Published March 2006
tips to energize
2006 marketing effort
forecasts predict a robust year ahead for the Puget Sound region. But
don’t depend on market growth alone to ensure that your current advertising
budget will do the job for your organization in 2006. Now is the time
to re-evaluate your marketing plans and determine how best to deploy your
The media world is
in turmoil. Not only are consumers getting better at avoiding commercial
messages, they’re using Internet tools to gather information as well as
make their preferences known to an enormous audience. Word of mouth is
now one of the most powerful forces in marketing — and shrewd marketers
are finding new ways to harness it.
If your marketing
plan fails to take this media revolution into account, your chances of
succeeding are reduced. This year, the best way to stay ahead of your
competition is to begin with a serious re-evaluation of your marketing
welcomes columnist Fritsch
In this issue
of the business journal, we bring you a new marketing column by
Bill Fritsch, president of Hydrogen Advertising in Seattle, a 30-year
marketing and advertising veteran whose resume includes work with
Walt Disney, the Sharp Hartwig advertising agency in Seattle and
co-founding Christiansen & Fritsch.
He grew that
agency into Cf2GS, with capitalized billings of $62 million, a staff
of 88 and offices in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, with such
clients as US Bank, Royal Caribbean International, Hewlett-Packard
Today, as head
of Hydrogen Advertising, whose client list includes The Everett
Clinic, one of the largest local employers in Snohomish County,
Fritsch writes on occasion for various business, marketing and advertising
We are pleased
to have the opportunity to provide his provocative and insightful
views on marketing and advertising to our readers.
At the same
time, we want to express our thanks to marketing writer Andrew Ballard,
who has offered our readers excellent columns each month for the
past five years, since February 2001, drawing on his experiences
and expertise in marketing and business promotion.
Since we like
to change columnists periodically, to gain a variety of insights
on various business topics, we also will be changing some of our
other writers in coming months — as well as welcoming some new ones.
We hope you enjoy the changes.
John Wolcott, SCBJ Editor
Here are four tips
to get your marketing efforts off to a great start in 2006.
- Begin anew.
Most marketing plans have legacy programs that take on a life of
their own. Often, they’re granted “sacred cow” status that precludes
serious assessment of their effectiveness. “We have always used direct
mail to tackle this market segment. And our president doesn’t like more
expensive media.” This kind of attitude leaves little room for analysis
and innovation, the keys to continued success. The fact is, every program
should be re-examined annually. Financial marketers, for example, would
be wise to scrutinize the money they’re allocating for direct mail in
2006. A recent study by the Direct Marketing Association revealed that
response rates to financial direct mail are plummeting despite innovations
in targeting and database. Why? America’s homes are buried in financial
direct mail. With the growth of the do-not-call list, financial institutions
have redirected telemarketing money into the mailbox; around 50 percent
of their advertising dollars go into direct mail.
- View this
year as the beginning of a many-year journey to success. No matter
how large the budget, most organizations don’t have enough money to
do as much as they’d like. Most marketing professionals want to do quality
work, but they focus first on their limited means, and then do their
best to handle only the hottest demands from within the company. As
a result, there is little money for brand building, experimentation
and innovation. Frankly, many budgets are simply too meager to fund
the kind of quality work that distinguish a brand in the marketplace
— and companies with inadequate resources can be doomed to take their
place with the also-rans. Yet, a simple change in perspective can allow
a less-affluent advertiser to accomplish more and look like a leader
in the process. Rather than think about this year’s plan and budget
as a discrete set of activities, consider that it is the beginning of
a multi-year program. Rather than having a budget of $250,000 in 2006
for example, you actually have a three-year budget in excess of $750,000.
With that higher level of resources what would you accomplish? And which
activities are the most important to begin the journey well? These become
this year’s projects. This thought process completely rearranges what
- Focus on the
few things that have the power to move your marketplace. Ad-industry
veteran Ron Christiansen often speaks of companies that try to pour
“a thousand drops into a thousand buckets. The smaller the budget, the
more things people want to do. And in the process, everything is rendered
ineffective.” Advertising takes courage. And often that involves saying
no to nonessential efforts that take the power out of an advertising
budget. I have never seen a marketing plan that couldn’t be improved
by taking marginal programs out of the plan and focusing more dollars
on the programs that can affect real change for a company, especially
when combined with a three-year perspective.
- Think big,
spend small. Some marketers squeeze dollars out of their advertising
by tightening down the budgets paid to their creative resources. Inadvertently,
these marketers encourage small thinking that leads to marketplace blah.
A much better way to save money is to devote more dollars to creative
development of big ideas that can shake a complacent marketplace. Once
big ideas are developed and approved, the effort should begin to find
ways to implement these in extremely cost-effective ways. This should
be part of the creative challenge given to agencies.
So, my advice is
to review your 2006 plans, slaughter your sacred cows, focus your resources
on programs that can energize your organization and make your agency an
active part of driving big ideas in cost-effective ways. Even small budgets
pack a punch under these circumstances.
Bill Fritsch, a longtime
leader in the Puget Sound ad industry, is president of Hydrogen Advertising,
Call him at 206-389-9500, Ext. 224, or send e-mail to email@example.com.
to the top/March 2006 Main Menu