Introduction by John Callaghan

Every client I’ve ever worked with started out asking me to create an new marketing and advertising campaign without doing any of the ground work. No research, no surveys, no study groups….just wave a magic wand and create a campaign to make the phone ring. Needless to say, that would be a complete waste of money.

This article from MYM explains the problem and solution.

Note: I went through some training with MYM many years ago and have rights to their newsletters. I’m posting the ones to this blog that I believe will help any company make the transition from being “product driven” to being “customer driven”.

Every Advertisement Should Be Part Of An Overall Marketing Strategy – by MYM

I have people come to me all the time wanting me to write ads for their products or services. Most of them about have a heart attack when I tell them that I never write an ad for less than $2,500 and my average price is $5,000. For a single ad. Just one. The reason is that there’s a lot of legwork and research that has to happen before I can write an ad. Most of what needs to be figured out before putting pencil to paper…or fingers to keyboard…is covered in these newsletters.

But here’s an understatement: There are a lot of things you’ve got to understand and take into consideration before you can churn out even a simple advertisement. Then you’ve got to create a master strategy for advertising, marketing, and selling your product that takes into account your selling advantages – or the inside reality – and customers’ needs.

You can’t just go around making stuff up all the time on the spur of the moment that’s based on nothing more than your best guess of what’s going to work. You’ve got to be more sophisticated than that. What’s the Boy Scout motto? Be prepared. Same thing in advertising – know your strategy, know what your customers want, innovate your business, know the best way to say things, then write the ads.

Like I said, we’ll cover most of this in the newsletters, so for now I’ll just give you a quick laundry list of stuff that’s got to be sorted out and deciphered before you start writing. Now I’m not talking about techniques here, I’m talking about base level grounding materials that precede any ad writing.

Things like determining your advertisement’s objective: Is it trying to get orders? Inquiries? Generate leads? Promote brand awareness? What is your ad trying to do? You’ve got to figure out who your target market is and what they need to hear to make a compelling sales argument and in what format they will most readily accept your information. What’s important to them? Would they watch a video brochure of your product or do they just need a postcard? What kinds of things influence their buying decisions? Have they been burned by someone in your industry before? Is what you’re selling not important enough for them to put a lot of thought into it? Or is it such a major purchase that they’re going to have to see something really impressive from you before they’ll buy? Or is it somewhere in between?

You’ve got to know all this before you start writing the advertisement or else it’s inevitable that you’ll be saying the wrong things to the wrong people. You’ve got to know this stuff!

Here’s the good news: it’s not THAT difficult. But it’s imperative you create a master game plan for all of your advertising. Every ad you place should have a specific, predetermined purpose. Each ad should pull its own weight and make a profit for itself.

We have clients all the time who will come running in and say, “Hey, I just got out of a meeting with the radio sales rep and they’ll give us a great deal on this block of airtime…what do you think?” Well…let me see your marketing plan and see if this “wonderful deal” fits into that plan.

Or a guy will say, “Look, I know that you say all that stuff about creating a whole marketing plan…but I really, really need a flyer right now. Can you just put that together real fast and then worry about the rest of the marketing plan later?” And the answer is…yes, but I can’t guarantee it will work!

This exact thing happened not too long ago with a guy who had an aluminum siding and replacement window business. Now, I don’t know what you think about these telemarketing companies that call you all the time during dinner and ask you to buy siding for your house. I think they’re annoying. But since we’ve done a lot of work in the construction and the home improvement business, I already knew quite a bit about how to put his entire marketing plan together…before I did any of the preliminary leg work I just mentioned.

Hey, after you’ve done this a couple of thousand times in a couple of hundred different industries, I would hope that you could put together a marketing plan for a siding company. I mean come on, wouldn’t you get a little nervous if your heart surgeon was wheeling you into the operating room and was asking the nurse, “Hey, where’s the Heart Surgery For Dummies book?”

So anyway, I unfolded an entire marketing plan to him, a strategy called the “Code of Ethics and Competency” that is excellent for good, honest companies who happen to be in industries that have problems with shady operators who have a reputation for being less than forthright with consumers – like siding contractors, for instance. I showed him how to integrate the strategy into his telemarketing, advertising, yard signs, tradeshow booths, sales presentations, and into every single aspect of his marketing. I’m talking about a full-blown powerhouse marketing strategy that would absolutely annihilate every one of his competitors. And his brilliant comment was, “Yeah, but right now I just need the flyer that my guys can stick on people’s doors. Can you do that?”

The answer is NO!!!

Why? Because a single flyer just creates an outside perception the inside reality can’t support. You just can’t shortcut the system. You can’t just slap a couple of techniques on there and hope you’ll get stellar results. You’ve got to take the time to put the plan together and build a case that convinces your prospects it’s worth their time and money to even consider doing business with you.