|(This article was written at the request of Wealth
Builder Magazine. I've left in my notes to the editor as they supply extra
Tom often complains that he spends too much money on marketing and doesnt see any results. I bought some radio ads and got a few calls, he tells me. A few weeks later I put an ad in the newspaper for a couple of days. Then I got a call from a guy doing a big flyer campaign and thought Id go with that for a week or two. Not much came from any of it.
Tom is right. Hes spending a lot of money on a fair amount of marketing. Its also not surprising that hes getting poor results. In this world where prospective customers are being hit by marketing messages from all angles at every moment of every day, Tom will have to get his marketing effort organized and integrated before he sees real results.
<Main message.> If you are using more than one method of marketing your business (and Ill show you why you should), your marketing must be coordinated. Your ads, commercials, telemarketing, fax-on-demand--even your cold calls--need to be integrated in a way that creates a unified media team working to build your future.
Only when your marketing efforts are integrated will they pack enough punch to break through all the marketing clutter that is keeping future customers from paying close attention to your marketing message.
<The marketing challenge.> Marketings biggest problem is that there is so much of it. When your prospect gets up in the morning, she is assaulted with marketing even before she opens her eyes. The clock radio goes off to the sound of the morning DJ reading a commercial for a carpet cleaner. As she makes the morning coffee, her child pours cereal from a box with an ad on the back. Her eyes pass over the inserts that have spilled from the morning paper. An early telemarketer calls to see if she is interested in a water softener. As she opens the front door to leave for work, she removes a flyer advertising yard work that has been taped to the door.
Your prospective customers are inundated with marketing. During a single day, hundreds of marketing messages vie for their attention. You have to break through the clutter and get the prospects attention. With all the big-money advertisers hawking products and services, how is a home-based person with a limited marketing budget going to get noticed?
<The solution.>The keys to success are planning. Its also important to understanding how different forms of media work best. Newspaper ads reach a different audience, and in a different way, than radio commercials or direct mail. By taking a close look at the prospects you are trying to reach and matching them up with the kinds of media that will reach them, you make the necessary first step in creating a powerful and integrated marketing campaign.
I like to divide media up into two groups--mega-media and mini-media. As a home-based entrepreneur, you are wise to consider both.
Mega-media are the big boys, often expensive (but not always!) and capable of reaching a huge number of your prospects. They are newspapers, television, radio, billboards, direct mail, and magazines. They key to using mega-media is to know exactly which members of the public each one is aimed at reaching.
<Understanding media.>Television tends to reach a mass audience made up of an extremely wide range of ages and lifestyles. Dont put your money into TV advertising unless you have a mass appeal product or service, something that virtually every kind of person will have a need for. TV works well for cars, clothing, food, and things that need to be seen to be believed.
Radio, on the other hand, is highly targeted to very specific audiences. Radio can reach a large number of carefully chosen prospects at cheap and efficient rates. But dont make the common mistake of trying to cram lots of detailed information into a radio spot.
Listeners are on the go. They have no time for lots of details. They want a crisp, short, to-the-point idea of what you are selling and the benefits they will get from it.
Newspapers are especially good at reaching home owners and community and business leaders. A photo may be just whats needed to create a firm impression in the prospects mind.
Billboards must be very simple and communicate your message in a single glance. Notice how many companies put up billboards with several lines of detailed information on them. Have you ever been able to read all of it while speeding by at 65 mph? Like television, billboards reach everyone, from seniors to children sitting in the back seat.
Magazines are the most closely targeted of the big media. While radio may focus on a specific age-group, a magazine can interest a particular lifestyle, profession, industry or interest. A magazine or trade publication can land in the lap of a very specific interested prospect.
Gina wants her marketing--advertising her home-based information search service--to reach only hospital administrators and the managers of law firms. Special interest magazines and trade publications geared to those particular kinds of people in those industries would be an excellent way to do it.
Direct mail is very good at picking out certain kinds of people who form your top prospects. Mailing lists can be collected or rented. They may supply the names and addresses of only people who clean their pool twice a year, or bought a hat last month, or need health care for a six month-old child. On the other side of the coin, direct mail costs a lot (the rising price of postage) and it generally gets a return rate of only one or two percent. Direct mail pays best when you use it in a big or highly targeted way.
<Cheap, effective mini-media.> Its a shame that so many advertising pros dont understand the power of mini-media. Inexpensive marketing tools like flyers, brochures, telephone marketing, and classified ads are effective and the stock-in-trade of many home-based businesses.
