Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So Much Cooler Online...

Twitter, Facebook, search engines & websites... You KNOW you need a presence, but what? How? Can you judge the results?

If you're planning on using the web as part of your media mix, make sure you're not taking away from your core advertising plan. Your goal is the same: impact potential customers & make them feel best about you so when they DO purchase, they spend with you. But don't be swayed by the temptation to rob Peter to pay the proverbial Paul.

Here's what I mean:

Let's say you've had success...average success...doing whatever you do to market your business. Direct mail, radio, TV, outdoor...but you've seen bodies in the door. Now, comes this internet thing... It's easy to link up with any number of groups who can help you get a logo on a search engine. Or a link from a website. But, don't do it for the sake of doing it. My advice on most any advertising is to do it completely...don't dabble in it, go full bore. (I can explain this specifically to your case if you shoot me an email: John at Say Something Important dot com) It's so easy to fall into the "I'll try it a bit" trap, but the trouble with that is that you don't commit enough to give that an HONEST chance.

So the recap is this: take stock in your current marketing... Keep the 1 or 2 items that you KNOW are working for you. Dump the rest. Take that funding & build an internet game plan. Stay focused.

It's not as easy as it sounds, but it's a strategy that's worked for many businesses just like yours. Focus is your friend...as much as it is when you Say Something Important.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

One of my biggest frustrations is when advertisers insult my intelligence. You k

now the ones: car dealers who tell us they "HAVE to sell 100 cars this month, OR ELSE!" Or else...you'll have to have ANOTHER sale next month, I know.

The start of a new year brings way too many "resolution" cliches...but I AM going to challenge you to open your minds in 2011. To kickstart your bean, I'm offering my list of Most Insulting Advertising 2010! Are you using any of these? Perhaps it's time for a change.

  • Direct Buy. Their TV ad has a clock counting down, as if my time is running out & I'd better get to the phone to buy NOW! Really? Never.
  • That's Cricket, That's Respect. This one is right out of a corporate focus group: can you see a room full of suits asking "regular people" what they want most?! My dad taught me decades ago that I EARN respect. No corporation gives the little guy "respect"...they see you as a chance to make money. Don't fall for it!
  • "Last names starting in A-M call today starting at 10am, last names starting N through Z can call tomorrow." This one is also for real, a radio ad that's run in multiple markets.
  • But wait, there's more... Order now & get a second widget for FREE (just pay separate shipping & handling fee). Sooooo, it's NOT free afterall? Nice bait & switch.
  • Negative political campaigns. It was another election year in 2010 & whether you're a Left Wing Radical, a Right Wing Zealot or a Self Proclaimed Moderate, you have to agree that things are out of control.
  • Weight Loss Schemes! Pills, tablets, devices, clubs, etc. There are some great, encouraging advertisers in this market...unfortunately, most of them still get it wrong by playing on people's fears. As a buddy's twitter name says clearly, there's "NoMagicPill".
There are SO many more for sure & I'll be watching this year to see who does what well. You can too; see something that drive you nuts? Send it to me! LousyAds@SaySomethingImportant.com is just for you!

And when it comes to your time to advertise your business, remember to do it intelligently and...Say Something IMPORTANT!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Making a Splash!

Quick history; when I was at Central Michigan University, I was the night guy on the Top 40 station in our college town. In a world where most radio shows have single digit "shares" of the audience, I had 40+.

Then, I moved to Lansing, MI...the state capital. Took a couple years, but we went to #1 there too. Seemed like a lot of folks knew John Hammer!

But, when I landed on air in Detroit... John Who? Had I become worse at what I did? Of course not, but I was in a city where millions of people lived & those folks had countless choices when it came to entertainment. I was just one more choice.

I learned quickly that being the Big Fish in a Little Pond wasn't all that bad!

How about you?

Many businesses try to be all things to all people; restaurants have HUGE menus, dentists do kids, braces, whitening, cosmetics & general dentistry, advertisers fill their white space with countless "benefits." You get the point. They water down their brand by losing focus. I'd rather be THE guy to go to for ONE thing (and have my customers passionate about me!), than be just another fella doing the same thing as a bunch of other fellas.

Catch my drift?

Stay narrowed in on one thing, do it passionately, then make sure you tell people your story. Do that well, & instead of a quick splash in the ocean, you'll enjoy a long swim in the lake! You've got to do the first part on your own, but I can lend a hand with the latter...when we Say Something Important!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mom & Pop & A Really Full Tummy!

Regular readers of this blog know how much I love the little guy. Mom & Pop businesses founded on passion, fueled by family & love.

This week, I'm outside Newark, NJ and I found a small Italian restaurant for dinner last night. Dusal's looked the part: in a strip mall, has a deli window full of pizza slices and a dozen or so tables in the back where you can order from a full menu. I got the baked dish: stuffed shells & stuffed eggplant, a salad & personal loaf of bread. Including a drink, it was $9. Nine lousy bucks! And, I know that my $9 is going to pay their rent. Their mortgage. Help put their kids through school.

You get the point.

Guess what I did tonight? I took a couple friends there for dinner, too.

So, what can your business learn from my experience?

Ultimately, the lesson here is that Dusal's made me feel good: because my tummy was full of excellent quality food, but also because I perceived value. I gave them what I considered a very reasonable price in payment for a delicious meal. It was so impressive, that I immediately recommended it to my friends. When you provide a great product at a killer price...you'll get me every time!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It Grew 256%!

The economy tanked. Customers are spending less. Profit margins are down. I did my own taxes this year & my statements are substantially off from previous years. So, as small business owners, what do we do?

(ready for this?)


I know, you're thinking "Hammer is out of his mind, I have to pay the rent, my employees, the light bill...there's NO WAY I have anything left over to advertise with."

But this is the BEST TIME to advertise. Look at it this way: your competitors are having the same tough times, and they're the ones not letting customers know about them. When the woods are silent, your yell goes further!

There was a study that followed more than 600 businesses in the early 80's recession. They found out that the companies who kept, or even raised, their level of advertising had noticeably higher post-recession sales.

256% higher than the folks who cut their ad budgets!

I know you have to be tight with your money right now, but take advantage of the market: when your competition is quiet, SHOUT YOUR STORY LOUDLY! Need a hand getting it done? That's why I'm here to help you Say Something Important.
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