Know your consumer

The biggest mistake that businesses
make in trying to market themselves
is that they don’t start with the consumer in mind, says Bill Brokaw, founder,
president and CEO of Brokaw Inc.

“If you think of the best brands — Apple,
Microsoft, Toyota — they have a single-minded vision and they’ve gotten everybody to
drink the Kool-Aid regarding that,” Brokaw
says. “That’s based upon who they are and
who they want to be. The best marketers
start with their consumer. Know your consumer inside and out, and know their needs
and their wants. That’s where it starts.”

Brokaw Inc., a marketing and public relations firm, has released a 26-page booklet
titled, “How to Brokaw,” which takes a colorful look at the common mistakes made in
marketing and offers insight on how to successfully make a name for yourself.

The following are excerpts from the booklet that offer truths about great advertising:


  • Great advertising begins with a clear,
    measurable marketing goal. What are we
    trying to do here? Increase same store sales?
    Put butts in seats? Glue eyeballs to Web
    pages? Drive commuters into the guardrail?


    Quite possibly, we’re trying to do several
    things. If so, we need to prioritize. Next, we
    need to answer the question, ‘How much
    can we reasonably expect the advertising
    to accomplish?’


  • Great advertising is based in human truth.
    It identifies a unique aspect of the brand/person relationship. It reminds people of their
    habits, beliefs and desires. And when done
    correctly, it causes the target audience to
    think, ‘I’ve done that. I’ve felt that.’



  • Great advertising is simple. And focused.
    We believe an idea is strengthened by
    everything that is removed from its execution, not added to it. Today’s consumer
    uses a sophisticated technology to interpret advertising. It’s called a bullshit meter.
    And the surest way to set it off is by blab-bering about yourself. The truth requires
    few words. And even fewer visuals.



  • Great advertising surprises you. Think
    about it. Every day, you wake up at the same
    time, go through the same morning routine,
    drive the same route to work and work on the
    same challenges, day in and day out. It’s no wonder people enjoy surprises.


    On top of that, consider how you engage
    with advertising. Our radars are finely
    tuned to identify advertising and to avoid it.
    Advertising that doesn’t surprise equals
    advertising that doesn’t get noticed.


  • Great advertising taps into your emotions. There’s an old saying: ‘People
    remember one-third of what they read,
    one-half of what they hear, but 100 percent
    of what they feel.’ Although advertising is
    not brain surgery, it is brain science.


    Every human decision is routed through
    the amygdala, the seat of human emotion.
    When we weigh potential outcomes of a
    decision, we are predicting the emotional
    consequences. If we can glue our message
    with emotion, we have a better chance of
    being remembered and ultimately selected.

Brokaw says that what advertising is really about is convincing consumers to take a
leap of faith. “You’ve got to give your potential customers confidence to take that leap
of faith and award you the business, anything you can do to demonstrate that you
have a real passion for that customer’s
business or that customer as an individual,”
Brokaw says. “Be a good listener. Be a good
fact-gatherer. Be a detective and be curious. Know what you don’t know.

“We know what we don’t know, and we
know what we’re good at. We can’t be all
things to all people.”

HOW TO REACH: Brokaw Inc., (216) 241-8003 or

Building relationships

The best salespeople are those who
can endear themselves to their customers by forming a caring and responsive relationship, Bill Brokaw says.

“Knowing when to lead and knowing
when to follow,” Brokaw says.
“Endearing that person’s trust. Come in
with an idea. … You’ve got to delight
your customers. It’s really more about
the relationship. It’s more than being
incredibly persuasive or slick.”

Brokaw is founder, president and CEO
of Brokaw Inc., a marketing and public
relations firm that has released “How to
Brokaw,” which offers tips on the best
practices to reaching your customers
through advertising.

Salespeople must be truthful, empathetic and resourceful, and do what they
say they are going to do in order to be

It is also important to bring up values
in the early stages of discussions with
potential clients.

“You need to open yourself up,”
Brokaw says. “I’ve noticed the more
candid you are, the more they will open
themselves up to you. That’s where trust
ensues. The only way you can do that is
through talking and open communication.”

At the same time, salespeople must
remember whom they are working for.

“Sometimes, you wind up working for
the client and you forget whose interests
you may need to hold near and dear,”
Brokaw says. “Doing what’s in the best
interest of the client is sometimes not in
the best interest of the company you are
working for.”

HOW TO REACH: Brokaw Inc., (216) 241-8003 or