Ever Wonder Who Makes These Great Marketing Decisions?

Here’s the story …

I’m driving down the road during lunch hour and hear a radio spot from a well-known printing press manufacturing company promoting a new digital printing press that I know sells for well over $300,000.

The spot talks about the machine’s high speed, large volume capacity and quality printing using terms that are most familiar to press foremen than consumers. You can imagine where I am going with this by now.

Have you ever wondered who makes the media buying decisions for these highly targetable products? A professional direct marketer certainly did not make it. The wasted circulation using a consumer based radio station to sell high-end equipment to highly targetable business purchasers is folly.

There are excellent contact mailing and phone lists available for rental to target 95%+ of the market for this product.

The decision makers on the general agency or client side who do not need to validate expenses based on sales results wanted to get the word out. “This new spot will achieve our branding objectives” or some such nonsense is somehow supposed to make this radio campaign a good decision.

If this were part of a larger strategy, then perhaps one could stretch the reasoning stating that it was a support campaign for outbound telemarketing or a direct mail lead generation campaign. But this is rarely the case.

The objective for any advertising expenditure had to include selling a given quantity of these machines over a specified period of time. Throwing money at general awareness advertising to move a small list of influencers and prospects to purchase a $300,000 commercial printing machine makes no sense.

If the planners wanted to soften the market for their sales people to purchase the machine, then a direct response campaign using the same dollars would do this more intensely and with far better results than an awareness campaign.

Why do chief marketing officers and their managers continue to allow these kinds of decisions to happen? Branding is critical, but is this the best way to support the brand, by sacrificing sales for the good of the company? Or did the strategists on this campaign somehow believe that announcements on a 15 second radio spot without of an offer have a ghost of a chance of moving the sales needle in any significant way? Can you see a rationale for this approach that might make this radio campaign a reasonable proposition?

Posted on September 12, 2007 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy.