Friday, September 28, 2007

An Insiders Secret to Radio Commercials

During my 20 plus years in the radio bs, I mean radio business, I have discovered that there are lots and lots of people who can create radio bs and if they are in the sales and advertising part of this business, then that is dangerous. The bs I am referring to is the opposite of truth and integrity.

A question that is sometimes asked, is how long should a radio commercial be? 1 minute? Half a minute? 15 seconds? This week I found an article written by Roy Williams, the self proclaimed Wizard of Ads that answers this question. If you want more information on any of this, go ahead and contact me. Depending on your needs and location, we'll either get together in person, via the phone, or internet....

Here's what Roy says:

How Long Should Your Ad Be… 60s, 30s, 15s, or Mentions?

Thu, September 27, 2007
2-men--ruler.jpgBy Roy H. Williams

Shakespeare would argue for ten-second radio ads, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” But W.C. Fields would suggest sixties, “If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.” I agree with both.

When people ask, “What’s the best length radio ad?” I always think of Abe Lincoln’s answer when asked, “How long should a man’s legs be?” Long enough to reach the ground.

In other words, an ad should be exactly as long as it takes to say what needs to be said.

Use 60-second ads when:
1. …your message is complex. Better to write a 60 that makes your message clear than a 30 that leaves doubts and questions.

2. …you need to include specific details to help persuade. Specifics are always more believable than generalities. Close the loophole. Answer the question lurking in the listener’s mind. But don’t bore your audience by answering questions no one was asking.

3. …you’re in a business category that’s new and not easily understood. If first you must create the realization of need before you can sell your solution, it can easily take 60 seconds.

4. …you need to “baffle them with bull.” If you sell a generic commodity and your strategy is for people to buy from you simply because they like you better, you’re going to need a world-class creative team. These ads are, without question, the hardest of all ads to write. But they can also be the most entertaining. These are the times when your production people can shine like the sun. Inspire them but don’t instruct them. Buy them food, give them praise, remind them that they’re geniuses and yes, everyone misunderstands them but you. Production people live to create ads like these, but you’ve got to give them time, encouragement and freedom. And maybe beer.

Use 30-second ads when:
1. …your product or service category is clearly understood and you’re making an easy-to-understand offer. Say it plain. Say it straight. Eliminate all but the most essential adjectives and adverbs. Replace clich├ęs and predictable phrases with unanticipated wording. Focus on verbs and use as many as possible. Make one point per ad, but make it powerfully in the script. Please, for the love of God, don’t write a weak message and then try to compensate for it with powerful delivery (vocal inflection, dramatic music, sound effects.) The seventies are over.

Use 15-second ads when:

1. …you have an incredibly powerful, simple message. Don’t screw it up by blah, blah, blahing for thirty seconds when you can say it more powerfully in fifteen. Sadly, many ad writers fall into the trap described so eloquently by Blaise Pascal, "I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter." At least twenty-five percent of the thirties on most stations would really work better as fifteens. Tight, powerful ads are hard to write, but definitely worth the effort.

2. …you’re in a business category in which no one advertises but you. When path dominance has be acquiesced to you by your competitors and simple name recognition will likely be enough to make customers think of your name when they need what you sell, don’t be an idiot, buy fifteens and mentions.

Use mentions when:
1. …you sell a commodity in a crowded marketplace and your strategy is to go for Top-Of-Mind-Awareness. (I’ve long suggested that radio stations fund a TOMA study every two years. You’ll be amazed at the impact a “marketplace snapshot” will have on your advertisers.)

2. …you merely want to add additional frequency to a schedule that is delivering barely-sufficient frequency of your thirty or sixty-second message. But don’t fool yourself by calculating a reach and frequency analysis that lumps the mentions into the same schedule as the thirties and/or sixties. The schedule of full-length ad must deliver sufficient frequency on its own. Mentions are merely gravy for these schedules. Like gravy, they’re really not worth much when there is insufficient meat on the plate.

The most common mistake is allowing the budget to dictate the length of the ad. Never try to squeak by with fifteens and mentions when you really need thirties and sixties. Sacrifice reach, not ad length. Buy a less expensive day-part or a smaller station.

Make your message exactly as long as it needs to be.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The truth about women!

My last post of random facts mentioned 1/3 of men prefer their dogs to their women, I wonder if the reverse was asked what the results would be?

1) Which do women prefer, their men or their women?
2) Which do dogs prefer, men or women?

Anyway, I promised you the truth about women and this comes from Michele Miller,

Biggest Mistakes in Marketing to Women

Wanna make two gynormous mistakes when it comes to marketing to women? Then:

1. Believe that low, low prices are the most important thing to her.
2. Believe that you’re marketing to her and her alone.

