Wednesday, January 31, 2007


If you've read my tips, you know that Beth and I lost our two new kites in the trees. Beth's kite got away from her, but my line snapped. It was only 30-pound test line. I blame the kite shop for not trying to upsell me a roll of 70-pound test line.

Upselling is selling customers the highest quality or quantity of something that meets their needs. There's a fine line between upselling and overselling. Be careful not to cross that line or you'll lose a lot of long-term sales and referrals for a few extra bucks today.

Overselling breeds resentment. When you go to a butcher for a pound of hamburger, you don't want to leave with a side of beef. And if some cunning butcher sold you a side of beef, you might get angry when you got home and couldn't fit it in your freezer.

You'd probably stop going to that butcher, and tell all your friends about your bad experience.

When I say upselling, I mean upgrading the customer from a pound of ground round at $1.99 per pound to a pound of ground sirloin at $3.99 per pound. Sirloin is a better cut of meat. And it's less fatty, so it's better for your customer. You get the point.

Or perhaps your customer is having a big cookout and doesn't want expensive ground sirloin, but really needs three pounds of ground round to feed all of his guests. That's what upselling is really about - helping your customer, not just helping yourself.

Try simply showing your customers the next option in quality or quantity that seems appropriate, explain the benefits, and let them decide if they want to upbuy. How can you help your customers to see the advantages of upbuying?

-- Phil Sasso

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Everything is marketing.....

"Go Fly a Kite!" my assistant, Pat, said briskly walking into my office.

"Pardon me?" I replied, startled by her comment.

"You just got a package from "Go Fly a Kite," she clarified.

"Open it," I said feeling a surge of excitement.

In the package were two kites to replace the ones Beth and I carefully
worked to place in trees in a nearby park.

I'd emailed the kite maker's customer service department last week
asking them to take pity on me and give me some replacement kites
at a discount. I never expected to get two free kites in return!

Think the company was foolish? Think again.

As a new hobbyist, what kite brand will I buy from now on?

Because I took the time to write them, it was obvious that I was a
serious kite hobbyist and wanted to stay loyal to their brand. Lest
you think I'm a little over-the-top, let me take a moment to explain
how kites have changed since we were kids. A "pro-sumer" kite can
cost anywhere from $20 to $250 a pop! (My kindergartener won't be
flying any $250 kites anytime soon, grant you!)

In college, my marketing prof gave us extra credit for participating in
an experiment. We wrote a letter to a company about a product
costing $10 or less that had failed. His findings? Most companies
responded by sending two replacement products or coupons good for
two replacements. The reason? By overcompensating, they were more
likely to turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.

And don't forget, customer service's main objective is to support your
marketing, to diffuse problems and to smooth over ruffled feathers.
Customer service isn't about the one product at hand but about
protecting the lifetime value of that customer's loyalty.

What's your customer service policy? How do customers respond to
it? What improvements can you make?

-- Phil Sasso

Monday, January 29, 2007


Recently, I launched a first-time radio campaign for a client. It’s a direct response spot for an unknown brand of big-ticket vanity product that fits a narrow target market. It’s not available in stores. There’s no website mentioned. And the 800# doesn’t spell anything or have a catchy jingle.

I carefully explained to the client it could take weeks before the phone rang. We needed time to build brand awareness, to create a need -- and at the very least get the audience to remember the phone number. I believed the campaign would work, but it would take a while to get results. He just needed patience.

I was wrong. Leads started flooding in from day one. I never expected such instant results. It seems the moment the ad airs, the phone rings.

I’m not suggesting you consider radio advertising. It’s not for everyone. But I am suggesting that you consider the effectiveness of advertising methods and media you may not have considered before. I think the reason this spot works, aside from my excellence in writing and directing, is that no competing product uses the same media.

Now, I’m convinced this campaign will exceed expectations. (Sometimes even I’m surprised by the power of advertising.)

