No One Sees Or Hears My Ad

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Mar 30, 2021 by Sean Luce

The number one objection I hear from media customers is, "I haven't had anyone see or hear my ad." The previous number one objection was, "That's too much money." The media that retailers use for their marketing has shifted since 2007, and so has the rate at which they expect results. Retailers often demand that customers rush through the door and say they saw or heard about the business through one form of media or another. You MUST manage their expectations.

I'm in the field with customers 42 weeks per year. These businesses have their economic lives on the line, yet many times they refuse to track and source their advertising. They promise that they'll do it, but their form of tracking primarily involves asking the customer, "How did you hear about us?"

This is not a survey, and it is a poor way to find out how people are being exposed to the client's advertisements in the market. When "How did you hear about us?" is asked, I would say from experience that more than 85 percent of the responses are, "A friend told me about you" or "I was driving by." I anticipate those responses because the outdoor signage, which is a part of their advertising dollar, is the customer's last point of recall before they enter the retailer. In other words, it is the first thing that comes to a person's mind when they are being asked the question. Remember, shoppers come in to buy things. They do not come in for a CNN/Gallup poll on buying habits.

The key issues still remains for the business: How do the customers learn about the business? How do we know as marketers if we are targeting correctly for our clients?

Here are several ways to find out:
1. Sourcing and tracking. In some of our markets we have a simple questionnaire that the customer can fill out at the register (or a question that a receptionist can ask as the customer completes their transaction). The form must be easy to fill out. My rule is that it must take no more than 20 seconds to complete. The one question to ask is:
How did you decide to come to our massage clinic today? Please check all factors that apply:
Your company (media company)
Yellow Pages
Radio station - list them (If they are advertising on any)
Television (If they are advertising on TV, and what channels or shows)
Local print
Friend (referral) Name:___________________________

Only list those media that the business is currently using if only one question is being asked. 
In addition, make sure that the media company you represent is on top of the list. This survey is not scientific.

For a longer form (60 seconds), here are a few more questions that can be used. These questions can assist the retailer in targeting where their advertising should be directed:

1. What news media do you read?
2. What radio stations do you listen to?
3. What TV stations do you watch? 
If using the longer form, make sure to list all media in the market. Always put your media on top of the list. No exceptions. 
Here are a few more ideas to consider when sourcing and tracking ads to trigger recall at the store level for the media you represent:

1. Counter cards at the register. The card will trigger recall and remind the customer of the event or promotion that they saw or heard on your media. It can be done on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of laminated paper that says, "As seen on (your media). Black and Decker products ? for every $300 purchase receive $100 off."

2. Ceiling hangers in the department where the product is sold. Same as A.

3. Have POS and POP items with your company logo and include the products advertised with your media. If this is strictly a TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) campaign, then products or offers would not be listed.

4. Make sure everyone inside the business knows about the promotion or the offer. In many cases, the frontline troops who are responsible for selling do not know what is being offered.

5. The media sales rep should personally prep everyone inside the store, or conduct a meeting to demonstrate the creative and any other particulars about the event/promotion or advertisements. No exceptions.

Do not throw an advertising campaign out there and expect a horde of customers to run into the business and mention the ad. Sadly, in most cases, the customer will not mention the ads unless you properly manage the campaign with the advice given above. Source, track, and measure it! Be the "sustaining resource" to the company that has invested their hard-earned dollars with you. Help them determine where their store traffic is coming from and how to target it directly. Now, what happens if they are tracking by phone? Stay tuned for the next article.

Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at

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