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Long-term marketing.

Why do Coca-Cola and McDonald's keep advertising?

Ring! It's the phone. You're climbing the stairs with the mail in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Ring! You rush down the hall and bounce off the door frame. Ring! You cross the room, kick the wastebasket, put down the coffee and pick up the receiver. "Hello? Nothing. The caller hung up. They were too energized and antsy to take time to talk to you. Three rings and you're out.

Now apply this telephone parable to the advertising you do for your company's product or service. Are you a they, one of those quickie callers who gives up on the third try? A lot of people are. Or, are you a long-haul type, willing to wait until the guy on the other end can get there, connect and catch your message? (Walker Research of Indianapolis, which conducts thousands of telephone interviews every year, lets the phone ring four to six times. Good thinking!)

For insight on the values of siege vs. skirmish promotion, we tapped the wisdom of some Indiana advertising experts. The upshot is, "Chill out, give your publics a generous interval to hook up, then soak up your story."

Don't get us wrong, a speedy campaign is right on the money if you just bought a load of rot-prone tomatoes and have to peddle them pronto. Perishables must move. However, consider them exceptions. Generally you tout a beloved brand, a treasured service a product lie that has made you a buck over time or the cherished firm name. Plan to persevere.

And for lots of good reasons: First, you have to contend with the obstreperousness of potential customers. They may not be paying rapt attention, not hanging on your every adjective. Richard E. Bonsib, chairman and CEO of Bonsib Inc. in Fort Wayne, syas, "Research shows that you don't get noticed right away, particularly in the broadcast media. You have to build up to a point of being seen and heard. Jumping in and out of the media wastes a great deal of money. You need to establish yourself and keep going."

"Most people will never even admit they are influenced by advertising," claims Richard T. Kreusser, president and CEO at Handley Miller Stuart in Indianapolis. "They will certainly never concede it did because that is like saying, 'I'm stupid. I can be influenced by some advertising guy.' I think it is a very unconscious, emotional reaction that often takes a lot of time to set in. Somebody has to be willing to say to themselves, 'Well maybe that is a better product than the product I'm using now. Maybe I'll try that.' But usually they are not even aware the advertising was responsible for them making the change.

"Most advertising is not instant communication," Kreusser continues. "Many times an advertiser expects an instant reaction when he exposes his message through whatever media are selected. A lot depends on what the message is and what the product is. Sometimes it takes months and months before the message sinks into a person's head and he decides to try the product or service."

Ronald K. Pearson, president and chief creative officer of Pearson, Crahan & Fletcher Group of Indianapolis, says, "One of the great advantages to magazines is they have more individuals exposed to them than any other print medium. Newspapers may be read by one or two people. Magazines are passed along and read by four to six people. They tend to be retained. Another thing is that magazines reach a very key, upscale market. That upscale market spends very little time with television or radio. They are also one of the most credible places to advertise. They are believable."

Kreusser adds, "Different media are effective in different degrees. It depends on who you are trying to reach and what the product is. Some things are better exposed on television than radio or in print simply because the audience can watch them work. But you can't keep prospects at the TV screen for one minute the way you can in radio or three minutes or more the way you do with a magazine or newspaper advertisement or a direct-mail piece. Most advertisers look for a proper mix of the media. They get the emotional appeal on television but get the nuts and bolts across in print," he says.

Outdoor advertising can be used as a reminder or an action step, particularly if the billboard is near where customers can purchase the product, he adds. "If it is a grocery item generally you try to position your outdoor somewhere near the grocery store so when people go by it on the shelf they say, 'Oh, yeah, I remember seeing an ad about that product. I'll try that.' So all media have their own applicability. They wouldn't exist if they didn't."

Although where the message appears is important, the number of times it is repeated also contributes to the impact it makes. Here we're talking about insertions, spots broadcast or "hits." But how many hits does it take to be effective? How often is often enough?

"Nobody would dream of running a single TV spot or radio spot and think it will do the job," says Thom Villing of Villing & Co. in Mishawaka. "Yet we see a lot of examples where somebody runs a single press appearance or sends a single direct-mail piece and thinks it is effective. In actuality, only maybe 25 percent of their prospective audience will see any given advertisement. Research shows that in a typical publication you need about four appearances to maximize your impact. It is very inefficient to run at a frequency that is not going to get the job done for you."

Pearson expresses it this way, "People shouldn't think they can put their message in once and that their offer is going to be so magnificent that all the people will buy it. Expecting one exposure to place you on the product ladder in a consumer's mind is realy folly. I think you have to run a minimum of three straight issues to get something to really sink in and have it be remembered."

