My friend Blaine Parker isn’t just a brilliant voice actor (listen to his demos and you’ll see what I mean), but he’s also a superb writer. He publishes a weekly email missive called Hot Points and reading it is one of the highlights of each Monday for me. Below is the text of Blaine’s release today.
HOT POINTS for The Week for March 3, 2008
WE SOLVE CUSTOMER PROBLEMS, NOT CREATE THEM
The number of times we hear it is staggering.
â€œWe ask everyone who calls how they heard about us.â€ Makes me want to stamp my feet and scream like a little girl whilst yanking out my hair.
Well, maybe not.
Our problem: how to attract customers to our clientsâ€™ businesses. Our clientsâ€™ problem: how to service those customers. It is not our clientsâ€™ customersâ€™ problem to provide lead sourcing. To expect customers to do so is rude and intrusive. Itâ€™s also a fabulous way for an advertiser to destroy effective marketing.
CUSTOMERS KNOW ONLY ONE THING.
They know what they want. They have a problem to be solved. They want the advertiser to solve it. They do not know, most of the time, how they heard about the advertiserâ€™s business.
They might know they heard a radio commercial. They probably donâ€™t know where they heard it. But if the advertiser has any presence in the marketplace, the customer has probably heard the radio commercial.
Seen the billboard.
Seen the newspaper ad.
Seen the companyâ€™s trucks.
Any business worth its salt has a media mix, with advertising all over town. Theyâ€™ve been invading the customerâ€™s conscience routinely, possibly for years. If the advertiser has been advertising with any persistence, the customer shouldnâ€™t know how he heard about the business. The customer should simply know in his heart that this business is the one for him.
MOREOVER, THE ADVERTISER SHOULD KNOW IN HIS HEART WHEN THE ADVERTISING IS WORKING.
You can just tell. If new advertising is running, and the phone starts ringing or customers start coming in, guess what. The advertising works. It doesnâ€™t matter what the customers say. Iâ€™ve had 50% of customers generated by one of my ads claim they heard it on a station where it never ran. Iâ€™ve had advertisers claim they were experiencing zero lead conversionâ€”which we knew was untrue, because one of our own people was a customer, and was meeting other customers generated by our advertising.
As an website customer, Iâ€™ve repeatedly been asked to source the lead. And as an ad guy, I want to be helpful. But most of the time, the websites (a) donâ€™t have all the sourcing options available, or (b) donâ€™t let me tell them ALL the places I heard about them.
Iâ€™ve had client businesses where the salespeople simply make up their own answers to the lead sourcing questions.
How do we know this?
Because the leads were geographically impossible. You simply canâ€™t be getting 75% of your leads from KXYZ when every one of those callers lives in an area code 100 miles south of KXYZâ€™s listening area.
â€œTHATâ€™S CRAZY. I NEVER ASK MY CLIENTS IF THE RADIO COMMERCIALS ARE WORKING.â€
I actually had a new radio account rep say this to me last Friday.
We were talking about whether one of his clientâ€™s was having success. He had a vague idea that everything was going well. I said to him, â€œYouâ€™re not asking them how the commercials are doing, are you?â€
Thatâ€™s when he told me that was a crazy question.
â€œIâ€™ll hear from them if itâ€™s NOT working. And theyâ€™ll buy more time if it IS working. But I never ask them if our commercials are doing the job.â€
I thanked him profusely.
Just like a business will know if their advertising is effective, an account rep can tell if his client is happyâ€”all without sticking a needle in him that says, â€œHey, how are WE doing for you?â€
All that does is plant a seed of doubt in the clientâ€™s mind.
And once the seed of doubt is planted, it gets to germinate and sprout a big, leafy tree full of questions.
OURS IS A BUSINESS OF FAITH.
We have to have faith in our media and our creative product. Our clients have to have share our faith. And we donâ€™t do anything to reinforce their faith by letting them endlessly question us and their customers.
Yes, inquiry has its place.
But the questions need to be smart.
And so does the evaluation process.
And the only way that shows up is in the numbers.
Are the ads running? Is business up?
The ads are working. Pure and simple. But under those exact circumstances, guess what happens when an advertiser has no faith and starts interrogating customers?
The advertising fails.
Because the answers will never be the ones an insecure advertiser wants to hear.
Your Short, Fat Creative Director in
If you’d like to start getting Blaine’s Hot Points each Monday, click through to his website, send him and email and ask him to add you to his distribution list. And thank you, Blaine for permission to publish this tasty treat today.