Branding Decoded

The problem with creating a new brand or re-branding an old one is that those responsible for this activity have to, at least initially, be on the same page and operating from the same fundamentals when it comes to discussing what their brand is, what it represents, how it’s arrived at, and how it’s promoted.

Seldom, however, is this the case.

Exacerbating this is the advice offered by “experts” on branding.

Case in point:

Lynn Upshaw who wrote the book “Building Brand Identity” suggests the following:

“A brand identity lives entirely in the mind of the beholder. It’s not what a marketer creates, but what consumers perceive has been created.”

In part I think we can  agree with a part of Ms. Upshaw’s take on branding. Certainly the consumers “perception of what has been created” is critical. Reality is in the eyes of the beholder.

However, is it true that the marketer has little or no control over creating what this perception will be which her statement clearly suggests?

This kind of thinking has been perpetuated, in part, by “consumer experts” who suggest that the consumer is now all controlling and omnipotent, while suggesting by default, that marketers have become impotent and at the mercy of the consumer.

Not surprisingly this movement towards customer omnipotence started around the same time the digital and social age emerged only some 15 years ago. There are now more books on this subject than on science, many written by those who have never been involved with creating, repairing or managing a brand.

A simple Google search of Books on Consumers reveals a staggering 740  Million+ results, where as a search of Books on Science reveals a dismal 84 Million.

This blog, and subsequent blogs on this subject, will all be dedicated to bringing back the clarity it took to create National and Global branding successes like Coke, Apple, ESPN, Adidas, IBM, Nestle’s, Starbucks and Mini.

Your comments would be most welcome, if not for the author’s sake then for those seeking clarity and a return to practical, workable and implementable brand architecture techniques and technology.

Complexity #1: Defining a Brand

To do so, we need absolute clarity on what branding means.

This may be considered old fashioned but I firmly believe we do not need Wikipedia for this. Instead we source Webster’s and Britannica, each of whom were responsible for initially capturing the basics of our language and its meanings.

Brand defined:

◊  15th Century: A mark used to punish and identify criminals and slaves.

◊  18th Century: A mark used on cattle to show ownership.

◊  21st Century: Identifying mark, label or Icon of a product such as the star encased in a circle sign of the Mercedes brand or lower cased f surrounded by a blue block for Facebook.

Complexity #2: Differentiating Product from Brand

Today, these two words have come to be used interchangeably.

However, this creates its own set of confusion – a classic example of this can be found in the automotive industry.

Is the F150 a product of Ford or is it a Brand?

Is it both?

We all know that Ford is the brand. The F150 is one of Ford’s highly successful entry-level trucks.

Ford’s Truck tag line is “tough”. Great for trucks.

How good is it for their Mustang?

And what about their entry level sedan the Focus?

You see the dilemma?

Lexus is an automotive company that got it right from the get go.

They said, and I paraphrase from a speech I heard a senior director at Lexus give to his staff in the 80’s:

“Our brand is Toyota, catering to middle and low-end American tastes. We want to take over part of the premium market but our Brand “Toyota” doesn’t stand for premium and we do not want to compete with ourselves. Therefore we will create a new brand called Lexus”.

Nissan soon followed suit with Infiniti.

A contemporary example is seen with Harley Davidson.

This is a bike for the bad boy allure in all those good boys.

However, the die-hard “racing enthusiast”, with what they would refer to as purist philosophies, views the Harley brand as a joke.

Thus the advent of Buell® – a completely new and separate brand from parent Harley Davidson catering to that “enthusiast” marketplace.

Brand Decoded

In its most fundamental form, as previously discussed, we see that a brand is the mark (icon) used to say: “This is who we are”.

Not what we are, but who we are.

Therefore what does the manufacturer want you to think when you see this brand: The Nike Swoosh.

You might say; “Oh, that’s a Nike Sneaker” or “Nike Runner” or “Nike Shirt” or “Nike Hat”, or “Nike golf club”.

But in every case – independent of what the product is – its always regarded as a Nike.

That’s the first and foremost job of branding. To have the consumer regard the generic product or service as identifiably and ubiquitously yours.

It’s about “owning an identity – yours.

It’s about asserting your ownership over the product. It’s not about the product.

Therefore, the definition of a brand:

“A brand is the mark designating ownership. It simply says whose it is, who made it, who is responsible for it being”.

Caution: The more you try to make the product the differentiating factor, the more you lose ownership over the product.

Case in Point:

Quizno’s owning Toasty. No surprise that a short while later, Subway invested over $150M on toaster ovens for all their stores nationally and trained servers to ask; “Would you like that toasted?”.

Actions to take:

1) Identify the most relevant mark, label or icon representing your company

2) Identify everything else that communicates your ownership

3) Work hard to identify and eradicate everything working against the consumer knowing your brand – remember the “real” impact of intangibles like service.

Next Installment:

Now that we have clarity on what represents us, how do we give this label meaning, or otherwise known as Brand Positioning?

Other than the mark itself, what other senses, in today’s cacophony of communications, ensures our ownership of our brand’s positioning?

Toni Louw
Louws – CEO & Founder

About the author:

Over the past 34 years, Toni Louw has trained, coached and consulted with over 480 Brand advertising, promotion, direct marketing, digital, interactive, social, media and public relations agencies worldwide. This has also included over 50 of the top 150 brands internationally.

Toni has recently re-constructed and updated, for 21st Century business application, 18 different business critical subjects that has made Louws one of the most ubiquitous leader of innovative performance based training, coaching and consulting services worldwide.

Click on the link provided: Louws Branding for more information on Louws Brand Consulting, Training and Coaching.

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Selling Made Effortless

Simply: Selling is the act of convincing.

I assume, since you are interested in reading this, you must also be familiar with the myriad of documented techniques of selling.

This is not a repeat of those.

This is simply a method discovered that matches the exact natural and innate sales cycle. It is one that occurs with or without you.

This approach allows you to convince based on the exact sequence in which people decide to buy.

It’s not Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We have found that sequence lacking in that there are too many exceptions to his rules, especially since 4 decades have passed since his discovery and we as a society have moved on.

It was discovered both during the author’s own sales career as a straight commissioned sales representative and later while coaching and training sales representatives selling products from the Yellow Pages to Magazine Ads, TV shows to Advertising agency Creative work, Strategic Advertising and Brand plans to Media plans, Pharmaceuticals, Insecticides, Oil, Cars, Financial Services, Commodities and Farm Equipment.

One of the most fascinating and revelatory insights discovered was that independent of what was being sold, the sales cycle stays the same – always – case after case.

This was the breakthrough that led to the development of Discovery Selling©, for which this series of blogs is being devoted.

The key:

If you progress through the sales cycle with the same alacrity we do in converting a customer from awareness through purchase, you end up with two very happy campers where you and the buyer will swear all seemed to have been effortless, efficient and productive.

Is this just another form of Consultative Selling?

I am often asked if this is just a renamed “consultative selling” approach, one that gained tremendous traction in the 80’s and 90’s.

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Consultative selling has its place. It works well for the likes of the consulting, aerospace, legal, oil and gas businesses, and the like where time was abundant.

It essentially practices the art of probing sufficiently deep to identify the buyer’s needs and then show how the seller’s product or service fulfills those needs.

Often it is taught based on finding the “pain need” and showing how the seller’s product makes the pain go away – or – shows that if the buyer does not buy, the pain will intensify.

It was easily sold as an approach since it allowed sales representatives to believe they were now consulting vs. hard selling, a role many gravitated towards as seemingly it was less strenuous and more easily executed.

It was.

The author knows it well as this was the approach we very successfully used it to train all of Exxon Mobil’s International Aviation Fuel managers, 100’s of the old Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) consultants, Booz Allen & Hamilton consultants, Coopers and Lybrand business and management consultants, and Kidder Peabody deal makers.

However, it works well only when you have very large contracts entailing multiple integrated components, divisions and decision points and a long tail sales cycle – typically 12+ months.

However, as we know, the 21st Century buying cycle dramatically shortened and with it brought the demise of the long tail consultative approach.

A New Approach

Discovery Selling© is an approach and rigor where one must appear to consult but close the sale quickly and efficiently, while simultaneously being highly competitive, allowing the buyer to have much interaction and ownership in and of the sales process.

It then focuses on reselling, keeping the business for the long haul.

It was named Discovery Selling© as this is its exact purpose and how the sale is managed and the sales process performed.

First you discover what to sell and how to sell it. Not against a pain, but instead against both the immediate and foreseeable goals (expectations of your product or service) of the buyer.

By default, you are assuming you never stop discovering even after the sale has concluded, thus the approach also assumes a long-term continuum of sales.

This unique approach has been captured visually through the use of an 8-runged ladder simply called the Louws’ Sales Ladder©.

Each “rung” represents a specific stage of the buying cycle for which practical sales techniques have been developed to naturally help the seller move the buyer along to closure.

This sales ladder can be viewed here.

This blog will be written in a series of 9, with this first blog addressing the foundation upon which the ladder rests.

The Winning Attitude

One’s attitude, especially early on in the sales process, is one of the most impactful and consistent elements under your control.

In sports many practice the skill of imaging. Seeing the race from beginning to end.

Similarly, if one imagines a meeting going well, chances are it will.

On the other hand, imagining you will have a tough time of it has potentially unfortunate consequences.

You must be willing to come to grips with the fact that your attitude will unequivocally affect your performance and importantly how the buyer responds to and engages with you.

So what attitude works best?

First, what attitudes do not work?

1)  Solicitousness – Pretending interest for self serving ends.

This is by far the most commonly taught.

Put on a smile. Make the customer believe you are interested. (Note the subtle but obvious implication that you don’t have to really be interested)

2)  Ask before selling.

In some cases this works well. However with time limitations and more and more communications occurring remotely without much direct interaction with the buyer, it tends to run into all sorts of roadblocks.

In worst case scenarios you are better off giving a 60″ introduction that clearly establishes your potential value to the buyer before asking your first question.

3)  Enthusiasm.

This is a wonderful personality trait for those buyers who appreciate high energy sales representatives.

However, and this is more common than not, this can be misperceived as being overbearing and anxious.

What then works?

Simply: A Can – Do attitude.

This is perceived by a buyer as one of the most productive of all.

The seller comes across as proactive, interested in accomplishing the goals of the buyer, providing only what the buyer is interested in without trying to oversell them and most importantly appears as a genuine attempt by the seller to satisfy what the buyer wants.

Case in point:

Advertising Manager of a CPG company wants the first credentials/capabilities presentation sent to them by PDF.

Instead of trying to convince the Advertising Manager to see the agency in person, the agency asks: “Would you like an additional copy in Word so that you can make notes to pass on to others?”

Note: This opens the door to productive dialogue dealing with the interests of the buyer not the seller. Inevitably, this opens the door to insights about the buyer for the benefit of the seller.

Another Case in point:

Buyer of databases wants the cost of each lead to be reduced from .30c per lead to .24c.

Typical way reps are taught to respond to this type of objection: “I do not think my management will approve this, but I will run it by them if you will agree to increasing your purchase from 5,000 names to 10,000.” (real case as experienced by this author when trying to negotiate this deal as the buyer)

Result? Conflict, right off the bat.

The Can-Do attitude approach:

“I will certainly look at getting the list for 24c a lead. Give me a few hours. Where can I contact you back?”

The difference is that the buyer believes you are attempting first to do what they are asking.

This and this alone eases the pain of your coming back and telling them you cannot do it for 24c without raising the number of leads to 10,000.

