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COMPOUND COMPLEXITY… As if recession wasn't enough, the media world is upside down | Marketing Wizard's Alliance

COMPOUND COMPLEXITY… As if recession wasn’t enough, the media world is upside down

By Jim Ackerman · Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

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As we enter 2012, I can’t help but reflect on 2008. The economy had crashed and we elected a new President on “Hope & Change.” We hoped things would change, but have they?

YES… for the worse!

And what does that mean for businesses large, and particularly small?

Here’s the sitch…

The government hasn’t helped one iota. We’re still spending like drunken sailors; there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty regarding energy, healthcare and taxes. The ONLY reason the economy hasn’t continued to plummet is because consumption that was postponed had to eventually take place in some sectors. Cars and washing machines, wear out, for example, and simply must be replaced. Businesses that don’t stay up with technology simply can’t continue to compete. So some movement has to take place. It just has to.

And give credit where credit is due. Some smart businesses innovate and come out with products, programs and services that are particularly designed to serve people and other businesses in these economic circumstances, helping people cope with the economic conditions. These products and service will be bought.

But you don’t see an improvement in housing, do you? Not much anyway. Because most of us who can keep our homes are doing just that.

So what is the message for businesses? How do you market in this economy?

The most important answer is that you DO.

I have a former client in Wisconsin who blames the economy for his woes. He is likely to lose his business in the next few months, unless he can sell it. Sad. He’s been a successful businessman for over 30 years. But he refuses to do what must be done to save it. He refuses to do things differently than he ever has. He refuses to innovate in his marketing. He’s literally pinning his hopes on an economic turnaround that will lift all boats and provide the “automatic prosperity” he once enjoyed. (Wonder why he’s a former client?)

Ain’t gonna happen.

Not for him; not likely for you and me; not likely ever again.

No, from now on, we’re all going to have to earn our right to survive and thrive in the world of business.

The compound complication

Bad enough, the economic crash. But something else happened at about the same time that has made things all the worse for most businesses. What was it?

The iPad.

I’m serious. The introduction of the iPad literally changed everything, almost overnight.

The Internet was already revolutionizing the world of marketing and advertising, but the iPad – and the online and mobile innovations that came along at about the same time – have accelerated the speed of that revolution beyond almost everybody’s ability to cope.

The epitome of the point is the iPad television commercial that said, in part, “Now you can watch a newspaper; listen to a magazine…”

The lines of the media have blurred to the point that they are almost unrecognizable. You go online and radio stations look like TV stations, TV stations look like newspapers and magazines. You can get your newspaper, TV or radio streamed right to your computer, your phone or that iPad or lesser tablet. Books are now electronic and so are the papers, magazines, newsletters, and on and on.

The Yellow pages are all but dead, major daily newspapers are fast diminishing, and one wonders if they’ll be around in a decade.

The fallout is, on the surface, it looks like nobody knows the rules of the game anymore. Shoot, they don’t even seem to know the shape of the ball.

What used to work – or so we thought – doesn’t anymore.

Or does it?

To be sure, the world of media and advertising has so changed that one is tempted to draw that conclusion. But could it be that what allegedly “used to work,” never really did, but we were in such prosperous and easy times that it seemed like it did?

Today I hear all the time that direct mail doesn’t work, “like it used to”; that newspaper, radio, newspaper doesn’t work, “like it used to.”

Most of the people who say this are still running the same kinds of ads “they used to,” and are surprised they don’t work anymore. When odds are they weren’t working all that well before. But it felt like they were because in “the good ol’days,” you had the force of volume.

It’s just the way it is that fewer people are reading their newspapers, watching TV or listening to the radio. No wonder the same old ads are bringing the same old results.

Interestingly enough, almost everybody still gets mail, so why isn’t it working “like it used to?”

Well, it is… and so are the other media. And some of it’s working even better. But only for the people who are innovating its use.
I have clients who are routinely getting response rates of 7%, 10%, 16%… all the way up to 40%. But it’s not your daddy’s direct mail, or radio, or whatever.

Want to know the secret? Go back to tried and true basics…

1. Start with chasing the right people. Start with marketing to your house list
2. Make a strong, irresistible offer. Ten percent off doesn’t cut it. Never has. But especially not now.
3. Employ a compelling headline that sucks in the reader or listener or viewer.
4. Pack your message with powerful BENEFIT statements.
5. Get personal. Avoid “ad speak.” Talk to people in your advertising as you would talk to them face-to-face.

Use these basics in all your advertising, in any media, and you’ll overcome the complexities and simply succeed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Ackerman is a Salt Lake City-based Marketing Speaker, Marketing Coach, author and ad writer. For Jim’s speaking services go to www.marketingspeakerjimackerman.com or contact Jim directly at mail@ascendmarketing.com. Subscribe to his VLOGS at www.YouTube.com/MarketingSpeakerJimA, where you get a video marketing tip o’the day, and at www.YouTube.com/GoodBadnUglyAds, where Jim does a weekly ad critique and let’s you do the same.

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