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Why Radio, TV, Newspaper and Other Traditional Advertising is so Very Yesterday

Nov 2, 2007
In the good old days marketing and advertising were the same. A new business found a location, placed some ads in the local newspaper and then sat back and watched the customer's line up. Well, maybe it didn't work just like that but it was a much simpler marketing world back then.

Advertising wasn't rocket science and it was easy to track the results. The ad was placed, the customers and sales were tracked and the business owner could see if the ad was effective. Many times it was and the business was off.

But not so anymore. Marketing, advertising and sales are increasingly complex and extend across multi media. Steadily over the years owners have been reporting that mass media advertising has become less effective. That is the Return on Investment (ROI) is diminishing.

As the sources of mass media have exploded consumers and prospects are bombarded with ads from every direction. This has made it very difficult for an individual ad to be noticed. Most ads sold in mass media are created by the media themselves. Joe and Sally Business Owner don't have marketing expertise so they leave it up to the 'experts'. The mass media experts are going to focus all their attention on Joe and Sally to get the sale and then proceed to create their ads the fastest and easiest way possible. Since Joe and Sally are marketing ignorant, they don't understand what is happening.

What is happening is the ads are boring, not targeted, safe and almost always ineffective. Not the best way to spend the marketing budget. What happened was Joe and Sally simply did not know so they trusted the media reps. Joe and Sally bought the old line that the purpose of marketing and advertising is to get your name out. The argument is that their media outlet has a target market of 10,000 or a million potential customers for your business. Joe and Sally think this is all too wonderful a deal and it is.

The potential target market numbers are actually meaningless for the owner. Potential target market is a sales tool developed by the media to fool folks like Joe and Sally. Since Joe and Sally don't know, they tend to follow the crowd. What the crowd and media won't tell Joe and Sally is that 'Get My Name Out' doesn't work unless you buy the deluxe monthly package for 15 years. And even that is no guarantee.

Joe and Sally left out one big step in their marketing campaign: how do we know if it works. The media will say that it works if a member of the target market now knows you are in business and what you are selling.

That's fine for the media to rack up numbers but those numbers simply do not translate into sales. Sales occur when a prospect that heard or saw the ad comes in and buys something. Any other scorecard for Joe and Sally's business is meaningless.

As you can see it's a cop out to say radio, TV and newspaper ads are marketing. Joe and Sally are only fooling themselves and hurting their business if they believe that.

There's a more fundamental reason why traditional marketing and advertising doesn't work: the design and attention getting are weak. Commercials and ads simply look and feel like commercials and ads. The consuming public sees this and immediately knows 'this is an ad'.

Shucks, what can poor Joe and Sally do? For starters Joe and Sally can stop whining and get to work. Joe and Sally need to create and execute their very own marketing and sales plan and not rely on some commissioned media sales rep to do it for them. The simplest way is to take their prospect profile or those who buys from them, and shake out the top customer benefit. The initial marketing focus is on creating a sense of urgency for obtaining this benefit.

The ad or 'hook' is then worked into the initial marketing piece. It doesn't have to be flashy or glamorous but it does have to laser beam in on that benefit. Resist the temptation to add a laundry list of benefits to this ad. Once the ad is developed then it is ready for execution. This execution strategy may or may not include mass media, depending on the marketing budget. The smaller the budget the less likely mass media will work.

What is important is that Joe and Sally constantly look for customer feedback on their ad. From this information Joe and Sally can refine or redo their ad. They can also create new ads and look at other customer benefits. The important point is that feedback is constant and the marketing strategy kept flexible.

Since Joe and Sally are on a limited budget, they will have to do most of the marketing work themselves. As their business grows they can evolve and expand their marketing plan and contract marketing services.

The good news this puts powerful marketing tools in the hands of owners like Joe and Sally. The bad news is that like all tools, these marketing tools don't do the work. If they are not used, nothing happens.

Joe and Sally have a choice. They can continue rat holing their marketing dollars in mass media which brings then little or no return on their investment. Or they can invest in computer and web technology, learn how to use it themselves and then control their marketing destiny.

It's Joe and Sally's choice because it's Joe and Sally's business that is on the line.
About the Author
Jack D. Deal is the owner of Deal Business Consulting. Related articles may be found at http://www.jddeal.com and http://www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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