Think about the simple process of buying a car and telling the sales rep you want the car for invoice.

Remember the typical response.  I don’t think my manager will go for that.

And what is your immediate response?

Get the point?

Next steps:

1)  Envision your interactions will go well.

2)  Evaluate your going in attitude to every interaction with a client/buyer/prospect and ensure it is supportive of a real Can-Do attitude as will be experienced and perceived by the buyer.

3)  Eradicate any form of pretended interest – it’s as obvious to others as the odious smell of a skunk.

Next Installment:

Rung 1 of the Discovery Sales Ladder© – Strategically Planning how to position one’s offerings to match a buyer’s natural instinct to evaluate and compare.

Toni Louw
Louws – CEO & Founder

About the author:

Over the past 34 years, Toni Louw has trained, coached and consulted with over 480 Brand advertising, promotion, direct marketing, digital, interactive, social, media and public relations agencies worldwide. This has also included over 50 of the top 150 brands internationally.

Toni has recently re-constructed and updated, for 21st Century business application, 18 different business critical subjects that has made Louws one of the most ubiquitous leader of innovative performance based training, coaching and consulting services worldwide.

Click on the link provided: Discovery Selling© for more information on Sales Consulting, Training and Coaching.

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Presenting Re-engineered

You are attending a Presentation Skills training workshop.

For most, this conjures up “eye contact”, “voice modulation”, and “gestures” – great for phone, PDF, iPad and web presentation applications are they not?

How we sell today is dramatically different to as recently as 5 years ago.

Power Point and Keynote have been replaced by PDF files, Webinars and Video.

In person is being replaced by teleconferencing.

Boards replaced by streaming video and e-mail attachments.

The advent of Twitter, Utube, Facebook and Blogs have all but changed how we sell before we present.

Re-schooling, re-tooling and re-practicing have become paramount to survival.

Following is an overview of the critical presentation skills needed in today’s business environment.

Persuasive Communication Skills

Fortunately, communication is still communication. Its delivery systems are the only real changes.

“It’s not only what you say – it’s how you say it”, is about the only idiom that has stood the test of time.

However, with the advent of technology, which itself emphasizes the facts over the style, it’s become critical to find a way to make the facts interesting enough to listen to, as your “personality” is often not there to hold your audience’s attention.

Actions:

1) Do not make a key point until you have “enticed” the audience to listen to it. Therefore – “set-up” your point before you say it, as a barker would do at the circus or stage manager on a talk show.

2) Whenever possible pre-sell by sending persuasive insights and/or facts by email, text, etc. – each helping you remotely set up your presentations.

3) Have one-on-one or small group teleconferences to pre-sell your final ideas. Let the audience engage and suggest. These are precursors, not recommendations.

Persuasive Organization Skills

We see that the premise:

¨ tell ‘em whatcha gonna tell ‘em,

¨ tell ‘em, and

¨ tell ‘em whatcha jus’ t’ol ‘em”

…is no longer a workable formula.

It is what many have called the “story telling” approach.

The contemporary challenges facing today’s presenters include:

♦ Audiences have little to no time to listen to anything other than the immediate answers to the questions they had walking into the presentation;

♦ Groups in organizations listen to information differently (as do individuals within those groups); and

♦ If you can’t persuade, but only inform (the tell ‘em format) your contemporary audience quickly gets a case of the “I’ve no time for this drivel” syndrome.

For any of you reading this, you know today you must poignantly and efficiently prove your point or go home.

The Solutions:

♦ Learn how people listen and evaluate data and customize your message to this;

♦ Learn how to structure an argument (do not misinterpret to mean “argumentative”) in such a fashion that it becomes “obvious” that your P.O.V. and recommendations are well evidenced and stand up to scrutiny.

Action #1:

Match how you state your key point to how the audience likes to “listen” to information.

Your tool to this is to find out what types of reading material they prefer. This will lead you to the way they have programmed themselves to receive information.

