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Heart Sinking or Heart Soaring?

Heart Sinking or Heart Soaring - Marketing Doris

How many times have you received a call from someone selling advertising space?

If like me your heart sinks when you realise what the call is about, then this article is for you.

The first reaction may be to refuse the call. The downside of that approach is that they will call back, especially if they have been given the message ‘can we call you back’, so you are just putting off the inevitable.

My philosophy with sales calls is to take them and respond / handle / get rid of them (delete as appropriate) as soon as possible. That way if you decide not to go ahead you can save both of you time so that you can get on with your day job and they can continue with their next call.

When I do take the calls, I try to keep an open mind (honest) and listen to what they say. Occasionally I have been surprised by a unique approach or something they say will trigger my interest. In those cases, my heart rejoices and I call that #goodmarketing.

Often my initial reaction of my heart sinking is the one I revert to, especially when the person on the phone does one of these:

  • They talk at you and reads word for word from a pre-prepared (and they think well proven) script
  • As above, but does it at speed and doesn’t draw breath so you can’t clearly understand what they are trying to tell you
  • Asks a question, but then answers it for you
  • Doesn’t listen if they are asked a question (sometimes I’ve had to resort to talking over them to get their attention whilst they are ploughing through the script)
  • They sound surprised that you are still on the end of the line when they have finished speaking and then ask If you want to go ahead and buy / book the space they are offering
  • Haven’t done their research and don’t even know your name / the business name they are calling or what type of business you have

We’ve all had a call like that and so how can we be expected to decide if that piece of advertising is of value to our business? After all we can’t decide based on a bad sales call (can we?!!)

Ask them questions and then ask yourself (or your marketing department) some more questions, for example (and not necessarily in this order):

  • Why are you being offered this advertising space? Have you advertised with this publication before? Regular advertisers are often offered additional space at a reduced rate if a spot has become available through a cancellation or hasn’t been sold.  Have they received a Press Release from you? Advertising and editorial teams are usually separate (and in my opinion, should be kept that way), however occasionally there are links, and smaller publications or trade specific ones may be looking for new advertisers and use the opportunity to discuss opportunities with you.  Have you advertised in similar publication recently? Some sales people use this technique to build a list of new companies to contact when they see they already advertise and may have budgets / capacity to advertise elsewhere.
  • What is the price offered compared to the usual price / rate card? You may be offered a further discounted price for multiple bookings – test the water first if you do consider advertising with them and haven’t already had experience.
  • What is the publication date, and the deadline for the artwork copy? Do you have time to have an advert created or adapted to fit the size required?
  • Are you familiar with the publication? If no, then request a copy of the publication before deciding. Does your target market read this publication (geographic or industry)? Is there a good mix of editorial vs advertising? A publication full of adverts without engaging editorial is not going to capture people’s interest for long. Who are their typical advertisers? Do they have a similar ethos to yours? Who reads their publication (demographics / industry / position)? How is it distributed (online or printed)? What’s the print run size and what is their readership? Is it a paid for publication or free? What’s the frequency of the publication? What type of advert space are they offering and where is the proposed advert space within the publication? For display adverts (i.e. within the main body of the publication) then aim for a right-hand placement and either early right or within a key feature (and ideally one that is relevant to your business product or service)
  • Is advertising in your marketing plan for the year and do you have the budget allocated for this type of marketing activity? If the answer is no to one or both of those questions, then you should consider if you feel that this is worthy of an addendum to your plan or if a re-allocation of the budget will help deliver results for your business objectives and whether this fits into your marketing strategy. 

Above all, don’t be pressured into taking advertising space you haven’t planned for unless you have undertaken a thorough due diligence to ascertain if this is right for your business and you will get a return on your investment.

If you need guidance with determining the right marketing tools for your business, or you need assistance in researching an advertising opportunity, then drop Marketing Doris a message at info@marketingdoris.co.uk

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Dunham Forest Golf & Country Club
Philip Weisberg
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