Have You Got The Right Prescription?

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(By Bob McCurdy) There was one specific comment at the September RAB radio show that I often reflect upon. One of the conference’s panelists, Judi London, chief marketing officer at Bancroft, stated, “I get a lot of description and not enough prescription.” She went on to say, “Bring some marketing savvy to the mix to help us meet our goals.” Peddlers describe, professionals prescribe.

Description and prescription. How much are we doing of each? The former is about us and the latter is about our clients. It should always be about them.

The definition of “prescribe,” is to “give directions, either orally or in writing, for the preparation and administration of a remedy,” in our case, effective marketing solutions. Is it possible for us to prescribe effective solutions without sufficient marketing acumen? Not likely. What follows are a few questions we all need to ask ourselves.

What are we doing every day to enhance our “marketing savvy”?

Do we view ourselves as commissioned salespeople or marketers that sell? Our answer to this question will determine the kind of value we bring to our clients.

Are we accepting outdated clichés passed down from one radio generation to another as gospel?

Do we subscribe to any leading marketing or industry trades? I’m not sure how we can effectively bring value without at least reading what our clients read (Automotive News, etc.). Split the cost with co-workers.

Are we learning from those around us, our clients, agency partners, those within our own building, or our corporate execs and re-purposing this knowledge to our clients’ benefit? Do we have a system to retain this knowledge?

Have we developed any “marketing” mentors? A couple of good ones would be Erwin Ephron and Byron Sharp. Read everything you can from them.

Do we prep enough to ask the right questions? Getting answers to the right questions comes from knowing what to ask. We only get out of a call what we put into it.

Do we understand the competitive landscape in which our clients compete? What is our client’s current share of voice? Have we quantified it as well as their competitor’s legacy ad spend using Miller Kaplan or Media Monitors? The answers to these questions is typically, no. These insights set the stage for productive budget discussions and scheduling recommendations. Current and previous ad activity needs to be a major focal point when prescribing solutions and evaluating campaign performance.

Can we fluently speak their “language”? Clients can quickly tell which reps are only interested and which are committed to their success by the depth of the knowledge they bring to the discussion. If we want respect, we need to respect our clients by being well versed in their business.

Success. Do we understand how our client gauges it? Prescribe a solution that’s not in sync and we’ll likely have an ex-client.

Our media assets are not the stars of the show. They are a means to a client’s end. It is not about us and it is certainly not about us going overboard describing why we’re better than the competition. It is about us having the necessary marketing wherewithal and a deep understanding of our client’s business and competitive landscape such that what we prescribe assists them in meeting their marketing objectives.

Getting to this point is not easy, but it is simple, requiring a focused, ongoing quest for additional marketing savvy, as well as the love of the exhilarating thrill that comes from prescribing solutions that improves our clients lives and businesses.

Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]

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