For example – if their favorite way to get information is to read Google articles or the morning newspaper – then you know you’d better get to the point in as few words as possible.

 Action #2:

Start all presentations with what you are “Promising” the audience will get out of the presentation that they would consider of value.

Then follow with “evidence” that delivers upon your opening promise.

Presentation Aids

Albeit the mediums have made dramatic advances, messages are still messages.

Hollywood, Disney and Broadcast became our new teachers. After all, it’s what they do better than any pundit of the famous Power Point™ or Keynote™ presentation.

We discover some absolute truths.

♦ Aids are there to “assist” the presenter in making the point not to be the point.

♦ When the presenter is not available such as in the case of emailed PDF’s and the like, then the aid is the presenter and should be developed with the same care as one would develop one’s personality and social graces when presenting in person.

Actions:

1) Think of anything you use to aid you in making your point as a “fellow presenter”.

Therefore. First, when it’s making the point – shut-up.

2) Secondly, the aid should sufficiently make the point that you do not now have to “re-explain” it.

Therefore, your aids should only show what you want said allowing you to then highlight it, not restate it.

Handling Objections and Tough Questions

Fortunately, we’ve previously had much of this subject well researched, explored and conquered.

An acronym to remember when answering a “why” question is – P.R.E.P.

P = Point – this is where you repeat the point of the question

R = Reason – give the reasoning behind your answer typically started with the word “because”

E = Example – this is where you give an example to explain and support the point (vs. giving a long winded explanation)

P = Point – this is where you restate the original answer (point) with words such as “so that’s why…”

Case in Point:

Question by you of your personal financial adviser: “Why should I save 10% of all our income?”

P = You should save 10% of your income as a just in case emergency fall back fund.

R = Because in this business climate, keeping a job for 35 years is a thing of the past.

E = For example, in 2011 the average marketing job had an 18 month tenure.

P = That’s why you should save 10% of your income.

The biggest Challenge of today’s presenter

Formal, group, stand-up and staged presentations have dramatically given way to informal, sit down, unstaged group meetings.

However, the classic business purpose of both has remained the same.

Function remains, form has changed.

On the other hand, these presentations are quicker, livelier, less structured and most importantly, more critical in terms of what they must accomplish today.

The Solutions:

Manage this chaos by:

1) Manage message length.

Poignancy versus blah! blah! – trying to make the audience submit through the sheer volume of content we can shower on them.

2) Manage priorities of messages.

Building one’s case is only as practical as one has the audience’s attention while doing so – therefore seek to re-prioritize critical content in order to maintain group attention and interest.

3) Managing inattentiveness.

Speaking louder has been a favorite fall back technique of presenters of old.

Nothing could be further from practical in today’s meeting room.

Instead, manage:

a) beneficial relevance of content, and

b) individual reference to people in the audience especially when you are presenting remotely.

As you can see, both a and b above can be tied together. Example: “Joe, (individual reference) you will see that the CPM’s dropped for the third quarter (beneficial relevance).”

A final word

Today, presenting is the subtle, highly technical and persuasive skill of working through live and remote electronic mediums and a cacophony of interruptions to ensure your message, as intended, is heard, understood, consensually agreed to and signed off on.

Be Brief.

Be Relevant.

Be of Value.

Toni Louw
Louws – CEO & Founder

About the author:

Over the past 34 years, Toni Louw has trained, coached and consulted with over 480 Brand advertising, promotion, direct marketing, digital, interactive, social, media and public relations agencies worldwide. This has also included over 50 of the top 150 brands internationally.

Toni has recently re-constructed and updated, for 21st Century business application, 18 different business critical subjects that has made Louws one of the most ubiquitous leader of innovative performance based training, coaching and consulting services worldwide.

Click on the link provided: Stellar Meeting Presentation Skills© for more information on Presentation Skills Training,Coaching and Consulting.

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4 Powerful ways to Differentiate an Agency

This Blog addresses the age old question asked by agencies worldwide:

“How do we differentiate ourselves from our competition?”

The answer lies in 4 areas in which to immediately focus the agency’s attention and resources.

Decide which will be most appealing to your specific prospective buyer and then do your homework.

Here are the 4 areas to investigate:

1. Direct competitors’ products and services;
2. Indirect competitors’ products and services;
3. The Consumer;
4. The Media being used.

This is how you ensure your agency brings Value Added Ideas to a prospective client.

The Direct Competitor

If you are Dell, then it’s LG or Apple. If you are Target, then it’s Wal-Mart and K-Mart.

“What competitive behavior or situation can we help the prospective client take advantage of?”

Example 1:

Before the advent of Starbucks, who owned 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. in a 24 hour period?

Folgers’s.

Who owned 8:01 a.m. – 5:59 p.m.?

No One.

Knowing this, Starbucks set about doing so.

Example 2:

In the early ‘80’s who owned the space between Ford, Chrysler & GM and the premium auto manufacturers – BMW, Mercedes, Jag?

No One.

Along came Lexus and Infiniti “the affordable luxury” which in the crash of ’87 was a blessing for both, especially for Lexus who rolled out in ’89.

Even today, look at Kia Optima or Hyundai Sonata, a fully-equipped mid ranged vehicle for $20,000. Who’s smiling all the way to the bank?

So look closely at the prospect’s direct competitive landscape. Find out where they could be leveraging themselves or how they can take advantage of another’s weakness or lack of distribution and the like.

Is it possible to find a direct competitive opportunity for all companies?

Unlikely, however, with companies being so close to their own business and limited by their own tunnel vision, you’d be surprised how many times what is obvious to you is downright amazing to them.

The Indirect Competitor

This is the least likely to be investigated when trying to learn a client’s business.
However, this is one of the most fruitful areas to investigate for an agency looking to differentiate itself from competitors.

Example 1:

Scott’s Lawn Care is about making lawns look beautiful. The weather (indirect competitor) plays havoc on people’s decisions as to when to buy and apply the product.

How can you help them with this dilemma?

Example 2:

iPod’s direct competitor is HP. However, you don’t see Apple’s iPod positioning itself against HP.

What does iPod focus on? Style, cool, white, scarce. Each of these is a tangential, intangible and hidden competitor that HP never looked in on.

They (HP) went on price and storage.

Yet who rules the portable music storage waves?

Example 3:

Possibly one of the most remarkable cases of addressing indirect competition came from the Spritzer category.

Wine was boring, beer fattening and blue collar, and hard liquor was just “out”.

The hidden competitor?

Social stigma – hello Spritzer.

Look at the Food Network – part of the recipe’s world. “Fragrant Rose Wine Spritzer – by Rachael Ray.”

Look for the not obvious, hidden, unfrequented or just plain “out there” competitor that would give your prospective client a possible competitive advantage.

The Consumer

As with most analysis of a prospective client’s customer, we’re after key insights (motivations) that if addressed would produce a positive response to our communication.

Focus groups, 1-1 interviews, mall intercepts certainly have a role, however, I’d not be wasting my money on them.

Think about it. As so eloquently pointed out about focus groups by Rick Stone, partner at Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, their strategic and branding “guru”, “people say what they believe you want to hear”.

Example 1:

The Wonderful iPod:

♦ 6 megabytes of memory

♦ 1000+ songs

♦ 6 hours on 1 battery

But who cares?

Maybe those who regard music as sacred as the sacraments.

But, for the average Joe and Jane, will it make me look like I’m “current”, “hip”, “part of the in crowd”?

Example 2:

McKinney, the agency who led Audi to a dramatic rebound through the 90’s and onwards, had a remarkable planner.

In his quest for finding the “real” motivation behind the purchase of premium vehicles, instead of using focus groups, he commissioned friends from around the nation to take pictures of “vanity plates” on Mercedes, Jags, BMWs, Audis, and the like.

