Tag Archives: buying advertising

The Silver Bullet

One Christmas Eve afternoon, a letter carrier approached a major hospital with a certified letter. The letter was addressed to the president of the hospital, who had already left for the Christmas holiday. Additionally, his secretary and all of the top administrators had followed the CEO’s lead.

The letter carrier needed a signature. While the carrier continued to make the rounds delivering the non-certified mail, an eye was kept open for someone available to accept the certified letter. In radiology, there was a place for the mail, but no one was available to sign for the letter. The same situation was found in cardiology, orthopedics, oncology, neurology and neurosurgery. Even maintenance was gone for the day.

The marketing department was the next stop. Opening the door, the letter carrier discovered a fully staffed, functioning office. Papers were flying, people were hustling and deadlines were crunching. The department was full of activity, and the letter carrier finally found someone to sign for the letter.

Often a serious marketing effort involves a continuous focus on schedules, data and issuing payments. The brand strategy and creative need to be responsive to the market while maintaining consistency in message. Stories need to be developed and told. A unified effort must be maintained to tie it all together, which is basically a strategy. Details in everything demand attention.

Real marketing is a non-stop grind.

Whether you’re new to marketing or a seasoned pro, the temptation to find a Silver Bullet that can both increase sales while decreasing workload is great. Would a marketer enjoy joining their colleagues and retire from work early on Christmas Eve? Would they equally enjoy showing their boss an impact on sales? Absolutely.

For CEO’s, it is comforting to think that a Silver Bullet will provide an edge over the competition. There typically is no one thing that pushes sales to the next level. For example, social media is a big buzz with many who think about marketing, but it is not a one-size-fits-all. It is just another tool in the marketing toolbox.

For example, a business that manufactures bolts is not the same as one that serves coffee. While both could find a way to utilize social media, they will take a different approach.

Bolt buyers are likely to be other businesses with a consistent need for bolts. Bolts sales would likely be a commodity. Coffee sellers sell to consumers, and need to keep customers engaged in buying their coffee brand. In this scenario, social media would lend itself easily to the coffee seller. There is probably not much need to market mass bolt sales on social media.

Unfortunately, everyone has heard about using social media to push sales. It is a good bet that all coffee sellers are pushing their brand on social media. Competitors attempt to emulate success once they see it, too. Silver bullets are rarely exclusive and once noticed, are rarely ignored by good competition. They don’t remain silver bullets very long.

When you approach marketing and sales, there is no easy way to win. The best marketers always have a plan. They might make their efforts look easy, but their is a reality. Good marketing usually involves a lot of hard work, just as the letter carrier discovered on Christmas Eve.

The Marketing Rule of Ten

An old, successful investor once expressed his buying philosophy in his stock picks. He stated that nine times out of ten he loses on picking winners. These nine stocks give him a loss or become duds, if he could manage a neutral outcome, in his portfolio. Then with a gleam in his eyes he stated, “But the tenth stock, it more than makes up for the others.”

He called it his Rule of Ten.

Marketing is much the same way. There are a multitude of options to communicate a message in any given market. Standard efforts often include display, radio, outreach, search, social and video. Typically, buyers want more than one of them to drive a successful marketing effort.  But, which ones?

There is a lot of buzz about online offerings, to include banner ads, search and advertising on mobile devices. There is opportunity there, but is that all a business needs?  Does video, including cable and satellite, have a place? Are newspapers and print still useful? Should a business participate in a trade show.

Every business message is unique.  Connecting that message with the right audience, and then trying to grow the audience, is the real marketing work. Ensuring an effort is structured for the best chance of success is the craft.

Just like investments, many advertising buys are duds. They typically won’t hurt a business if they are bought, but they also won’t help a business realize a goal, too. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of a reasonable advertising effort won’t be known until it is fully explored. Working with an experienced marketing professional will help shorten this process, and likely save money.

Like the old pro investor, marketing efforts might take nine duds before a winner is discovered. Finding the winners in the field of advertisers is the work. When you have a winner, the bottom line will show.