We Tried That

Photo of Michael Whitehouse from the August 31st edition of The Day
Numerous people approached me over the next two days after this photo ran. If I needed any more proof that people are still paying attention to print, this was overwhelming.

As both a publisher and as a networking educator, I often get some variation of “we tried that, and it didn’t work for us.” It’s almost always misguided.

With both networking and marketing, you tend to get out of it what you put in. Most people who have tried networking and not had good results went to a couple of business after hours events, had a few drinks, threw a couple business cards around, and held up a wall. There’s a reason it’s called networking, not netwaiting. You need to not only try it, but actually engage it in an intentional way. For tips on how to do so, check out my book The Guy Who Knows A Guy, available on Amazon.

Print marketing is similar. Different publications go to different audiences. How many people does it go to? Who are they? Are they your audience? What number of people actually read the publication? How long do they keep it? How is it delivered to the audience? How do they insure it reaches the right people? Is it sent direct in the mail or dumped in a pile at the pizza joint down the street?

Then there is your campaign within the publication itself. Is your messaging right for your audience? Are you effectively telling your story? Are you able to use editorial content to support your ad strategy and tell more of your story? Is your campaign long enough to introduce your business to your customers, and is it long enough to still be running when they need you? When they reach out, are you receptive? Is your voicemail box full? Is your website up to date? Is your staff friendly and competent?

Most importantly: how do you really know where your leads are coming from? Print marketing is often brand marketing. That means that you are creating awareness over time. When did you first learn about Chevy or Coca-Cola or Boeing? You probably don’t remember. Your customer doesn’t either, so if you think you are getting accurate sourcing data by asking people where they heard of you, you’re not.

Print creates community awareness. This means that Sally may learn about you in a magazine. She tells Suzy, and Suzy calls you. When you ask Suzy how she found you, she credits Sally. Chalk another one up for word of mouth. But where did Sally learn about you?

I have been a member of three different gyms. I’ve never lost weight working out at the gym. Should I say that gyms don’t work for me? Or should I perhaps more accurately say that gyms don’t work for me when I go for a half hour twice a week?

This article originally ran in my weekly newsletter. To sign up, click here.

For more information on how community publications can benefit your business and give you access to thousands of the right customer, contact me.

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