Feb 26, 2010

How to Brief Your Advertising Agency

If "search the world and steal the best" is your motto then you'll love this. I went through my old papers and found "How to Brief Your Advertising Agency" by Anthony Weir.

Anthony Weir started his career as a copywriter for Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn (BBDO), then worked as a specialist in starting up and managing offices in Asia and Latin America for the Ogilvy & Mather and Leo Burnett advertising agencies.

"How to Brief Your Advertising Agency (and how to increase your chances of getting superb advertising)" is an eight page booklet published in 1984.

These principles are timeless – and priceless. Remember to bookmark and share if you like them.

Here's a summary:

How to brief your agency

  1. Inundate the agency with information.
  2. Make sure all the right people attend the briefing.
  3. Invite the agency to your laboratory and your factory.
  4. Make your brief professional.
  5. Be enthusiastic.
  6. Give your brief a clear format.
  7. Start with the company.
  8. Explain your product in detail.
  9. Explore the problem your product solves.
  10. Review the history of the brand.
  11. Detail the conditions of the market.
  12. Analyze the competition.
  13. Examine the marketing and advertising strategies of the competition.
  14. Define your target consumer with care.
  15. Explain your sales and distribution systems.
  16. Present the product's position in the market today.
  17. Outline your marketing objectives and strategies.
  18. Arrange a field trip to the marketplace.
  19. Tell how you will judge the advertising.
Now you have briefed your agency. You're off and running. Here is how to increase your chances of getting superb advertising:

  1. Avoid management by fear.
  2. Make your agency an extension of your company.
  3. Set high standards – and stick by them.
  4. Require written strategies.
  5. Don't strain your advertising through too many levels.
  6. Don't compete with your agency in the creative area.
  7. Be candid, and encourage candor.
  8. Listen.
  9. Don't be afraid to experiment.
  10. Generate an atmosphere of competitive urgency.
  11. Make sure your agency earns a healthy profit.
  12. Hold formal evalutions.
If you do these things I can guarantee that you will have a happy, healthy and mutually profitable relationship with your agency.

Most important: You will get the advertising you deserve.

By the way, do you have a friend or colleague who is interested in marketing? Why not share this article with them?

Feb 24, 2010

Beyond The Web 2, 3, and 4.0

It is easy to say that new things like the web grows step-by-step, but I hate to think that technology and human development follows rational steps.

Fifty years ago scientists said you would have a flying car by now and that there wouldn't be diseases like swine flu any more – if technology followed logical steps, but it doesn't. There are countless unexpected things like wars, cut backs in funding, shift in focus, new management with new ideas and alternative solutions to problems.

Do you think that you have to invent A, then B and C, to invent D? Focus and discipline are admirable characteristics, but sometimes they can keep you from reaching your goal. Discipline can make you fall in love with rules rather than help you find a completely new way to solve the problem.

Who says you have to work ten years before you can become a CEO? Jussi Nurmio, Finnish serial entrepreneur said, "the fastest way to become a CEO is to give yourself that title."

This article is for you who is
impatient and in a hurry. Maybe you are too young to match the formal description of a CEO or too old to be a considered as a dynamic reformer. When I told the marketing guru Drayton Bird that I'm in a hurry to get things done because I'm young, he smiled and said something I won't forget, "Timo, when you are old like me you are in a more hurry to get things done."

Do you have time to think like everyone else, or can you find a new solution which breaks the rules others have made for themselves?

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Feb 22, 2010

In The Perfect World...

In the perfect world
  • You only pay for results in advertising.
  • Your agency tries to grow your sales and profits, not just their own.
  • You pay for media space and time only if your campaign brings in measurable results like sales.

Is this just a dream?

Feb 20, 2010

Why Direct Marketing Grows

Do you know why direct marketing grows?

Here is a list of six reasons why direct marketing will continue to grow while general advertising and old media suffers.

1. Marketers have tighter budgets today than ever before. Less money for image, more money for sales producing activities like direct marketing and promotion. CMOs and marketing directors want sales, not just awareness for their product or service. At the end of the day, wrong decisions may cost to the executive to lose his or her job. Now, it's not just advertising budget that companies cut.

2. The internet is build for one-to-one communication. The Information Age we are living is the time for database marketing and knowing your customer personally. Not just knowing them, but using your knowledge to provide interesting, useful and personal offers to your customers. Only direct marketing can do that.

