The 5 Keys To Profitable Marketing & Advertising

Two weeks ago I travelled to Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa with speaking on the Real Success Tour. My topic was “Real” Marketing From The Inside Out. Part of my speech was focused on The Five Keys To Profitable Marketing & Advertising. We have had several requests from attendees to write a blog on the subject and expand on what I shared with the 3 groups.

In order to effectively utilize the five areas of “Real” Marketing From The Inside-Out…Attitudinal Marketing, Face To Face Marketing, Environmental Marketing, Extended Personal Marketing and Media Marketing it is important to understand “The 5 Keys To Profitable Marketing & Advertising.”

To simplify, there are five key elements of marketing

(1) Positioning,

(2) Strategy,

(3) Creativity,

(4) Frequency, and

(5) Reach.

Most people misunderstand the first three basic concepts and often make the mistake of buying into or putting the creativity first and then trying to set up their strategy and positioning. This is usually not the best sequence. When you are talking about developing the sales, marketing, advertising and promotion side of your business, you have to determine your positioning first.

1.  Positioning:

What do I mean by positioning? Well, I’m sure that you have walked into a clothing store and left within a few minutes because you decided that it was not the place for you. That store was not geared to your type of personality, your economic situation, and so on. It was not positioned for you. Or you may walk into a restaurant and within a few minutes feel uncomfortable. However, that restaurant may be packed with people who are happy to be there because it feels comfortable to them. It has obviously positioned itself to attract a specific group of people and make them feel good. The restaurant would not be successful if it had you as a target customer with its present atmosphere.

Determine how you should position your business. The key questions to ask yourself are

(1) Who are you positioning your business for? and

(2) How do you position yourself to attract them?

First you must determine everything you can about your potential customers. You must know their demographics – age, gender, living area, and income etc. You also must research their psychographics – that is, what they like to do. For example, you may have two groups of people in the same age range and with the same incomes. However, one group likes to braai in the backyard, drink beer, get together with friends, and go out to the lake; the other group likes to go out to beautiful restaurants, go to the theater, and drink fine wine. So demographics tell you what your potential customers are, and psychographics tell you who your potential customers are. Psychographics are often determined through reading habits, listening choices, viewing decisions, clothing, favorite places, hobbies, tastes in entertainment, and living area…in other words “lifestyle.”

How do you position yourself to attract your target market? First, be sure your business location fits your target market. I know of a beautiful seafood restaurant that opened just one block too far down the street. The owner was from another city and assumed that the location was okay. The block he was on had, prostitutes at night. He was used to that in the big city, but the conservative residents of this smaller town were not. They stayed away, and he went out of business.

It is also important to make sure that the advertising fits the people and that your services are appealing to them. The training of your staff, the sales approach you take, the character of your building, the inside of your office or store, the promotional and advertising materials you use, the places you frequent, the traditional media and social media you use and the prospects, clients and customers you target will “roll out” from your positioning.

2.  Strategy:

Once you have determined your positioning, lay out your strategy. What are you going to do to reach and attract these people? Strategy is important. Through strategy many businesses have grabbed major market share and over time have become number one. Strategy is often what makes the difference.

When determining a strategy, you must understand your competitors, the market and especially your niche market. Then you must decide whether you’re going to do defensive marketing, offensive marketing, blanket marketing or commando marketing. Your size, ability, flexibility, and the amount of market you are dominating will determine which of these four basic marketing strategies you should use.

Commando marketing may be used if you are a small business or if you are a large company moving into a market that is strongly held by competitors. With this strategy you use innovative promotional ideas that are delivered literally in person. It could be that you and your team inundate a conference: take a suite, fly in 500 lobsters, and put on an excellent reception for clients. At the suite, your clients meet your technical and service people along with the marketing people. They all leave with a personalized gift and a piece of advertising in hand. Later you follow up with a phone call. This advertising is not public. It is more personal. You may not be able to go head to head with the competition, but you try to get a good toehold in the market before your competitors realize you are a threat.

Attack marketing is used if your business is a good size and is strong and innovative. You may be the attacker or the aggressor that keeps the big competitors on the defensive. Using attack advertising and marketing, you decide on specific areas or times to try to dominate the market.

Blanket marketing is used to cover the entire market. It requires a large advertising and marketing budget. If it is the best time of year for marketing, and if a good return on investment is possible, you may hit every conceivable medium that reaches your potential customers.

Defensive marketing allows a large company that dominates its market or even a small company who dominates a niche market to defend its customer base. Knowledge and tracking of the competition is important when you are in this position. Sometimes your best defense is a good offense, especially if the attacker is showing signs of disorganization or weakness.

Often a company may use a combination of these four marketing strategies. Large companies that are spread out over great distances usually have different branches at different stages of success. Some branches may be using commando marketing; the more established branches may use defensive marketing.

After you decide which marketing strategy suits you, determine whether the advertising and marketing is going to be social media, television, radio, direct mail, SMS, e-mail, billboard, newspaper, magazine, or a combination of these and other media. Once you know the positioning, you will know what radio stations your customers listen to, what television shows they watch, what newspapers and other publications they read, what  lists to buy what social media posts to boost, where they drive, what streets they live on, and what billboards are in their area. (There are statistics from ad agencies and media reps that can give you this up-to-date information.) Track the results of your marketing, and don’t be afraid to make a change.

Of course, you have to keep in mind how much money you have. Say you are aiming at thirty- to thirty-five-year-old males with above average income and you only have R25 000 to launch your product. You may do a survey in an upscale shopping center for that target group. You look for men between thirty and thirty-five years old and ask them to participate in the survey. The questions would focus around hobbies: what sports they play, what radio station they listen to, what clubs they belong to, what kinds of cars they drive, what magazines they read, where they shop, and so on. You use this information to select the specific ways to reach them. With R25 000 you may decide to cosponsor an event with a major clothier, a health club, or a magazine.

3.  Creativity:

So now you have determined whom you want to reach and how you want to reach them. The third key element of marketing is creativity. You must design and produce ads and marketing tools so that they fit the positioning and strategy. Also make sure that is has impact and stands out from the crowd.

For example…many years ago in Canada I created a personal marketing brochure that was aimed at advertising, marketing and sales organizations and wanted to differentiate myself by really standing out from the crowd, have impact and show how credible I was as well as creative. I put a 3D photograph on the front cover, the inside had a pop-up of me that surprised people, also I had credible endorsements on the inside and the back cover displayed an article from BC Business Magazine (of which I was on the cover), a picture of my family (down-to-earth and a family man) plus a simulated posted note with a note from the president suggesting I be hired and a list of my many clients.

You could use all of the ideas on a website or landing page these days with your social media marketing. Below are the three slides that I used on The Real Success Tour to tell the story and demonstrate impactful creativity to the entrepreneurs and business owners that were present. (As an aside…my two sons Ryan and Shane could be quite naughty…on about 20 of my brochures they cut off three of the fingers on my hand on the centerfold pop-up and unknown to me 20 potential clients received them!!! All 20 called and embarrassingly I had to explain what happened…we had a good laugh and the majority of them hired me

4.  Frequency:

In my opinion, the most effective element in selling, marketing and advertising is frequency. If you reach 10 000 of the right people ten times rather than 100 000 people once, your advertising rands will be much more productive. To obtain more frequency, run several commercials on the same television program or the same radio time block, on the same radio newscast every morning, or run several ads in the same newspaper on the same day. The key to obtaining value from frequency is to increase impact by reaching the same consumer several times. In sales it is better to reach 50 of the right people 10 times with the right methods than 500 people once.

A one-time pizza commercial on a late night movie will have to be a great mouth-watering event to motivate a consumer to purchase. The same commercial run several times during the show can dramatically increase response. Even though you may reach a small number of people, if they are the right people and you reach them enough times with the right message to make them respond, and it is affordable, you have effective advertising.

One of my clients, Terry Straker, and I really blew the minds of the media reps in Calgary by buying two or three commercials for Terry’s company during one half-hour TV show. TV station personnel told us we’d still get the frequency we wanted by spreading the commercials out between programs that eighteen- to twenty-four-year-old males watch. But who was to guarantee that the same viewers watched all three programs? By placing the commercial in the specific TV show three times in half an hour, there was a much better chance to reach viewers two or three times and move them to action.

5.  Reach:

Reach is the total number of different people or companies you reach. In most cases, the media advertising mediums would rather see you spread your advertising out. It gives them a chance to sell more clients into specific “air time” programs. For  example in Radio and TV a lot of their commercial packages are spread across time slots so that they can move their inventory more evenly. If you really spread out, you’ll reach more people fewer times. There are times when you may want to do this. Maybe you are creating an awareness of a product or service just to back up a sales team. At a time like this, a widespread reach could be more important than frequency. The tighter you pull the scope of your advertising in, the fewer people you will reach – but you will reach them more times. Your reach depends on the budget. Go for frequency first, and then spread out to reach more people if you have the money to spend. Reach depends on the budget you have. This includes use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. as well. One way to build frequency is to repeat a specific point several times within a thirty-or sixty-second commercial or social media adverts or in a print ad or billboard. If a specific point hits you three times in a commercial, social media advert or social media ad and you hear or see the ad three times, that means you got that point nine times. Too many people try to do so many different things in their ads that they lose the impact of a specific message.

Again, remember, Frequency first and then Reach and Reach depends on your budget. Good luck!

Bill Gibson
The late Bill Gibson is a Canadian and has been billed as Canada’s #1 Business Speaker in Canada by the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada. In recent years over 90% of Bill’s time and effort has been working with Multi-Nationals and other organizations in South Africa implementing his Sales, Service and Personal Marketing Systems on behalf of local representatives Knowledge Brokers International S.A. (Pty) Ltd.


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