The Big Four in Marketing Communications

By George M Callanan, Jr., President

There are many elements and considerations that go into a great 

advertising campaign. The professional who develops the campaign has 

to think in terms of the “Big Four,” which are: the offer, the 

delivery system or media, the frequency of the commercial, and last 

but not least, the creative presentation.

In many respects, “the offer” is the most important and here is why: 

People— or should I say buyers— have been trained to look at 

products or services as a commodity. This can be attributed to the 

great recession, dollar store retailers and the Internet, which has  

presented better offers than you can find through traditional media or 

at bricks and mortar retail locations.

These days everyone is confronted with a multitude of delivery system 

or media options, should we send an email blast, do a TV commercial, 

do a banner ad, run a radio spot, utilize outdoor advertising, run an 

ad in a magazine or in the newspaper, or consider various other media 

to run our ad. The bottom line is the offer must be affordable enough 

to separate you from your commodity competitors. For example. Two for 

one deals, 25% or more off will get the buyers attention. Now, if you 

ran two ads, one in the newspaper illustrating a product sale for two 

days where you get 40% off, but on Facebook your ad stated 10% off 

which ad will drive more people to buy? The newspaper ad will.

However, if you flop the media, the Facebook offer is 40% off and 

newspaper 10% off. The Facebook ad will produce greater results.

Older people grew up with TV, radio, magazines and newspaper. Younger 

people are growing up with mobile ads, social media and digital 

advertising. However, when an offer is an outstanding deal, the word 

gets around. Either the young tell the old or the old tell the young.

The delivery system or media selection process is controlled by the 

budget and the target audience. No one medium should take the entire 

budget. Whichever media has the programming and audience that 

represents the closest match to the people who will buy is where you 

should invest. Testing of media is OK, some will produce and some will 

fail. Adjust the media according to where you get the most leads and 

the most results with the most sales being paramount.

Frequency of the message in the ad or the commercial is absolutely key 

to the success of the campaign. A great ad that runs infrequently is 

not talked about. A bad ad that runs a lot is talked about as being bad.

The creative presentation must aim for excellence. People remember 

clever ads. Some of the best commercials of all time utilize one or 

more of these strategies: humor, sex, testimonial, children, animals, 

fear, technological superiority and the customer as king or queen.

So, when you consider your next campaign, remember the Big Four in 

Marketing Communications. Good luck and we hope you move a whole lotta 


Results: Achieving Sales for the Client

When you partner with an advertising agency, the most important thing they can provide is a return on your investment. This means sales, not hits, or unique visitors from your website. Prospect interest and leads are good. Sales are great. They are the lifeblood of any business.

Creative Marketing Group (CMG) has numerous examples of clients who got results in 2011. A law firm that promotes to senior citizens ran five small fractional ads on consecutive days in the Lancaster newspaper for a free seminar and had 40 prospects sign up and converted one-third to new clients.

CMG helped two charities in 2011. In each of these examples, direct mail was utilized, incorporating a well-written letter accompanied by a donation card, which was sent to a good list. One list of approximately 1,250 prospects generated $60,000 in donations for a hospital to provide scholarship for aspiring nursing students. Another list of 5,000 parishioners of Catholic churches generated more than $17,000 in scholarship funds for kids who could not afford the full tuition for Catholic school from kindergarten to eighth grade.

CMG has helped an entertainment account increase event attendance in a holiday season by more than 400 percent in a 10-year period. A combination of point-of-sale brochures, radio and a website has been the three-prong media program that has increased attendance for 11 of 12 years with the only reason the one-year declined was because of an excessive amount of inclement weather.

Another client CMG represents has increased sales from $400 million to $3.2 billion over the 14-year period. Sales have increased approximately 57 percent each year. Business-to-business magazines, trade shows, printed sales literature as leave-behinds, buyers guides and websites, along with the client’s aggressive sales force, have led to outstanding results year after year.

These are a few examples of how we can partner with clients, work together on well-thought-out strategies and ring the cash register!

Websites that act like the Supreme Critics

There are numerous websites where a few people become mystery patrons who visit a retail establishment and grade the business based on their experiences.

These Supreme Critics grade restaurants, golf courses, new movies, books— you name it. They become the Gospel. If they say it’s bad, it’s bad. The visitor reads their critique and believes what they say.

So, are you going to take the word of someone you do not know? What are their credentials? Isn’t it possible they caught that restaurant on an off day? Keep in mind that the main purpose of their website is to make money through advertisements on their site.

If the website has the opinions of at least 250 persons all saying the same thing, then we have a trend. Not just one or two people who think that their evaluation is the final word.

In the case of a site that critiques restaurants, let’s say they stop by on a night when they are very crowded, overbooked and pushed to the limit. The restaurant receives a poor grade from the mystery critic. That leaves no room for mistakes, and that bad review could damage your business. All your hard work in building a business could be seriously hurt by the opinion of one critic.

Who is working harder? The restaurant owner and staff who have spent years building the business? Or the critic who sets up a website and reigns supreme by judging that business?

Do yourself a favor and try that restaurant, or see that movie, or read that book or play that golf course yourself. You be the judge and evaluate that business for yourself. Don’t take the word of some website critic who may have their own agenda.

George Callanan

Prospects more important than customers?

Whatever happened to rewarding customer loyalty? Nowadays, it doesn’t seem like companies care about the customers they already have. Instead, they make an offer to prospective customers that’s better than what existing customers get. That seems fair, right? Since when are existing customers treated like second-class citizens?

What makes it worse is that if an existing customer finds out about the special offer for new customers, he is told that the great deal is only for new customers. Brilliant. Now the existing customer is thinking about becoming a new customer somewhere else. They are not important enough to keep.

Wake up! There should be deals to keep loyal customers loyal. If a company is not loyal to its loyal customers, they don’t understand business.

In fact, 80% of new business comes from existing customers every year.

If your customer does not matter, go ahead and offer prospects a better deal. Let’s see how loyal they are to you.

George Callanan
President, CMG Advertising


Why Customer SERVICE Requires Talking to a Person

It’s happened to all of us. You have a problem that you need to have resolved quickly. So you call your service provider— whether it’s your cell phone or satellite radio provider. Instead of getting a quick answer or resolution, you go through the hassle of listening to an automated system that guides you through a long, complicated process of button pushing to find what you need. “If you wish to… press 7” followed by “If your call relates to… press 23.” Or maybe it’s the inconvenience of an automated voice system that doesn’t respond properly to your voice commands. You say “internet services” and the voice responds with “integrated sequins.” Not only are these automated customer service systems tedious, time-consuming and inconvenient, they ultimately send a message to a customer that they are not valued.

How many times have you just hung up the phone in frustration? A customer has been lost simply by the lack of responsiveness and inconsiderate customer service. This is not service.

In contrast, what is your reaction when the pleasant voice of a real person answers your call, and swiftly and politely guides you to the person you need to talk to? It is a refreshing change that defines the term “customer service.” Attention is given to the customer and service is provided to that valued customer.

Many times companies install automated technology to handle their customer service calls. There is often the misperception that this is a money-saving option. But what about the customer who hangs up in frustration? What about the customer who gets so irritated that he or she switches to another company? What about the customer who goes to a competitor who offers real customer service? Not complicated service?

Without customers, where would your business be? Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Make sure they know they are valued. Make it easy to resolve issues. Make sure an automated system intended to save money doesn’t cost you money in lost customers. Remember that the key words in Customer Service are Customer and Service.