By Chuck Thomas / in Blog, VALCORT DNA / January 14, 2015
Last winter was pretty rough in many areas of the country, including here in the upper Midwest. So when this winter started early and came on with a vengeance in recent weeks, memories of last year’s record breaking snowfall had me thinking about the wisdom of a snow blower.
That was no surprise to area retailers, and there have been flyers and ads full of great deals on snow blowers, and tempting models placed strategically in the front aisles of Wal-Mart and even the local grocery store.
That’s product placement at the right time in the right place. (I’m still thinking, though.) But product placement, advertising, publicity or any media effort is secondary in the marketing of goods, services or causes.
A primary priority is always to determine how consumers are thinking, what is influencing their decision making, and where there are gaps in the market. For instance, if I was the kind of consumer who buys only at a time when products are discounted, retailers should have been trying to sell me a snow blower last Spring.
The point is to get into the mind of customers through market research and voice of the customer research. To help shape minds you have to first understand their current state. Then with research in hand, we turn to media.
When is the last time a media message clearly influenced your decision-making? Was it a television commercial, a billboard, Tweet, magazine article, billboard, Facebook ad, or a radio jingle?
Chances are, you can’t think of media placement that sent you out the door to purchase a product, support a cause, or vote for a candidate. The impact of media on choices is generally small, incremental, and fall well short of immediate persuasion. But there is no question that media placements—whether they’re ads, news articles or opinion pieces, or social media posts–make a difference, and the cumulative impact of repeated messages over multiple media platforms eventually tip the scale for Choice A over Choice B. Messaging is so pervasive in today’s media-saturated culture that it may be difficult to figure out when a campaign got inside your mind. But it’s happening constantly.
#12 of Valcort’s 35 Keys to Business Growth is to deliver advertising, public relations and other communication in the right media, at the right time, and in the right way to effectively engage customers in their process of decision-making.
The right media. Understand your customer’s behavior, media consumption, buying habits. Analyze whether your choice of media will position you positively and if it is read or viewed or heard by those in your target audience or others likely to respond. Can a story or a post in the selected media carry the information necessary to build understanding, enthusiasm and engagement?
At the right time. Is your product or service seasonal or related to a particular holiday or events? (Like heavy snowfall!) What will be the impact of political campaigning or world events? Coordinate public relations, print and broadcast advertising, social media, Web-communication, and other media, so they successfully play off each other and also to give people the impression that they’re “seeing it everywhere” they turn.
In the right way – While we won’t attempt to be comprehensive here (an entire mega-industry is built on getting advertising and other communications right), here’s Valcort’s fast-track checklist for the right campaign: be consistent with the values of the organization, build trust by making promises that you will keep, make the message compelling by tapping into the needs and emotions of the customer.
The goal: move prospects and customers along a continuum–
Listen to the voice of customers, make the right media placement, with the right timing and carefully crafted creative, and you’ll be well on your way to shaping minds, selling your services, and enjoying new growth.