February 2013
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Getting More Out of Your Advertising Dollar

Who are your clients, and how do they get your message?

Manny Mandrusiak
Manny Mandrusiak

Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor


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I was recently involved in a round table discussion with a group of individuals trying to decide what marketing activities their company should engage in for 2013. One of the group was adamant on using radio advertising to increase the company footprint through the use of radio ads. I had a real hard time with this tactic to increase the company’s footprint.  He made a valiant case toward why large sums of money should be spent on radio ads, which in his mind, would make his company a household name.  I completely disagreed. In my opinion using radio to increase his company’s footprint would be effective if his client was not part of a niche market. It very much reminded me of a lot of the marketing that building automation companies and suppliers have to do.  They are marketing to key personas within a niche market.  Having a company that makes PLCs advertise on local radio makes no sense to me at all because the odds of people who would use PLCs are more than likely not going to hear your ads.

When I work with clients to develop marketing strategies to increase sales I look at conducting activities that provide the maximum return on their investment.  What is the point of engaging in a marketing activity just to spend money? Most businesses simply do not have that budget. I would rather construct a strategy for a client that has them invest $10,000.00 and provide a measurable return. What I mean by “measureable return” is that the sale of a product or service can be traced back to a specific marketing activity. That closes the loop and provides a critical data point when planning future marketing activities.

During the discussion that I was involved in I simply looked at the individual who wanted to use the radio ads and asked him if he really knew who his client was? The truth is that most companies really do not know who their clients are, or how their clients find them.  It is a problem that marketers deal with on a daily basis, and it is typically an issue of argument in strategy meetings. This is mainly due to us all being human. People will recommend the mediums that they know and like, but those are not always the best activities for a business to spend marketing dollars on. Marketing professionals need to remove themselves from the argument, and look at the problem from a simply logical perspective.

I tried this approach with my argumentative colleague and he simply stated that if he stopped 10 people on the street only two out of five might know his company name. That may be absolutely true, but are those 10 people your customers? If you sell temperature controllers which are used to regulate the temperature of large buildings and factories would it be expected that 10 people on the street know your company’s name? Taking 10 people off the street with occupations like: students, doctors, retail professionals, government employees, would it be plausible that any of these people would be involved in the direct purchase of temperature controllers? Would they be influencers or decision maker involved in buying temperature controllers? The odds are stacked pretty high against it.  So investing $100,000.00 on a radio campaign to promote a company to these 10 people would be a complete waste of money and resources. 

That led to the motivation for this article.  Whenever the idea of investing money in an advertising / marketing campaign comes up there are a few questions that need to immediately be asked:

1.  Do you absolutely know “Who” your client is?

Have you correctly identified the job titles of your client, the influencer, and the ultimate decision maker involved in purchasing your products or services. Will the campaign or ad that you want actually have the potential to reach these people? Instead of running a newspaper ad the money may be better invested in conducting a targeted campaign in the form of a direct mailer.

2.   “Where” do potential clients see your message?

We are a very technology savvy society and we receive a great deal of our information from our computers and hand-held devices. Understanding where your customers are spending their time online will save a company a tremendous amount of money.  Knowing where your customers are spending their online time enables companies to target where they place their advertising dollars rather than conducting campaigns in a “shotgun approach” and receiving a minimum return while laying out a maximum investment.

3.   What mediums do they receive your message on?

Is it Twitter, Facebook, Google Ad words, TV, radio? Until you know for sure look at engaging in some test mediums that are relatively low cost. It also never hurts to ask customers how they found you. Another strategy is to look at places that your competition advertises. These are places where your competition is generating awareness, and they may be options for your business.

Control Solutions, Inc 4.  When do they view your message? What days, times?

Knowing when potential customers receive your message is critical to getting the most out of your advertising dollar. If your target client is a government employee then Fridays are the most ineffective days to attempt contact. Most government employees are on some form of flex program where every second week they have Fridays off.  Sending an email first thing on a Monday morning may not be the best time to send your campaign. What with everyone trudging through their overflowing inboxes, and rushing to and from all of the typical Monday sales and operations meetings. A better time might be Tuesday morning when your potential customer has more of an opportunity to view the email. Take the time to do a little research and choose the proper times and dates to conduct marketing campaigns so that they have the greatest chance of getting viewed by your target audience.

5.   How do your clients contact you?

What is the main method that perspective clients reach you? Is it via email, do they call to get a quote?  Knowing how they will contact you will better enable to you to put in plan a place to make sure that your business is providing exceptional customer service.  Nothing sells repeat business better than exceptional customer service.  Take the time to make sure that once a customer reaches you the expectation that was built through your marketing campaign is exceeded by your customer service.

It is all about getting the maximum amount of return for the dollars that are invested especially in these challenging economic times.  Every idea put in place should be able to be measured against the amount of sales that it creates. If it can’t then it is more than likely not the right activity for your business.

A little extra time spent making the plan will pay off when it comes to making profits.

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