Here are some recent purchases I’ve made:

When Price Didn’t Matter

  • Spending $5.03 on a small container of veggies at AJ’s because the deli manager took the time to come out from behind the counter and find me in the store to tell me they were freshly steamed.
  • Spending $15 more for a pair of fitness shoes on NB Web Express, because they have a free return policy (they even print out the return slip and place in the box) and they write personal thank you notes to their customers.
  • Spending more than you want to know (you’d need smelling salts) on my Fuji road bike because when I was first shopping, the salesman at Bikes Direct spent 20 minutes talking about what my needs were and how I’d be using the bike before he even suggested trying one out.

When You Marketed to Me Through My Husband

  • Recommending a local chiropractor to no less than three girlfriends because of the excellent experience Husband has had (and I’ve never been to see this doctor myself!)

When I Made Purchasing Decisions That Affected Others:

  • Choosing Halloween treats for my WonderBranding class, opting to buy from a store that had listed driving directions on its website.
  • Making hotel reservations for friends for the upcoming Wizard Academy reunion - choosing a hotel because I love their beds.
  • Recommending my vet to a gal at my gym because of the fantastic experiences I’ve had when taking Penny the WonderDog.

Stop thinking you are marketing directly to women and that you always have to reach out for new customers. Your existing customers are the straightest line to profit and word-of-mouth influence. And don’t think that because you’re talking to man you have to act differently. Remember, he probably has a girlfriend/wife/sister/mother/daughter he’s going to turn to when he has a rotten experience, and that can be the worst kind of marketing-to-women strategy.

(Click here to go to Michele's website and get excellent tidbits of information like this sent to your e-mail free of charge. Especially if you are a guy like me!)

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Your woman or your dog......

Volume 2 Issue 40 - September 26, 2007


Almost 20% of pre-K through high school students speak a language other than English at home, according to the Census Bureau.


36 million Americans over age seven rode a bike at least six times in 2006, down from 53 million who did so a decade earlier, reports the National Sporting Goods Association.


Boomers account for 60% of spending on packaged goods, but only 45% of households, according to Unilever, as cited by Crain's New York Business.


There are an estimated 12,000 street vendors in New York City, 853 of which have city-issued permits and 5,400 are on a waiting list to obtain permits, says the NYC Dept. of Consumer Affairs.


One in three men say if it came down to loving their woman or their dog, they'd go for the dog, according Men's Health.

The good news is that 2/3 of men prefer their women over their dogs. It's all a matter of perspective.

You can get Random Facts like these in your e-mail. Ask, and I'll tell you how.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Connections, the truth behind "Networking"

Sometime some where, someone will invite you to a "networking meeting". And if you are lucky, it will be a good meeting for you to attend. How do you get lucky? Create your own luck.

Also, you should understand what these networking meetings are all about.

When I returned to sales a few years ago I would see and meet prospects, one at a time. A couple of 45 minute meetings in the morning, a couple more in the afternoon and I was limited to between 4 and 6 of those types of meetings a day.

Then a couple of times, I was invited to a networking meeting. The first was by a client that wanted me to address his group on the subject of advertising. I decided to focus on something that everyone in attendance could implement that week that did not cost them anything. Instead of advertising, I spoke about marketing. I picked a topic that everyone would have in common, and that is how they handle their incoming phone calls from current and potential customers. After that meeting, A couple of the business owners thanked me for helping them consider something that they were overlooking that could help them get more business.

Since that first meeting, I have done business with 4 of those business owners. I spent money with 2 of them, and 2 of them spent money with me. That was the result of one introductory meeting and appropriate follow up.

About 9 months after that first meeting , I was invited to be a guest at another meeting with a different organization. This time it was a more structured meeting with an organization that had membership requirements and had a different goal in mind. That different goal is what I believe makes todays networking organizations work for their members. What is the different goal?

The goal is to network. Many so called networking groups have their members trying to sell to each other and that's about it. Instead, the most successful networking groups are all about forming connections and relationships.

Here's how it has worked in my life. I offer a service. If there is someone in the group that knows someone that can use my services, then "connect us". This is a referral. Yesterday while I was meeting with a business owner, he mentioned to me an area of his business that he wants to expand but he does not have any experience in that area. It just so happens that I know someone that may be a good fit to join his company and help him expand. I told Mr. Business Owner about this "someone" and even gave him an extra business card of this "someone". Today, I am going to send an email to both of these people to connect them and if I need to, I'll even arrange a meeting with the 3 of us.

What do I get out of this? Maybe nothing. That's not the point. Maybe both of these men or one of them will be a future customer of mine. But more importantly, I may get a referral from one of them sometime in the future for someone that does need to spend money for advertising and marketing. That's why the networking that is the most successful is about Connections and Relationships, not just a transactional sale.

These relationships take time and energy. Yet, it was demonstrated to me last week, and the week before too, what happens when you develop relationships like what I'm talking about.

Last week at lunch, I had two people from my past come up to me in the restaurant and want to set up meetings for ways that I might be able to help them. There was a lawyer, a Realtor, a banker, and a semi-retired business owner, that all came to me.

Even yesterdays meeting was as a result of networking, where the business owner called me.

Make connections, build relationships, and over time the money will follow.

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