If you've read any of our other articles in the Carnie Marketing series you will have learned that there is a lot of knowledge to be gained by watching the Midway. Take theFlat Store for example.
In the wild west of the carnival Midway, aFlat Store is a game that is impossible to win...unless the carnie wants you to win. In other words it's a flat-out scam. The carnies call these gamesFlat Stores. It's the carnie's goal to make you believe that just one more play will win you the big prize.
Here's a news flash for retail advertisers - You almost done it and you almost won it! Wanna play again?
So you ask what does buying a radio or newspaper campaign have to do with a Flat Store? Actually, for a lot of retailers buying media is fraught with the deceptive dynamics. The media rep might be the same as the carnie, telling you what they know you want to hear. "You win."
But will you really win more business just by throwing down your money and hoping the media is doing you a favor? Maybe they are even throwing in a couple of free tosses, oops, bonus ads.
Just like the carnie, the media wants to take your money before you go to the "next game on the midway." The media rep's living depends on telling you what you want to here. And his game is the only one he'll tell you about.
So how do you figure out the real
odds of success? How do you know
what game will be a winner and not
a Flat Store? You talk to someone
The goal of Advertising Agencies is to evaluate all the games on the midway and bring to you, the advertiser, only the ones with the best odds of winning new business. We are you friends on the inside.
And since agencies get their commission no matter what game you try there is no Flat Store in play.
Rather than playing a Flat Store game with your advertising, make sure you have someone in your corner who knows how to beat the long odds and help win the big prize every time - more sales for your business.
One of the oldest carnival games
in the world is Pitch-Til-U-Win.
“Ya pay your money and
take your chances” throwing rings over prizes
attached to wooden pegs. You always get something
for your money but most of the time, what you get isn’t what you were hoping for. The big prize is on the peg in the back row and even though you can see it, without blind luck you’ll never get that prize. And that’s the 6th mistake retailers make with their marketing. They leave their advertising up to chance. They are playing a game of chance with their budgets. They may as well plunk their budgets on a roulette wheel at the casino. Now, when smart retailers go to a carnival they choose to play games of skill, not games of chance. In a game of skill, you control the outcome and if you’ve studied the playing field and are skilled at your play, you can hit the target most of the time.
Hey, you’re a winner…and so is your business. It’s always perplexing to me why so many retailers think they can beat the carnie at his own game. The smart ones though, get the carnie on their side and learn the secret to winning the prize.
In a way, we in the ad industry are the carnies and we hold the secrets to winning the marketing game – know what the target is, understand how it will respond to your efforts to conquer it and come up with a strategy to win.
Retailers who think they can win at the carnival are the same ones who think they know enough to create marketing campaigns that will win more business. P T Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” I don’t agree with him exactly. To my way of thinking, retailers who play games of chance with their marketing budgets aren’t suckers at all. They are simply unaware that there’s a limitless source of “carnie” knowledge out there for the taking…all they have to do is ask.
If you’re a retailer looking for inside information about winning at the game of marketing, ask a carnie...give us a call
If you read our blog piece on Pitch-Til-U-Win Marketing
you have an idea how we feel about the advertising
and marketing mistakes made by a lot of retailers.
Remember, we said many retailers are playing a carnival game of chance
when they commit their budgets to stations and publications without insider
knowledge about what is and isn’t good marketing and media strategy.
Okay, so you may not have ever played Pitch-Til-U-Win. But, if you’ve ever
played the game of BINGO you have to know what an utterly out-of-your-hands chance you have of yelling BINGO! Look at it this way. In BINGO there’s cage with a swarm of 75 Ping Pong balls all trying to land in the chute but only one can do so at a time. Think about the odds of winning. You need to have five balls match a line on your BINGO card. Trying to calculate the odds mathematically is way beyond my pay grade but I’d venture to say it’s ten to the huge number of zero’s.
And those are the odds retailers face when they are under informed and inexperienced in creating an effective marketing campaign. That swarm of BINGO balls represents the variables that influence the results of your campaign. Ten of them could be your target audience, each of the ten a different demographic (i.e., males, females, older, younger, rich, poor, motorists, managers, mothers, professionals etc.). If you believe your target is professional male motorists and you don’t know what radio station reaches that target best, then you are just hoping the correct bingo ball lands in the chute. You’re leaving your campaign purely up to chance. Another couple of the swarming BINGO balls might be your media selection.
Do you want radio, newspaper, billboards, social media, direct mailings? You don’t really know so again, you leave it up to chance and maybe chose newspapers. But, your budget won’t afford the paper that
reaches your target so you chose the cheaper alternative and just miss the
boat. Retailers should know that the process of creating a media/marketing campaign is somewhat of a BINGO game. The right answers are all there
swarming around in the air. If you aren’t a marketing expert then you are playing with astronomical odds in hopes that your choices will drop into the chute.
When a retailer realizes that he can’t control the swarm he needs to learn how to control the chute by only letting in the winning BINGO balls. We know the secrets of chute control.