Charles Williams, president of Williams Co. in Terre Haute, gives an example of long-term success with Methodist Sports Medicine Center in Indianapolis. He and his client, Dick Cota, the administrator, started to work together about eight years ago.

"I think statistics would confirm that this clinic is the leader in the marketplace," Williams says. "And it has benefited from commitment to a strategy that positioned it clearly over time. It is an organization that functions kind of on a consumer level statewide. They have been in radio, outdoor, a little TV and a fair amount of direct."

"One strategy is securing relationships with high schools," adds Jerry Randall, the account executive. "We put ads in programs there as a kind of donation. The idea is to build the center's image as a successful place for treating sports injuries."

Cota brings up a different meaning for "long term." To him it does not relate to how many months a campaign runs. He is more interested in extending the partnership with his agency people. "You need to establish a lasting relationship," he says. "One of the reasons we do so well together is that those people relate to a sports-medicine facility. Randall is a world-class gymnast. Charlie Williams was a recognized athlete. They understand us, our clients and our business. They know what we expect and we don't have to break in new people all the time. As long as they generate fresh ideas then our company is ahead of the game."

Must you have a marketing plan that includes a detailed media plan? "Yes!" Everybody agrees. "Doing anything without some sort of a long-range plan is extremely foolish," Villing says. "It's like taking a journey. You wouldn't dream of just setting out unless you had some idea of where you were going and how you were going to get there."

Adds Kreusser, "If you don't have a long-range marketing plan with goals, I think you're wasting your money. A short run is foolish simply because it takes time for a message to penetrate. Yes, people can be exposed to it the day it hits the air. Just because they saw one of your new commercials doesn't mean it will make them try the product. Without planning long-term the advertiser shouldn't waste money on the short term, just save it."

"Think of Coca-Cola and McDonald's," adds Jack Headlee of 10 Adams Corp. in Evansville. "Everybody knows who they are, what they sell and where they sell it. There doesn't seem to be any good reason for them to develop another plan or spend another dollar on advertising. But each of those advertisers knows it has more complex objectives. They realize there is more than one reason to purchase. There is more than one target audience. There is more than one purchase occasion. That is why they keep their name and benefits in front of the public."

"You really need a plan to succeed in today's marketplace," Bonsib advises. "You look at what the competition is doing, then set your strategy on the basis of your own goals. Say you want to get so many more inquiries than previous advertising brought in or to increase awareness or recognition. It is helpful if you have a benchmark and continuing research to measure increases definitively."

He says it's possible to get a pretty good feel of what works by talking to people at trade shows. "It all depends on the product or the service. If the product is sold to a fairly small audience you can tell how you are doing without much formal research. Just ask. If the product is sold to the general public in big numbers you are definitely going to need survey results."

Mark Patterson, president of Patterson/Thomas in Indianapolis, says short-term marketing forces clients into a situation where they are always planning. "You start again and again and again rather than implementing a long-range strategy. What you really need to do in this fast-moving world is look far ahead and create a design. It should have flexibility to react to consumer and market demands quickly. Brainstorm and look five or 10 years out. A good word is 'vision.' Have vision, then continually tweak that vision as situations develop."

There is scientific evidence that completely silencing your advertising voice in the marketplace can be disastrous. According to Tom Hirons of Hirons & Co. in Bloomington, "the recession is a wonderful laboratory for studying advertising. We're just getting the research back now from what happened during this last recession. It again demonstrates exactly what has occurred every other time. Those advertisers who either were not bold enough or simply lacked the funds to invest, during the recession lost significant market share to those advertisers who maintained their advertising."

To describe the happy way a continuous campaign purrs along and why it is effective, Pearson says, "It's like shifting your business into overdrive. When you go roaring off from a stoplight, in typical type-A fashion, the efficiency drops down to 3 miles per gallon. By the time you get up to interstate speeds and into overdrive, the efficiency gets as high as 40 miles to the gallon. It takes more gas, more energy, more ware and tear to get up to speed but once you get there, you coast along, have a visibility in the marketplace and can stay up on the top of the product ladder a heck of a lot easier."

Ring! It's the phone. No, it's your advertisement hitting prospects in a magazine, newspaper or on the air. Ring! There it goes again. How many customers paid attention? Ring! On a billboard this time. Isn't that about enough? Ring! Don't give up now. A few people just noticed. Ring! Ring! Ring! You're starting to get somewhere. It's beginning to work. Ring! It's the phone. No, it's the cash register.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Media & Marketing; the need to keep advertising one's products
Author:Johnson, J. Douglas
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:Indiana's international business person of the year.
Next Article:Rock to talk.

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