Dont feel that you have to advertise on expensive big media to get marketing results. Often times the best gain can come from a carefully targeted and consistent mini-media campaign. Historians remind us that Julius Caesar conquered Rome by putting his picture on coins. That was mini-media marketing at its purest!
[Note to editor: this section could be used in a side bar.]
<Ideas for effective mini-media.>
Telephone marketing. Do-it-yourself. Be polite. Have an interesting offer. Go for the sale. People may ignore your television spots, turn past your newspaper ads, not see your billboard--but very few will ignore their ringing phone! If you reach an answering machine or receptionist, leave a compelling message that will make the prospect want to call you back. Keep notes on who you talked to and what you talked to them about.
When Mr. Smith calls you back, quickly check your notes to remember who he is and why you were calling him.
Brochures and circulars. Hand them to everybody. Put them in envelopes and mail them to prospects and people who have shown interest in you in the past. Many home-based trade services get big results by putting flyers on doors in neighborhoods and business districts rich with prospects. Be sure to follow local laws and customs so that you dont litter or offend. Keep your brochures and circulars simple and informative. Have a main theme. Talk about the ways your product or service will improve the prospects life.
People are motivated by benefits, not features.
Classified ads. Flip through the classifieds in a paper near you. Some of those advertisers have been running the same ads for years--because they work. Study ads that get your attention and stand out from the others. Also take particular notice of classifieds that give you the urge to spend money. The president of CBS radio once told me, Get rich and famous by copying other peoples good ideas. Good advice.
<Now lets integrate!> Once you have a clear understanding of how different media work, youre ready to put together a powerful integrated marketing plan. Each type of media has something that it does well. Television can show how a product is used. Radio and magazines are able to target very specific audiences.
By integrating your marketing, you take advantage of the strengths of several kinds of media. Newspaper ads and direct mail can familiarize prospects with your look, logo, and visual personality. Radio, which builds success with repetition, can drive home the key benefits that your company provides in a way prospects will remember.
You can also set things up so that your advertising in one media reinforces your advertising in another. Your door-to-door flyer campaign may follow right on the heels of your classified ads, radio commercials, or home-grown telemarketing. Prospects get your message many times in several different ways. When one type of advertising makes a partial impression, another type will complete the prospects understanding of what you do.
Repetition is what makes marketing get results. Heres why. Prospects go through several mental steps before they decide to buy your product or service. Your marketing must guide them through each step before they will buy what you are selling. Remember the mental steps of marketing with the abbreviation A.I.D.A. It stands for Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.
<Steps in the integrated marketing plan.>
First your marketing must get the prospects Attention. Different people, interest groups, and lifestyles pay attention to different media. By integrating your marketing approach, you have a much better chance of getting your message noticed.
Next, you spark the prospects Interest. The best way to do this--and some say the ONLY way--is to clearly communicate to the prospect what BENEFITS she will get when she buys from you. We are all concerned first and foremost with the quality of our own lives. The best way to grab a prospects interest is to tell him how you will make his life better--in very clear and easily understood terms.
Your integrated marketing plan gives you the chance to communicate your companys benefits in the ways that the prospect will understand best. Newspapers and brochures can give the prospective buyer all the logical details she needs to understandyour benefits. Radio commercials are good at creating the happy, carefree, or relieved feeling that a prospect will feel after buying from you. All these things work to spark your prospects interest.
In the third step of marketing, your prospect makes a Decision to buy from you. This decision is, of course, based on the information you provided him when you were grabbing his interest. It may also be based on additional information that he wants when he becomes seriously interested. Its often the case that a seriously interested prospect, the one most likely to buy from you, is the person that wants all the information you can provide her.
This is where many home-based entrepreneurs take advantage of fax on demand, automatic mailbots on the Internet, one-sheets packed with details on various aspects of the product or service, and mini-seminars recorded on an answering machine. Your classified ad, flyer, or radio commercial that works well to get the prospects attention can direct seriously interested prospects to another more detail oriented member of your integrated marketing plan. By using each type of media to do what it does best, your integrated marketing plan squeezes maximum efficiency from each media you use.
In the last step of the marketing equation, the prospect buys from you. This is the most important step, and the goal of all marketing. Your marketing should make it easy for the prospect to buy. Tell him to buy. Tell him how to buy. Tell him where to buy. And, importantly, tell him ways that he can pay. In survey after survey, when prospects are asked why they didnt buy, the answer comes back, No one asked me to. Have your marketing ask for the sale.
