The Power of 26- The Power of Planning

Greetings once again and thank you for joining me. Last week was my Return To Form, my first contribution in sometime. I hope you enjoyed it.

A successful end result in any endeavour can usually be traced back to good planning.

What do we want to do? What can we afford? What tools or talent pool do we already have? What do we need to bring in? How long will it take? Are we able to manage this?

That’s not to say your success won’t be without challenges and things to overcome.
But taking the time to plan, research, evaluate your resources, test and keep trying will eliminate a lot of pitfalls and keep you from going down too many dead ends and blind alleys.

Earlier I advised I have completed a series of videos and articles related to my work. Today we’re going to step into article number two in our series of 10, for the
Top 10 Mistakes In Advertising and How to Avoid Them.

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Article #2 – Plan Your Campaign Timing Carefully

As we saw in article number one, Testing remains front and centre The most important and powerful and effective thing you can do to help your advertising. Regardless of the budget, the message, the media placement you make.

You need to test and test and keep testing because there is going to be an opportunity for improvement, however modest, in each and every ad. And those cumulative changes can be absolute gold showing you what your customers want and need, and are prepared to put their hand up for it.

Now, you have testing ingrained and under your skin and it’s going to be
part and parcel of every ad moving forward, correct ? Good. I’m thrilled to learn that you’re onboard with that.

Mistake Number Two that I’ve seen too often through the years is that far too many advertisers are jumping in at any time without rhyme and reason wondering if this is the
best seasonality to be in front of the target. Certainly I understand very few advertisers can afford to be there all the time, running their campaign at full throttle, and that’s not unexpected.

You have to have some rather deep pockets to keep an ongoing campaign all of the
time. You can quickly make yourself broke if you keep marketing, but not testing to see if the ads are working.

The whole idea is salesmanship. And that goes back to John E. Kennedy in 1904.
Hi mantra was that your advertising is ‘Salesmanship in Print’ and so what you want to do is make sure that every single ad you have out there gives you the opportunity to make a sale. That’s kinda why you’re marketing isn’t it?

Regardless of what you’re selling, product or service, you want to sell something.
So make sure every ad is a sales opportunity for you.

Maybe this is your baptism in to Planning. Welcome. Here we go:
Here’s what I’d like you to do. Maybe some of you are already doing this and if so that’s fantastic because it will give you a much better understanding of your spending and your planning.
The biggest challenge for many advertisers is not anticipating when their best sales periods are going to be and so they’re jumping at every opportunity for every well-intended media sales person, who comes through the

In the majority they are all very good people and I have some wonderful relationships with many of my sales reps going back decades, which is fantastic. They have become true allies for me in making a campaign that works incredibly hard for my clients.
I applaud them and I continue to do business with them.

But understand their mandate is to sell. To sell the advertising space or time or placement. And they want to see you do well but they also want to see some money.
It is in their interest to get you to advertise as often as possible with their
publication, their website, their outdoor board, their radio station, and kudos to them, they should be. That can really stretch a budget if you’re trying to be there all the time and you’re not sure what you should be doing. So here’s a simple thing that will really help crystallize for you what your timings should be like.

Planning: I want you to map out an entire year on a spreadsheet. It can be any fiscal if
you prefer but for simplistic sake I try to stick to a calendar, January to December.

I want you to pick any two sales periods. If you have more, that’s great but two is easier
to work with. The times where you have some sales history showing you your best months, your products’ seasonal applicability will determine the key sales potential period.

So let’s say April and May for spring and then November and December for winter are your best sales carrots. What I want you to do is devote up to 50% of your annual ad budget to support these two windows.

That’s where perhaps upwards of 80% of your business is coming from so you should
be giving those two key periods the best opportunity to maximize your exposure. Put most of your marketing muscle in there because they are driving the majority of your revenue. Now these are the key times that you want to be making sure your name is out there on an ongoing basis. They will get your most attention and your most support.
The remaining eight months of the year will share the remaining 50% of the budget and perhaps you devote 30% to six months and 20% to the remaining two months.

You can do that up as you feel comfortable, and your cash flow allows. But what this does and it’s been my experience, that it gives you sustained presence to have some modest exposure so you’re always on your prospects radar.

You don’t have to be running full-throttle all the time but it allows you to
ramp up your presence in the four heaviest months split between spring and winter.

Then you have maybe six months that are second tier and that need some increased support. But they’re not the same demand period so you don’t have to be with your foot on the pedal quite as aggressively through those periods.

The intensity is not as critical, as your key periods. Then the lightest months for some advertisers that’s, you know, the summer period, June July maybe August when people are at last vacationing or not really in an aggressive mode of work because the outdoor beckons, those might be your lighter periods.
Please keep some spending out there. You don’t want to lose all of the equity and all of the awareness that you’ve built up through your spring periods.

