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Shouting Outside Of The Box

In Roy Williams' "Twelve Causes of Advertising Failure," Roy identifies over-confidence in qualitative targeting as one of the primary causes of advertising that fails.

Nowhere is qualitative targeting more misguided than in business-to-business marketing. Many business-to-business marketers forget that business people are people too they follow their favorite sports teams on the radio, they listen for weather reports, and they each have their own musical tastes.

And the Internet has totally changed where businesses are located. The old days of targeting "business zip codes" to reach businesses have long passed. Technology has made it possible to operate more businesses from home than ever before. Home-operated businesses are located away from traditional commercial and industrial cores.

The "qualitative targeting" misnomer has also lead to the misguided pursuit of the decision-makers," creating marketing campaigns which bypass the decision "influencer."

Consider a printing company trying to attract more business accounts, for example. Theyll often target the person who signs the checks in an organization, but when that person needs more business cards, more often than not, theyll ask a receptionist or executive assistant to get three quotes.

Its that executive assistant or receptionist who chooses which printers get to quote on the business cards. Imagine the impact of a radio campaign that says: The next time the boss asks you to order a printing job, consider ABC printing.well make you look like a hero.

Never underestimate the power that key influencers have in a business organization. Busy CEOs and owners have learned to empower their people to make decisions they used to make unilaterally, and in many cases they actually consult their staffs before making the final decisions.

Businesses that rely on "targeted" business-to-business directories, websites, publications, and mailers will invariably find themselves buried amidst all of their competitors who also rely on alleged targeted media.

Imagine the impact of a business having a quiet chat alone on the radio with a business owner, rather than trying to outshout their competition through traditional business-to-business media. Imagine again, the impact of reaching them outside of the hectic business environment, and talking to them while theyre in their cars listening to the radio, or at home on the weekends.

One final word about being creative and thinking outside of the traditional BtB box: Predictable advertising doesnt have any impact. The best marketers use the element of surprise to create unpredictable campaigns. There is an element of surprise when a "non-traditional" business-to-business advertiser tells their story on air.

There is something about being on radio that makes you sound bigger and better. When everyone else is online or printing their message, a person-to-person appeal on air has unbelievable impact.

Given the choice, would you rather be in a business-to-business directory with all of your competitors, or the only marketer in your category telling your story to thousands of business owners, decision-makers, and their key influencers every day?

And if a business is talking to business people on the radio every day, and their prospects do search a printed or online business directory, the awareness and brand recognition theyve built will give that business a leg up on their competitors.

The ENS Media success formula is "share of voice = share of mind = share of market." A whisper can be the dominant share of voice outside of the box, if everyone else is shouting in the box.

Wayne Ens,,  is president of ENS Media Inc. ENS Medias "Winning in the New Media Economy" seminars persuade local advertisers to reduce their print advertising in favour of a new media mix with a strong radio component.

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