What new marketing technique have you not tried, lately?

-- Phil Sasso

Friday, January 26, 2007

UPS and Downs...

As I was watching my Bears win the NFC Championship this Sunday, I saw a new UPS "whiteboard" commercial (

In the campaign a spokesman stands in front of a whiteboard with a brown marker Illustrating his UPS sales pitch.

The commercials are focused, simple and memorable. They don't try to cover a lot of ground. (no pun intended!) Each just gives you one reason to choose UPS.

The one I remember explained how one driver can pick up all your packages -- overnight, international or ground. Obviously the competition requires several drivers and several calls.

It's a low-budget approach. UPS didn't spend a lot of money on expensive special effects and graphics. They just paid a talented copywriter and film crew to shoot a poised spokesman And it will probably draw a lot of new customers to UPS.

I really like the commercials -- even if I really hate UPS.

Although UPS has lost time-sensitive packages and refused my claims -- TWICE -- I still think their ad is good. It's smart and strategic.

But the ad won't influence ME. I won't ship with UPS again.

Good advertising can sell a product or service ONCE. But no amount of good advertising can sell a bad product or service THE SECOND TIME.

My Bears are going to the Super Bowl. Win or lose, I'm proud of them. But I'm hoping FedEx spent the $2.6 million to promote their services during Super Bowl XLI.

Go Bears! Go FedEx!

- Phil Sasso

Thursday, January 25, 2007


"Put that back,' Beth said as she sorted through a bin of apples.

"Why" I asked.

"That's more expensive than the one I'm buying," she replied,

I looked at my price. It was lower. I looked at my package. It was
bigger. I was stumped.

Let me digress a moment. I may have mentioned before that --
on rare occasions --Beth lets me go grocery shopping with her.
But it seems that I truly test her nerves when she does. Usually,
I'm in a hurry to get out of the store and I practice hunting vs.
her gathering.

"The package looks bigger," Beth said. "But read it. It's 5 oz. less
that the one in the cart. It cost more per ounce. And it's not as
effective. You have to use twice as much to get the same result."

"Oh," I said, setting the package down among the lemons and
heading out to hunt for some Moose Tracks ice cream.

Actually, outside of the grocery store, I'm quite good at practicing
what Beth was preaching.

In advertising media planning, for instance.

When you are selecting media, you are balancing a variety of
details to find the most cost-effective vehicle to communicate your
sales message based on three things: CPM, Reach, and Frequency.

CPM stands for Cost Per Thousand. (O.K. so media planners aren't
good at creating acronyms!) Just as Beth looks at cost per ounce,
when choosing media we look at cost per thousand people reached..
But don't be fooled into just dividing the cost by the circulation. You
want to divide the cost by the number of people in your target market
you reach. And the narrower your definition of your target market,
the more meaningful will be your analysis.

Here's an example I've used in seminars: I once had a client that sold
a piece of automotive service equipment. First we had to define who
would buy the machine -- technicians or shop owners. By virtue of
the price and size, it was obviously shop owners. Then we had to
determine what shop owners were most likely to buy it. We agreed
that independent shop owners had more flexibility to make their own
choices than chains and franchises. Then we looked at the list of custo-
mers to see if there were any more criteria we could use to further
define our best prospect. They had three of less service bays. So we
ran the numbers and found one trade journal that reached the most
independent owners with three or less service bays most cost
effectively. One stood out far and above the rest. That was the one
we selected and it worked great.

If it had been a close race, I would have looked into what I call the
"impact factor". As Beth mentioned above if you have to use twice as
much to get the same result, then you are not really getting a deal. So
I use my experience in the field to determine what publication is best
at achieving certain goals for past clients: generating leads, creating
brand awareness, generating online chatter, building back channel
communications, adding distributors, etc. I also tend to look at where
the competition is advertising -- and where it isn't. Sometimes the
best strategy is to take the competition head-on. Other times it is to
use a vehicle where the competition is conspicuously absent.

Next time, I'll discuss reach.

Meantime, Beth asked me to pick up toilet paper on my way home.
(How to determine effectiveness of that?)

- Phil Sasso

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sky's The Limit...

In 1953, Buick issued a special 50th Anniversary Skylark. Among the many unique product features were power brakes, power steering, power windows and a power antennae for the foot-operated radio. To top it off, the owner's name was inscribed on the center of the steering wheel. Only 1,690 special edition Skylarks were issued that year. They cost about $5,000 each -- that's about 30% more than their top of the line vehicle that year.

Last year Beth and PJ took me to a vintage car show for Father's Day. It was great. I love old cars and find their history fascinating. But my marketing eye noticed a missed opportunity for some smart marketer. The top-notch show was held at a high-end shopping center to draw store traffic.

But there was no sponsor for the event. The show was packed out with crowds of young and old car enthusiasts. I laughed as we parked our dusty mini-van. Many of the highly buffed and polished old cars in the lot could have been in the show! It was a great opportunity for a local brand (Turtle Wax?) to get a bunch of marketing mileage through sponsorship.

Last year, event marketing in the U.S. jumped 15% over 2002 to about $152 billion according to PROMO magazine. And another 15 - 20% jump is projected in 2004. Using events as branded education or entertainment is a powerful medium. One marketing agency president says "experiential marketing...brings the ad to life."

Classic research finds that the more involved you are with a message, the more likely you are to recall the brand and the message. So event marketing -- supported by traditional advertising and PR makes good sense. And I would guess the 72% of brands reported in PROMO that now sponsor events agree (60% host their own event). The survey shows brands dedicated about 11% of their marketing budgets to events.

How can you use an event to rally your customers and prospects? What can you do to entertain or educate them while subtly promoting your brand? Perhaps you should create your own event. Or perhaps there is an existing one that's crying for sponsorship.

-Phil Sasso

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


In one of my tips, I promised to discuss media reach. I'm not sure I can
fully DEFINE reach, much less explain it in a short tip.

On the simplest level, reach is the total number of unduplicated
audience members exposed to an advertising message. But what it
means in practical terms varies. In broadcast, it usually refers to unique
listeners or viewers who watch a program in a four-week period. But
not always. And in print it refers to the number of people who open a
publication. It can also be called coverage. Which isn't circulation.
It's more like readership. But not exactly. It's derived differently in
outdoor and on the Internet. It's a precisely measured number -- but
it can be estimated. And it can either be reported as a raw number or
a percentage of some universe. But reach is no guarantee that the
person has actually seen your ad.

Usually I can find some creative or simple way to explain or illustrate
what I want to teach. Even if it means I risk over simplifying my

Here, I can't even simplify the definition without destroying the
relevance to your marketing.

But don't think I won't try...

Imagine advertising on a billboard. Every person that passes that
billboard over a set period of time is the reach of that billboard.
They could read it ten times or never notice it. It just means they
COULD have seen it. You can't get that number by counting cars,
because some cars have more than one person. You also have to
count the people walking down the street. And if they pass the bill-
board more than once you can't count them. But, say your product
applies only to men, then you can only count men.

O.K. why all the splitting of hairs?

Because you can't compare that billboard to any other billboard with-
out very specific, accurate numbers.

Now the practical application. If you are introducing a new product or
service, reach is the most important detail in your media plan. You
want to reach as many people in your target market as possible. So
you need some way to measure the reach of your ad. Take that
billboard. If you're doing a new product introduction, and you want to
buy a second billboard, you don't want the same people to see it. You
want it to have as little duplication as possible with your first
billboard or you're, in essence wasting your ad dollar.

Simple, right? I hope my definition of reach has stretched your

(And some people think advertising is all about pretty pictures!)

- Phil Sasso

Monday, January 22, 2007


"What's that?" Beth asked referring to the item I'd just put in our shopping cart.

"It's a great deal," I said proudly. "Our usual brand is $3.99. This one's almost twice as big for only a nickel more."

"What about the quality?" she replied. "Do you know if will work as well as our usual brand? Which one will work best?"

I put it back.

Advertisers often make the same mistake I did in buying ad space.

Ad agencies use a formula called CPM or Cost Per Thousand to compare media outlets. (The M represents the Roman numeral for thousand.) It's simple: just divide the cost of ad space by the circulation and multiply by 1,000.

For instance, a $1,200 ad in the Sun-Times with a 500,000 circulation has a CPM of $2.40. That sounds cheaper than an ad in the Tribune that costs $3.40/M.

But, this thinking fails to address several issues:

1.) Audience. Many ad agencies use segmentation with the CPM formula. For instance, if my target market is mothers 21-35, I want to know how much I’m paying to reach that specific audience. In this case an ad in Chicago Parent might be more effective.

2.) Impact. Different media have a different impact. Traditionally free publications get less readership than paid ones. Certain titles have a much higher loyalty and readership scores. And people usually read more of less frequent and thinner publications. For instance, Beth reads our weekly local paper cover-to-cover, but could never do that with the Chicago Tribune everyday.

3.) Clutter. It’s usually a lot cheaper to advertise in an ad-focused publication like the old Penny-Saver. But with so many ads and little editorial, it’s easy to get looked over. Some publishers brag about how many ads they have. Often I see it as a downfall.

These are just a few things to consider beyond the cost per head you pay to reach customers. When choosing media, it's not about cost, it’s about cost-effective. To quote Beth: "Which one will work best?"

-Phil Sasso

Friday, January 19, 2007

Marketing Garbage...

"Beth, this is garbage," I said looking at the yogurt container she had given me.

"Sorry. Throw it out and get another out of the fridge," she responded

"No. It's not spoiled. It's recycled trash," I explained.

"Then maybe you want to write and tell the company what you think."

"I mean it's brilliant," I said. "These Oreo crumbs they package with it. They are selling broken cookies Oreo would normally toss out. They are quite smart."

"Oh. I think I'm going to be reading this conversation in a Marketing Tip, soon."

I see ideas where others see snack food. Sometimes I must be kind of hard to live with.

There are lots of companies that make money turning trash into treasure. Kingsford Charcoal was founded to use scrap wood from the Ford Motor plant in Kingsford, Michigan. Coors sells the solids resulting from the beer making process to make animal feed. I once worked for a client that charged landscapers to dump their logs and hardwood. Then they shredded the hardwood and sold it back to landscapers as mulch. Now that's a great business model!

Perhaps turning waste into widgets doesn't seem to fit you. Maybe you are in a service business. Think harder. What about wasted time?

Do you have downtime you could use to add a new profit center? Or perhaps you can volunteer a portion of that time or talent to a charitable or community cause. Can you donate inventory that's collecting dust to a school or non-profit and take the tax write-off? The resulting goodwill and publicity could create a great return on your investment.

Just recently, I opened the online help for one of my programs and realized it does things I never realized! I've owned the software but have not been using it to it's full potential.

Look around your company. Are you making the most of your firm's time, talents and tools?

What potential are you losing?

- Phil Sasso

Thursday, January 18, 2007

TWO BITS......

The other day, I consulted with a service-marketing veteran to develop my knowledgebase.

Our discussion centered on best practices in profitable marketing and management of personal or professional service businesses.

I listened intently to her perspective, honed from years of analysis and practical experience. She carefully outlined two core techniques: a throughput focus and a retention focus.

She used a hair salon as her illustration.

Cost accounting says the more haircuts in a day, the more money in the register at the end of the night. So, the increased through-put approach emphasizes efficiency would set a strict limit on the amount of time a stylist spends per customer. Quality is second to speed. The downside of this approach is often lower customer service ratings and higher employee burnout.

