Friday, June 3, 2011

Avoid Costly Advertising

Advertising ... cheap is not always good. I have had many non-clients tell me they have found a great deal on advertising with blah blah blah publication and have just signed a contract without doing their homework. There are a lot of great deals out there right now, it is true. The problem to their detriment is some people have repeat-bad-behavior syndrome and willingly sign up for the next good deal, and then the next good deal. And all of a sudden they have completely pissed away (for lack of a better word) their marketing budget with nothing to show for it because they did not take the initial research steps.

1. Is advertising a good fit for your business? Not all businesses benefit from ads - and if you do not know ask a marketing professional. I hear more often boo-hoo, "I wasted my money on X publication" than not.

2. Ask the publication for a media kit and rate card. The media kit will cover demographics (circulation, numbers, male/female readership, age, etc.). Demographics are key to determining if the publication is even a good fit for your business. Keep in mind cheap/expensive needs to result in results period. Please do not make me call you a "whambulance." Wha wha wha ( I am probably spelling this wrong).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Atrocious Advertising

At M Communications - we recommend avoiding the following:

Size Matters. It really does. It never fails to amaze me that some people take a business card-sized ad and attempt to tell their whole life story on in minuscule writing. Come on people, as far as I am concerned, business card means business card. One other thing, if your marketing professional is not doing the research before recommending you buy the Wall Street Journal spread, you need to ask the "why's" behind it before agreeing to the purchase. Keep in mind who your audience is before advertising in a publication and ensure you have a tracking method, special offer, and/or discounted service. You will most likely be able to track results that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because you know your ad is working ... or not!

Paint by numbers - Oh NO. Please do not attempt to scare off your potential clients by designing your own ad. We all have our strengths and weaknesses ... please do not fool yourself into thinking you are a graphic designer. It will reflect poorly on your whole company. I have seen the whole glaring mess including bad fonts, bad colors, wrong fonts, day-glow pink (they still make that???). Hire a professional!

Tacky graphics! Please don't go with cheap, cheesy or tacky. Hire a graphic designer with class. Unless you're selling gumball machines to five-year-olds, please avoid bright colors, in-your-face star bursts, and ugly fonts.

The LOUD and obnoxious pitch!! Gosh is this a "Sham-whammy" advertisement on the Shopping Channel? If not, tone down the pitch (copy). A loud, infomercial ad appeals to a small segment of your audience and will turnoff others. Now if this is YOUR segment, go ahead and create one of those "only-scene-on TV" advertisements. If not, please go with the nice, descriptive and information-based copy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Networking? ... Nevermind!!

Here are a couple of signs that you attended the wrong networking event:

Lady Lecturer - bad format for new business. Most people attend new events for meeting people to create new relationships that result in business. It really is not a good idea to start lecturing the event attendees about business protocol in an attempt to snag new business. Here is the deal ... I really do not need a coach, but if I wanted one I would just ask - especially since I am not new to networking. Even more annoying, lady lecturer introduced the speaker at this particular luncheon and it was quite obvious that she did not even look at the speaker bio. She instead prattled on about herself and what she does for a living. Hello? Not about you lady lecturer -- and the poor speaker looked pretty reluctant to go up to the stage after her little performance.

Schizophrenic Meeting Agenda. If you are president of your organization, you need to stay in control of the meeting or at least have an agenda that makes sense. We attended a meeting last week that turned out to be a recruitment rally for a new organization. Let's just say the meeting agenda was all over the place, and the information disseminated really did not make a whole lot of logical sense. If your agenda is not making sense, I am pretty sure you are not going to get volunteers for the vice president of craziness position. The highlight of the meeting was when a new member stood up, gave her introduction, and basically asked if she could update us on the economy during lunch. Instead of squashing the craziness, we proceeded to listen to hear about how all of the banks will be shutting down in the next three days, a new currency will be issued, not to be frightened but to liquidate everything immediately. At this point, I was absolutely about to lose it in a fit of giggles. When I am sleep deprived, it really does not help my self control ... and by this point the meeting really went way off the radar.

I pledge Allegiance to What? I am a proud American and am perfectly fine with saying the Pledge of Allegiance to start meetings. Although, I have not said the Pledge of Allegiance since grade school, I do realize some networking groups start with this. The kicker happened when everyone had to turn around and say the Pledge to something that resembled a lawn ornament stolen from some party last 4th of July - thank God someone pointed out the "real" American flag in the room. I am really proud of myself for getting through this event.

My overall advice ... be wary of new groups and try to get the inside skinny before you spend two hour of your time subjected to the craziness.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Confessions from a Hot Sauce Addict

I have a confession to make ... I am addicted to hot sauce. Each time I travel, I not only bring home hot sauce for myself, but as souvenirs for others (whether or not they even like hot sauce). Over the years, my favorites have included a habanero 3 pack from Playa Del Karmen and the Red Rectum hot sauce (mainly for the funny bottle) from New Orleans. My favorite hot sauce to date (and I am really wondering what this is doing to my stomach), happens to be the Baron hot sauce from the West Indies (see photo). I left this hot sauce on my counter for a month (as a reminder I was out) debating about ordering more, but I really couldn't stomach ordering a hot sauce from St. Lucia when shipping costs about the same as the bottle. Guess what? I caved. Not only did I order this particular sauce, I happened accidentally-on-purpose order the 28 oz. bottle. My thoughts? Yummy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just Because it Looks Pretty ...

At M Communications we are constantly noticing the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to marketing. And, one thing I have noticed is that just because a marketing piece looks pretty it doesn't mean it is functional. It's kind of like those really cool nail files that are pretty to look at, but the don't really file your nails. Below is an a example of recent "No-No's":

Wonderful websites gone wrong. There are sites out there that are wonderfully designed and very esthetically pleasing. It is obvious that someone was smart enough to hire a professional graphic designer. The big oops here is that when it came to the navigation and someone decided to create a labyrinth. You have seconds to grab a visitor's attention when they stumble on their website and the more they have to click, the more likely they are going to go "bye-bye." Also, don't get me started on slow loading websites, even if the flash presentation is pretty cool. In both cases, you lose customers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Two Best Referrals Ever

At M Communications, we do a lot of public relations work ... a lot. I am talking about everything from authors to fitness professionals to musicians, etc. And, we only take on the fun clients and I will get to that in a later blog. The two best referrals we have ever received were from a news station and the other from another publicist. Both are a compliment. Typically, the media does not like publicists and they get bombarded by some pretty lame press releases. As for referrals from other publicists ... awesome. Another good reason to partner up with people in the same industry - you may promote books and they promote health. Why should you not have a strategic partner?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Setting the Bar a Little Bit High

Hello M Com Blog followers - I will get back to business tomorrow, but had to share. First fish: 1 1/2 pounds, 17 inches ... and this is when no one else was catching fish. My thoughts? I think that is setting the bar a little bit high for a first fish.