Direct Impact

Let’s see, ummm…I’d like a triple-decker bacon burger with jalapeno cheese sauce, large garlic fries, a double-stuffed brownie deluxe, and a small diet coke.  Oh, and I’d like to start off with the mozzarella sticks.  What is wrong with this picture?  No, not the bacon – bacon is perfect … it’s the diet cola. When asked about his New Year’s resolution to lose weight, his response is, ‘Hey, I cut back where I can.’


As budget committees convene to determine where to trim, many organizations fall into the diet cola mentality and cutback their marketing dollars in the wrong place. Rather than target their mass media marketing campaigns, they cut back their on-hold advertising. That never made sense to me.  Money invested in on-hold advertising is exactly what you want – direct access and impact with your client.

Mass Media campaigns like TV, radio, and print have a potential to reach a very large audience.  But only a fraction of that audience fits your overall demographic (Women, 35-44).  The potential audience decreases when you factor in your target demographic (38 year old female, business executive, married with two children) and shrinks even smaller once you factor in a qualified lead that is in the market for your product or service.  You are investing all of your marketing dollars hoping to reach a fraction of their audience.  I understand it’s hard to make cuts in this area of the budget because these audio and visual mediums are tasty.  They offer a lot of flavor and, unfortunately, a lot of fat.  Just like the fast food menu, mass media does not yield a very healthy return.

Marketing through on-hold advertising is effective because these are direct impact dollars.  All the money you invest in this medium connects directly with a client or potential client.  These are not only qualified leads, they are exactly who you were hoping to reach by investing so heavily in mass media. The difference (and the benefit) is you are speaking directly to your customer at a fraction of the cost per contact.  AND they contacted YOU. They are ready to do business with you and want to know more.  Talk about direct impact.  Every dollar you spend for on-hold advertising reflects directly on your customer’s experience - positive or negative.  Is this really the place to try to save a buck?

As your team discusses budget, do the research necessary to make effective cuts.  Think about it. If you reduce your mass media budget by one TV commercial, or three radio commercials, or your national print ad by a column inch or so; you can pay for an entire year of direct impact, on-hold advertising.  That’s what I call cutting out the fat and going lean this fiscal year.

But, if you really want to cut back – next time, try the salad instead.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius

Tom McTee