A Publication of WTVP

Lately, I’ve been very aware of how I watch and listen to commercials. What catches my eye might not hit someone else at all. We call this demographics. What stands out in a spot is called the hook. The outcome for the business placing the ad in the first place is the results.

Do people remember the concept of the ad, but don’t remember who it was for? Did people think an ad so silly, they tuned it out immediately? Did they see the same ad over and over during the Bears game and become irritated?

For many businesses, budgets are formulated at the beginning of the year, along with projections and goals. I strive to meet with clients at that point, not to see how much they are spending, but to find out where their heads are and what they want to accomplish. Knowing this helps to develop a solid marketing campaign. If you had four to five sentences to share about your business, product or event, what would it be?

While enjoying a bowl of Cap’n Crunch after walking the dog, I often review my emails before starting the day. Lately, I’ve become extremely aware of the numbers of email advertisements I receive. New Year’s promotions and Pre-Spring, Valentine’s Day (from a phone vendor?) and President’s Day sales are just a few I have had recently. You get the point.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a client who asked about themes like March Madness or the Super Bowl as possible concept promotions. Growing up, I remember hearing President’s Day sales and laughing because it just meant the bank or post office was closed. Normally, furniture stores and car dealers had events those days, but now…hold on, it seems like everyone is having some type of sale. Look at your Sunday fliers, it’s not just Christmas and Back to School, and we definitely aren’t in Kansas anymore.

What’s your point, Jack? (A friend says that a lot so it’s fitting to use here.) Are we so concerned about the next promotion that we’re just looking for another event to tie it into? Did the belief of “What sets us apart?” become “What’s in it for me?” And if we just promote all the time, for every holiday, aren’t we really watering down the message to “just another Hallmark event?” While there is a fine line of creativity versus following the pack, there needs to be a solid plan in place. If you’ve ever been to Rotary Club, you know the four-way test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

So, when asked by clients here locally or in other states, here’s what we know for sure—I’m calling it the Five-Point Star.

  1. Local Dealer in Iowa: To provide a world-class experience to each and every customer who visits our store every time, with no exceptions!
  2. Ford Motor Company: To become the world’s leading consumer company for automotive products and services.
  3. Sears: To be the preferred and most trusted resource for the products and services that enhance home and family life.
  4. Pfizer: To become the world’s most valued company to patients,
    customers, colleagues, investors, business partners and the communities
    where we work and live.

As we enter the second quarter of what some are saying will be a “lean” year, take a moment and review your vision statement for your business. What do you want to accomplish, and how do you want to get there? You’ve set budgets and projections and had meetings with management. Now, set your marketing path. If your targeted customer is cheesy, give them cheesy ads. If the customer is more upscale, the production now requires the sizzle of filet mignon.

Ask yourself this question, “If everyone else is doing it, does it make it right?” Did more people buy cell phones on Valentine’s Day because they were red? Maybe. Are more people going to buy vehicles because it’s March Madness? Probably not. When in doubt, contact someone who can assist in the process. In the end, it helps in understanding the strategy necessary to accomplish the market goals. If it is going to be lean, then now more than ever, there isn’t money to be placed in the trash…unless you’re Oscar the Grouch. IBI