An Advertising Investment that Shocked a Business Owner


Ruth King Photo SmallerHe didn’t think it would work…and it did

Several years ago I was working with a contractor in his 30’s. His business was on Hilton Head Island – a community with a large population of very wealthy individuals. People on the island were either working class or rich – very little middle class.

There was one radio station, WLOW, which was called the “50 to Dead” station because it played big band era music – popular with the wealthy individuals at the time. The signal reached all of Hilton Head Island and not much further. Ads were very inexpensive since it was not the most popular radio station on the island. It was the radio station that wealthy people listened to. It was a perfect advertising medium for that HVAC company.

I suggested to the owner of that company that his company sponsor the Thursday morning 9:20 AM stock market report on WLOW for a year. After all, his customers had stocks and they were interested in finding out how the market was doing.

He told me that I was F— crazy because he never listened to that station nor would he ever listen to that station. My answer – it doesn’t matter if you ever listen to it, YOUR TARGET MARKET DID.

So, despite his misgivings, he signed a contract for a year’s advertising.

What happened?

The advertisements aired every Thursday morning at 9:20 AM right during the stock market report. His telephone started ringing at about 9:25 AM. We could track the phone calls to the radio ads. They paid for themselves and much more. At the end of the contract year he signed another contract…even though he didn’t listen to that station.

Moral of the story: it doesn’t matter whether you like an ad, a direct mail piece, or any other marketing piece. You are NOT the target audience. Your customers are. Find the message (get help from a professional) and medium that your target audience will pay attention to and test some ads. They may work even if you don’t like them.

Remember: It doesn’t matter what you think about your marketing and advertising – it matters what your customers think. They will vote with their phone calls, emails, and pocket book.