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Thread: Who's to blame? Look in the mirror.

  1. #11
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    Patrysha's Avatar

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    Results are never certain...

    You can increase your odds by-
    Focusing on one target market with each ad
    Focusing on one sales message
    Knowing your target market (what they listen to, read, what their habits are)

    Being an ad rep can be really hard...you'll likely find you get the best treatment and advice when you contact them at the beginning of the month. Towards the end of the month the management is coming down hard on them over numbers and quotas and generally makes them desperate so they go into sell anything just to shut them up mode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spider View Post
    So, what's the answer, Dan - or anyone? The big guys can hire and fire their own staff untill they build a team of people who produce results. How can the little guy get certain results from their advertising dollar?
    Sadly, there isn't an answer, Frederick.

    Media is so fragmented these days, that nothing out there is a slam-dunk to "work". Back when any given area had maybe 1 or 2 papers, 2 or 3 "big" radio stations (along with maybe 5 TV channels), it was a LOT easier. Nowadays, though? Forget it - I don't know anyone under 30 that religiously reads a newspaper. TV stations? There are 500 - good luck finding your audience. Radio? When people have ipods and XM/Sirius, it seriously limits your audience.

    That's kind of the reason I'm so bullish on Google / adwords / website. Reach your target audience easily. Instantly know if your message works, etc. I can pull up my web stats, and know where my visitors came from, what pages they visited, what page they left from, etc. If I get 100 visitors, and no contacts, something is wrong. Period. I have the wrong message. My website might suck. Maybe the audience isn't what I think it is...

    My advice to businesses? Dump your ad money into your website. Get it converting. Bid heavily on your main keywords. Make sure when people search Google for (your city/your service) YOU are way up there. Participate in forums / blogs / etc. Put your link everywhere.

    And yes, Patrysha, I agree. Being an ad rep is one of the worst jobs out there (I've done it, and I did some of the things I now rail against, like sell a guy an ad I knew wouldn't help him.)

    My advice to ad reps... find another job. Really.
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    You have good insight Dan. Adwords is one of the few things that consistently works for me. The rest is not as hard to measure as you might think however. I certainly get some vague answers, but most people remember exactly where they heard of my business. However, the percentage of "I've seen your stuff lots of places" is growing ... slowly.

    BTW - my experience with advertising is exactly the opposite of what all the ad reps preach. I always get the most calls right at the beginning. The more I repeat - the fewer calls I get.
    Steve B

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    Doesn't this open the field for a really good advertising person to build a truly great company? The name Ogilvy (or something like that) pops into my mind. Okay - that is one for big guys, but couldn't an entrepeneurial advertising person devise an arrangement that guaranteed a certain result for small businesses?

    "Tell me how many leads you want and I'll quote you a price that guarantees that result. I'll decide how I will advertise your company, you just pay your money and take the leads. If I fall short I will prorate a refund -- 100 leads promised 75 delivered = 25% refund."

    Or...

    "Tell me the total sales you want, I'll quote a price that guarantees that result. I'll decide how I will advertise your company, you just pay your money and take the leads. If I fall short I will prorate a refund -- $10,000 in sales promised $7,500 delivered = 25% refund."

    I think that would make a great selling point to small business owners stuck with being unable to advertise as much as they would like because they don't have as much money as they need.

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    I'm late to a good discussion. So much to comment on.

    I may be tossing my own interpretation into the original post, but I do think the responsibility always lies in the mirror. Assuming you've reached adulthood, you're responsible for your life. If you're a business owner, you are responsible for your business. Even if you went out and hired someone who did a poor job, it was still you that hired them. Now I don't think literally it's always on us. Sometimes you can do everything right and still fail, but if you take on the responsibility and put it on yourself, you'll do better next time.