<Tips for integrating your marketing.>
The main goal of marketing is to make your company familiar in the minds of prospects. You do this by taking a few key elements and repeating them over and over again in your advertising. This is most often done in two ways--through a visual design that is used on all visual marketing, and through one or two key themes that are repeated in print copy and in the voice tracks of radio and TV spots.
Here are some easy and powerful tips for creating unity in your integrated marketing plan.
* Create a logo for your company, product, or service. This logo should be very clear. Nothing throws off prospects like a logo thats hard to figure out. It should clearlycommunicate who your company is, what it does, and maybe a clue as to the style of your company (For example: is it steady and conservative, or wild and innovative?).
Its easy to create a professional logo by using clip art. There are many excellent clip art packages on CD ROM available in software stores and larger book stores. Better photo copy shops can also provide you with clip art arranged into a nice logo. Many of these shops have a graphic artist on the staff who specializes in logo creation and is good at using graphics computer programs.
* Come up with a theme that concisely communicates the main feature and benefit that your company provides. Is your biggest selling point your price, or that you save time for clients, or that you make their lives more secure? Put that key point right up front in a short, clear statement. Use that statement over and over again. Prominently display it in your advertising. If the prospect remembers little else about you, make sure they remember your key theme. Include your primary theme in all your marketing: ads, commercials, brochures, telemarketing, cold calls--everything!
Using a main theme over and over again not only drives home your message with valuable repetition, it also ties together marketing in different media. People are muchmore likely to remember that your direct mail letter is from the same company that theyve seen in yellow pages ads if there is a familiar main theme that they recognize from before.
* Use the key elements from one ad or commercial in other ads and commercials. If you have TV or cable commercials, use the sound track from those spots in your radio ads. Use a photo taken on the set of your TV commercial for your newspaper ads.
Reprint this photo, along with some of the dialog from you commercial, in your brochures and one-sheets.
Finally, the immense power of integrated media marketing lies in its ability to reach prospects in different and highly effective ways. Integrated marketing gives you the opportunity to tailor your message to people who pay attention and learn in different ways.
If someone learns best by listening, you reach them. If a prospect is best convinced by lots of details in print, you reach them. If a potential buyer is most comfortable by having a representative call them at home, your integrated marketing plan has that angle covered, too. Integrated marketing also provides you with the ability to repeat, repeat, repeat your message--the key to effective marketing. By integrating, you inform and persuade prospects in an all out attack on the senses and the mind. You are using marketing and media as efficiently and, quite frankly, as smartly as possible.
[Note to editor: There are huge changes taking place in television right now that will shortly open the medium up to small business folks on a limited budget. The following may be of interest for a side bar.]
Television is often called the King of Advertising. Nothing grabs the publics attention and demonstrates the great benefits of your product or service like a well-produced and often-aired TV spot.
But, oh, the expense! TV advertising rates are sky high and far too expensive for most home-based business people.
Now hold the phone. All that is about to change. TV is undergoing its biggest transformation in 50 years. Thanks to new digital technology and big changes recently authorized by Congress, broadcast TV stations will be able to split their one signal into six, maybe even twelve!
And thats nothing compared to what cable TV will be doing. Again, thanks to digital technology, cable systems will be offering subscribers 200 channels by this time next year. In two years the number of channels on your cable box will jump to 500!
Who will be on television after all this expansion happens? Everyone! Get ready for low, low rates as TV managers frantically try to fill up all their new channels with programming and commercials. Watch for network marketing firms to have their own channels set up expressly to air seminars, news updates, and tips for downliners.
Stay in touch with the sales departments of your local TV and cable outlets. Watch for the first changes to take place in cable. There are already excellent deals to be had for buying packages of commercials to run on several different channels on many cable systems. Do these cable programs reach as many people as the big network hit shows?
No. But youll grab a massive number of people who zap through the channels during every commercial. Anywhere on TV is valuable exposure. The key is to use television wisely. Dont blow your entire marketing budget on a few glittery commercials. Use television only when you can integrate it into your total marketing plan in a way that stillallows you enough budget to keep all your bases covered.
Kevin Nunley helps small and mid-sized businesses build effective marketing. Reach him at DrNunley@aol.com or at (801)253-4536. Ask for his free marketing report and list of Special Reports and Tapes that make you a marketing whiz in dozens of areas. Also ask how he can help you build your on-line presence.
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