Thoughts, Tips & Tactics
As we ease into Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer, it’s fun to talk about all of the plans being made, from family barbeques and trips to the lake to watching a ballgame and just relaxing in a hammock.
Based on some of the conversations I’ve had this week, here is a numerical snapshot of some Memorial Day Weekend plans:
35 – The number of people coming to a friend’s cabin. I wished him good luck and said someone should keep a journal of the weekend, and then read it next Memorial Day Weekend. And then burn it in the fire pit.
90 – Extra traffic time, in minutes, that one person is anticipating it will take them to get to the lake.
6 – The number of times that same person estimates they will threaten to pull the car over if their kids don’t start behaving.
1 – Bathing suits being packed by a family of five for the one child who just doesn’t care what the air or water temperature is.
4 – Bags of charcoal purchased by someone who plans to grill each and every meal all weekend long.
Thinking about Memorial Day Weekend, all of these numbers and what the holiday truly represents reminded me of some staggering numbers that my parents shared with me after their recent trip that included a stop at Normandy, France.
9,387 – The number of American Soldiers buried at Normandy American Cemetery. This is greater than most of the town populations in the lake regions many Minnesotans are heading to this weekend. Included in the 9,387 is a father and his son who are buried there side by side and 33 sets of brothers resting beside each other.
1,557 – The number of names of Soldiers inscribed on tablets in the cemetery’s Garden of the Missing. They came from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
14,000 – The approximate number of remains of Soldiers originally buried in this region that were returned home at the request of their next of kin.
These numbers are sobering, and humbling, yet they only represent one cemetery, from one campaign, in one of the many wars fought by U.S. Armed Forces.
While Memorial Day has become a time to relax and celebrate the start of summer with friends and family around the bonfire, it’s really about each and every one of the white headstones that seemingly stretch into the horizon forever in our national cemeteries.
It’s about those who never got a chance to sit an extra 90 minutes in traffic to get to the lake, or never had the privilege of being a grill sergeant for the weekend.
It’s about those who, instead, went off to a real war as a real Sergeant.
And about those who never made it home.
I recently met with a business owner that had a similar story to many other individuals that I have met with. This particular person was focused on a marketing plan that was not diversified and heavily focused in antiquated areas. So I asked the question: ‘Have you ever gone to a Chevy dealership and drove off in a Ford?’
Of course you haven’t, because the salesperson at the Chevy dealership is going to do everything they can to sell you the Chevy. Even if they knew the Ford – or any other make - was the right vehicle for you, they don’t have it to offer, but know you need a vehicle and are going to do everything they can to sell you the Chevy, regardless if it’s the right fit. Pretty obvious, right?
Well the same can be true when it comes to marketing your business. A television salesperson is not going to recommend you buy a billboard along the freeway, nor is the billboard person going to recommend using your budget for a bunch of commercials during the big game this weekend. Do you think the print ad sales person is going to recommend a Facebook ad campaign and to allocate a large percentage of your budget to Google Ads? Of course not.
The best part of having an independent evaluation of your marketing initiatives is just that, it’s independent. There is no single campaign that is right for every business and having an objective evaluation of where and how to spend money is critical to making the right decision with your hard-earned dollars.
With more options than ever to promote your business it’s also more important than ever to understand the choices and which can achieve the highest ROI. Most business owners however are too busy running their operation and understandably, don’t have the time to really consider and understand what makes the most sense. This leaves you exposed to high pressure sales people who want you to buy their product or service (that Chevy!) regardless of if it really makes the most sense.
If you are interested in talking about your past, present and future marketing plans, let's connect!
Unless you are rattling down a country road in the old pickup truck that now serves as a great ‘cabin truck’ or hunting vehicle, and it’s still equipped with a cassette tape deck, no, you are not listing to your songs on cassettes, or for that matter, cd’s. It’s XM Radio, Bluetooth to your phone or other digital options.
Why don’t you listen on cassettes anymore? Because there are better ways to enjoy your favorite songs. Cd’s are better than cassettes because they sound much better and after the first five songs you don’t have to flip to the B side. Digital is better than cd’s for many reasons, including not having to put up with the cd skipping when the car hits a bump in the road, or the boat hits a wave on the lake.
Times change and things get better! But when it comes to marketing it’s amazing how many businesses are still listening to cassette tapes. Sure, they may have a cd or two, or maybe even some digital music, but they still have those cassettes in the mix and the question is, why?
I recently asked a business owner why they continue to spend an inordinate percentage of their marketing budget in one very specific area. Their answer? “Because we like our sales rep and just can’t find a way to say no to what we have always been doing.”
While there is a lot to be said for relationships and loyalty, there is also a lot to be said about embracing change and new opportunities. And when you place the health and best interest of your business first, bad decisions rooted in emotion have to take a back seat.
My response to this business owner was that if they cared this much about their sales rep, give them a gift card equal to 15% (a common commission) of what they spend on this particular advertising vehicle. Take the remaining 85% of the dollars and apply it toward a campaign that we both agreed would return a meaningful and measurable ROI. Everybody wins!
If you are still listening to music on cassettes – and marketing in equally tired ways – it’s time to get with the times, embrace technology, turn up the music and dance!
Thanks for reading and if you would like to chat about your choice of music, technology or marketing, please feel free to drop me a line.
After more than two decades in the media, marketing, advertising and agency world I’ve seen a lot of really cool and creative campaigns. I’ve also seen a lot of situations that are complete head scratchers (insert picture of your dog looking up at you with that quizzical look and head tilt like, huh?).
Sometimes it’s as simple as watching TV and wondering why a company spends a small fortune buying hours of advertising slots, and then runs the exact same creative over and over and over until you are to the point that you can’t take it anymore and change the channel every time that same commercial runs.
On a more local level when it comes to community advertising, it’s the business owner who works like a farmer from sun up to sun down to make a buck, but has no real plan on how to reinvest that hard earned dollar back into the business, only to be convinced by a high-pressure salesperson that their product or service is the magic bullet and secret sauce all wrapped up into one. And then they lay the ‘close’ on you to make a decision on the spot. Next one to talk loses, right?
If you are making marketing decisions on the spot, without a sound strategy and expert knowledge from an independent source trying to help you instead of sell you, you are probably throwing money away. Your hard earned money!
If you are ready to start being proactive rather than reactive, give me a call and let’s talk.
Ready, Aim, Fire sounds a lot better, doesn't it?
I've been called a storyteller, and my journalism degree from the University of St. Thomas is something that I enjoy leaning on to tell a story in print every now and again. I guess this is where and why I keep my pencil sharp.