    If you look at the scenario Ad-Vice-Man describes I think the complaint is people expecting a lot in return for nothing. A higher price doesn't automatically equal greater quality. I think we'd all agree with that. At the same time you have to be willing to invest in something if you want a reasonable return. You can't for example run one single commercial on late night television, because it's all you can afford and then when that commercial doesn't make you a millionaire come to the conclusion that advertising on tv doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Furman
    The person who sold them that did a terrible job, and a disservice to the advertiser. Sorry, but the salesperson is where the blame should lay. Really, the person who sold the advertiser the smallest package for the shortest amount of time was just out for the sale. It's a poor way to do business.
    Dan I agree to a point. True the salesman didn't do a good job, but you also bought into what they were selling. To me it still comes down to us when we're talking about our business. If I sell you this bridge I own in Brooklyn, sure I'm doing you a disservice, but is it really my fault you handed me your cash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spider
    And how does one do that?
    Frederick I think that's one of those hard questions to answer, because what works for one business doesn't necessarily work for another. I don't think there's a recipe you can apply. I agree that a typical business owner shouldn't be expected to be an expert in advertising, but then they either need to hire someone who is or learn how to become better at it themselves.

    As far as telling you how, unless you're paying me for the info then I'm volunteering the information. Now I'm glad to do that to a degree, but I can't imagine too many experts are going to tell you everything since they make their money by charging for that information. So while there are people willing to help you have to remember that there's only so much help they can give.

    Another point though, is how much people will listen to the advice. I've watched many people here and at the old forum over the years ask for advice. They received some pretty good advice and proceeded to ignore it. Then they came back asking the same questions again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spider
    Maybe there is no specific answer to How? and one has to proceed by trial and error. But isn't that exactly what the business owner did to earn the condemnation of "To find the culprit, look in the mirror."?
    I don't think the condemnation is because the business owner tried something that didn't work. I think the condemnation comes from the business owner condemning the medium. The medium isn't to blame. Both Dan and Steve mentioned how they've had success with AdWords. If you go out and try AdWords and it doesn't work it wasn't AdWords fault. Ultimately it's yours. That doesn't mean you're a bad person or you should be expected to succeed with it out of the gate, but it wasn't the fault of AdWords. Many people do make it work. It's up to you to figure out how to make it work for you or hire someone else to do that for you.

    The business owner tried something and it didn't work. They could try again applying what they learned or try something else. But blaming the medium is just an excuse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spider
    I'll quote you a price that guarantees that result.
    The problem is the results can't be guaranteed. That might work great for you, but there's a good chance that advertising agency won't be in business for long. The truth is you can't know what's going to work in advance. You have to try different things and see what works for you. Your asking the advertising agency to take 100% of the risk. Why should they do that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    ...the results can't be guaranteed. That might work great for you, but there's a good chance that advertising agency won't be in business for long. The truth is you can't know what's going to work in advance. You have to try different things and see what works for you. Your asking the advertising agency to take 100% of the risk. Why should they do that?
    Frankly, I'd love to do something like that myself, but I lack the advertising experience it would take. Someone with years in the industry and a wide experience of it would do very well, I think.

    True, you cannot know what is going to work in advance in advertising, any more than you know in advance what will work in SEO. But with your experience of SEO, VG, you can get pretty close and fine tune the difference. Likewise in any field. There are plenty of risks in construction but my knowledge and experience of it would help me mitigate the worst of it. So, for all of us.

    As for asking the advertising agency to take 100% of the risk and why should they do that? -- Because they can.

    In the first place, I'm not asking them to take 100% of the risk - they are (I propose) experts in advertising. (They'd better be, or they shouldn't be offering themselves as such.) So, they will get some result - because of their expertise. If - and only if - their results fall short of what was promised, they give a proportionate refund.

    One must always be careful of what a "Guarantee" is guanteeing. If I *guarantee* you 50 leads for $100 and I fail and only get you 49 leads, does this guarantee mean I must refund the $100 and you get to keep the 49 leads for free?

    Or is the guarantee that you will only pay for what you get and not lose because of a failure of the advertising chosen? In this case, you got 49 leads instead of the 50 promised and a prorated refund of $2 would satisfy that guarantee.

    So, results can be guaranteed. And I put it to you, that an advertising agency that has the balls to stand behind their supposed skill and expertise should be able to do this.