"I warn you against believing that advertising is a science." said Bill Bernbach, the most celebrated adman of the previous century. Computers and automated database marketing to provide your customers with personal offers is a science, no matter how much you wish you could spend days drawing print ads, it's not going to happen. Today is the time for a paradigm shift from advertising to direct marketing.

4. Direct marketing is better service.
If you visit an average consumer electronic store which has about 5.000 product titles, how do you expect the salesperson to about all of them? They don't. Trust me, I have been that salesman. When you visit a web store that uses direct marketing like Amazon.com you get every detail about the product to make your buying decision easy. Meantime, you get a few confident guesses from your local electronic store sales guy –at best. Plus,
direct marketers' the selection is much wider than just one store.

5. People don't like shopping. Read the previous paragraph to get the reality of brick and mortar stores. Sometimes it is more convenient to buy directly rather than deal with a real person, loans for example. Who wants to explain their poor financial situation to the bank clerk? Just fill in an
online form and you are done. No hassle or embarrassment.

6. With direct marketing you can reach the right prospects and customers more cheaper and quicker than ever before – at the right time, when they are ready to buy. This eliminates that famous '50 per cent waste' of your marketing budget. You know what works and you can leverage that knowledge to make your other marketing efforts more accountable which will also increase your sales and profits.

Why do you think direct marketing grows? By the way, did you know that digital and direct marketing now accounts 25 per cent of WPP's income? It was 20 per cent the year before.

Feb 17, 2010

Direct Marketing: Bob Stone's Seven-Step Formula for Winning Letters

"Bob Stone's Seven-Step Formula for Winning Letters" from Successful Direct Methods by Bob Stone and Ron Jacobs

1. Promise your most important benefit in your headline or first paragraph. You need to grab the reader's attention with something relevant at the beginning of a letter. Leading with the most important benefit is a good start. Some writers use the "Johnson's Box": short, terse copy that summarizes the main benefits, positioned with or without a box above the headline.

2. Immediately enlarge on your most important benefit. This is step crucial. Many writers come up with a great lead, and then fail to follow through. Or they catch the attention with their heading, but then take two or three paragraphs to warm up to their subject. The reader's attention is gone! Try hard to elaborate on your most important benefit right away, and you'll build up interest fast.

3. Tell readers specifically what they are going to get. It's amazing how many letters lack details on basic benefits, features, terms, and conditions. Perhaps the writer is so close to the proposition he or she assumes that the readers know all about it. A dangerous assumption! When you tell the reader what they are going to get, don't overlook the intangibles that go along with the product or service. For example, they are getting smart appearance in addition to a pair of slacks, knowledge in addition to a 340-page book.

4. Back up your statements with proof and endorsements. Most prospects are somewhat skeptical about advertising. They know it sometimes gets a little overly enthusiastic about a product. So they accept it with a grain of salt. If you can back up your own statements with third-party testimonials or a list of satisfied users, everything you say becomes more believable.

5. Tell readers what they might lose if they don't act. As noted, people respond affirmatively either to gain something they do not possess or to avoid losing something they already have. Here's a good spot in your letter to overcome human inertia–imply what could be lost if action is postponed. People don't like to be left out. A skillful writer can use this human trait as a powerful influence in his or her message.

6. Rephrase your prominent benefits in your closing offer. As a good salesperson does, sum up the benefits to the prospect in your closing offer. This is the proper prelude to asking for action. This is where you can intensify the prospect's desire to have the product. The stronger benefits you can persuade the reader to recall, the easier it will be for him or her to justify an affirmative decision.

7. Incite action. Now. This is the spot where you win or lose the battle with inertia. Once a letter is put aside or sorted in into the wrong pile, they're out of luck. So wind up a call for action, and a logical reason for acting now. Too many letters close with a statement like "supplies are limited." That argument lacks credibility. Make the reason a believable one. For example, "It could be many months before we go back to press on this book." Or "Orders are shipped in their on a first-come basis. The sooner yours is received, the sooner you can be enjoying your new budget."

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Feb 14, 2010

Ad Man's Book Club: February 2010 Choice

This month's choice is something you may not expect.

By the way, have you noticed that the books I recommend are often older than you and me? Today I will tell you why. But first, please read this little story about Sokrates.

A young man approached the Greek philosopher and said, 'Socrates, I come to you for knowledge.'
The philosopher took the young man down to the sea and then dunked him under the water for thirty seconds. When he let the young man up for air, Socrates asked him to repeat what he wanted. 'Knowledge,' he yelled.
Socrates put him under the water again, but this time longer.
After repeated dunkings, the philosopher asked, 'What do you want?' The young man finally gasped, 'Air. I want air!' 'Good,' answered Socrates. 'Now, when you want knowledge as much as you wanted air, you shall have it.'

