Tag Archives: Wizard of Ads

How Will You Measure Success?

Carpet Baggers (Music Man)That seems like a simple question.

But in reality, it’s really complex.

Worse, most people have never asked themselves this question, let alone answered it.

Advertising Strategy

Let me state for the record that I’m a BIG Wizard of Ads disciple. Roy H. Williams is the person known as “The Wizard of Ads.” I have the Wizard’s bestselling book trilogy, taught the Wizard’s methods in my sales class at the university and am a member of the Wizard Class known as the “Fearless Flyers.” (Ask me why, if you want to know why my class was named that.)

A key question to ask any advertiser at the outset of doing business is, “How will YOU measure success.”

Simply saying, to make a lot of money is not the answer.

If money is the goal, then how much money and in what period of time, needs to be asked. It is important that both the advertiser and the seller of advertising are on the same page. Both parties must agree before you can move forward.

12 Core Questions

I recently shared a graphic from fellow Wizard Craig Arthur that listed 12 core questions an advertiser needed to answer when developing an advertising strategy. Let me explore those questions in a little more detail here:

  1. WHAT are you trying to make happen? What’s the destination you are trying to reach with your advertising?
  2. HOW will you measure progress? What will be the method employed to keep track of how things are going? How will things be tweaked to insure progress is being made?
  3. HOW big is the pie? In other words, how big is the market for what you’re trying to accomplish? It’s no use winning if the market potential is so small you still starve.
  4. HOW good are your competitors? In the musical, The Music Man, the carpet baggers (picture above) would constantly say “But you gotta know the territory.” You need to know who the people, businesses, systems, etc. are, that you will be up against.
  5. HOW good are you? This is a tough one. You need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and honestly address your own skills and abilities. Can you provide an outstanding customer experience?
  6. WHO to talk to? Who are the customers you’re attempting to attract? You need to be specific and target.
  7. WHAT to say? Roy says there are no wrong media to use to tell your story, only bad stories. In other words, is your story relevant? If it is, it will reach your target by word of mouth a.k.a. sharing on social media.
  8. HOW to say it? Most radio stations no longer employ dedicated copywriters and production people. Everyone is multitasking. Crafting the message is most critical. Just like in the movies or on TV, the script makes the difference between a hit and a miss.
  9. WHAT will it sound/look like? Having a well written message will sink like the Titanic if it’s produced poorly. Dick Orkin’s Radio Ranch not only produces great copy but employs professional voice actors to deliver the goods.
  10. HOW much to spend? When crafting an ad budget you should keep in mind that you want to hit the target every week. When the data isn’t available, say in an unrated radio market for example, the rule of thumb is 21 ads per week (3/day), 52 weeks a year.  If the ad budget is small, then spend it on only one station and possibly on only one daypart until the business grows to support more.
  11. HOW to schedule it? In all advertising, repetition is key to gaining top of mind awareness in your customer. Radio is best because of its affordability to allow virtually any advertiser to purchase a three frequency with the listener on a weekly basis. To achieve this minimum level of frequency is usually unaffordable in other mediums.
  12. WHERE to say it? Again, Roy believes there are really no wrong radio stations, only wrong messages. Obviously, there are some businesses/products that are an obvious non-fit with a particular radio station format, but in general, any radio station with a cume of 30,000 people or more has the audience size to get an advertiser good R.O.I. (Return On Investment).

As Craig Arthur points out, most advertisers skip questions 1 to 11 and only focus on question 12.

That’s why most advertising fails.

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Why do people buy what they buy?

120If you’re in sales, this is probably the question that haunts you most: Why do people do the things they do?

Daniel Pink recently wrote a book “To Sell is Human” and in the book, he tells us, we are all in sales today. In fact, we may not even be aware that we are selling all the time. Daniel told the Harvard Business Review:

“I’m obviously selling books because that’s a part of my business. But if you go beyond that, I (also spent my) time trying to convince an editor to abandon a stupid idea for a story. I tried to get an airline gate agent to switch his seat. I’ve got kids. So, I’m trying to persuade my kids to do things. I have various people I do business with. And I’m trying to get them to see it my way, rather than their way, to go my direction, rather than their direction.”

“And when you actually tease it all out, I’m spending an enormous amount of time selling.”

We’re All in Sales

Looking at this from a broadcaster point of view, we too are all in sales, NOT just the people in the sales department.

Programmers are selling their ideas to management and if management gives them enough rope, they then have to sell those ideas to their air staff who then has to sell the concept to the listeners.

