For many years, Lafayette businesses that buy advertising have wanted to reduce all marketing discussions down to the level of a commodity – where the price you pay should be the same for all levels of service. Therefore, any one medium purchased will be just as good as the next one. However, that is simply not true, because not all Lafayette advertising is created equal. There are more factors to consider than just the price you pay. The effectiveness of the opportunity needs to be weighed as well.
Much like in your business, you have many makes and models of products… some are better than others, even though they may, more or less, perform the same basic functions. Tell me then, if you sell tires, why the Michelin Pilot Sport is different than the Michelin Pinnacle MXM4? They are both tires after all. They go on my car and help me ride smoothly. Yet, one costs $200 more than the other. And neither one is an inferior tire, both are respectable… What is that you say? “One has more rubber, more tread, more steel and lasts longer than the other one”… but how do I know? What about that car, to our Lafayette auto dealer friends? Is the Chevy Impala better than the Cadillac XTS? They are both cars, made on the same chassis… they both go when you start them, and the gas mileage is relatively the same. Our customers can go on to list one hundred differences between those two vehicles and, in so doing, explain the disparity in relative cost.
In both of those examples, the buyer is rarely confused as to the point of differentiation. Yet, when it comes to buying media, the point of differentiation is very cloudy. Perhaps it is because all Lafayette radio stations come out of the same radio and all television stations come out of the same TV. Perhaps radio stations need labels like Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, BMW when compared to Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota. This would help customers understand the difference between Brand X and Brand Y. Knowing that neither is a bad brand but that one will be deliver at a higher level than the other therefore deserves to cost more. In television, it is even more confusing, because buyers have a hard time distinguishing broadcast television from Cable TV, even though there is a huge disparity in audience size when you compare broadcast and cable. There are full power broadcast stations and low power broadcast stations, and they are not created equal. But, we can get into that at a later date.
Why, then, do we treat all advertising as a commodity? Perhaps, it is due to a lack of understanding of how it actually works? Or maybe worse even still is that book we all read, including me, when we first got into business that claims (in Chapter 5, Paragraph 9) to give solid advice about advertising. It gives three pieces of advice (1) Advertise in as many places as possible (2) Spend as little as you can or nothing when you do this – stretch each dollar to the max and (3) rely on word of mouth as it is the form of advertising. Everyone I know seems to have read this book and holds these thoughts as law, even though the exact opposite is true. These should have been the statements:
Advertise where you can dominate. Whether it’s a Lafayette radio station, radio program, TV Station, TV program, social media, targeted display – don’t just do a little to check a box. Jump in with both feet to the deep end. If you can only afford one of these, do it and dominate it, until such time you can expand at the same level to another one. Set aside enough each month to advertise effectively. Don’t rely on free. Free is risky because you no longer control the environment. Your social media ad could wind up next to something illegal or immoral, which tarnishes your brand. This just happened to big brands using Youtube. Social Media can be effective, but it will only be as good as the size of your current universe. The universe often has a funny way of letting us know just how small we are. Remember, no good advertising campaign was ever executed by investing in less of it.
Relying on word of mouth. On the surface, it is not the worst of ideas, until you consider all the ways people have of controlling word of mouth. Think of all the peer review sites and social interaction that can spread like wild fire out of control when someone decides they have had a bad experience with you. Meanwhile, if you have the right kind of advertising messages, you can overcome negative word of mouth and even change the narrative; YOU can control the message and the impression of your business.
These are the basic foundations of good advertising. Because not all advertising is created equal, be sure you know if you are buying the Cadillac XTS or the Impala, the Michelin Pilot Sport or the Pinnacle MXM 4. Understand the differences. Know what you are buying and who you are buying it from. Partner with people that have your best interest at heart. Concentrate your efforts and dominate what you can dominate. Invest in the right product for your Lafayette business and buy enough of it so you stand out, and therefore, you can control the external narrative. By following these basic steps you will set yourself up for success in both the short term and the long term.
Not sure how to proceed or what is good for your Lafayette business. Call me directly at 765-637-2143 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can schedule a time to get together and discuss what you are currently doing and how to get you to be more efficient and more effective in the future.
Neuhoff Media Lafayette
Certified Radio Marketing Expert