Marketing says the more repeat business, the lower the cost of marketing and the bigger the bottom line at the end of the year. That’s why the customer retention strategy would stress carefully listening, asking questions, and taking extra time to build relationships with clients. The downside of this approach can be higher service costs.

In her final analysis, the best practice is a blended method that emphasizes long-term relationship-building and system efficiency over raw speed. In a price-sensitive niche, this approach keeps customers from buying on price alone. In a quality-sensitive niche, it produces a greater sense of service quality. In either case, by lowering customer attrition, the business reduces expensive new customer marketing costs. And by building relationships, the happy salesperson/stylist builds a steady stream of commissions and a solid client roster.

The consultant also explained how incremental add-on sales, in our example shampoo or styling gel, can impact the bottom line with little or no increase in service costs.

When my time was over, I thanked Tamara for her sage wisdom and paid her consulting fee on the spot. Her hourly rate was modest -- and I got a free haircut to boot.

- Phil Sasso

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cereal Boxes.....

I remember standing in the grocery aisle when I was little deciding
between Frankenberry and Boo-berry cereal. (I'm not a big chocolate
lover, so Count Chocula never really appealed to me.)

The real choice had more to do with the free gift inside than the
flavor. There's a marketing lesson in that buying pattern.

Although I'm bigger today, I'm still sometimes lulled into making
decisions based on the add-on more than the thing I'm paying for. I
think, at times, most people do.

For instance, Beth loves a local Italian restaurant. The food is good.
Even better are the big portions because we always come home with
leftovers. That means another cooking-free meal for her. ("It's like
eating out twice!") I was delighted when I found out our new mattress
came with a free bed frame. (I don't even need a new frame!) And I'll
sometimes pay extra for free things. For instance, I once paid $50
more for "FREE DELIVERY".

What value-added product or service can you add to the mix to tip the
buying fulcrum in your favor?

- Phil Sasso

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


"Daddy, your shirt's on outside-in," my five-year-old announced as I emerged from my bedroom bleary-eyed one morning.

I chuckled at his word choice: Outside-in. Technically, it's accurate -- and much more interesting than inside-out.

So I'll give PJ credit for it.

But as I see it, the key to marketing success is "Outside-In Thinking". By that I mean two things: It's more about "you" than "me" and second, it's not filled with "me too" messages.

Let me explain...

"You" first. Good salespeople connect with their customer and seek to understand her needs. Mediocre salespeople rattle off a list of benefits -- or worst, just features and hope something clicks. Good marketers view things from the customer's perspective. Mediocre marketers focus too much on themselves. I saw a trade ad this week with the slogan "Yes We Can." Sounds nice. I understand the point. But isn't it a little self-centered? Where is the customer in that? Shouldn't it be something like: "Whatever you need, we can do." or "For You, We Will."

"Me" too. Once the marketer has a customer-centered view their message needs to stand out from the rest. They need a distinctive selling message and a creative presentation. For instance, Beth loves the "Big Bow" TV commercials for Lexus. These funny ads focus on cars with oversized bows, but the car-gifting message and brand are not lost. This creative approach is very memorable and the look can't be easily confused with anyone else's ad. (I'll let you know if I find a Lexus with a Big Bow under my tree this Christmas!)

So if you are looking to turnaround your sales in 2005, start asking yourself what you can do to turn your thinking "Outside-In".

- Phil Sasso

Friday, January 12, 2007


I got $50 for my birthday this year.

That wouldn't be fodder for a marketing tip, except the $50 didn't
come from family or friends. It came from marketers. It seems
they're hoping to turn my B-day into Buying Day.

I don't know how some even know my birthday!

So far, I've gotten gift certificates from Ace Hardware, Macy's, and
three restaurants. Some have strings attached like $5 off $15.
Others have nostrings at all.

But no matter what the offer, I find myself feeling honored they
did anything at all. Even though I am very aware it is all an attempt
to help them sell more stuff.


In literature it's called "willing suspension of disbelief." Although
I know it's a slick sales pitch to drum up business, I’m willing to
accept that because it also makes me feel good that they remem-
bered. (Even if it's just their computer that remembered.)

I once created birthday cards for a client that read: "We lobbied to
make your birthday a national holiday. But since that didn't work...".
Another year the headline read: "We wanted to mail you a piece of
cake for your birthday, but it didn't fit in the envelope..." Both
contained one-day-only discount coupons.

Treating customers special on their special day is a great way to
honor them and cement loyalty.

How can you implement a program like this? You might collect
birthdays and send out a small gift or exclusive discount. Or you
could just send a personal note or card on the anniversary of their
first purchase with you. Whatever you do, take the time to recognize
them and they just might give you a gift in return.

Phil Sasso

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I have these little off-beat sayings, call them Sassoisms, I use to communicate my perspective on marketing -- and sometimes life in general. As a new occasional feature, I'll share a Sassoism with you and take a moment to defend it. Here's one that's also my most common email signature…

Strategic thinking is more productive than wishful thinking.

Hope springs eternal. But it's not the stuff that successful marketing plans are made of.

When you're investing your marketing budget, closing your eyes and crossing your fingers isn't the winning strategy. We all know having a plan and sticking to the plan is what produces results.

As a loyal fan, I'm excited that the Chicago Rush arena football team just won their conference and is advancing to the Arena Bowl in Las Vegas.

They got into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. But despite outrageous odds against them, they got to the big Bowl game by having solid strategies and excellent execution. I heard the coach on the radio last week talk about giving his team vision and planning like they've already won. "When the game is over," he told his team "We need to quickly get to the trophy stage. This is a live broadcast," he said.

However a goal without a plan is foolish. And a plan without on-task execution is futile. The same thing that works on the grid iron works in marketing.

This weekend I think I'll sit on my couch, cross my fingers and hope for a Rush victory. (O.K., when you have no control, sometimes all you can do is wish!)

- Phil Sasso

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


My young designer proudly handed me an ad layout. 

“Yuck.” I responded. 

“You don’t like it?” he said sheepishly. “I can try again...” 

“I hate it,” I replied. “But who cares what I think.” 

He looked into each of my eyes to see if I was angry or joking. He
furrowed his brow and bit his lip as he pondered my response.
Then, he brightened.  “I get it. It doesn’t matter what you think,”
he said. “It’s the client’s opinion that counts.” 

“Nope,” I said. 

“I’m stumped,’ he replied.
“It’s the client’s customers that matter,” I explained. “It has to
connect with them.” 

A giant light bulb went on in the designer’s head. 

“The target audience in this case is females age 50 to 65,” I
explained. “I probably don’t like what they like. They wouldn’t
like what I do. Like a good salesperson, your ad has to connect
with the customer. This connects -- just not with me. That’s fine.
I’m not your market..” 

“So you don’t like it -- but you like it?” he said confused. 

“I don’t like it, but I LOVE it,” I said. “I think it works. It will
connect with the audience. That’s really all that matters. If others
like it, too -- great. But connecting with customers is not our key

He left my office smiling at a job well done. Or laughing at how
confusing I was. Either way, he left thinking. And that’s all that
really matters. I think. 

Who likes your marketing materials better? You or your customers?

- Phil Sasso

Monday, January 08, 2007


My in-laws unexpectedly dropped in from out-of-town one day. I took them to our favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. When our orders came, my father-in-law’s meal was missing. I flagged our waitress, Veronica, and told her.

"It’s probably coming up," she said and walked away.

Then, I noticed I hadn’t gotten my side order. So I flagged Veronica again. She still wasn’t apologetic but she was confused.

"Hmm. I’ll check on that," she said turning.

"Oh, can you check on our bread, too?" my wife chimed in.

Veronica turned on her heals and sighed

"Didn’t you get bread with your salads?" she inquired.

"No," Beth replied. "That’s why I’m asking."

The kitchen’s mistakes weren’t Veronica’s fault. But her response impacted her tip -- and our loyalty to the restaurant. The same is true for how you and your company handle mistakes.

Mistakes happen. Having a good system in place can turn comebacks into happy repeat customers. A system teaches all your employees a uniform method of dealing with mistakes and avoids "seat-of-your pants" solutions that could come back to bite you in the "seat-of-your-pants".

I don't think Veronica ever said "sorry". Some people think the word "sorry" is a sign of weakness or an admission of guilt. It's neither. It's a sign that you care about your customer. That one word can make all the difference in diffusing a customer's reaction -- or overreaction as the case may be. Start with "I’m sorry."

But don’t stop with "sorry." One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to just give your customer lip service. Work to do more than make good on the problem -- make up for it.

-- Phil Sasso

Friday, January 05, 2007

In the mail...

Recently, I was following up with a client on a direct mail project...

"How did the auto dealer mailing turn out for you?" I asked.

"The first week we got about a quarter percent response," He said. "This week, we hit 1%."

"That's great," I said delighted that we had done such a great job.

"Yeah, but we'll still get calls for a while," he responded.

"It could take up to 2 months to see your full response," I reminded him.

"Two months? I once got a customer who called me after two years," he chuckled. "And he was a pretty big deal!"

Direct mail produces quick results. As a rule of thumb, you’ll get 25% of your total responses to a mailing after the first week, 50% within two weeks, and 75% by the end of the first month, according studies by the U.S. Postal Service. The final responses trickle in over the next month.

In our experience, a multiple postcard mailing can be a cost-effective marketing program. Each piece in the series should build on the next, telling your prospects more reasons to buy from you. I suggest a four-piece weekly mailing. It's more cost-effective since you can print all four oversized cards at once on one sheet of 11x17 stock. Because, even at bulk rate, postage is expensive this technique is best used to promote big ticket items or service relationships with a long lifetime value.

One client that I ran a mailing like this for got a response rate of 15%. Of course, his mailing list was prospects who had responded to his print ads and were aware of his company and product.

If you'll excuse me, I have a year-old postcard offer I need respond to.

- Phil Sasso

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Miss Me?.....

I was too busy this week to write a marketing tip for yesterday.

Chances are you didn't notice. In the same way, customers won't be concerned if you stopped advertising tomorrow; prospects won't call you to complain because they missed your ads. But eventually, if you advertise too infrequently, you'll see your sales plummet.

Doubt it? You have two options: try it or take an expert's word for it.

I don't recommend you stop advertising to see how it affects your sales health anymore than I suggest you stop eating and drinking to see how it affects your physical health.

So let's look at an expert: Jack Scissors from Northwestern University. I have Dr. Scissors' "Advertising Media Planning" on my bookshelf -- it was my college text years ago. He's still one of the media planning leaders today. He says ad continuity is the most cost-effective way to impacts sales. Here's how he defines continuity: "A method of scheduling advertising so that audiences have an opportunity to see ads at regular intervals. There are many patterns that could be used, from advertising once each day to once a month"

The flip side, in my words, is: infrequent ads result in infrequent sales. Breaking continuity breaks the branding messages effectiveness.

You may have heard me give this analogy before. Think of advertising as a boiling pot: It takes time for the pot to boil. Once boiling, it you turn off the heat it may continue to boil for a few seconds -- and it will come to a boil again if you light the flame quickly. But if you let it cool off too much, it will take a long time to bring back to a boil again. You need to keep a fire under your prospects to keep that pot boiling, too.

How long does it take advertising to warm-up or cool-off if you stop advertising? I wish there was a magic number. It depends on your product, your market, your competition and the media you choose.

But rather than guess, I suggest you keep the pot boiling.

- Phil Sasso