Eureka. Albeit the words were different, it was very clear that BMW was about “performance, speed and edge”, Mercedes about “status, societal judgement and privilege”, whereas Audi was about “individuality, exploration and independence”.

Now think of a focus group of Mercedes’ owners being asked “what adjectives come to mind when you think of owning a Mercedes?”

“Privilege. Better than You? – Questionable at best.

Instead, German engineering! And there they threw their hat in the ring.

Just look at when the joint business of Daimler Chrysler introduced the 300C – 347 hp, well equipped, GPS and a slew of other amenities sedan.

Status? Unlikely, not against the likes of Porsche, BMW 7 Series, Rolls Royce. This is a $39,000 list priced automobile. Since when is status so cheap?

Yet, the salesman kept promoting; “Lots of Mercedes inside”.

Price it at $60,000, say the same thing, and you may get converts.

So look for the “real” motivations, not the cleaned up versions and you’ll have the key to stimulating consumer action and a very interested prospect.

The Media Used

One of the most telling things about a competitor’s advertising is the media they choose to communicate their sales messages.

And again, look for what they or the competition are missing.

Example:

A Media Director, David X (you’ll know who you are) who has spent years with big shops like DDB, working on accounts like Busch and having to sell to the irascible August Busch himself.

Recently his agency pitched a Blind manufacturer. Their largest competitor, Hunter Douglas, owns 80%+ of the market. TV, the principal medium used by the competing agency, was flat out not working. Why?

The key target (woman 25-55) only watched TV between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. prime time. (that’s what the other agency bought) and 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. early morning (also bought).

However, no one at the competing agency dug into the real “Mary” (coined name for this customer) recognizing that she was watching very specific early morning and prime time programs, based on one motivation – “staying current”.

Therefore, it wasn’t the early news, it was Katie in the Morning. It wasn’t E.R., it was Oxygen.

Hand in hand with the media goes fully understanding the motivations behind the viewing habits of the consumer one is reaching, not just the day parts.

Also, look at placing a client where others won’t like Target’s agency – billboards outside of Wal-Mart; BET (instead of Vogue), TV Land instead of USA, Tech TV instead of Discovery Channel. All did wonders for Target’s traffic even though they did not initially line up with standard GRP criteria.

Also look at CPLs (cost per lead). In the case of TV Land the CPL is 30. Home & Garden is 100. This is what marketers want. Reduced CPL while ensuring efficiency and you have it made, for a while at least.

Final Commentary

The new model to marketing is not how much you can spend, it’s how strategically you spend it.

The big boys like Wal-mart, J&J, Ford are starting to realize this and are challenging their agencies to raise the “strategic” bar.

An agency’s real opportunity lies in thinking like the client, living a client’s life and demonstrating a keen understanding of what plagues and stimulates clients.

And possibly the best truism in the business of marketing is, “you’re only as good as your last performance”.

If the incumbent fails to live this lesson, opportunity knocks for all who bother to do so.

A true competitive advantage can be achieved by any agency taking a close look at how contemporary the incumbent’s thinking is in terms of the direct and indirect competition, the consumer, and their media choices.

And knowing a company’s real customer’s motivations will allow you to literally rip apart a competitor’s media plan – unless of course, they’ve also read this. Then, it’s two Olympians going head to head and may the best win.

Toni Louw
Louws – CEO & Founder

About the author:

Over the past 34 years, Toni Louw has trained, coached and consulted with over 480 Brand advertising, promotion, direct marketing, digital, interactive, social, media and public relations agencies worldwide. This has also included over 50 of the top 150 brands internationally.

Toni has recently re-constructed and updated, for 21st Century business application, 18 different business critical subjects that has made Louws one of the most ubiquitous leader of innovative performance based training, coaching and consulting services worldwide.

Click on the link provided: Agency New Business Acquisition© for more information on New Business Acquisition Consulting, Training and Coaching.

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