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Marketing Lowdown: Make the Most of Media

It's bad enough when your salesman walks into a meeting with new prospect and says, "Hi, I'm Joe Dokes," and the buyer says, "Joe who?" But it's worse when he says, "You know, Joe Dokes from the Time Tested Tombstone Company," and the prospect comes back

Your salesman is in trouble. And it's your fault.

Your prospect didn't recognize your company's name because you don't advertise. Sure, you may have sent him a mailing or two, or even introduced him to your firm at a trade show. But that was last year, or last month, or even last week. If you don't keep your name around constantly, it's forgotten as quickly as last year's Miss America.

Get With the Media

Media advertising makes your company name recognizable and remembered. It gives credibility to your products, and paves the way for your sales force or your direct mailings.

Magazines can be effective for targeting your audience efficiently. There are magazines covering virtually every market you can think of. Consumer magazines for gourmets, ice skaters and doll house collectors. Trade magazines for every industry and farm magazines for every crop.

But newspapers and magazines are passive media. Advertising in them assumes their readers have an inherent interest in your product. Their readers will frequently pass by an ad if they don't know they need the product.

You may need more intrusive media: radio or television.

Radio offers a multitude of opportunities for the creative mind. It can also be targeted at specific audiences. Each radio station appeals to a very select group of listeners. And ratings companies monitor exactly who is listening when.

But radio has its limitations, too. Most people don't "listen" to radio; they simply "hear" it. It serves as background noise while they work, or while they drive. So unless your radio spot is extremely unique, and can grab the "hearers" and make them "listeners," use radio cautiously.

If you sell to consumers, TV offers the best opportunity to create awareness for your product or service. Video allows you to compare, demonstrate, inform and entertain. And don’t forget to include the TV spot on your Web site.

All media works on the basis of "reach" and "frequency." Reach is the number of new people that see (or hear) your advertisement. Frequency is the number of times they see it.

Generally speaking, reach creates awareness. Frequency sells.

The effect of seeing an advertisement repeatedly creates credibility. Repetition attaches your company to an industry or a product in your customers' minds. So, just because you're tired of seeing the same ads for your products doesn't mean your customers are. They haven't seen them as often as you have. Don't be afraid to run your ads over and over again. And then, when you get so tired of them you could scream, run them again.

Consistency is important in all your marketing efforts. Use the same theme in your media advertising, your mailings, at trade shows, perhaps even on your company letterhead. Such repetition helps your prospects remember.

If you place a big ad in a newspaper or magazine, get reprints. Mail them to all your customers and potential customers. Enlarge them and display them in your booth at trade shows. Feature them in your direct mailings. Make them available on your Web site.

The more often your customers see your ads, the better the ads sell.

And then, when your salesman calls on new prospects, the prospects may not remember his name, but they'll remember yours.


Excerpt from "How to Be Your Own Advertising Agency (For the Small Business Owner)," an eBook by Robert Grede, consultant, speaker, S&MM online columnist and author of the best-selling "Naked Marketing: The Bare Essentials" (Marquette University Press). Buy his books online at TheGredeCompany.com.