It’s been a little while since I posted a blog here. I’ve been focused on getting our “This Week in the Stateline” up and running. I’ve also learned an important lesson about the challenges of content marketing and owning the business – it’s darn near impossible to do both well AND have a life outside of the office.
Needless to say, it was an interesting week in Rockford advertising. I’m out-and-about enough to answer some very difficult questions from advertisers. I got two very interesting ones last week.
Question #1 came from a retailer. It was more of a statement, looking for my response. This gentleman said, “I see that the billboard company is running ads for themselves all over town. Is the ad market that soft?”
It’s a very astute observation. Since we don’t share information with other media outlets about how their business is doing, I couldn’t answer that question professionally.
I simply related my experience buying outdoor advertising 17 years ago in Houston. The company at the time – CBS Outdoor – never ran ads for themselves. They simply had their regular advertisers make extra “branding boards” to use when they had available inventory. I was buying 15 faces on an annual basis at the time and I had 20 pieces of creative produced so I could be running up to 5 extra, depending on the week, month, or season.
The advertiser looked at me and said, “Hmm.”
The second question came because our competitors mailed a piece with ratings to many advertisers. They said they were bigger than us.
An advertiser wanted my reaction. I simply looked at the piece and complimented the professionalism of the work. The advertiser, who is a friend, got a little frustrated with me because he wanted me to get mad.
I looked at him and said, “This piece looks great, but anytime we talk, it should be about you. Not my numbers, but your top or bottom line. I need to be in tune with your business and nothing more. If we can make your cash register ring, that’s all that matters.”
The advertiser looked at me and said, “You’re right. It’s about customer focus and service. I never go to the biggest retailer in the market. I like the personal touch and focus we have on growing my bottom line.”
Then he paused and said, “And this can’t be repeated, but your team really does focus on my business and doing right for our business community. That means more than any mailing piece with numbers ever will. I’m glad we’re partners. By the way, my experience is that guys who brag about how big they are, generally are the opposite.”
I thanked him for his candor and headed to the State of the County address with Chairman Haney.
Enough about the market, here are some links that can help you grow your business and understand marketing better:
1 – Facebook has been front and center. I have no clue what will happen with the service in the future, but I believe the effectiveness of ads for businesses will drop in the coming weeks and month. It’ll still be incredibly affordable (and we buy Facebook advertising), but cheap doesn’t always get results.
Plus, broadcast entities are regulated by the FCC. Facebook, Google, and others are not. If we don’t operate in the public interest, we can have our license pulled. Facebook and Google can only be swayed by their customer base.
I also find it very ironic that Mr. Zuckerberg used “legacy media” of newspapers to publish his apology over the weekend.
2 – Discounts only work once in a while. Restaurants that rely on them are in trouble.
3 – There’s a ton of marketing confusion out there.
4 – We air some Westwood One programming. Part of me reads this as propaganda, but there are some really good pieces of information to glean. And here too from Crain’s in Cleveland.
Until we write again – May your days be profitable.