Beware of your media choices Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2007
Building mind awareness through the right medium choices is one of the most important things you can do to improve your bottom line. Knowing where those new customers are coming from is the second most important thing. So why are you throwing your money away, and why are you giving credit to the wrong medium?

First things first, in order to create mind awareness with your future customers, they have to find you. Did everyone hear that? They have to find you. Chances are they will not find you when you advertise in one magazine, one radio station, on just cable, or a print ad. Many of your future customers may not read that magazine, listen to that radio station, watch that cable channel, or read that publication.

Top-of-mind awareness can only be achieved through an integrated marketing plan; your future customers need to see you in multiple places.

Of course, the media will not tell you this, but they will gladly take your money. After all, they’re in business to make a living as well. More media dollars are wasted every day with the wrong creative and placement. If you’re going to the media for advice on creative and placement, then you get what you deserve.

There are two important points that I must make. The first is the need to utilize more than just one medium, and integrate the media in a comprehensive time-line to expose your products and/or services to future customers. Most importantly, don’t spend all your effort and money on advertising. Put an emphasis on developing significant marketing strategies that reach your target audience. Like never before in history, you must reach out to your future customers in their immediate circle. They must see your message repeatedly and in multiple places.

If you don’t remember most of this column later, please remember this; your future customers may not need your product or service right at that moment, but at some point, they will.

The key is to keep your name in front of them so that when they do need it, they will remember you. This is what we call top-of-mind-awareness. Too often executives assume it’s not working because you didn’t get the exact number of calls you expected, and then pull the ad after just a short time. When a future customer needs your product or service, it’s key that they remember your company or you won’t get the sale, your competitor will.

One sure way to help them remember is to keep your name out in the community in consistent ways, not relying on just one medium. The more mind awareness you build, the greater the chances are that you’ll get the business.

Secondly, I want to talk about tracking your leads to determine where those new customers are coming from. This can be very difficult to measure. Too often, your Web site and the Yellow Pages get credit for exposure that they have nothing to do with.

I see it every day; many of you believe you know where your customers are coming from because that’s the feedback you’re getting. I have found that unless properly questioned, the answer being given is very often not the real source of the lead. I call this ‘surface response measuring’ and clearly it doesn’t go far enough to get the true answer of why they called in the first place. Think about it: when you need a phone number or contact information; you go to a Web site or the Yellow Pages, correct? So when the front-line person asks the question “How did you find us?” the answer can often be the source of where they found the phone number, instead of what drove them specifically to your company.

Your front-line people must drill down to the real source of the lead with the right questions if you are going to find out where your money is being best spent. Don’t just ask where they found your number or heard about you, question them specifically on the medium, the location, and the time. It takes a few more seconds, but the difference in the information will be well worth it.

MALCOLM A. TEASDALE is the principal and “Big Idea Catalyst” of Teasdale Worldwide, a strategic marketing firm headquartered in Tampa. The author’s e-mail address is Malcolm@Teasdaleworldwide.com. To obtain more information about upcoming events and possible event sponsorship, visit www.MarketingofDistinction.com, or contact Kathi Kasel at Kathi@MarketingofDistinction.com or (813) 868-1520. To view additional articles, register at www.MalcolmOutLoud.com.