This month's book choice is not to read a new book but to review the previous books. Why?

Did you know that according to one learning theory you can only recall 10 per cent of the book you have read 30 days ago? It means that from an average 200-page book you only remember 20 pages one month later. What can you do to remember more from your reading?

Review. According to the same theory, after reviewing the book twice you should be able to recall as much as 70 per cent of its content. From my opinion it is waste of money and time to read a book only once. In a long-term you have to read more books to learn the same things you get from reviewing quickly a good book now and then.

Rather than buying new books every time and forgetting 90 per cent of the information in four weeks, you focus to find a few excellent books which you read once and review at least twice. That's why classics are must have's. Even old Sokrates believed in repetition in learning.

I hope you buy your own books so you can underline and use them as guides to make your life easier. My desk is piled with books for this reason – 13 books at the moment. And even if you don't read them, remember what Sydney Smith said, “No furniture i
s so charming as books.”

Feb 10, 2010

17 Tested Advertising Methods that Sell

What little I know about copywriting: a list of 17 tested advertising methods that sell

1. Your headline is the door to your body text. Don't give everything away at once. Raymond Rubicam used to say, the way to sell is to get read first.

2. Your every sentence should invite to the reader to read the next sentence.

3. Do what a salesman would do. If you have ever tried to sell something you know it takes more than 10 words to convince someone.

4. Have clear structure that leads to your close.

5. Use sub-headings to help your reader.

6. Start with a short opening paragraph so you don't scare your reader away. Make it inviting to read further. (One trick is to put your second best headline as the first line of your body text to arouse more curiosity)

7. Use PS at the end – Did you know it's the second part in your letter that people look after reading the first few words? Use PS call to action or repeat your offer. Answer to the question "why this is important?"

8. Focus on clarity. Can your grandmother understand it?

9. Eliminate all unnecessary words. Use short rather long words.

Grab the attention. "You are not advertising to a standing army, you are advertising to a moving parade," David Ogilvy.

11. Read "Scientific Advertising" by Claude Hopkins, "Ogilvy on Advertising" by David Ogilvy and "Tested Advertising Methods" by John Caples. You will notice that those guys knew how write copy that sells 50 years before anyone else did.

12. To improve your writing and grammar read
"The Elements of Style" William Strunk and E. B. White. Your mother tongue doesn't matter. Their tips are universal.

13. Ask for the order. Just like the salesman who ask for the order sells more, so does your ad.

14. Give several options on how to buy or contact you. Did you know that having a SMS option can improve your response-rates 20 to 30 per cent?

15. In print ad use a tracking system, such as call to action address amazon.com/wsj to measure how many people are actually responding to your ads or use a coupon code. It's amazing how very few advertisers do this.

16. Avoid telling yourself that you are not a direct marketer. Did you know that Procter & Gamble has a four billion dollar goal for online sales? Today everyone is a digital direct marketer.

17. Long copy doesn't work, right? Correct, just like you stopped reading this a long before. Try longer copy. It sells on average 25 per cent more than short copy.

Stay with me as I announce more marketing and advertising ideas next time.
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Feb 8, 2010

B2B: How This New Business Plan Can Increase Your Sales and Profits

Have you ever hoped you didn't have to make cold-calls? I have. Have you ever wanted to quit working in sales? I have. Have you ever waited in front of your prospect's office wishing you had spend more time preparing? I have. What I'm going to tell you may increase your sales 15, 20 even 50 per cent. This comes from my personal experience in sales, hours of reading and sitting in seminars learning how to sell. I was going to charge you money from my precious secrets but –I'm going to give them to you for free.

