How's your peripheral vision? Look beyond the ads

By John Foust

I was talking to Gloria, an advertiser who is always looking for ways to get the most from her promotional budget.

“There are more marketing choices now than ever before,” she said. “And one of the most important factors is that things can be connected. Some people call it integrated marketing. I can place an ad in my local paper which drives people to my website, which in turn provides more details about the product in the print ad.”

The website About.com defines Integrated Marketing Communication as, “a management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.

“There are a lot of media salespeople who don’t acknowledge other marketing vehicles,” Gloria said. “That approach doesn’t work with businesses like mine. I want to deal with people who have peripheral vision—people who see more than what’s directly in front of them.”

A lot of advertisers agree with Gloria’s point of view. They want cohesiveness in the way their products and services are marketed. We’d better take them seriously.

Here are some key steps in the process:

1. Study your prospect’s marketing. “I’m impressed when sales people demonstrate they know something about my marketing history,” Gloria said. “That puts our discussions on a higher level. Right off the bat, we can analyze results and talk about my marketing objectives for the future.

“I remember one salesperson who put together an album of some ads and promotions that I had run,” she explained. “That was a smart strategy, because it provided us with some specifics to discuss.”

Gloria is right. It’s important for salespeople to look beyond today’s ads. What kinds of offers has your prospect made in the past? What kinds of products have been featured? What target audiences can be identified? Have the ads created some kind of urgency—a reason to buy immediately? What about institutional messages?

2. Study competing media. “Some salespeople are so focused on their own products that they ignore the fact that other people are making pitches to their prospects,” Gloria said.

“It comes as no surprise to talk to a salesperson who has product knowledge about what he or she is selling. But it’s a surprise—a refreshing surprise—to run into someone who can also talk intelligently about the other media vehicles in the market. That makes a huge difference in establishing credibility. If salespeople don’t know what else is available out there, why should I trust their advice on integrated marketing?”

3. Look for potential connections. “This is where it all fits together,” Gloria said. “These days, marketing is like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It’s all about making combinations. Chocolate and peanut butter work pretty well together.

“Show me how your paper, your website and your other products can make my overall marketing stronger, and I’m all ears.” © John Foust 2011. All rights reserved.

E-mail John Foust for information about his training videos for ad departments jfoust@mindspring.com.

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