Events Change Our World in a Heartbeat

Sometimes events change the dynamics of what people want, need and do. The recent hurricanes have certainly had that effect on broadcasting.

In Houston, KTRH was ranked #11. 122Then Houston was hit by Hurricane Harvey and KTRH zoomed to #3, but soon after the impact of the storm began to fade and life in Houston began its long road back to “normal,” KTRH sank back to #15.

I ran a news-talk-information AM radio station back in the 90s in Atlantic City and in spite of our big commitment to local news and information, research showed that people would rather spend their day with one of the many FM music stations. However, they knew in times of coastal storms or other emergencies, our AM radio station was the one to turn to.

Radio cannot live waiting for the next emergency.

iPhones vs Androids

We all know that iPhones have not activated the FM chip to receive OTA FM radio broadcasts in their older iPhones. Plus Apple’s newest iPhones (7, 8 & X) don’t even have an FM chip in them to activate. So, if having an FM chip in their smartphone was important to Apple’s customers, why do people keeping buying iPhones? Maybe it is because they use them for other things.

In the USA Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile operating systems are sharing the market about evenly says John Koetsier writing in Forbes. However what we’ve seen over the last couple of years is that what they don’t share equally is commerce. iOS is used to make more online purchases than Android. If you’re selling stuff, that’s an important distinction and its why Apps are usually first developed for the Apple Store and then later for Android devices.

Digital Cameras

I recently read an article that said if digital cameras were to stay relevant, they should connect to the internet. Guess what, they now can. Here are seven of the best WiFi cameras on the market according to Lifewire.

Should they also be able to make & receive calls, texts? Contain an FM chip?

As everything becomes connected to the internet should they also be able to receive OTA broadcast?

Electric Cars

BMW was the first car company I was aware of, that when it introduced its all electric car said it would not contain an AM radio. BMW said they couldn’t isolate the noise interference it would cause to the AM signals.

Funny, but I remember when cars used to have only an AM radio and that isolating an alternator was often necessary to not get horrific noise through the speakers. Is this really that much of a problem or has BMW carefully defined its customer’s wants, needs and desires?

Tesla in introducing their new Model 3 also said AM radio would not be part of the center stack options.

Do you think this will give people pause in buying an electric vehicle?

Go with the Flow

None of these things really represent a change in why people do the things they do. Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads, has been writing about these things for decades.

In his book “Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads” in Chapter 70 “Better Jewelry, Better Jeweler,” Roy poses this question: “If you had to choose between selling what you wanted to sell, or what the majority of people wanted to buy, which would you choose?” Your future success is determined largely by your answer to that very question says Roy.

Bringing this back to broadcasting, AM, FM, digital, TV, cable, streaming is really nothing more than a display case in a jewelry store. It’s what you put into that display case that matters.

Your success comes down to serving your viewer or listener in the very way they want to be served.

If you’re in sync with the people of your broadcast property’s service area, then you will enjoy their business and they will demand you be easily accessible on the latest device.

The curve ball today is connecting your programming to the internet. The internet is a global community. You can’t be all things to all people. If you try, you will fail.

Define your market, know what they want, then serve it up to them. It’s OK to put it on the internet as long as you stay true to the people’s wants and needs that you aim to serve.

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The Future of Ad Supported Media

I’ve just finished reading Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which I highly recommend everyone read, and Piketty stops me cold on page 357 with this graph (see below). I’ve highlighted in yellow two things for you to take note of. In a moment I’ll explain why this hit me so hard.

This same week, I was reading Seth Godin’s blog post “Mass production and mass media” where he explains that mass media exists because it permits mass marketers to do their job and how mass media is going away. If you’re in radio or TV, that kind of proclamation will get your attention; BIGTIME.

Godin is predicting that the “mass” part is what’s going away and that it is being replaced by “micro.” In essence that it’s better to be important to a few than be irrelevant to the many.

Then this article appears in AllAccess “Radio’s Dying…But The Cause Isn’t What You Think.” Seth Resler writes that radio isn’t going to die because it has been abandoned by listeners, but it’s going to die because it’s been abandoned by advertisers. Resler goes on to make the case that advertising is moving away from the Mad Men era art form that it was, towards a keyword and search scientific algorithm metric of today.

