Friday, October 23, 2009

Sole Sponsor...

Bud Light's new Golden Wheat beer was the sole sponsor of last week's Saturday Night Live. I know that because SNL made a special point of announcing that near the beginning of the program

Although there were local spots, Bud Light Golden Wheat was the only national advertiser.

Sole Sponsorship can be a benefit to both the advertiser and the media outlet.

The advertiser gains the unique position of being the only brand recognized across a publication, website or TV/Radio broadcast.

Not only does that mean you get more mentions, there are no other brand names to clutter the audience's mind. Look at me for example. I recalled the sponsor's product immediately.

That's not to say it makes more sense to buy a two-page ad in one issue of a magazine verses half page ads over four months.

It makes sense only if you are the sole sponsor.

The media benefits not only by only having to sell one advertiser, but being able to focus on that advertiser and give them customized service.

And sometimes it's easier to sell one big ad package than a bunch of small ads.

A few years back, I suggested sole sponsorship for a newsletter for a chamber of commerce I was on the board of.

Most people at the meeting didn't get it. They couldn't sell $50 business card ads, who would buy a $500 sponsorship.

Someone who wanted to get a lot of attention, that's who. And it worked. We had a sponsor signed up for the first issue within a few days and another one right behind them.

Takeaway: Standing out often requires a bold move. Being a sole sponsor can get your brand recognized and remembered in a way no other opportunity can.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Small Advantage...

I find it interesting how much bad service we'll let big companies get away with. Here's just a few good and bad examples from this week:

• Yesterday, I called my local phone company about a DSL issue. After sucking up my time running me thru a phone labyrinth, they put me in touch with PAID tech support. I hung up and tried again. I got disconnected this time. I finally found someone who helped.

* Earlier this week, Beth approached me with a $50 VISA gift card that PJ got for a birthday. The front said "good thru 8/10" but when I checked the balance, the issuing bank had already begun deducting $2.50 a month for non-use -- the card is now worth $35 (That in addition to the $4.95 it indicates that the giver paid to buy the card!) Daily calls to the issuing bank have gone unreturned.

* Calling my website hosting company this week, they told me my request was unsupported. But they helped me anyway. They're a small division of a huge company. And they care.

It seems big companies are making money on PAID tech support for and by robbing 10-year-old kids. And small companies are doing more than they need to. Sad.

In my mind, that means small and mid-size companies have a "small advantage" -- the big advantage of being small. Every customer matters.

Takeaway: In your sales and marketing, make a big deal about being small. Tell your customers why you care about their business. Make a fuss over them. People like to know you care.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Blast It...

I got an annoying political call the other night.

"Hi. I'm Dan Proft the conservative choice for Illinois governor..."

"Dan?" I interrupted "I'm in the middle dinner right now, can you call back."

"In the face of recent Illinois corruption..."

I tried to stop him several times but he just kept rambling -- then I realized it was a robocall, an outgoing pre-recorded message.

I hate robocalls. Usually. But I don't mind thank you or reminder robocalls, like one I got a year or so back:

"Hi. This is Suzie from the Chicago Tribune. I just wanted to thank you for your renewal subscription and remind you that you can subscribe to free email news alerts at".

Robocalls can be a good way to provide better customer service -- but avoid doing anything that sounds like you're selling. Effective September 1, you could get slapped with a $16,000 fine by the FTC if you send a sales robocall to someone who did not give your written approval.

But use robocalls with discretion. Just remember, it may be legal, but it could be annoying to many customers, so ask before you even consider adding their number to your robocall list.

Takeaway: Robcalls can be a cost-effective customer service tool. But don't use them to sell. Not only can they be irritating, they're now illegal.