The Media That Works Best in Billings Marketing

Best Media Choics for Billings MarketingI’ve spent literally millions of dollars in advertising.  I’ve spent it on television, events, internet, radio, billboards, direct mail, even some money in print. Thinking about the actual number, I’m betting its close to $6 MILLION dollars in spend.

After all that, I know exactly what advertising and marketing works and what doesn’t.  I’m going to tell you something unexpected that you probably do not expect to hear from any media person, much less a salesperson.  I will tell you the truth as to what media works best.

I really feel bad for small business owners in Billings.  How do you know what Billings marketing is right?  You started a business for a reason.  To make more money, secure your families life, maybe you were tired of dealing with the “Man” all day long, and for what?

You have endless regulation, taxation, employee issues, and untold amount of worries on how you are going to meet payroll.  You know you can handle it–you are awesome.  You are great in your chosen field.  Your shop, store, or business is the best in town.  You are awesome.  You just have to tell people how awesome you are.

That’s where it gets complicated.  You are not a marketing expert.  You are a business owner.

The $6 Million Billings Marketing Secret

So you take in a seminar from the newspaper.  Surprise, they say the newspaper/web combination is the only way to market.  Google holds a big “Get Onlline” seminar in town with free websites (almost). Next the TV station has a “how to use modern media” seminar, and you go.  There you discover that it really is TV is the only way to reach consumers.  Radio stations have their own programs and seminars to encourage you to buy spots (they are ADS not SPOTS.)

And so it goes.  Not only are you dealing with all the stuff required to run a business, but now you have conflicting information from people you trust on marketing ideas.  I talk to business owners like this EVERYDAY.

If you have a moment, I’m going to tell exactly who in all this marketing conflicting ga-ga has the right answer.

Everyone.

You see, ALL MARKETING WORKS.  Provided you have a good message and get enough time (or traffic) to get heard. The difference is effectiveness and the amount of money you want to invest.  That’s it.

A Half Million Dollar Marketing Lesson

Every media gets bashed for their lack of effectiveness, even TV.  I personally spent a half MILLION dollars of my companies money in 4 weeks on TV.  I thought we had a great ad and a great schedule.  Everyone agreed all the way to the president of the company.  I was the one who got fired.

The ONLY way to compare media is by dollars and cents.  Spend the same amount on an ad schedule on TV, radio, billboards, and print–then compare the results.  You’ll figure out pretty quickly which one works best for you.  It may not be the same for your competitor.  It is what works for you–what makes your revenue rise that’s important.

Next time when you feel overwhelmed with the pressure to make the “right” decision on your marketing, relax.  It all works.   Besides, I’m guessing you have never spent a half million bucks on TV. And never will.

Marketing’s Dangerous Echo Chamber

Marketing echo chamber definedMarketing by echo chamber can kill your business.  Its not just small business owners who believe everyone thinks and acts just like them.  Marketing agencies can be swept away too.

Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct :

“far too many (business ad decisions) ad agency decisions are based on personal preference and neighborly anecdote. It also explains the ad biz obsession with digital – resulting in spending that far outpaces it’s effectiveness.”

An echo chamber is a place where you hear only your own voice coming back to you in a delayed fashion.  Generally, its a fun experience.  Maybe you can even remember the first time your heard that kind of an echo as a kid.  Harmless fun.

Death by Echo Chamber Marketing

When it comes to your marketing, the echo chamber will kill your business.  Entrepreneurs have the worst problem with echo chambers.  The business they created with their own hands, their own ideas, and their own sweat is endangered by the very skill set that enabled them to take the risk.

Here are a few symptoms of echo chamber Marketing.

  • Your revenue is stagnant or down
  • You only listen to pitches from people you know
  • You think everyone uses media like you
  • You are going to run the same promotions next year you did this year
  • You think you are the smartest person in the room

There are great local examples of echo chamber marketing in Billings.  Almost any purchase of time on either cable supplier is a definition of echo chamber.  Expecting a cable ad buy to make your business improve is akin to putting your life savings on 36 red and spinning the wheel.  The usage of cable is so low gambling might actually be more effective.

The Billings Gazette with a reach of only sightly more than 15% of all of Yellowstone County residents gets enormously overbought.  Its a great example of businesses and ad agencies stuck in what they think versus marketing realities.

It is echo chamber marketing at its best.

Should you Billings Echo Chamber marketing think this doesn’t apply to you or your business, take a look at this chart from the Media Behavior Institute.  This is a chart of how real people use media compared to how industry pros (ad agency people) use media.  The same chart looking at entrepreneurs instead of agency people would probably have similar scores.

Notice the huge disparity between the general population and people who do advertising for a living.  If you intend to win and grow your business, you must  focus on what real people do.

The echo chamber was fun when you were young.  Take a moment to see if you are still in that chamber.  It will kill your business.

Print Dead in Billings Marketing! Long Live Print!

Billings marketing print good or badIn markets like ours, there is a lot of focus on print media.  Even people not in the print business see it as something they must have or read most every day.  The reality is the local Billings newspaper has less readership today than it had yesterday. Based on Audit Bureau of Circulation stats I have seen, only slightly over 27,000 people or about 15% of Yellowstone County’s population actually get the paper.

Forbes.com printed a great article on the advantages and disadvantages of print as an advertising medium.  Here are some of their points.

Print Advantages in Billings Marketing

Tangibility – A print piece is a physical thing. Magazines and newspapers can stay in houses or offices for months or years, while Internet ads can disappear into cyber space instantaneously.

Credibility – There is something about print that gives a sense of legitimacy. The saturation of popups and banner ads on the web can be overwhelming and the fear of spam and viruses is enough make people weary of clicking. There is no imminent danger in a print ad.

Branding – Print ads are excellent for solidifying your brand identity. Your ads should have a consistent aesthetic in terms of fonts, colors and types of images to establish brand recognition.

Target Marketing – Placing ads in publications such as specialty magazines can effectively reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.

More Engaging – Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit. A study shows that people read digital screen text 20% – 30% slower than printed paper. (Alshaali & Varshney, 2005)

Less Print Ads – With more and more businesses relying solely on the Internet for their advertising needs, the decline of print publication can actually be used as a marketing advantage. The publications are less crowded, allowing more room for your ad to shine, and possibly even cheaper prices for that ad space.

QR Codes – Placing QR codes on printed pieces is an excellent way to bridge the gap between print and web. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code will take you to a homepage or a special offer page that lives on the web.

It is interesting to note Forbes.com attempts to defend print are more about what it is not (we don’t have viruses, people read us differently, we don’t have as many ads) versus what it is (a tangible product you can hold, and a declining way of advertising a business.)

Print has a place in Billings marketing.

As Forbes.com said,

The best way to market your business is to utilize as many channels as possible to reach every corner of your target demographic; this should not exclude print.

Print should no longer be considered a must have in terms of your Billings marketing campaigns.  The decline in readership and movement to other sources for information is rapidly driving the print business away.

How much you use and how you use it is part of a well planning Billings marketing strategy.  Getting professional help to develop and execute that strategy will prevent you from overspending on print, web, or any other form of media.

Look for someone who is focused on your top line when you look for a Billings marketing company.