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 – Just The Right Words

It has been said the art of Diplomacy is telling someone ‘where to go’ so nicely that they start looking forward to the trip.

Such a gift of gab makes for wonderful charisma, outgoing personalities, speakers and employers, and coaches.

Many careers hinge on the right words at the right time as a poorly timed critique can mean the difference between staying on and being terminated.  Between winning a new client or licking your wounds in private. More than one hockey coach has hastened his own departure by ill-timed outbursts at the media which surround them.  Conversely, several silver-tongued masters have extended their careers by knowing what to say and when and how to say it.

That’s why having a chance to write it out ahead of time can prevent or minimize the vocabulary speed bumps because you have a chance to work out what it is you plan to say. 

A dozen rewrites of a speech before delivering are worth every painstaking moment if the finished product catapults you into the stratosphere of sales or admiration by your peers or employer.

If you can manage the presentation – no matter the industry or topic- if you can manage it without going off the rails because you have rewritten and rehearsed and prepared, then you, dear reader, are golden. 

Like it or not, power and respect often gravitate to the person who can speak on their feet with confidence. When you have a solid vocabulary, and can spin those letters to do what you need, you will find your confidence soars. You can be thrown into just about any situation supremely confident you can talk your way out of it. That is the magic, the power that comes with 26.

Those same 26 letters are what we all work with. For personal or business letters. Blogs. Memos, and the list goes on, including lists. By harnessing those letters to your own command, you can make a grand career in many fields because words, at some point or another, will appear in practically all of them.

In my professional capacity, as a buyer of ad space and time, my forte is numbers. The judicious use of client money.  But, even more important is explaining how and why we are investing where we are, and persuading the client that some new strategies and media mixes might be exactly what they need. 

That persuasion is only through, the Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly

The Power of 26 – It’s Only Words

It took only those three words to enhance the worldwide reputation of the musical trio – The Bee Gees and their monster hit of the same title, It’s Only Words which was released in 1968.

In their recollections years later, it was revealed this tender song actually evolved out of an argument one of the Gibb brothers had had that same day. By their own admission, the Words had the power to make you feel happy or sad.

We work feverishly to compress our thoughts, feelings, actions, and plans snippets or sound bites so they can be hurried along. The warmth of heartfelt sentiment becomes intertwined with the pulse pounding drive of action words so that emotions become a blur and all that matters is speed.

More recently it seems that it matters little if the content is solid, just as long as you got the message out first.

Everyone likes to be first. In Sports. Business. Academics. Popularity. Sales. Music. Arts. Medicine. A Foot Race. A Car Race. Few people remember, or care, who was in second place.  First place is the target destination.  But we implore you to do so carefully and properly and fairly.

A story which has grounded me for 30 years involves a young newspaper ‘typesetter’.

Long before digital technology, the Typesetter’s job was to insert the metal letters of the alphabet into the printing press to allow the ads and news stories to be printed. On this notable occasion, a major advertiser was offering a 50% sale on some of their men’s clothing.  Being a time sensitive ad, things were hurried along to make sure they could make the next morning’s edition of the paper.  The advertiser received more attention than they bargained for when the full page ad appeared. Very proudly the full page ad screamed a 50% savings on men’s clothing.  However, the typesetter in his haste, mistakenly left out the letter ‘r’ when posting 50% sale on  ‘men’s shirts’.

They were certainly first off the mark and made it to the newspaper’s deadline.

Considering what their haste cost the advertiser and the newspaper, it may have been better fortune for them to make sure the spelling was accurate.

For better or worse, once your words are ‘out there’, – especially in this lightning quick technology- their message is being delivered for every eyeball which absorbs it.
Take the time to construct messages you can be proud of. No matter how long or
short the passage, your Words should stand tall, even when speaking small.

Reputations, legacies, recommendations, disparaging comments  and effusive praise
all hinge on using the words correctly. One hopes and trusts the writer’s full intent is
completely conveyed and received in the spirit in which it was intended.

On this occasion, I will suggest that unlike The Bee Gees emotional resignation
that It’s Only Words, on the contrary, It Is The Words.

Dennis Kelly


The Power of 26 – Brevity

We live in an accelerated world.

A breakneck pace each day.

Deadlines galore.

Pressure builds.

Be better. Stronger. Faster. – NOW. We are racing to outperform the Six Million Dollar
portrayed by actor Lee Majors, in the 1980’s.

To accomplish such astounding feats, we find ourselves shortening everything. 

Long flowing eloquent correspondence, replete with smart descriptive informative
sales copy gives way to ROTFLMAO, or other equally muted descriptions which
pass for communication.

Brevity communicates volumes without writing them. We live in an age of unmatched
speed for delivering our thoughts. Our trade for this speed is the necessity to trim
everything to initials.
Text messaging it seems lives and dies by a race to shorten words to letters or symbols. 
The speed demand is insatiable.

Genuinely I applaud and respect those few who master brevity and clarity in one blow.

In a recent blog, I commented on the power of immortal words such as those conveyed by
Mr. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. A mere 272 words, he moved a nation for generations.

I think even his extraordinary writing talents would be hard pressed to fit that into
a 140 Character tweet.

Certainly I recognize not all of us are imbued with writing talents.  By his own admission,
prolific writer Edgar Allan Poe confessed that ‘writing is slavery’, in his ongoing quest that
every syllable be exact. Every nuance of his writing be noted. 

Few of us now have the time or inclination to devote ourselves to such noble endeavours as
improving our communication.

Equally I acknowledge that not all short messages are good. Or correct. Or engaging.

On the flip side, a story well told will engage the reader regardless of length.

Many of the most prolific authors would disdain a word limit if it compromised the
character development. 

I exhort you please, to take full advantage of the 26 letters and use them well.
If you can be crisp, engaging, brilliant, relevant, specific in 10 words, you won’t need 100.

Be certain your reader understands fully your intent or your brevity has just compromised
the time you saved.

We have the most incredible tool and force at our fingertips each day. The Power of Words.

And we diminish them for the sake of speed. Such a travesty.

The words we live by are our culture, our lifestyle and for some, our livelihood in multiple formats.
To see them reduced to initials and phonetics does such an injustice to the force they hold and
the dynamism they spread.

Readers, please understand, from the outset, I applaud those who can tighten the alphabet
to turn novels into paragraphs. Corporate mission statements into memorable taglines.

Convey the essence of a product or service to a few words.
Those are the gems. The ones that remain with us.

My career to date has seen me the composer of several ads, but more often the custodian
of their placement. Computer products in newspaper and radio ads. Financial and travel
service ads on TV for 30 or even 15 seconds. Outdoor posters with few words and a seven
second viewing span.  The placement of all these has enhanced my appreciation for the
talent which transforms a seven page creative brief into 3 or 4 words.

That brevity is brilliance. The distillation of a hundred pages of attributes.

Reams of pages about the technology embedded in a product.

All that, condensed to a memorable message, is the power of Brevity.

The Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly