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Monday, 25 May 2009

Don't You Believe It! Sound sense from Mr. Anderson

I dropped a few names I respected the other day, and here's another.

I've never actually met Mike Anderson and I don't owe him any money, but here's a couple of things everyone ought to think about - and despite being such a bloody know-all I certainly hadn't thought of the first one.

He tells about a magazine rep who wanted to flog some space. He goes on:

"I think her patience with me is wearing thin for two reasons.

First, I keep insisting that I have no interest whatever in her "special features", adding that if we advertise in her excellent magazine, it won't be because they happen to be running a feature on advertising, on direct marketing or anything else.

Think about it. How do features come about in most publications? I strongly suspect they come about because the advertising manager or sales manager has sat the sales team down and said something like this:

"If we do a feature on computers, there are 325 computer companies we can approach for advertising!

On home building, there are 22 builders. etc."

The point is, this is completely sales driven, not market driven. The market - the prospects that actually buy computers - hardly petitioned the publication to run a feature. And if the market didn't ask for it, why should we assume they'd be interested in reading the feature when it appears?

My second digression with my sales rep friend came about on her last visit. She brought in a "hot" new piece of info entitled "successful marketing tactics" which "proved" that following a year long study, researchers have concluded that a marketing message must penetrate the mind of a prospect a total of nine times before that prospect becomes a customer.

Her document (which not surprisingly she said is a terrific sales tool for her in selling ad space) even went onto say the reader won't even see two out of the three times you advertise, so therefore you have to advertise 27 times to get a customer.


Interpreting statistics in this way is very dangerous. It borders on dishonesty. What you should be told is this: "Every ad should be designed to get a measurable response. And if those responses don't pay for the ad, don't continue running it!"

Now, "pays for itself" may not strictly mean you get all your money back up front. It may mean you get enough leads to make it profitable in the "back end" when they convert to long-term customers. But never keep running an ad with the hope that it'll somehow start working after 27 times ... or 9 times or even 2 times.

Test your ads constantly, and insist they work every time!

Bang on, Mike.

Ad agencies often give you all that malarkey about "we're building awareness - just keep pissing away - er, I mean investing - money, it'll work in the long run."

As Keynes noted, "In the long run we are all dead."

I can tell you, gentle reader, that other things being equal the first time you run an ad, you get the hottest prospects, then the second time, the not quite so hot - etc.

What you have to do is manage the pauses between insertions.

How long you make them depends chiefly on two factors: the size of the circulation and the interest of the product. The smaller the circulation, the longer the pauses should be. Conversely, the more universal the interest, the shorter they can be.

The same principle applies to space size. But I am rambling, as usual - and forgot to comment on the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, besides being a useless crock of shit, is a thief. Stick him in jail with all the others.

The Toad, who is so bent he'd fall off a corkscrew, used to make great play about his father being a clergyman. Clearly he never came into much contact with the ten commandments starting with Thou shalt not bear false witness.

You can find Mike Anderson at mike@lowriskmarketing.com.

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