So you want to have some ongoing presence, however modest, just to make sure that your key audience knows that you’re still in there pitching. Your lightest months can just be a sustaining presence. Thus the times where you have some sales history showing you your best months, your products’ seasonal applicability will determine the key sales potential period.

This is only one of many deployment strategies, as I’ve discovered. I’ve had the great good fortune of working with both large and small agencies and some advertisers who had very modest budgets while others have very deep pockets.

You don’t have to spend more than the competition. Certainly it helps, it helps to increase your media exposure when you have multiple opportunities there, but you just have to spend smarter, at the right times.

Planning means you take the time to map out on a calendar what your key sales periods are to maximize your sales messaging.  The value of ad planning cannot be overstated.

Heads-Up:  this is probably the single biggest tip I can give you.
Importantly, Plan Early. Planning months in advance you will save yourself an enormous amount of grief but more importantly you will save an enormous amount of money. So take the time to plan out your scheduling and spend smarter.

It’s been my privilege to have you along today. Thank you I look forward to you joining me in Article #3

You can view Video # Two at these links:

Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising & How To Avoid Them



Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising and How To Avoid Them – Video # 2 of 10

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Dennis Kelly
First Impressions Media

Ph & Fax: 905-427-3819



The Power of 26

August 1st, 2013 ….our Blogging Baptism

Welcome to The Spike of Angels

Today we enjoy unprecedented Media Options.

Communication methodologies which would have astounded our grandparents and even our parents is today, incredibly commonplace. Technology now allows us profile around the globe within heartbeats.

We can send and receive pictures of family and friends faster than it takes to dial a rotary phone ( I hope some readers remember what those are!).

There is no longer any question about media changing. It evolves as we demand it to.

The most startling revolution is how we consume it.  The digital age has ushered in unparalleled options. You never have to leave your home or office and yet still see the world on your desk, laptop, handheld device wherever and whenever you wish.

How extraordinary we have morphed, evolved, and transformed to become a 24/7 global community with an expectation of instant service and responses simply because we can.

Recently an important message was being relayed to me from Texas, USA to Toronto, Canada.  The sender had no sooner hit send when the message appeared on my computer screen.  And in the heartbeats it took for her message to travel over 1,580 miles (or 2,500 kilometres), she stayed on the phone with me as part of her job. Thankfully customer service was not lost simply because of the immediacy of the Internet.

However more capable we have become at sending and receiving information, we still need and crave and cling to those opportunities which make us feel connected to other people.  Human contact never goes out of style. Thankfully.

Double Edged Sword?

The Internet has been deemed a panacea for a multitude of ills it seems.

While it undeniably creates more contacts, connections, likes, tweets, recommends, and friends, it simultaneously makes us grow more and more distant.

As a communications vehicle, it opened, and continues to open, new dimensions of linking and targeting which no other media, or multiple media could hope to replicate.

In the same breath it brings new challenges of policing and marketing that were never imagined decades ago.

The blinding speed at which we communicate is impressive on the low end and mind boggling on the other end of the spectrum. Text and data, graphics and pictures are literally available with a click.

Yet for all this accelerated delivery of our messages, I implore you – do not lose sight that it all comes back to the Power of 26.

The fundamental ABC’s which became A to Z remain the cornerstone of this and every other message. All the joy, sorrow, compassion, exuberance that we send to family and friends. All the overtures and offers and pitches we make to coworkers, clients, old clients, new clients, prospective clients and countless unknown eyes, they will learn your thoughts by reading your words.

Choose your words with great care. They are the deliverer of your thoughts. The means by which we comfort a loved one. Rile an employer. Sustain your friendships. Win you new business. Maybe lose you existing business. Spark rivalries and initiate wars. And they can deliver healing and be peacemakers.

My role as a media planner and buyer is all the more enhanced by the diverse sales pitches which cross my radar. Some so exquisite and well crafted, the writer could sell ice to Eskimos. Others for equally compelling opportunities, fall flat because the salesmanship is limp.

Therein is the muscle in your messages.  You want your reader to immediately see the benefits they’ll enjoy by using your media.

Then say that. Creatively. Deliver it with impact and panache.

You want to sell. Maybe I want to buy. Whichever media you choose to deliver that message to me – newspapers, radio, television, outdoor, on-line, direct mail- you still come back to the same starting line of 26 letters.

Those same 26 letters are available to everyone.  Squeeze every ounce of salesmanship out of each word you choose. Everyone loves a good story. Become a good storyteller. Regardless of the media you choose, remember, it all starts with the Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly