Monday, June 26, 2006

Marketing vs. Advertising. What works and why?

This was inspired by a conversation I had with my Insurance Agent.

Marketing vs. Advertising. What works and why?

1. Marketing is the BIG Picture. Marketing includes many different elements that add up to how you and your company are perceived by the public.

2. EVERYTIME a person thinks about you/your company, an impression is being made, either positive, negative, or somewhere in between.

3. These impressions add up to create the overall image of you/your company.

4. What causes a person to think about you/your company?
• A conversation specific to you/your company.
• A conversation about a competitor of you/your company.
• An overheard remark about you/your company, or your competitor.
• Advertising for you/your company, or your competitor.
• A hands-on experience with you/your company, or your competitor.
• Other sensory experiences that trigger a thought about you/your company, or your competitor. (The aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the sound of an ambulance, the touch of a little child’s sticky hands)

5. Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. There are internal and external elements to your marketing. Let’s start with the internal:
• First customer contact. Telephone? How is the phone answered? What is the mood and tone of voice of the person answering? Is it inviting and welcoming or does the person answering sound rushed, bothered, or unfriendly. Same concepts for your walk in traffic. What are the impressions you and your staff project to your clients and potential clients? What improvements need to be made?
• Follow up and service. Is there anything lacking? (Nearly everyone and every business have at least on area that could use improvement. Find out what could be improved with you/your company.
• Ask, and work to improve, instead of making excuses. There is a bit of truth in every complaint. Also find out what people are not complaining about.

6. External marketing. This is often what we call advertising. Questions to ask:
• Is it consistent? Do you present a uniform picture to the public of what you are about and why they should do business with you? (The opposite is a scattered, all things to all people, confusing, and blurry image for you/your company)
• Are you using the most effective mediums to leverage your time and resources? Until recently drug companies did not advertise directly to consumers for prescription medicines. For dozens of years, they spent their time and money going directly to the doctors to convince them to prescribe their medicines. Who are your most likely customers? Are you inviting them to use you? How are you doing it? There are strengths and weaknesses of Radio, TV, Billboards, Internet, Newspapers, Direct Mail, Magazines, and each one of these are effective for the right business, when matched up properly with realistic goals and objectives.
• Networking is one way to get the word out about you/your company, if you understand what it can and cannot do. Give the people you network with the information so they will a)want to recommend you to others (EMOTIONS) and b) understand why to recommend you to others (FACTS)

7. You/your company, does not operate in a vacuum. Consumers need to know why they should buy from you/your company instead of your competition. EVERYONE HAS COMPETITION. I want to know why I should give YOU my money instead of spending it on something else or somewhere else. Too many businesses fail because they fail to recognize this principle.

8. Understand that your marketing and advertising needs to be designed to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS with current and future customers. Building relationships take time and exposure. People want to feel good when they spend their money and it is a combination of facts and emotion that produces that good feeling. The more personal a message is, the easier it is to build that relationship. That’s why I prefer radio for many of my clients, because it is a very personal medium that involves talking, imagery, emotion, and facts. It can also be cost effective depending on what needs to be accomplished to produce a nice return on investment. And it can be used in combination with other mediums to enhance an advertising and marketing program.

For more information, contact Scott Howard at Scott

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