The economy is down, layoffs are up, and the bailout sucks. Sounds like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh to me!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Eeyore, in fact, he’s one of my favorite cartoon characters, right up there with Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch!
But, you really wouldn’t want either of them handling your marketing efforts.
You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine is a familiar gospel song written by Marty Cooper, and sung by thousands of people. It has a great message that can be applied to all aspects of a person’s life, but specifically today, I want to stress its message in a way most people may not think about: marketing…
The fact is, Eeyore’s light is not very bright. He doesn’t inspire or move you to action. He doesn’t shine and wouldn’t get a lot of endorsements to sell products, or have his photo on a box of breakfast cereal. Of course, on the plus side, you probably wouldn’t catch Eeyore smoking dope either, but that’s another story! The fact is, Eeyore is a good guy, a lovable character, but that by itself does not put cash in your pocket.
As the economy squeezes each of us like an anaconda wrapped around our throats, we need to maximize our shine. We need to be beacons in a sea of economic excrement and political pandemonium.
I see fewer and fewer ads in our local paper. Heck, a few days of the week, the paper is so thin it’s like a single section was a few years ago. Most newspaper ads are pretty bad and poorly designed, but throwing in the towel is not the answer. Improving the pulling power of the ads is the answer. Becoming a beacon that draws customers into your store or to your website is the answer.
But, you can’t fool people for long. If you’re selling shoddy products or not telling the truth, it will catch up to you. If you can’t represent your product, service, or yourself honestly and make a sale, then something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Even the best marketing efforts and talents can’t cover up a rotten core for long.
Here’s the first verse, chorus, and second verse of You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine, even if you’re not a Christian, or don’t believe in God, read these words and think about them from a marketing and advertising perspective:
How can you ask for truth when you do not truthful live
How can you ask forgiveness when you don’t forgive
I don’t mean to bring you down or speak to you unkind
But you can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine
You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine
You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine
There’s a little light in all of us by God’s design
And you can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine
How can you ask a child to be honest and true
When he can only judge what’s right by what he sees in you
How can you offer vision yet walk around blind
No you can’t see a beacon if it’s light don’t shine
by Marty Cooper
Above I said that most newspaper ads are pretty bad, in fact, most ads I see, even national TV ads are pretty bad. Yes, there are good ones, but they’re few and far between. Sometimes when my wife and I are watching TV I’ll look at her and ask, “and what were they advertising?”… other times, I’ll just start complaining about how bad the ads are.
Most ads are like Eeyore – that low, depressed voice of his saying “I don’t suppose you’d want to buy this from me… “. Or, they’re just plain stupid.
Why? Because in a lot of cases, the ads were written or designed by the publication staff (i.e. the newspaper people): never a good plan. Sometimes, the store or business owner or an employee created the ad: again, usually not a good plan.
Call The Man!
Remember the episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Aunt Bee bought a side of beef from someone besides her normal butcher, just to save a few bucks? She put it in their old freezer on the back porch and then the freezer broke. She had all this beef in an old freezer that was not freezing anymore. As she kept trying to get various people, who knew nothing about refrigeration, to fix the freezer, Andy kept telling her to “Call The Man!“, meaning call the repairman from the next town that could actually fix it. But she didn’t want to because it would be too expensive. She even asked Gomer to take a look at it, which didn’t turn out too good at all! Finally, she pulled all the packaged meat through town on Opey’s wagon to the town butcher and embarrassingly asked him if he would store this meat, that she didn’t buy from him, in his freezer until she and Andy got their freezer repaired. He of course agreed and didn’t charge her a dime to do it. Andy bought a new freezer and Aunt Bea always bought her meat from the local butcher after that. In addition, the side of beef that she bought to save money was tough and didn’t taste so good!
The moral of the story:
Call The Man! If your business is seeing and feeling the crunch of the economy, or if you want to increase your profits: Call The Man! Get professional help! Don’t just stop advertising and marketing because money is tight and returns on your advertising dollars are dropping: Call The Man! Get professional help! Your expertise may be in whatever your business is and is NOT in advertising and marketing. Realizing this and utilizing an advertising and marketing professional can help you get your beacon shining! You’re bottom line will thank you!
But, like anything else, it’s hard to convince people. I expect that we’ll see a lot of businesses go belly up that otherwise could have survived or even grown. I recently offered to help a local business that does a great deal of direct marketing. They have some in-house writers, but I offered to try and beat one of their controls and skip any upfront charge, only charging them a royalty. Never heard a word from them. It’s a no risk, win-win offer and yet they didn’t even give it a try. Too bad.
And that part about skipping the upfront charge is a biggie: I wouldn’t charge all that much because I’m not a well known copywriter, but if they went to someone like Ryan Healy, that upfront fee could be $20,000, $30,000 or more, plus royalties. And people line up to pay them because they MAKE YOUR LIGHT SHINE and YOUR BUSINESS A BEACON!
Until next time,