Tag Archives: Advertising

How’s Your Economic Mood Right Now?

Wow, are the negative waves just flying all over the place right now, or what?  Maybe it’s the fervor of the political season, that every-other-year bombardment of our senses with all manner of innuendos, exaggerations, accusations, intimidations, threats, warnings, prognostications, and downright lies.  “This economy is so terrible right now, there are so many things wrong that the whole thing is going down the toilet unless you vote for (insert candidate name here) in the upcoming election!”  It’s enough to make a sane person want to jump off the Brooklyn bridge!

It is the custom of the election period to focus very acutely on every little piece of bad information coming from the economists.  It’s the only way to build market momentum for a change.  And what happens in the meantime, at least until the election is over…..absolutely nothing!  Business owners, concerned for what lies ahead, are hoarding cash as if their mattresses depended on it.  Hiring decisions are delayed, investment in equipment that could streamline production is put off, and worst of all, dollars that could go to continuing to market the company are put away into that mattress with the rest of the cash.

There are even rumblings of a double-digit recession.  There is strong evidence that this will not happen, and although we may not see a “rocketing” of the economy out of the doldrums, there are reasons to believe that we could see anywhere from a 3% to 4.5% growth rate by the end of the year.

According to William Patalon, Executive Editor of Money Morning (http://moneymorning.com/), one of the main reasons will be a resurgence of business investing leading the way.  He indicates that over the past seven months, we have seen an increase in industrial production of 9.7% with semiconductor equipment orders up 646%, raw steel production is up 89%, heavy truck sales are up 75% and railcar loadings are up 22%.

A second important event, says Mr. Patalon, is that we are starting to see the addition of jobs, which means consumer spending won’t be far behind.  Most recent reports of losses of 90K jobs doesn’t reflect the fact that the professional and business service sectors are adding jobs at the fastest pace since October of 2007.

The take-away here is that without resorting to a “Pollyanna” approach that everything is going to be just fine, it is likewise imprudent to act out of fear and retrench in an effort to hold out for better times.  A continued plan of intelligent, well thought-out marketing can take advantage of an economy in recovery, albeit a slow one.

Dave Chase, chief marketing officer for Altus Alliance (http://www.crunchbase.com/company/altus-alliance) studied companies that prospered during the Depression. He found, “Generally speaking, those companies that not only survived but also thrived during the Great Depression were those that continued to act as though there was nothing wrong and that the public had money to spend. In other words, they advertised.”

So, how is your economic mood?  You can choose to be depressed, at least until after the election, or you can pick yourself up and get out there in front of your target market.

If this seems something that you need help with, we’d be happy to help.  Just drop us an email.



The CMO Outsource

How to Get More Value Out of Your Marketing Message

Town cryer proclaiming his message

We had an interesting experience the other day.  It was a beautiful late Summer day in the midwest, really one of those spectacularly blue sky, low humidity, light breeze kind of days that is the main reason we live in this part of the country.  We were doing one of our favorite things, visiting a local art fair.  As we walked around, saying to ourselves over and over again that we were not going to spend money no matter what, we came upon an artist who works with glass and sure enough, got pulled in.  His work was really unique and quite beautiful.  We saw a vase that we both instantly fell for and asked what the price was.  Perhaps we gave a look of disappointment or disbelief, I don’t know, but just as soon as he quoted a price, he offered to discount it.  Frankly, neither of us thought his price was too high because the vase was beautiful and we loved it.  It was certainly more than we wanted to spend but it was absolutely a fair price for this unique piece.  What was also curious, this artist was selling his glass work.  We had to wait while he completed another transaction, so we couldn’t justify his diminishing the value of his work based on a lack of sales.  He must have struggled with this.

This led me to think about how challenging it is to place a value on any marketing effort we make.  It’s funny how there are these two little people influencing us, one sitting on each shoulder and whispering in our ear, but the two voices are the opposite of each other.  One of those little people is stoking our fears, that whatever message we put out there, it won’t resonate with our target market because the economy is just too bad.  The other is saying, oh, this is so brilliant people will love us and we’ll be flooded with leads dying to buy our products or hire our services.  Fear versus hubris, right.

