Free Billings Advertising

Free Billings AdvertisingYou can get a great, effective radio campaign on almost any radio station in Billings for about $16.67 a day.  Surely your business is worth that amount of money.

But getting something for nothing seems to be a cause célèbre of late.  Maybe it started with the infamous “47% are dependent” comment in the presidential campaign.  I’m not really sure.  This post isn’t a political comment, its about marketing.

Why do business owners continue to strive to get something for nothing?  A lot of time and money gets spent in social media, free papers, free flyers, free magazines,  free coupons, free websites, or free whatevers.

You really don’t get anything for free–you pay for it with stress, time, opportunity, or cash.  Yet the practice continues.  Everyone wants to be the person who solves the problem–who gets a great deal no one else has.  The one who finds the holy grail of making Billings advertising work for the lowest possible price.

Why all the Free Papers and Magazines?

There’s a reason all those papers and magazines are free.  It’s an escape from accountability.  With no subscribers, there’s really no way to know how many of the publications are actually consumed.  It’s pretty, but is it real?  And please, don’t fall for the publishers trick of counting how many were published times 3 or 4 to suggest that is the “readership.” I mean every copy of every publication must be spread around.  I agree.  Most publications are spread around unread at the recycling station.

There’s only one way to compare across media.  Its the real dollars and cents of the spend.  If you spend $800 in cable, spend $800 in radio and compare.  If you spend $300 on a little ad in one of the free “ego-zines” inside every restaurant in town, then compare that to $300 spent on bench ads.

The final verdict comes when you compare the increase or decrease in your business revenue year to year and month to month.

 

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.

Marketing Jargon Kills

marketing jargon kills media in BillingsI was reading a 67 page guide “How To Be in the Internet Marketing Business” or some such thing the other day and it hit me just how much jargon there is in marketing and advertising.

For those of us working as professional marketers, it seems to spew from us like so many negative television ads during this election campaign.  Endless and non stop.

Why the Marketing Jargon?

So why do we do that?  While talking with two different clients in the past week, I was rolling along talking about 30’s and 60’s.  I went on to talk about how we could use that time to gain attention and help people learn more about their products.  In this case, both of these people were running for office in Montana.

Neither understood a word I said.

One wasn’t even sure what the rates for an ad were after I explained them.

Marketing is full of jargon like CPP, CPM, CPC, SEO, CTR, AQH, AQR TSE, TSL, and HUT among others. It is no wonder the idea of marketing a business or a product is scary to a lot of entrepreneur’s.  They don’t want to make the wrong choice.

Digital Media–Measuring and Applying Jargon to Marketing

Digital media has gained traction because of its ability to translate something that is generally unmeasurable into something that might be measurable.  Add to the digital media pros bag of tricks a never ending litany of jargon and a few success stories and you have the recipe for the hottest, newest kid on the block.  Besides, who can argue with a success rate of .0026% CTR? (why would you even measure that?)

Add the millions of books and guides and a low barrier to digital entry and you have the recipe for even more confusing material in the marketplace.  As best I can tell, you can claim you are a digital expert just a few weeks after leaving animal obedience training school.  The confused stories I hear from business people who want to use social media to market their businesses would be funny if it weren’t so sad.  (“let me ask my son in law, he’s on Facebook all the time.”)

Jargon-less Marketing

Media like television, radio, billboards, and even print to some degree have to understand that people don’t understand the words they use.  The jargon doesn’t work. When people are confused, they don’t do anything.

If you have a company who needs to market, don’t let the jargon scare you.  Force your media person to talk to you about what you care about–leads, traffic, prospects, or potential buyers.  Marketing your business today is the battle to get noticed in a time of a high level of noise.

Let them save the jargon for Alpha Bits cereal.