Category Archives: Uncategorized
I grew up in a suburb of Denver. So, I’m a die-hard Broncos’ fan. Far from fair-weather enthusiasts, my family watched NFL games no matter how poorly the home team was doing. And in the early 1970s, before the “Orange Crush” defense led us to Super Bowl XXII in 1978, our devotion was tested on pretty much a weekly basis.
This was long before John Elway arrived to change the paradigm. And, in those days, I didn’t know the difference between a touchdown and a timeout. Sitting on the couch beside my dad, feigning attention to a game I did not comprehend, I started watching the only thing I could understand…the commercials.
Even then, the advertisements and associated slogans intrigued me.
Gillette—the best a man can get.
Irish Spring—manly, yes, but I like it, too.
Alka Seltzer—Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.
Although I understand football now (sort of), apart from the two times that John Elway led the Broncos in back-to-back championships, in 1997 and 1998, I look forward to the Super Bowl each year for one reason alone: to witness the best in television advertising.
According to MSNBC, the cost of a 30-second spot for Super Bowl I in 1967 was $42,500 on CBS and $37,500 on NBC. (That’s right. The game was broadcast on two networks simultaneously). For this year’s game, CBS is asking $2.6 million for a 30-second spot.
But are the glory days of Super Bowl commercials behind us? According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.com, Pepsi, which has spent an estimated $254.2 million in Super Bowl ads over the past 20 years, startled the industry a few weeks ago by announcing they won’t purchase any spots for this year’s Super Bowl. Instead, the company will pour millions of dollars (pun intended) into an online project designed to reach consumers through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
This move to digital advertising is significant since PepsiCo has long been considered a marketing maverick. Do you remember the Pepsi ad made famous by Michael Jackson, whose hair caught fire during taping? How about the Diet Pepsi campaign in the 1990s starring Ray Charles? “You Got the Right One Baby, Uh-huh.” What about the Pepsi spot featuring Britney Spears before her media meltdown?
According to Forrester Research, “The recession has accelerated systemic changes in the media landscape. Audiences are fragmenting, taking more control, and seeking inexpensive or free alternatives. Combined, print and television will lose almost $17 billion in US ad spending in 2008 and 2009. Newspaper advertising is down by 29% and broadcast television is also down by 23%.”
The folks at Forrester summarized their findings relative to television advertising by saying, “This doesn’t mean TV is going away, but it will be fighting for marketing dollars on an increasingly level playing field with social and interactive tactics.”
Although your company may not have the resources to hire celebrity endorsers, you can afford to take a cue from PepsiCo and start investing in Internet marketing. One Mountain Marketing Group client recently told me that he is glad he finally got on the social media bandwagon. He says our agency’s efforts over the past four months have netted him $20,000 in new business. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No matter how small or large your advertising budget, you can’t afford to turn a blind eye to the medium that has taken our industry by storm.
Don’t delay. Don’t even finish reading this column. Go directly to Facebook to set up a Fan Page for your business or non-profit organization. One of the compelling things about social media is that it puts multi-national corporations and Mom and Pop Stores on a level playing field. No matter who you represent, you have access to the same Facebook resources as companies with seven-figure advertising budgets.
On a Budget—
Whenever possible, invest in professional photography for posting to social media. Whether you are creating a Facebook page or uploading a headshot to Twitpic, nothing says amateur like a cheesy picture taken by a webcam. Well worth the investment, professional photography will help you put your best foot forward.
The Sky’s the Limit—
If you want to make the most of social media, hire a team to develop and manage a comprehensive campaign. Working with a professional, you should be able to see a return on your investment within three to six months. One of the benefits of social media is that built-in metrics make it easy to test and measure results. Since Google Analytics reveals click-thru rates, advertising professionals have real-time access to methods that work as well as those that miss the mark. While it’s true you might be able to sift through the data yourself, there is nothing like delegating that tedious task to someone who understands trends in technology as well as the psychographics of Internet advertising.
And if you’re not quite sure what that means, don’t worry. You can always fake it and just watch the commercials.
Until next week, I’ll be Bowling for Business.
Make Sure You Have the Right Advertising Strategy for 2010
Like most other Americans, on the heels of holiday indulgence, I spend January exploring diet trends. When I find one that sounds promising, I head to the grocery store with a laundry list of weird, expensive food substitutes. Last year, I tried the Flat Belly Diet. It appealed to me mostly because it allowed rather large quantities of dark chocolate and peanut butter. And here’s a shocker—it didn’t work! But it did manage to give me acne.
For no discernable reason, I decided to share my dilemma with a chubby checker at Stater Bros. She recommended I purchase a Wii Fit since she’d owned one for a week and was certain it would work. So, I convinced my husband that the magic bullet for sustained weight management was to spend $300 on the at-home convenience of a Wii Fitness system. And I actually used it for several weeks before pulling a muscle doing virtual yoga.
Over the years, I’ve tried pretty much every diet and fitness regime. And while you won’t likely see my face on the cover of Prevention Magazine or Muscle and Fitness, I do manage to trim a few pounds every time I lead my family into nutritional purgatory. And I shudder to think of how large my frame would be were it not for my annual January dietary ritual.
My business partner and I take similar steps when it comes to trimming the fat from the advertising strategy for Mountain Marketing Group. At year end, we redo brochures, order giveaways and finish advertising contracts, with an eye to re-evaluating and re-prioritizing after the first of the year. I must admit that doing so is about as much fun, and as necessary, as dieting.
When times are tough, some entrepreneurs make the mistake of ceasing all advertising. While this may, initially, appear to improve the bottom line, it’s a lot like shooting yourself in the foot. Unless you plan to shutter your business, lean times call for more, not less, decisive advertising action. If your business is in trouble, make 2010 the year you turn things around. Here are a few suggestions:
- Place an ad on Craigslist. You might be surprised at how much interest a free advertisement on this website may generate.
- Include your company on every available free directory listing. Since funds are tight, you need to be diligent to stay on top of these sites, since new ones pop up daily.
- Consider affiliate advertising. Assuming you maintain a credible website and/or blog, (which are mandates for anyone in business in the 21st Century), you might consider allowing affiliates to advertise on your site.
For example, CollegeRecruiter.com pays affiliates a $100 commission whenever a visitor to one of their sites clicks through and buys something— anything— within 365 days of that initial click-through.
On a Budget
When cash flow is tight, carefully evaluate your Return on Investment. It is possible to completely revamp your entire advertising strategy without spending a penny more than you already do. Just make sure you see a direct response from each of your efforts.
One of our clients was shocked when we pointed out that his $300 monthly Yellow Pages’ outlay yielded a meager 2 calls per month, which meant he was paying $150 per lead. By shifting his budget to pay per click ads, we multiplied his ROI tenfold.
The Sky’s the Limit
If you have cash on hand, take advantage of new media. Imagine the advantage that business owners had when they first realized the potential of advertising on television. The USA’s first television advertisement was broadcast on July 1, 1941. The watchmaker Bulova paid $4 for a 10-second spot, accompanied by the voice-over, “America runs on Bulova time.”
By today’s standards, the $4 price point is laughable. The same will likely one day be said about the current cost of digital advertising. So, instead of waiting for everything to shake down before you make your move, go for it. After all, even if your results are not typical, advertising online won’t likely lead to acne.
Until next week, I’ll be counting calories and Bowling for Business.