You know that the reality is really somewhere in between, I don’t have to tell you that.  But it is difficult to place a value on the message you put out there.  At best, you want that message to prompt some action, ideally a conversation, that allows you to engage and form a trust-based relationship that will likely culminate in a purchase.  The more “conversations” you are having, the higher value you can place on that message.

If you follow these guidelines for every marketing message you do, I believe it should help improve that message’s value:  (taken from Roman Hiebing, Jr. and Scott Cooper in “The Successful Marketing Plan”)

  1. Who: Who are you talking to?
    1. Discuss the target market’s fears, joys, how they purchase and how by buying from you it answers these.
  2. Point:  What is your point?
    1. The point has to be an insightful way to communicate your message always writing in the voice or style of the target market without industry jargon
  3. Word:  What is the one key word in the point?
    1. Only one word, one idea.  Is it Experience?  Is it Value?  Is it Respect?
  4. Care:  Why should I care?
    1. It has to pass two tests, What’s in if for Me? and So What? This has to be brief and it must be the reasons that come from your target market
  5. Believe:  Why should I believe you?
    1. You are making a promise.  I expect that you can accomplish the minimum requirements however, what unexpected promise do you bring? Is it believable? You should include four reasons.
  6. Feel:  How should I feel?
    1. What emotion should be felt after seeing or reading your communication?
  7. Do:  What am I supposed to do?
    1. This is the Call-to-Action.  It should be very specific and intuitive.  This is also how you measure the communication in terms of its effectiveness, relevance and pay-back.

The bottom line:  Above and beyond anything else, your message and its value can only be determined by what it does to your bottom line.  Does it cause the fundamental behavior we’re all looking for, the decision to buy!

I’d love to hear your comments

Just a note, for any of you that were curious, yes, we did buy that beautiful vase.


The CMO Outsource

Be Transparent In Your Advertising and Promotion

I had recently been doing research for a client and found an organic Google listing on the Search Engine Results page from Amazon.com, it was the third listing.  Specifically I was looking for industry information on the heating and air conditioning business and was enticed by what I read “Plumbing and HVAC Industry Report.”  Knowing that Amazon was a trusted source I clicked.

When I got to the amazon.com page to order this, I found it was a downloadable PDF and there was the cover page for me to view.  This looked like exactly what I wanted and I placed my order.

After the PDF downloaded, I opened the document, and on the cover page was some new information that hadn’t appeared previously on the order page.  It said, “Plumbing and HVAC Industry Report, Industry Breakdown: 1997 to 2001”

What?  How old is this information?  For anyone of you doing any kind of marketing research, you know that information that is nine or more years old is basically worthless.    I had just spent $24.95 for information that was so ancient, it should have been free.

I did the natural thing, I immediately tried to contact Amazon to inform them that this was not what I wanted and not to charge my card.  What I was amazed about was that there really is no customer service to speak of.  Amazon.com simply has a “Help” webpage of commonly asked questions.  Since this was a download, apparently I was unable to cancel the order.

My next step was to contact my credit card company to dispute the charge.  After investigating, they wrote and said that “no error was found” in the disputed transaction with Amazon Digital Services and that “the disputed transaction has been credited to your account and absorbed as a loss by the bank.”

Well, I’m not out any money but why in the world should my bank absorb this loss?  This was Amazon’s lack of advertising honesty.

My question is this: If I received this kind of service and lack of transparency in the small transaction I experienced with Amazon, why would I take a chance in buying a “Kindle?”  Frankly, Amazon needs all the help it can get competing with Apple’s IPad.

So, when you promote products or advertise services, whether online or in a store, be sure to be transparent and tell the whole truth.  Otherwise you can end up reading blogs like this that have a tendency to spread very quickly and the old brand takes a big hit.

Have you had any experiences like this?  Let me know.



The CMO Outsource