: How much are you prepared to spend to win a new customer? Not just how much are you prepared to lose if this campaign doesn’t work. But how much are you ready to invest in your marketing to get a lifetime customer. (That’s a grander question for all marketing.) So- genuinely- how much are you prepared to invest in the next radio campaign?  Don’t spread yourself too thin starting out.  Pick one station- maybe two, and test your ads with a call to action and see where you best responses come from. And keep testing with other stations until you get the one(s) that provide the best results for you.  It’s time and money well spent.
  • Radio allows you to stay Top Of Mind by going in through the ears.

Stay tuned,

Dennis Kelly

P.S. Radio has been with the globe for over a century. Broadcasting triumph and tragedy, from the Beatles to Beyonce, from the car to the garden, it is ubiquitous.

While there is no end to the possibilities and the styling of how to use radio, we thought you might like access to the former Radio Marketing Bureau’s contributions. The bureau is no longer active, but the site remains as a wonderful reference tool:

In addition, you will find our Ten Part Series on Radio with a click here.

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.

Monday, May 11, 2015
Welcome. Hoping it’s a great day whenever you’re reading this.

So what’s the best choice?
Excuse me?

Dennis with all these media options that have been swirling these past ten weeks or so, there MUST be a best in all that.

Earlier in my career, I may have jumped at that to say you MUST use, blah blah blah blah, or else the campaign won’t be effective.

The ever changing landscape means that all these providers have their place.
They all work to varying degrees. Sometimes spectacularly well. Other times dismal failures.

This is why I come back to our earlier mantra of Testing. And Testing. And Learning. And Testing. Some will call it practice. Others regard it as ongoing vigilance of a client’s (or their own) budget.

Keep trying, to see what’s working. When it works, keep trying to improve it. When it’s working to your satisfaction, put your media muscle behind it.

Yeah yeah Dennis. Wonderfully philosophical and poetic, but what’s the best one for me?

The answer to that is kinda why I get paid. To discover what’s working and to make it work harder.

As for which media is best. All of them. None of them. I am convinced the best campaigns are those which use the strengths of multiple media to be in front of their candidate audiences as efficiently and effectively as possible. That combination will be unique to each advertiser and as aggressive or modest as their budgets and nerves allow.

Our closing spikes in this series will speak to strengths and limitations of several media, and my thoughts on how to best use them. Today we’ll start with magazines.

  • Magazines command the readers’ attention. The reader is much more likely to be engaged with their magazine(s) of choice without the distraction of other media.
  • Magazine advertising gives you the opportunity for more persuasive storytelling and detail and a deeper connection with the reader.
  • The multitude of magazines appealing to specific niches allow your messaging to be very targeted and focused on specific interests of your audience.
  • You can customize your ad from issue to issue, or magazine to magazine to test content, and measure response to different appeals.
  • Magazines are a trusted friend you invite into your world on your time. And you can go back to it multiple times after only one purchase, and refer to it as long as you like.
  • Multiple studies have confirmed that increased magazine advertising in the media mix will improve the overall ROI (Return on Investment) across a diverse range of product categories.
  • Face it- Magazine advertising sells. Magazines are often cited as the key driver in the purchase cycle, providing the stimulus for readers to act on the ads they see.
The more specific the niche, the more the readers are self-qualifying. You won’t buy or subscribe to Golf Digest for example, unless you’re an avid golfer. If you’re selling to the gold industry, it’s perfect targeting and an efficient use of as dollars with minimal wastage.

Magazines offer a tactile experience which no other media offers. Even reading them ‘online’ while efficient, is unlike turning the pages of a crisp, colourful entrancing magazine filled with glittering editorial and robust photography.

So when you’re ready to use magazines, please remember:

  • Colour ads always enjoy better readership (and we expect memorability), than black & white ads.
  • Larger ads enjoy better readership than smaller ads. Try to use a full page as well as your budget will allow.
  • If you can get them without paying a premium, choose a cover position. Or negotiate for it. ie:  In the next year, we will bring a schedule of six, full page 4 colour magazine ads to your magazine. During the course of that schedule, we’d like a minimum of two of these to be cover positions at the regular page rate.
  • Use good creative. Keep testing to find what works. The long-term impact can’t be overstated as you are creating your image, and want to be seen to be as someone your customers would like to be seen with.
  • Always negotiate for best rates. Don’t go in with all guns blazing, but if you’re prepared to be in multiple editions of a magazine, they should come back to you with an attractive rate and or other value added opportunities.
    Ie: Bonus distribution of the magazine at a trade show you are
    part of.
    A complimentary Reader Reply Card
    Be part of the magazines measurement study (Starch)
    Perhaps complimentary distrbution of your literature to their
    database via e-mail/mailing/newsletter
  • BE MEMORABLE – Goodness, you’ve paid a LOT of good money to get in front of these people. Don’t be lost at the turn of a page. Magazines deliver STOPPING POWER. Use it.

Stay tuned.

Dennis Kelly

P.S. Nothing thrills me like a good story. It all starts with the letters. You will find a library of stories and information at Magazines Canada.

If you did not get a chance to take a peek earlier, here’s the link again to my magazine commentary available on my website.

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition is not for everyone. It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.

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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