Buying more than just an AD

Walmart is good for one thing. People watching. No wait, two things… midnight runs to buy the movie Twilight when you realize you can’t stream it live from Netflix (yes, that really happened).

I used to shop at Walmart. I admit. I was single, broke and starting my fresh new career and on a budget. Every time I went grocery shopping I would get so frustrated because Walmart never had the fresh produce I was looking for. I’d inevitably have to go to a second store to complete my list, walk into Publix and be immediately greeted by every single person on their floor when I was just there to get lettuce. I got so fed up of making multiple trips, and so attracted to a smile and the question “Can I help you find anything?” that I decided it didn’t matter how broke I was, I didn’t mind paying .29 cents more for Lean Cuisine when I could always be guaranteed a pleasurable shopping experience. Hence…”where shopping is a pleasure” came from.

Your media relationships can often be compared to the relationship you have have with your local grocer. Do you buy your groceries at Walmart or Whole Foods? Are you looking for the cheapest price no matter what you miss in the process? Or, are you willing to pay the price for quality, service and an all around pleasant experience.

Just like bananas, an ad is an ad is an ad (plus or minus basic demographics and coverage details). Mostly, it’s where you buy the ad that truly makes the difference. Some medias are going to offer you the quickest, cheapest ad. While other medias, who may be less likely to budge on the final price, offer the same ad, but bring “intangibles” to the table that far increase the value that ad is actually worth. It’s the difference between shopping at Walmart and Whole Foods.

Ask yourself, do you want to stand in one of three (out of 30) open checkout lanes for 20 minutes at Walmart or do you want to buy local, buy organic and peruse the colorful aisles, sipping the latest imported wine (that has happened), at Whole Foods? There is a HUGE difference.

I begin each of my new client meetings by asking a bit about their business like what marketing efforts they use, what works, what doesn’t, etc. Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of “oh and we do that magazine because their ads are so cheap…… ”

Um, Houston, we have a problem…..

Why do you want to buy the cheapest ad? You’re not buying pantyhose or plumbing supplies. You’re buying new business!!!! Do you really want to risk that new business or the future success of your own with the cheapest gig in town? Are you okay with an attitude of “I ran your ad what more do you want”… or do you want to know your marketing dollars are buying you more than just the paper?

If you’re looking for the Whole Foods shopping experience, the intangibles you should look for from your media partners are things like networking opportunities, connections, events, marketing advice, sponsorships, referrals, introductions, etc. It’s not just about the ad… rather the ad package.

When it comes time to buy an ad or renew, these are the things you should consider in your advertising investment as well. Because, if you enjoyed the intangibles, then those need to be weighed evenly with the direct inquiries received from the ad too. It’s likely they’re a package deal. If you pull the ad, the intangibles will go right along with it.

Make a left into Walmart rather than a right turn into Whole Foods (okay, that would never happen in real life, they’re rarely on the same corner, but you get it) and the end result of your shopping experience will be entirely different. Same goes with your media choice.

Marketing, in general, is a long term investment and your media relationships should be too. Think lasting and reliable, then come up with ways you can utilize the perks of your purchase. Partnerships are two way street. If you haven’t connected recently with the media you’re doing business with, get in touch and get the most out of your investment.

What ways has your business benefited from a solid media partnership?