Borrowing From The Advertising Gospel

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(By Bob McCurdy) Last week’s blog focused on the importance of selling before an opportunity materializes, which quickly brought to mind the many parallels between advertising and the way we should approach our job as media salespeople. After all, advertising is really just “salesmanship mass produced,” so it should not be overly surprising that many advertising tenets also apply to the selling of marketing solutions.

Share of Voice: When it comes to advertising, share-of-voice = share-of-mind = share-of-market. Brands with smaller market share tend to have a smaller share of voice.
— Sales: Ditto in sales, smaller share-of-voice usually leads to smaller sales and shares. Consistent preselling provides a share-of-voice advantage. The competition’s sales efforts serve to neutralize our own. Winning the share-of-voice battle is the first step toward closing more business.

Reinforcement: Provides the consumer with another reason to “believe” that the advertised product is the best available option. These additional reasons to “believe” snowball and serve to build upon previous messaging, magnifying total impact.
— Sales: Those that continue to expand and reinforce their sales story, communicating additional reasons to “believe” in new and creative ways will typically walk away with more orders.

Acceleration: Ad campaigns typically become more effective the longer they continue. Longer is better than shorter when it comes to advertising. Note the opposite is true when it comes to presentations.
— Sales: Our story becomes more effective the longer and more consistently we continue to communicate it. Sporadic storytelling results in sporadic sales.

Continuing Brand Presence: Maintaining some kind of “mental availability” when the need for a product or service arises is a key to increasing sales. Mental availability is an ongoing battle to stay top-of-mind. As time moves from each encounter with a brand, memory fades. Advertising reinforces and revives memories that make a brand more likely to come to mind in buying situations.
— Sales: The opposite of “presence” is “absence” and being “absent” ensures that your story’s impact decays over time and gets progressively weaker, soon becoming no match for current competing stories. In sales, the absent are always “wrong,” often forgotten and rarely purchased. Presence is visibility with value and owning a chunk of the buyer’s mind.

Target Group Extension: Different media touchpoints help us insert a brand into a buyer’s life and rejuvenate the brand’s memory structures.
— Sales: Use face-to-face, Zoom, email, the phone, and other creative ways to expand your “reach” and insert yourself into the decision-maker’s professional life. Be creative.

Legacy Advertising: Makes it is much easier to refresh an existing memory than to create an entirely new one from scratch. Current campaigns can capitalize on previous campaigns so the consumer files away the messaging quickly and accurately rather than needing to start afresh each time.
— Sales: Selling becomes easier, more effective, and quicker as it continues. Like advertising, no need to start from scratch each time. Once our story becomes ingrained in our clients’ or prospects’ minds, key points that we want to keep top-of-mind can be quickly refreshed and updated.

Selective Perception: Consumers tend to pay slightly more attention to the advertising of products they use than those they don’t.
— Sales: Same is true with clients. They tend to pay slightly more attention to pitches/updates from the media vendors they currently purchase as it serves to reinforce the correctness of their purchasing decision. This is why it is crucial to get there first, get purchased, and don’t give them a reason to switch. Same with marriage.

Was last week’s “presell” blog on target? This feedback from a much-respected media director suggests it was: “If you think doing this is going to help you get in to see me, you’re horribly right.” As does this response from an executive at a large national advertiser: “The best vendors, and the vendors that stick, show up and give me something that I can use. Not only is that information, but it ensures some continued relationship.”

All of the above are principles we discuss with our clients daily when making campaign recommendations. Now it is time to walk our talk and sell to them the same way we suggest they advertise themselves.

Storytelling is educating and educating is selling in disguise. Both apply equally to advertising and sales. Sell on with vigor.

Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached at bob.mccurdy@bbgi.com.

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