Ratings and Your Billings Marketing-A Matter of Interpretation

In Billings marketing circles, there is a lot of attention paid to how many and how much when it comes to buying media time and space.  What is their rank in the market?  How much do they cost?  How many do I get?  News box versus delivery? None of that should matter to business people looking to improve their top line revenue.

Today, I’ll show how ratings, especially when marketing in Billings, is a waste of time and money.

First, a quick explanation.  Ratings are just estimates.  No one really knows for certain the actual number of listeners, readers, viewers, or even web traffic.  Much is made of Google Analytics and their ability to track clicks and actual views.  Even that is a pile of horse stuff.  Different programs will come up with different sets of data.  The important part (to the data marketing guys) is you believe the BS.

Billings marketing in print

I’ll use the newspaper for an example.  The “standard” for circulation in print is the Audit Bureau of Circulation report.  It estimates, the Billings Gazette has a shade over 27,000 daily users.  Or about 15% of Yellowstone County.  See if you can find that number on the Billings Gazette web site.  I’ll wait.

Do you believe for even an instant 18-29 year olds use the newspaper more than 60 year olds?

The BG website claims almost one million users to their site.  Or to put it another way, EVERY PERSON in Montana would have to visit the site for that to be true.  Including your 2 year old.

Billings marketing from Gazette

It doesn’t matter what system you use, they all are different.  There is no 100% way to know for sure no matter what you might be told in glossy slideshows or fancy graphic presentations.

The Most Accurate Measurement in Billings Marketing

There is one way measure that is accurate above all others.  One specific way to know if your Billings marketing is working or not.

Not to pick on print in this post because the same wildy different numbers exist for radio, cable, television, online, and out of home display too.

Look at the top line of your business before you started your campaign and after.  If you made more money, it probably worked.  If you made less money, it may not have worked.

Why the “probably” and “may” disclaimers, you might ask?

The Variables in Billings Marketing

There are too many variables to know for certain.  Don’t let the experts tell you they can isolate and split test to get the answer.  That’s BS too.  The next time you hear from a Billings marketing expert on the subject of ratings or any other analytical numbers in an attempt to justify their argument, just smile.

You have the only number that matters.

Any monkey can look at a chart of numbers.  Understanding where they come from and what they really mean is not just the province of your accountant.  Billings marketing experts can help with that too.


Is This Worth $50?

Look carefully at this actual size poster from an online news source.

Can you even read the copy of the smaller ad on the right hand side?  There’s nothing been changed about the actual size.  It is exactly the same as the published size. Although I do see somebody has “borrowed” Townsquare Media’s copyrighted “Seize The Deal” comment which could get the advertiser sued.

Is this really worth $50 to your Billings small business to say you are “online” with your advertising?

Billings Marketing experience matters

This is where having a Billings marketing team with 90 years of experience in print, broadcast, television, network, graphics, and internet marketing can save you a lot more than $50

This advertising is an “add on” to a print package you might get from one of the Lee newspapers.  Frankly, I was surprised it was this large.  Usually when you see it online, if you see it online, it seems much smaller than this photo.

Our lives are really built around visual marketing.  That’s why there are so many pervasive sources of visual work.  From billboards with too many words, to print ads which try and put everything in them but the kitchen sink, Billings marketing companies are more likely to tell a client what they want to hear rather than what they should hear.

What’s the relationship with you Billings marketing company?

If that is the kind of relationship you are getting from your marketing company, you might want to change it before someone cleans your clock.

A company I consult, BVDR Marketing, focuses on the only real reason for advertising or marketing your business.  Increase the top line of your company.

That’s it.

Increasing the top line by helping to expose more people to your products and services are the reason  to market. Everything else is just about ego.

An Attempt at Marketing in Billings That Was Sad

I was watching a Billings insurance agent market her product on cable television the other day.  It made me sad.  The copy was poor.  The owners performance as talent was such you could see her eyes move as she read her script.  We saw every person in the office to help them be able to tell their friends you could see them on TV.

I can’t tell you what the client’s name was or why her product might solve my needs.  I do know she has friendly service (doesn’t everyone) and a lot of experience (so does my agent but why does that make you better).

All marketing works

All marketing works if you spend enough money on it.  With this ad, placed in the vast wasteland of cable television, this ad might well become the most expensive ad placement in the history of cable.

But it made the ego feel good.


Media Sales, Heal Thyself

You wanted to add the word, Physician didn’t you.

Or you did if you were familiar with the proverb in Luke 4:23

That story applies today in so many areas it is scary.

For example, media sales.

When I talk about media sales, I’m talking about all the newspaper, magazine, billboard, TV, radio, transit, and other sellers who are looking to talk with you about your “advertising needs.”

First, who said I needed advertising.

I don’t.

I need customers. Better yet, I need customers who will become buyers.

Not advertising.

What about their own medicine

The next time a media seller asks you about advertising, ask them about theirs.  How much money do they spend outside their own medium to acquire customers?  Because its THOSE customers interacting with the media you are buying with your marketing money.

If they aren’t marketing to bring in new customers, why do you want to market with them?  They clearly aren’t taking their own medicine and attempting to keep their business growing.

Media Salespeople Sell but don’t buy

If marketing is such a good thing do to (and I believe it is) why does the media who talk about it the most do it the least.

There is an axiom in business I believe is absolutely true.  If you are not growing, you are dying.

The truth in print media sales and circulation

Perhaps that’s why the Billings Gazette daily circulation is around 27,000 people in Yellowstone County according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation estimates.

The next time you are approached from someone in media sales, ask them what their own company is doing to increase their circulation, readership, listenership, or viewership.  A media organization that’s trying to grow won’t have a problem outlining how they are spending their money.

The days of being able to “milk and maintain” need to be over.  Especially when businesses like yours are the ones being milked