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    Yup that is why I am no longer Radio Girl...though I can only truly point to two cases where the client was undersold and in both of those cases they were ppl who bought blocks of commercials on auction...but I hated the pressure of hearing "How come you didn't pitch more to such and such client", "How come you didn't propose this package to that customer?", "How come you haven't landed so and so company" ...because they couldn't afford it, because it wasn't right for their target market, because they've allocated their budget elsewhere in a way that makes sense for their business were not acceptable answers. I never did pitch the way they wanted me to...and I know that is why I was able to turn many of my radio clients into personal clients for my company. The way I saw it since my salary was 100% commission based I saw it as my clients paying my salary, not the station - and that's the way I operated :-)

    I actually toyed with the idea of offering a guarantee with some of my services, but ran into obstacles in the planning stages. Some of them to do with the nature of media and marketing and the rest are basically trust issues.

    I can't guarantee press releases for example. Even when a story has been recorded and set to run there could be a fire, a scandal, a train crash...or simply even a more compelling & timely story that comes along. There are companies in the field that do pay for placement billing, but their rates far exceed what I charge for writing a distributing a release, plus coverage does not always lead to directly attributed sales.

    When the marketing I do results in people in the door (which is all I can promise) I have no control about what happens in the store to influence the close. Plus there are some companies that have a bad reputation before a campaign begins...and no amount of enticement is going to bring people back if they've developed a bad buzz.

    I'm still toying with the idea, but I have to sort out exactly how I can make a guarantee that won't put me at risk. I don't mind not making my fee if a campaign doesn't work, for the most part...it would sting but that would be more my pride than anything else...but I don't want to be footing the bill for all the newspaper, radio, web development, writers, printers & graphic design or whatever elements the campaign utilizes if a campaign does happen to miss the mark.

    One idea I've had is to offer up services with a non-refundable deposit in conjunction with a percentage of increased sales...but that would only work with a business that is already tracking and monitoring results (most in the offline world are not) and again would depend on my trust level with business owner.

    I know Paul offers a guarantee for his services that is all written out...but he has a lot more experience than I do and commands a much larger fee for his services that I do.

    That is why I am leaning towards more cooperative campaigns where I control a great deal of data access...everyone shares the costs and I know exactly what is happening in terms of campaign results.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spider View Post
    So, results can be guaranteed. And I put it to you, that an advertising agency that has the balls to stand behind their supposed skill and expertise should be able to do this.
    The problem here is, not every business is equal, either. I mean, if I started a cat bathing service.... yea, that'll fly.

    Or if I had a store in the most dangerous part of town.

    Or I had a car dealership who has a reputation for terrible service.

    My point is, results are, in most cases, somewhat tied to the business, the mindset/perception of the lead, etc etc.
    Dan Furman - Copywriter, Business Author, Entrepreneurial/Business Consultant
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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    Dan I agree to a point. True the salesman didn't do a good job, but you also bought into what they were selling. To me it still comes down to us when we're talking about our business. If I sell you this bridge I own in Brooklyn, sure I'm doing you a disservice, but is it really my fault you handed me your cash?
    Yea, but in something like advertising, the business owner is really looking to the ad salesperson for some expertise here. Plus, I've seen many a business owner say "wow, I'm gonna be on the radio!!!!" They don't understand how ineffective it is in small doses. And the station won't really tell you, either.

    It's just not an obvious thing like the bridge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Furman View Post
    The problem here is, not every business is equal, either. I mean, if I started a cat bathing service.... yea, that'll fly.
    Or if I had a store in the most dangerous part of town.
    Or I had a car dealership who has a reputation for terrible service.
    My point is, results are, in most cases, somewhat tied to the business, the mindset/perception of the lead, etc etc.
    I certainly agree that advertising such businesses pose certain challenges. Are you saying, Dan, that they are "un-advertisable"? Surely, all businesses have constraints from an advertising pov.

    A skilled advertising agent should be able to come up with an advertising campaign for any business, no matter how difficult it might seem. And if they feel they cannot (in this case, feel it too risky to put their own money behind anything they devise) then turn down the job.

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