“…there has been little doubt for more than a decade that the advertising model that traditionally supported an industrial-age news and information system is evaporating,” writes Anderson, Bell and Shirky on pages 11-15 in “Post-Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present (2012)”

Mark Perry, blogging at the American Enterprise Institute writes: “The dramatic decline in newspaper ad revenues since 2000 has to be one of the most significant and profound Schumpeterian gales of creative destruction in the last decade, maybe in a generation.”

Well, I’m here to have you consider a 3rd possibility, one that stopped me in my tracks as I was reading Piketty’s book. Now, I may be putting words in Professor Piketty’s mouth when I tell you what I’m about to say. Piketty did not write about radio or TV, or mass media in general in his book. He writes about wealth inequality in our world from antiquity to the present day and then makes some predictions about where things are headed based on current trend lines.

But this graph on page 357 haunts me.

Picketty Chart on page 357

That graph, from the period of 1913 to 2012 includes the period in which radio and television were born. It’s the era when advertising supported media took off. I worked the last forty years of that graph in the radio business and experienced the change in business that this graph shows.

Commercial radio was born in 1920. Commercial TV took-off in the 1950s. And I quite agree with Seth Godin when he writes “Mass production, the ability to make things cheaply, in volume, demanded that we invent mass marketing – it was the only way to sell what was being made in the quantity it was produced. Mass media exists because it permits mass marketers to do their job.” To which I would add to Seth’s thoughts that mass media and mass marketing both existed because there was a strong American middle class of consumers.

If Piketty is correct, the concept of a middle class consumer economy that existed between 1913 and 2012, was an anomaly. It didn’t really exist anywhere in the world before 1913 and it’s very likely not going to exist anywhere in the world as we journey away from the year 2012. The middle class consumer economy will evaporate and along with it, advertiser support for mass media.

1913-2012 was a unique period in world economic history. It gave birth to consumers who had money to spend, mass production that could produce lots of goods and mass media that could advertise those goods. All three were simultaneously occurring at the very same moment.

The new buzz words are “shared economy” and “collaborative economy.” What roles will large corporations, universities and mass media play when people are getting what they need from one another?

In 2014, Nielsen Music reported a staggering drop in music sales where as much as a fifth of music buyers didn’t buy anything.   2014 also saw box office ticket sales plunge to their lowest level in three years. The home ownership rate reached its lowest point in 25 years at the end of 2014. More people were now living in shared living arrangements or going back home to live with mom and dad. And NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appearing on “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” told viewers that:

“The wealth gap in New York City today is worse than during the Great Depression or The Roaring 20s – and the gap is growing bigger. Today over half the people in NYC pay over a third of their income for housing. The reality is, (according to the mayor) if we don’t change course middle class families won’t exist in New York City.”

Are these reports canaries in the consumer coal shaft?

Medialife Magazine, a magazine devoted to media buyers and planners, reported that 2014 wasn’t good for advertising. Total spending was up 3.0 percent, but if you take out political spending and the Winter Olympics, the number shrinks to 1.6 percent. “That’s the worst yearly growth pace since the recession began in 2008,” said writer Bill Cromwell. Traditional media is struggling and according to Magna Global, “this appears to be a lasting trend.”

Only recently have broadcast operators said things like “flat is the new up” when comparing year-over-year revenues. I realize there are exceptions to what I’m saying. Your broadcast property might be one of them. But what are the trends that are taking place and how will they impact you in the years to come?

It took two world wars to re-set the wealth inequality gap and put into place FDR’s New Deal. Changes that have in more recent times been stripped away returning things to the way they were in the 19th Century; a period of time when the concept of a middle class of consumers didn’t exist.

Roy H. Williams, aka The Wizard of Ads wrote recently (Monday Morning Memo, March 2, 2015) about “the shrinking of mass media” and “the growing reality of gender equality.” America went from being 16% single to 46% single in just one generation, Williams writes. “A once-proud nation of families is evolving into a proud nation of individuals.” And Williams sees “The trend toward singleness is sociological (while) the erosion of mass media is technological (as) each trend accelerates the other.”

Williams comes to this conclusion:

“We’re approaching the end of a golden time when courageous advertisers can invest money in mass media and see their businesses grow as a result. My suspicion is that we’ve got perhaps 5 to 7 more years before retail businesses and service businesses will be forced to begin playing by a whole new set of rules. Buy mass media while the masses can still be reached.”

The future of ad supported media is tied to consumerism. Consumerism is tied to having a strong middle class.

Does the Piketty graph on page 357 of his book “Capital” send a chill down your spine like it does to mine?

P.S. Thomas Piketty published an amplification on his r>g theory. You can read that here.

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