[Stop cold calling. Use this email tool to sell automatically. FREE trial. Click here to learn more]

Those who are easily shocked please stop reading now
This new business plan ow, here's the catch – some the things here are called These tested methods secured more appointments for me with less calls, turned my sales curve up and made more profits for the company. Before you hit the 'previous page' button would you like to know how the

How direct marketing gets you more meetings with prospects
1. Send your agenda to your prospect in advance to arouse
  • For example, "How to increase your sales using proven ABC method"
  • Use paper letters. Email is too easy to ignore.
  • Sign it personally and address the receiver by his or her name.
  • Personalize the message as much as you can.
  • Add a date and time when you will follow up your letter.
2. Follow-up exactly when you promised and you build trust.
  • Plan your calls into one chunk. For example, on Tuesday morning from 8.30 to 9.00 am. You can make six to eight calls in 30 minutes if you work efficiently from a list.
  • Introduce yourself using only your name, don't mention your company yet. You have time to tell your story at the meeting.
  • Refer immediately to your letter. Tell
  • Ask
3. Avoid selling on the phone.
  • Your job on the phone is to arouse more curiosity to get an appointment with your prospect.
  • Use words like 'free' and 'no commitments,' and give a guarantee that the prospect will find the meeting useful, interesting and profitable.
  • Be prepared to go through your agenda again on the phone in case your prospect hasn't read or doesn't remember it.
4. Set the meeting firmly and .
  • Always have your calendar, notebook and pen with you when calling. You never know what information you will get, be prepared to document it at once. Write, don't trust your memory.
  • Ask for the prospect's email address to send back the confirmation of the meeting.
5. Say 'Thank you' and schedule the meeting to your calendar.
  • Important in person that the meeting suits to your team members as well, if you are working together. Just because your team's virtual calendar is empty doesn't guarantee that they are available.
6. Send in the confirmation with regards.
  • Include .
  • Also include your full contact information.
Eight things to do before the first meeting
  1. Set aside time to prepare useful questions to your prospect. You must have a clear idea of what to say and ask before you enter the meeting (It also calms your nerves and gives you confidence when you know what to do).
  2. Google your prospect's name and the company. You will be surprised how much this little thing can help you to understand them.
  3. Read through the prospect's corporate website. (Brian Tracy says he prints out web site's every page and reads them carefully before meeting the prospect)
  4. Write out your questions and memorize them.
  5. Have at least one back up in paper of every document you need at the meeting.
  6. Print out a map in case your GPS is having a bad day.
  7. Rehearse your pitch in advance.
  8. Always send SMS or call a day before to confirm the meeting. I found that if the prospect was unwilling to arrange an appointment on the phone, it's better to call and confirm. It builds trust. You want a reputation as a fair guy who isn't afraid to confront the prospect. My appointment has never been canceled when I call in and confirm.
How to succeed at the meeting
1. Arrive early. (If it seems that you are going to be late, let your prospect know as soon as you see there is delay. It's only natural that sometimes things like traffic doesn't go your way. Calling in early and saying you are late will earn you more respect than arriving five minutes late without telling so in advance) 2. Memorize everyone's name at the meeting. If you exchange business cards, don't stick in your pocket, instead leave it on the table for at least few minutes and use it for cheating. (International business etiquette may differ) 3. Introduce everyone. 4. Start with a small talk. Don't jump right into your topic even when your prospect ask you to shoot. People like to do business with friends. 5. Try to find out as much as possible about your prospect, the company and their situation before you start giving your pitch. 6. In your presentation, use the information you get from your prospect. This calls for excellent emotional intelligence to tailor your message. The best salespeople are masters at telling you exactly what you need to hear to make the buying decision.
The effective sales presentation
Presenting is a fine art and I will cover the basics in this part. 1. Include the prospect's name and company on the opening slide, if there is only one person at the meeting. When there is more people, use only the company's name. 2. Start by introducing yourself
  • You have 30 to 90 seconds
  • Make a strong promise at once.
  • Your prospect only thinks
  • Be enthusiastic about your topic. It's contagious.
  • Be personal.
  • Give a clear next step, what do you want your prospect to do?
4. Close on time. 5. Ask for the sale.
  • Try to get the decision right away. If you can't, agree when you can follow-up again. How many salesmen leave without asking for the sale? –What a waste of time.
  • Ask for referrals
  • Send in a handwritten 'Thank You' note with a list of reasons why they should choose you.
6. Follow-up on time.
  • Refer to your previous meeting that you agreed to call back today.
  • What ever happens never loose your temper. Remember that every call brings you closer to the sale. Trust to the law of averages.
  • Have fun.

Want more? Read these too . . .
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Feb 7, 2010

Why This Ad Sold A Million Books in Three Years

I have been raving about Dale Carnegie and his excellent book called How to Win Friends & Influence People. This ad written by Victor Scwab is one of the biggest reasons the book became so successful. It sold a million books in three years – by mail order. Can you tell why?

I found it from Info Marketing Blog

Feb 6, 2010

The Shocking Truth about Online Marketing...

…and why every marketer is a direct marketer today. Plus, a warning.

1. "The internet is direct marketing"

I met an agency head of one of Finland's largest advertising agencies this week, who told me that they don't do direct marketing, but they do online marketing. When I said that the internet follows the same principles as direct marketing, the executive calmly repeated that they don't do direct marketing, because it is "going away."

I guess that agency CEO missed the DMA09 (the world's largest direct marketing conference) where Ford Motors and Domino's Pizza announced that now they too are direct marketers because of its amazing results on the digital world.

When big traditional ad agencies are too busy drawing artistic outdoor billboards, there are more opportunities on the internet for people like you and me.

2. A warning

Ego and underestimating the competition are deadly mistakes in business, but sometimes I just smile when I think about the wonderful future ahead of Digital and Direct Marketing.

Here is to your golden future. If you have time, please check out these two short inspirational videos about the future of advertising.

You may also find these related free marketing articles interesting:

Feb 4, 2010

How to Create Advertising That Sells on Every Media

Frank Bettger, the author of How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling said, selling is the easiest job in the world if you do it hard. In this article I will focus on how to work smart and create advertising that sells on every media.

When you study classified ads looking for sales people they all emphasize the importance of having the right attitude. I think you have that attitude because you are reading this. However, there is another way to increase sales.

How to create advertising that sells on every media

Here are four common steps of every sales process. These work with advertising as well.

1 Research. When selling in person this means to ask good questions to qualify a prospect as a buyer.

2 Analyze. Listen, think and
do your homework.

3 Solution. Make a personal offer based on the two previous steps.

4 Repeat. Try to improve every step.

Let's look more into number one and two, research and analysis. Get the facts. Read. Take the time to do your homework. To work in advertising and marketing also means to study. Only amateurs offer quick fixes without understanding what is the problem.

Use your clients' products. I have heard an agency head confess to a client that the whole agency staff has never used the product they have been creating advertising. They have had the account for six years.

'Most of them (advertising people) are wannabe artists sitting in offices decorated like kindergartens, and spend most of their time on Facebook rather than solving clients' problems.'

Needless to say, that agency is in trouble today. This gives you a view of the people who work in advertising. Most of them are wannabe artists
sitting in offices decorated like kindergartens, and spend most of their time on Facebook rather than solving clients' problems. The strangest thing is that those agencies may charge hundreds of euros per hour from their client.

You don't know what you don't know

Would you go to a doctor who told you that they haven't read any books on the subject and rely only to their instincts?

Why is that most agencies are filled with people who don't read? 'It limits my creativity,' is often the answer – and they are right. It permits you from making mistakes that have been tested to decrease sales. Such as creating a website that is full of unrelated pictures instead of creating a long copy text which is packed with facts about the product, relevant keywords, and a structure to trigger as many sales as possible.

Why the internet matters in selling

Did you know that over 90 per cent of all sales start from doing an online search? People are looking for facts about your product not "racing games from soap manufacturers."

An old and probably the first documented lesson from direct marketing is that long copy sells more than short copy. Later I will explain to you why.

Drayton Bird: "The most important thing in this business is ..."

According to Drayton Bird, your knowledge is the most important thing in this business. I got the same advice from one of the Finland's greatest admen. If people who work in advertising and marketing are unwilling to study advertising they become rusty nails who start to bend over time. You have no need for rusty nails in your toolkit.

Your education is the most profitable investment you will ever find. In most countries the government even gives you tax deductions if you use money to learning.

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Feb 1, 2010

January 2010: Six Surprising Marketing Articles You Should Read

Here is a list of six important articles written around the web in January 2010. I think you will find these links worth visiting.

1. The Drayton Bird Blog: When you stopped laughing about Mr. Exploding Underpants, read this
Okay, this is not about marketing, but it is the most important article of this list. Read it to find out why.

2. Branding Strategy Insider: The Principles of Marketing
FOCVS in marketing

3. Conversation Rate Experts: How we increased the conversion rate of Voices.com by over 400%
Simple and easy tips to increase your website's conversation rate.

4. McKinsey Quarterly: The five attributes of enduring family business
How families manage their businesses profitably.

5. Glazen-Kennedy Insider's Circle: The Easiest Strategy For Getting Referrals For Your Small Business
How to get referrals for any business.

6. Promote Your Ad Agency With Social Media Tools
An excellent example of social media marketing, and a very interesting presentation about brands.

If you find this list interesting or useful, please share.

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