Marketing white paper published by David King of MarketKing
The purpose of this document is to help you understand what the marketing function is within a company, the types of marketing programs, the choices, and what decision process one should go through to create a successful marketing program.
A word about the author – David King has a masters degree from the school of hard knocks and has been a marketing professional for over 25 years. David tells it as it is. He takes the most complicated subjects and reduces it to the level of the audience. His knowledge of business, from the accounting system all the way to the sales department is hard to find in a single individual. David makes it fun, his enthusiasm is contagious and he is a joy to be around. David does not know the word “Can’t”. He is all about the “teach you to fish” theory of business. Now he is not a English major, so you will get a kick out of his writing style – after reading his words, you will think he was talking to you.
Marketing – what a very encompassing word – this 9 letter word covers everything from your business card to your advertising campaign. Let me take you through the process of understanding marketing for your company or for your clients and see if I can make you smile.
Three Types of Marketing Programs
When you create a marketing plan, (YES YOU NEED A PLAN), it should define the goal. There are 3 types of marketing programs and your goal is one of the following: – ROI, Awareness or Branding.
ROI (Return On Investment) – With an ROI marketing program you goal is to RETURN on your INVESTMENT, meaning you do not want to spend $5000 to make $3000. If your goal is to increase sales of a product or service, you first must understand the value to the company for said product/service. Example: If you want to sell more Hamburgers you must know your COGS (cost of goods sold) and your capacity. If you are selling 25 burgers a day and you want to increase to 50, you must first calculate the ROI for the 25 more burgers. Burger sells for $6, your cost is $2, so your gross profit is $4. But when you look at the drinks, dessert, and other items you might sell with the burger the ROI could be much higher than $4. So come up with a number. Let’s say for this example the number is $10. So to sell 25 more burgers a day means $250 more gross profit per day. In a month this is $7,500. So if you plan on doing a EDDM mailing (we will talk about this later) and the mailer and postage will cost $5000, then you stand to make $2500 for the effort. Plus, you will build awareness to the restaurant and good chance you will benefit larger than $10 per burger in the long run.
Awareness – This has nothing to do with ROI, it is all about bringing awareness to an event or cause. This cause might collect money, but the main goal is not monetary based. In order for this to work, you must first understand what the attraction is for the event. Secondly you need to know the prime targets for the event or cause. Next you need to figure out how you are going to reach the audience. You should come up with a budget for this event, as you can just keep throwing money at Marketing programs forever… Now you need to pick a medium to deliver the message. This might be a large banner over the street of the town where the event is, a direct mail piece, a radio campaign, TV, or all of the above depending on the budget.
Branding – Most of the time branding is all about finding the largest target audience and delivering a powerful message to them. The more you touch them with the brand the more likely the audience will respond. Branding today is more challenging then ever, because today the experts tell us that it takes between 12 and 20 touches for a person to recognize a product or message. In 1985, the stats called for 3 to 5 touches for recognition. With radio ads costing $300-600 per spot in major cities, billboards at $3000 to $15,000 per month, to touch a person 20 times can get very expensive.
Just because I said we have 3 types does not mean you cannot choose to achieve all 3 in one campaign. In many cases, you are doing this if you are trying to sell items; you are going for the ROI to help keep the marketing dollars flowing, you are making people aware of the product and the locations where the product can be had, and you are also building the brand. The only warning I will give you is that to set the expectations of the executives above you to accomplish all 3 in one campaign, might be setting yourself up for a difficult road. The cost to do something like this is HUGE!
Creating The Marketing Message
This without a doubt is the most difficult part of marketing. When I talk to any new prospect I ask a number of pointed questions:
- What makes your product/service different then your competition?
- What makes your product/service better then your competition?
- What is the price point between your best competitors product and your product?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Where is your ideal customer located?
- What are the issues that is preventing you from getting to your goal?
- If I pushed a magic button and increased your sales to match your goal, what issues would you have to deal with?
- What is your timeframe to achieve your goal?
- What happens if you do not achieve your goal?
You can kid your self and say “I know all these answers,” but you would be surprised when you start to peel back the layers, how difficult these questions are to answer correctly. Most companies see their product as the BEST, they believe their companies services are the BEST, and they are the BEST in the industry. I always ask them “If you’re the BEST, then why are you talking to me?” Please don’t take this the wrong way, I am not here to say you are not the best at what you do, but if your customers and prospects are not saying you’re the best, then you have a marketing challenge in front of you!
Let’s start off with a few things that I am sure you will find hard to believe. Customers do not want to hear how great you are, how large you are, or how many tall building you have jumped today. They want to know what they are going to get by doing business with you – Plain and Simple! If you find this hard to believe, then lets look in the mirror and ask yourself what is important to you when your car is broken? Is it that they are CSE certified, they have 25 bays, 100 technicians, and they have free coffee in the waiting room? Or is it more important to you that you get an accurate quote for the work, you are told when you get your car back, and you drive away and the LIGHT DOES NOT COME BACK ON? Really…Of course we all know the answer. Lets face it, if they fix your car and they go out of business tomorrow, you would go find another place to have your car fixed next time. So all the hype about the CSE, 25 bays, etc. means nothing if you do not fix your car property!
So lets setup a set of rules for you before you start your campaign:
What is the goal for this campaign – ROI, Awareness or Branding?
What is the budget range?
What is the product/services to be marketed?
Does the marketing team understand the product/services?
Does the marketing team understand how the products/services are to
Does the marketing team understand the competition?
What is the expected results?
Who are the players in the process?
Do you have the resources to achieve the goal?
How will you track the results?
When you have the results is there a formula to calculate the success?
What is the deadline for the goal?
What could stand in the way of your success?
Is the GOAL realistic? Watch out for this one….
If you proceed with a marketing campaign and leave out any of the steps above, you are introducing obstacles to help you campaign fail. Now if no one is tracking the results, then you have almost nothing to worry about! So sad to say but many campaigns are setup with no tracking of results.
Designing The Marketing Message
Design – WOW…My friend got a free copy of Photoshop about 3 months ago, and last week he announced to the Facebook world that he is now a designer…So last week I went to Sears and purchased a tool box, and all the tools and today I put up a sign that says “David Auto Services, No Problem To Big or Too Small to Fix on Your Car”…. Design is a science and art mixed together but as with good cooks, it is not just the ingredients that make the meal great, is it the amazing cook! Knowing how to craft the message and how to present the message on the medium is an art. Sure anyone can put Yellow on Black and say WOW look at my sign. If you want to measure your success then you need a CALL TO ACTON. If you are doing a mailer, then coupons, a number to call for a special deal, a web site with a special code for a special deal, is a call to action. This way you can track your success and place a value on the success. Now if your team is not invested in the marketing program, then you might succeed and fail at the same time. For example: You have a call in campaign, but you forget to tell the people answering the phone to ask “Where did you see the message?” Now there are no results to show for your efforts.
Just a note, yes marketing takes a lot of heat from sales, but if you do not include sales in the marketing process, you are again setting yourself up to fail. Remember marketing is an EXPENSE on the books of the company, sales is the ASSET part of the books!
Internal marketing is what I call the basic marketing you can do for little to no money and will make a huge difference in the success of your company.
Business Cards – This is a HOT ONE for me, I will tell you that this is the MOST IMPORTANT marketing piece you will EVER CREATE. This is the one piece that most people keep, the one piece that most people touch, and the one piece that most of us FAIL AT! Did I offend you…Sorry but lets start by turning over your card, is the back WHITE? If yes, you just shot 50% of your marketing dollars out the window for the number one piece. Now lets look at the card, does the card tell the holder what they get by doing business with you? No…Oops you did it again. Now for the real hurt, does your card even tell the holder what you do? Please don’t say – “Gee Dave, I am a lawyer, what do you think they think?” I would respond: “Well I know lots of lawyers and most of them practice very different law so YES, there is a difference between a divorce lawyer and a estate planning lawyer.”
Let’s put the most important items on the front of your card: your company name, your name, phone, email and what the client gets by doing business with you. On the back lets put the minor stuff like your address, fax, web site, etc. Color is important. If you sell color printing, then your card better be FANTASTIC! If you are a car sales person, then how about the car of the month on the back. Lawyers and Doctors should have a more sophisticated card, where as mechanics can have a fun card. Next is the card quality, please get a nice heavy stock card like a 16 point stock. If you get rounded corners then the cards will last longer in your wallet. You should be able to get a set of 1000 cards (full color both sides), delivered to your office for around $79.
Phone Number – A vanity number is great if you can get it. I have 888.THE.KING and this cost me $10,000 to purchase it. I wanted 800.THE.KING but Elvis has it. Having an toll free number is not as important as it use to be because most phone systems now give you unlimited calling in the USA. The actual number tells a lot about a company. The 1000 number are HUGE, like 212.391.1000, next is the 100 numbers like 978.580.7100, there are lots of these numbers. When you are working on your marketing try to get a good number for your company. Yes if you find a great one, you can have the phone company port all calls from your old number to the new number and when you call clients back they will see the new number. Finding these 100 numbers are tough, sometimes it takes you just sitting down and dialing numbers for hours. I have 5 100 numbers, my 3 companies, my home number, and my cell. When people see all these 100 numbers on my logo, cards, email, etc. they perceive my company to be large and successful. Once you find a number you like, you first need to find out if you can have it. If the number was released by a company within 1 year, then you have to get their permission to have the number. This sounds like a lot of work, but trust me, every little marketing win make one huge win when you put them together.
Email Signature – This one is a HUGE pet peeve for me. I have to tell you – I DON’T CARE THAT YOU HAVE AN IPHONE – so do I, and most of the rest of us. Please fix your signature on your email so that when you send out emails they tell the reader who you are and what you are all about. Put your company name, your name, web site, phone number, and what they get by doing business with you. You can do this on your phone also. I have 7 emails and all of them have a custom signature on my desktop and iPhone.
Voice Mail Message – I am amazed today how many people call me for marketing advice and when I call them back I get the message “The number you have reached is …” What do you think when you call a company that you are expecting to be professional and you get a message like this on their voice mail? would you call them back? Leave a professional message on your phone like this… “This is David King of Marketing, thank you for calling!I want to speak to you, so please leave me your name and phone number and I WILL call you back. Thank you and have a Fantastic Day!” I get more compliments on my voice mail because it is very upbeat and people love it.
WEB Site – This is extremely important, and in most cases your web site will be the deciding factor if a prospect will call you back or do business with your company. The best site to have it a .com site; anything else tells the viewer that you could not get a real web site. This might be as far from the truth as possible, but remember a person’s perception is their reality!
Be careful here. Too many people pour all they know into the web site and I will tell you that most people DO NOT READ what you write on the web site. First off many sites have incorrect information – what I mean by incorrect is information that is incomplete, or just WRONG! What customers are looking for are testimonials from other clients regarding your products and services. Today the rating on Yelp can make or break a restaurant faster than a FIRE! Same with Amazon on the Star Rating, watch how fast items on amazon disappear once they get a few bad reviews. Then you have Google ratings for business. Watch out , one mad customer that goes after you on social media can kill your business. I have seen just one person take down business. I feel very comfortable today with social media because I can now check out a product by reading what others thought of it before I purchase. Only a few times have I been disappointed with a purchase, and usually it was a non-rated product. Shame on me for taking a chance on those companies! Sorry got off track–so your web site needs to have a portfolio page that shows your products and how they are BEST used. Show them with happy people and this is even better. Next get testimonials from happy clients and put them on the site. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TESTOMINALS. The real hot one is a VIDEO testimonial; these are POWERFUL! One video from a client is worth more than 10 written ones. Keep the bragging to a minimum, and focus on what the client get by doing business with your company. Show examples, (before and after are great), and make it easy for a client to do business with you.
Here is a HOT one– put your phone number on EVERY PAGE of your site, it is proven that companies that make it easy for customers to call sell more products. Unless you are selling IDIOT proof products, you should have people answering the phone and giving great service to the callers.
Linkedin – If you want to do business with other business people then you should spend time on your Linkedin page. Keep it updated, post important information to your page, and invite as many people as you can. I find you can invite about 30 new email addresses every day before they stop you. So just do 30 every day, 5 at a time and you will see your list of contacts grow FAST. I started with 31 people on my list and it grew to 74 over 2 years, then I put some effort into it and now I have over 800! That is 800 people that are following me so when I have something important to tell them all, I know they will see it. Like this document.
Facebook – This is more of a person to person site, but do not disregard it for businesses as many businesses promote themselves here and it works. Again, the more touches you do, the more people remember you. Post success stories, photos, and RELEVANT BUSINESS information on your page, not what you had for lunch today – we DON’T CARE!
Twitter – This is more of a site for reaching followers. Music, Film, Radio stars, and people in the public eye do very well with Twitter. Businesses that have hot news that the public wants to hear about also do well with Twitter.
Do not think you can do all the sites and be successful. The time you spend on these sites can get over whelming and soon you will see you got nothing done all day because you were on the social site. Remember these are just another tool in your bag of marketing tools, not THE ONLY TOOL!
External Marketing Choices
External marketing means that money will come into the plan because everything that is external marketing that I am aware of, costs money. Not to beat this message to death but again, you must follow the rules and design a great message that is easy to read, easy to understand, and powerful enough to arouse a desire to know more.
I am by no means the expert on the choices, however I have used, designed, and printed just about everything on the list. I will try to keep my bias out of the choices.
Newspaper – Sorry, but it is only right to discuss all the choices. If you are in a small town or a rural area and you have a newspaper, and your target audience is the older crowd, then you should consider using the newspaper to deliver the message to your audience. Ideal for targeting specific small rural areas and older people.
Fax Campaign – OK now I am just being silly here.
Email Campaign – this is just about the best way to take down your web site…So if you were not aware it is against the law in the USA to send bulk email to anyone that YOU DO NOT KNOW. If you call any of the large companies that sell lists and ask for a list of names and email addresses then try to email to them, you will get shut down. What I am telling you is that today it is more difficult to build a business then ever. So you need to be careful of email campaigns as most people will just junk your email or if they report you as SPAM and you get a number of SPAM reports, your internet provider will shut you down until you get the message to stop sending SPAM email. Use Email carefully and respectfully because once a person has told their email that you are JUNK that is it for you on their system, they will NEVER SEE YOUR MESSAGE. Send small groups (5 or less) and do it every day, not all at once, and you can slip by the SPAM police. But once you get a bounce back, remove that contact from your program and over time you will end up with a good list. Ideal for targeting specific demographics because you control the list and where the list came from.
Direct Mail – This for years lost all it’s interest but today it is coming back. Now if you live in Canada, that might not be the case as the Canadian government is fading out home delivery of mail. Direct mail has a HUGE SUCCESS for many types of business and for short money you can use the USPS to your advantage. Here are a few sure fire successes with USPS. EDDM – Every Door Direct Mail is a very low cost mail delivery system that allows you to send a large full color piece, with NO SPACE required for the silly label or printed name. YES USE THE WHOLE PIECE. So I do 11” x 6.25” 16 point pieces and send them for $.18 each. Now here are the rules: You must pick a carrier route from the USPS EDDM section, (each route in my area are about 500 addresses.) You complete the form online, pick the route, pay the postage, print the forms, bundle the pieces in 50 or 100 stacks and deliver to the local post office where the routes are controlled. The next day your pieces are being delivered to every address on the route. Drop 1 route every few days and WOW the business comes in. EDDM is perfect for any local business that wants more clients. Always have a Call to Action in the piece – coupons, discount for calling, etc. – this way you can track the results of the mailer. If you are selling donuts and coffee, you need a lot of clients to pay for the mailer, but if you are selling lawn care, pest control, etc., it might only take a few new clients to pay for the whole mailing. Do this every 3 months and watch your sales increase. Now this gets expensive if you are going after many towns, or cities. To more of a targeted mailer you can use the Bulk Mail service, this is a lot more work and in many cases you are better to hire a direct mail company to do the job for you. If the direct mail is small – say less than 5000, you can do this yourself for less than the mail houses. Get your names from the list you purchased, purchase your 30 up labels from Amazon for very little money, print the labels on your printer and sit in front of the TV and label mailers and put a stamp on them. Make sure you have a RETURN ADDRESS so if the person is gone from the company, the post office returns the first class to you, now you can again clean up your list of names. Ideal for local business, restaurants, fast food, florists, etc.
Remember you need to touch people between 12 and 20 times so 1 mail piece is another touch!
Radio – From1996 to 2006 I spent over 1 million dollars on radio advertising and used over 10 different stations. WOW! Hard to believe I spent that much money. Back then the success of the radio was great, I had the top 5 of 7 stations running hundreds of ads per month, and I was a house hold name. It worked great for us because when my sales people visited a new client, once they said the company name, most of the time the client would say, “OH, I heard your ads on the radio, come in and sit down”. We almost never had to do a company spiel on who were are and what we do, we could just jump right in and talk about their needs and how we could help them achieve their goals. Today the radio is not as successful with the younger people because they are listening to their own music, Iheart, etc. and this makes it more difficult for the advertisers to get their attention. I will tell you that most people have the drive time as their only time to free up their mind and think about other things besides home and work. So if you are on the radio, and your audience is older, you might find great success with the radio. Now a warning as a seasoned veteran with radio, you must go into radio advertising with a long term plan. Don’t think you can throw $5000 at a station and your phone will just ring off the wall–not so. Again, you need 12 to 20 touches before you are recognized and the radio will help with this. If you are going to do radio, I found Drive Time is best, one week on one week off. Depending on your product or services, focus on the days that your clients make decisions to use what you have to offer. Ideal for targeting specific demographics because of the type of music or talk the station is offering.
TV – This is much like radio, but you now have a much larger audience to try to reach and many more channels to choose from. Without being ridiculous, I have about 50 channels that we flip through looking for something to watch. With radio, you have about 10 or so depending on the market. Most TV channels will create your ads for you, but if you want a super ad you need to hire a professional company. Again the hot times are all depending on your audience If you are selling products to retired people, then the morning and afternoon shows are best. Like radio, you must have staying power. You need to set a healthy budget and a long time to make traction. Also, a call to action here is real important, like a phone number that spells something and a web site that is easy to use and understand. Ideal for targeting specific demographics and most watching habits can be attributed to buying habits.
Billboards – It is hard to argue that a billboard is not in your face. The average billboard is 40’ wide and 14’ tall and from there they come in all sizes. Most are static; a large banner is stretched over the billboard frame and it there for 30 days. The next campaign comes along and down goes the old one and up comes the new one. Many of the billboard companies are converting the old billboards to digital faces. This allows them to change the message anytime they want, and run multiple ads on the same board, one after the other. They can even program the ads based on time of day. Today, the billboards are still just a static message, but over time they will move to animated ads as the date rates and file compression improves. Billboards range in price from $1500 to over $15,000 per month. There is no question that you see these monsters and they have proven to be successful on the highways and in the rural areas. Some of the larger cities use the sides of building as large billboards, look at time square in NY for example. Ideal for shows, events, retail stores, and local business that want to bring the message to the street.
Bus Graphics – A bus can have a small Car Card inside the bus, to a King (on the drivers site) a Queen (on the passenger side) or Tail (on the back). They vary in size but in general a King is 144” x 30”, a Queen is 108” x 30” and a Tail is 70” x 21”. A car card is 28” x 11”. The agency designs your ad, then rents the space on the buses, and a graphics company makes the media. The bus companies place the ads on the bus and off they go. The Queen is more ideal for close up viewing as the people on the sidewalk see these ads. The King is better with large type for long and fast viewing from passing cars on both sides of the street. The tail is the BEST for the message to the drivers. So my recommendation for bus advertising is look at the routes and the people that travel those routes. Design your campaign for those people, and design the ads based on what I said about the size and viewing distance. You can do one bus and be successful, however, the more you do the greater chance you have of being successful.
You can also WRAP the bus and now you are getting a HUGE moving billboard that is seen by everyone. Most companies that WRAP a bus find they get HUGE exposure. The cost is high, but I believe that one wrapped bus stands out more than 10 bus kings. Ideal for long term messaging like museums, schools, branding.
Bus Stop and Shelters – Most bus shelters have a backlit poster on both sides of the side wall and in some cases they have graphics on the back wall. Most city back walls are glass so they tend to wrap them with window perf material so they create a message on the street. These stops are best done with your message if you are in an area where your audience used the buses. Ideal for the people in that area that use the bus.
Taxi Tops – Taxi top ads are very successful in some areas. The more populated an area, the better the tops do. In NY the tops are very visible, and in Las Vegas every cab is covered in ads. The deal you have to make with the companies that own the taxi tops in most cases is based on a 4 week turn and you need to take more than 50 taxi tops at one time to get on the taxis. Some cities require 200 plus for tops per campaign. Ideal for shows, events, retail stores, and local business that want to bring the message to the street.
Kiosks & Displays – On the streets you see large kiosks with graphics in them, in malls, airports, and most places where many people travel. In the USA JCDecaux is the company that has a significant amount of what I call “High Pedestrian Traffic” areas. When you put a lot of people in an area, low to the ground advertising kiosks are the best to get your message to the people. Think of the airport and you see a crowd of people standing around the LG power station all connected to the plug trying to get that last bit of juice before they jump on a flight. As you walk through these high traffic areas you see large backlit displays above you. In the past they were Duratrans but today most of them are converting to a Matrix system frame system for backlist fabric. This allows them to span over the 60” max size for the old backlit displays. Now you can have the fabric up to 120” by any length. Plus this cuts down on the shipping cost, no damage to fabric, and the displays are FANTASTIC! Ideal for local business at the place of the kiosk, business that offer products and services to that audience and branding.
Building Wraps – This is a SUPER BILLBOARD and a large cost. Las Vegas, New York, and some other cities are allowing these large displays of graphics. If I was to calculate a building at 15’ high per floor, and about 150’ wide: Let’s say you want to wrap 20 stories of the building this is about 45,000 sq. ft. of windows at about $4 per sq. ft. That is $180,000 plus an install bill of another $45,000. The message is fantastic and everyone sees the building. Ideal for building a brand.
Mobile Billboards – These are the large flat sided trucks that you see on the streets with a large billboard on the side. Most of them are either 20’ wide by 12’ tall. They have a great fit in some cities like Las Vegas because the Las Vegas strip is 4 to 6 lanes wide, that puts a pedestrian on the sidewalk viewing the billboard truck going down the other side of the road anywhere from 40 to 100 feet away. When you are 100 feet away from an advertisement you need it to be large or you cannot see the message. When you are in a tight city like Boston, San Francisco, you will find that the trucks are so large it is harder to get the message as it is like sitting in the front row of a movie theater. Billboard trucks have a few disadvantages – they are hard to see from the back of the truck, so all the cars in the street with the truck cannot see the message. The truck has one client on the truck and the cost for a 40 hour week is between $3000 and $5000 plus the cost of the graphic (about $900). Some cities have outlawed all mobile billboard trucks, Los Angeles is one of the cities. Ideal for shows, events, retail stores, and local business that want to bring the message to the street.
Spinning Promotions – Spinning Promotions is a patented motion advertising system. These vehicles are setup with 3 advertising on the back of the spinning box. The box is 4.5’ wide and 6’ tall and the box spins around and around so everyone from all angles gets to see the 3 messages. This solution is ideal for areas where you have a close proximity to the public and you want to reduce your cost per advertiser as 3 companies are sharing the cost of the truck. The truck is illuminated at night and some companies rent out the whole truck for special events like grand openings. Because this unit spins, people cannot help but watch the unit as it goes buy. The truck has the right speed, as it follows the 3/7 rule, 3 seconds to stop them, and 7 seconds to deliver the message. The cost is $600 per face per week, plus the cost of the graphics, a very reasonable cost based on a 40 hour week. It is hard to get your message on the street for $600 a week. Plus this truck goes anywhere that a 9’ high truck can fit. Ideal for local business, events, and branding.
I am sure there are more choices for advertising. The best of all is Word Of Mouth, hard to plan on this as it is a sales function.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this document. I hope I am able to help you with your marketing efforts.
Commander of Results
978.840.4200 cell 978.580.7100
Helping Make Your Business More Successful and Enjoyable!