Is it Really Necessary?

Wow.  It is February already. I know what you’re thinking, too.  No, it’s not that time is going by so fast or you can’t wait for the 24-hour Groundhog Day marathon on TBS. Like most red-blooded Americans, you are thinking, ‘Do we really need that extra ‘R’ in February?’


Think about it.  January gets along fine without it. Nobody in their right mind would call it ‘Janruary.’ Just wouldn’t be right. Besides, most people pronounce the second month of the year as ‘Feb-yoo-airy’ anyway.  Yet, there it sits. A simple, lower case ‘R’ stuck in the shadow of the letter ‘B’ just minding its own business; glossed over every day as if it doesn’t even matter.

This got me thinking.  There are many things in life we can do without – like the Cleveland Browns, for example. TMZ can be added to that list, along with anyone related to, in relationship with, or named Kardashian.  For years, many thought the human appendix fell into that category as well.  Like the extra ‘R’ in February, we can see it; we know it is there - we just can’t figure out why.  It doesn’t seem to serve any real purpose.

Theories vary on the function of the appendix. Loren G. Martin published an article in Scientific American Journal stating that for years the appendix was thought to have little physiological function with no perceivable benefit.  However, studies show that this small organ aids in the development of babies and young adults as well as being involved in immune functions for older adults.  In the past the appendix was removed and discarded as a preventative measure.  But now, scientists see the future value of sparing the appendix. 

So… something small, considered for years by a majority of experts to have little to no benefit - actually turns out to have significant value; in infancy, as you develop, and provides untold benefits for the future.  You don’t say?

The same thing could be said about on hold advertising. There it is, glossed over by businesses every day as if it doesn’t matter. For decades people treated this powerful medium as an afterthought with no possible benefit other than to let callers know you didn’t hang up on them.  It was an easily overlooked or discarded line-item on the budget each year as committee members mistakenly answered, ‘No,’ to the question, ‘Is this REALLY necessary?’  This could explain why companies still let their IT department decide what customers will experience when they call.  No wonder there are so many terrible on hold programs out there. 

It just doesn’t make sense to me.  Some businesses will spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on ad campaigns that they hope a member of their target market will actually experience. But, they won’t spend a fraction of the time, energy, or resources on the one medium every customer or prospective customer will hear each and every time they call.  On-hold advertising is the most powerful, intimate, and cost effective tool in your marketing strategy. It is effective whether your business is in its infancy, is starting to develop, or is mature and preparing to expand. On-hold advertising provides you with the unprecedented opportunity to reinforce your image one customer at a time from open until close every business day of the year. 

Mark Twain said, ‘Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.’  With all the noise generated by social media, the Kardashians, and TMZ I can see his point.  However, when it comes to the success of your business, on-hold advertising does not fall into that category.

So, let me be perfectly clear.  Yes, you really do need this for your business, and yes, it is worth your time.  More importantly, it is worth your customer’s time for you to invest in a creative, professionally produced on hold advertising program.

The experts have spoken! About the importance of on-hold advertising, that is.  As far as the necessity of the extra ‘R’ in February, I am told the team at Webster’s dictionary will issue a decree on the validity of continuing to include this often overlooked letter next week...

On Wednesday.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius

Tom McTee