Free! It’s a powerful word, isn’t it? It caught your attention just now. This new column is about free stuff — free advice, free information and free marketing ideas.
You see, most eyes glaze over when the discussion turns to marketing. Business owners want the results good marketing can generate (increased traffic, sales and profits), but are reluctant to understand the many layers of research, experience and just plain hard work that must go into creating those results.
This is where I step in. After 25 years in the trenches, including 10 as principal of a Madison Avenue ad agency, it’s my job to determine an organization’s marketing needs and translate those needs into reality — keeping it both interesting and economical.
Today’s tumultuous economy makes every marketing dollar increasingly important. This is why you’ll find me here every week providing free marketing advice as a public service.
We’re going to put our time to good use, too, as we explore opportunities and debunk myths. Then, as we delve into every aspect of marketing communications, we’ll bump into some timeworn reasons for not spreading the word about one’s business, including:
• “I have no competition;”
• “Marketing isn’t that important;”
• “I have no time to supervise the process;”
and my favorite,
• “Marketing is a waste of money”
And isn’t it an amazing coincidence that these words always seem to come out of the same people who are complaining the loudest about how bad their business is these days?
American architect Daniel Burnham said: “Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir man’s blood.” So it shall be with this column as we explore your plans, promotions, publicity and anything else I can think of that begins with the letter P. If I play my cards right, you won’t get bored and I won’t sound too pompous.
Sadly, I’m limited to a certain number of words each week, so I can only choose the most intriguing questions for each column. Thus I’ll ask you to send in that most vexing marketing issue, and share it with the people who read this paper each week.
Of course, you’ll have to read the Ask Mr. Marketing column each week for your answers. And if your question wasn’t printed, I’ll ask you to try sending in another one for future consideration.
Assuming you’ve read this far, you’ve already determined (I hope) that we’re going to have some fun along the way. Marketing people tend to have a flair for the creative, and in some cases the silly. One client even suggested recently that I was eccentric (I don’t have enough money to be eccentric. I’m just nuts!)
That, therefore, is the tone I’m going to bring to our ongoing dialogue — a creative, sometimes silly, but always educational discussion about all things marketing-related. It’s a column that will be full of free advice. Some might say it’s also full of something else. But as my great-aunt Lena would have told you, you’ll get what you pay for.
Getting your marketing materials reviewed is easy. Visit www.askmrmarketing.com and fill out the 30-second questionnaire. Or you can download the questionnaire, fill it out, and send it along with a photo of any marketing materials you want reviewed (press releases, direct mail, sweepstakes, print ads — you name it). Either way, click the send button and relax. You’re in good hands.
Of course, you may prefer to mail your question and marketing sample to Ask Mr. Marketing, P.O. Box 270241, San Diego, CA 92198. Or hand it to your Ramona Sentinel ad rep and ask that it be delivered to me for review. I’m OK with that, too. Whatever works for you, works for me.
Finally, if you don’t have a marketing sample you want reviewed but wish to discuss philosophies of life or share a bad joke, please contact me directly at email@example.com. I’ll try my best to respond to you personally.
With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing!