Friday, October 31, 2008

Focus Is the Name of the Game Now

My good friend and advertising guru, Jim Doyle, has some very solid advice for times like these. In a recent newsletter he included his recommendation on how to weather this current economic climate.

The SCARCER Your Resources, the more NARROW should be your focus.

Focus everything. Point of attack. Fewer weeks or days or months. Fewer day parts. And absolutely, focus on advertising in fewer places.

Focus lets advertisers spend less and get more.

Focus helps your client rise above the noise.

To dominate - concentrate. To become more dominant - concentrate.

Your mantra is…repeat after me…the scarcer your resources the more narrow should be your focus."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stop the Insanity!!

I have never in my life been so fed up with "talking heads." This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if we allow it. Day-in, day-out we are bombarded by TV channels that make their living off inciting fear in the marketplace.

Before we take everything at face value, let's take a look at what the independent research shows ... not the pundits on their pulpits of pessimism.

Remember that every piece of peer-reviewed research shows that companies that keep their heads in a recession are the ones who win during the economic downturn as well as when the market recovers.

The companies who lose in this are the ones that go into hiding. The ones who take a "wait and see" attitude will, according to the research, kill their brand.

Now you would expect me to be a bit biased since advertising is what I do for a living but I encourage you not to just take my word for it. Google "advertising and recession" and see the independent qualified research that says advertising now is good and profitable for your business.

You will grow market share.

You will increase your sales now.

And ...

You will help consumers get out of their own fears when they hear that your company is still doing business.

Do you have to be smart? Yes.

FDR said it best when he said, "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."

Join me on the crusade to squash this wholesale marketing of fear to the consumer marketplace by taking a stand and saying ... not on my watch. Not on my time will we spiral into a dismal pit of despair.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Leads Because Less Clutter

Even though the economy has affected the hospitality market, Holiday Inn Express is spending more dollars to increase the number of overnight stays.

Now you make ask yourself the question. Why, during a slump, would Holiday Inn Express spend more $$.

Steve Ekdahl, director of brand marketing for Holiday Inn Express, says, "While other hotel brands are pulling back, it presents an advantage to us and affords us the opportunity to talk to our target in a less cluttered environment." emphasis mine.

Every piece of research shows those companies who either maintian or increase their advertising expenditures in an economic downturn not only capture more of the leads in the market now but advance their future market share.

I've written about this in previous blogs and will be happy to send anyone the quantified research from independent research firms if you need to see the independent documentation.

These principles are usable on both the national and local level.

Keep your head and don't let fear dominate you and you'll reap the rewards both now and in the future.

Most of you can say the Holiday Inn Express punch line: "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

That's because Holiday Inn Express gets it.

Your brand is your business. How are people remembering you right now?

If your answer is nebulous, I can help.

Monday, October 13, 2008

5 Don'ts for Marketing in Tough Times

Last time we were together, I shared with you that I would share insights from industry experts on what not to do with your marketing in tough times.

No doubt we still have some troubled waters to navigate but the good news is gas prices have taken a southerly dive and as I write this, the Dow and other global markets are seeing a rebound from last week's sell off.

Remember fear feeds fear. Panic feeds panic. And there was a lot of panic and fear in the market last week.

Now as promised here are 5 Don'ts for Marketing in Tough Times from "Businessweek" contributor Steve McKee:

(1) Be smart and thrifty, but don't panic. This too shall pass. " may have to make some cuts. Just be careful to trim fat and avoid cutting muscle as much as possible."

(2) Marketing is muscle, not fat. Be careful about cutting it. "... the savvieest marketers know recessions are a great time to pick up market share ... Cutting your marketing spending is a sure way to give ground to competitors who may be more aggressive during the downturn."

(3) Don't lose focus by chasing business you wouldn't normally want. "There's a reason you don't pursue certain types of customers when times are good, and that reason probably hasn't changed."

(4) Don't discount. "If you need to make your products more affordable (to generate volume, goodwill, or both), do so carefully and deliberately. But lower the price instead of offering a discount.

(5) Don't neglect the elephant in the room. "Even if your company's revenues have held up, your employees know there's trouble afoot and they're nervous. Make sure they know you're on top of things and have a plan ... As the market tightens up, the best positioned players will survive and thrive."

Mckee offers some good advice here.

I have a number of clients employing these principles and here are their results.

There's a granite countertop company that sent me an e mail the other day that said ... "I think the sky may be falling, but we are seeing a good response to the ads."

There's a roofing company that's advertising with me right now. Last week I received an e mail from a listener who writes, "You had a commericial on earlier today for a roofing company. I'm trying to remember who they were. I think it was Buller or Boulder Roofing, but didn't have any luck googling those names. Can you please let me know who it was? Thank you for your help. Love your station too."

These are just two examples of business still being done even in the midst of this supposed economic storm.

There are nearly 420,000 people listening to the Fish each week. Surely with a good enough reason, we could get enough people to do business with you.

If you'd like to find out more, contact me and we can see if it makes sense to develop a results-producing plan for you.

Also, feel free to comment on these blog posts below. Tell others what's working and what's not. That way we can all share and grow.

Good selling. Mike

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Businessweek Columnist on Advertising Now

"Businessweek" columnist Steve Mckee says "don't let hard times derail your advertising."

That might be a hard pill to swallow right now but disconnect yourself for a moment from the climate of fear that's being propulgated from the 24-news machine and see your business in the light of a logically thinking individual.

McKee writes that "...nobody knows what's coming, and in an uncertain environment fear becomes the common currency. As the bad news continues to unfold, we are all looking for ways to hunker down and protect our slices of the pie."

The unfortunate thing is many times hunkering down leads us to act in desperation which could harm your business not only now but in the long term.

Mckee cautions against an advertising panic. Many companies cut back their advertising drastically during times like these only to "...sacrifice the future on the altar of the present." Other companies deeply discount "...which is almost always a mistake."

Mckee says "as an advertiser you can contribute to the fear or you can help diffuse it. The more consumers perceive you going about your normal course of business, the more normal things will feel to them. And the more quickly we can all get back to normal."

The choice is up to you. I remember in my basic econonics class at the University of Georgia that the economy is fundamentally cyclical. Many will make well out of this so-called downturn. Those who go into hiding will logically and statistically lose market share. Those who maintain their presence will grow not only now but statistics show, they will come out on top when this cycle comes out of its current position.

If you want to come out on top, call me.

I've got case studies of advertisers who are getting results with me right now. I'd be happy to share with you.

In my next blog entry, I'll look at "5 Dont's for Marketing in Tough Times." This will really equip you to weather the storm.

Good selling. Mike