Think Differently-Could you sell to dogs?

We all know… what we know.We also know that,  the way people do business is changing.  How people spend their time is changing.  It’s hard to force yourself to view your business in a different light to see new angles and customers.  You are busy. We are all busy. I get it.

Try this exercise to shake up your brain, get new ideas and view your business in a new way. Like those annoying ice breaker exercises at group seminars.  Annoying,  but they do really get your brain moving.  Its Monday- let’s get our brain moving.


How would you market your dog products, directly to dogs.  Dogs can now make purchases on their own.  How can you capitalize on this new furry consumer.


Here’s what we know:

Dogs walk on all fours– advertising should be no more than 3 feet high and ideally on the ground.

Dog vision isn’t like humans– they see Yellow and Blue best.  They do not see  red or green as well, or at all.  Re think that holiday campaign.


Dog’s sense of smell and hearing are their strongest senses.Dogs have 125 million to 300 million scent glands in their nose, depending on the breed.  This is 1,000-10,000,000 times stronger than human sense of smell. Maybe you could create a smell sampling truck-think about it.

Dog’s ears are equally sensitive.  Anyone who owns a dog and tries to sneak a late night snack has been busted by the thunder of dog feet coming to see what you have for them too.  Dogs hear at a frequency of 67-45,000 Hz compared to a human that hears at 64-23,ooo Hz. Radio and Television commercials should start with the sound of the deli drawer opening to get the “dog consumers” attention. Also, dogs with pointed ears have better hearing than dogs with floppy ears, also something to consider with your ads.


Here are some ideas to market directly to dogs:

Paint the bottom half of fire hydrants blue or yellow to attract the dog’s eye more.  Put your message printed on that. (yes we are assuming dogs can read, if you remember at the beginning of this exercise we said they could buy stuff too).

Scented stickers on the ground leading from the popular dog parks to your business.  The nose will lead them right to you.

Radio contesting idea- at the sound of the cheese wrapper crinkle, be the 10th caller to win a years supply of cheesy treats.


What else could you do? What other creative ideas do you have? While this example is silly and some what far fetched ( ha ha get it… fetched) its a way to view your business differently.  Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh outlook to get the creative thoughts flowing again.

If you don’t have someone to bounce ideas off of, try asking yourself questions like:

What would you change if you only did business in Europe?

How would you change your marketing, if your only customers were teenagers?

How would you tell your customers how great your business is, if it was a non profit?


Simple questions to stretch your mind, your ideas and help grow your business.


Happy Monday-Woof!








Sometimes you have to re-pot yourself to grow

I have a small tree in my home that has been struggling  in the last year.  The leaves fall off, it looks spindly no matter what I did.  I gave it more water, less water, more sun, less sun, nothing seemed to make it happy again.  Until recently, it occurred to me that I have never re-potted it.  That lovely little tree has been in the same pot since the day it came home.  I don’t know how many years ago that was, but it was awhile.  And just like that,  I popped it into a new pot with fresh soil.  I could almost hear a little sigh of relief that it would now finally be able to grow again.  I was hindering its growth by keeping it in the same small pot.

Sometimes life is like that, especially personal relationships and business relationships.  We stop growing where we are planted and we need to be re-potted.  I know people that have  been fired from their jobs, or lost a business,  that is an abrupt re-potting. I have experienced both business and personal abrupt re-potting in my own life, so I know what I am talking about.  And trust me, I was one unhappy plant at the time.  But I can say from my own personal experience, from each of those uncomfortable times I grew- I grew in glorious ways.

People are typically adverse to change, they get in a comfy spot and settle in.  In business today that can be deadly. Words in today’s business landscape are: nimble, agile, evolving etc none of which says, “grab a blankie and nestle in”.  Its hard.  How can you look at your business critically and recognize where you need to grow and change. Take a hard look at the things that keep you up at night.

Here are some things to think about:

Could you focus more time on cultivating new clients, if you fired that one that drains you?

If you gave up some control and brought on a partner or investor,  what could you gain?

What growth could you see if you left your first location for a new, bigger, prime location?

What could you out source so you have more time to do ” your thing”?

What do you need to learn or get better at to be more successful?

Sometimes life will change your pot, sometimes we do it for ourselves- when we decide to grow,  we can do it anywhere!


Radio Advertising in Boston (a re-post of a friends blog

Despite the commonly held idea that radio is dead, radio advertising continues to be one of the best ways to engage and reach potential clients. A recent study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) found that brick-and-mortar companies saw an average return of $6 per listener for each dollar spent on radio advertising within a 28-day period. With that potential ROI, it’s no wonder so many businesses in Boston continue to rely on the airwaves for their marketing campaigns.

As a small business owner, your Boston radio campaign should be strategized and thought through in order to truly engage listeners and bring in sales. By following these three steps, your business will be well on its way to developing a radio advertising strategy that works.


Every successful advertising campaign must first develop a clear set of goals and measurable outcomes. Before investing in radio advertising, define your objective. Is it to develop brand recognition, promote a product or service, or perhaps to drive foot traffic? If you are unsure of the outcome, listeners—that is, potential customers—most likely will be unsure, too. Because you have limited time to get out your radio message, a clearly defined objective will help you establish consistent branding, set your tone or theme, and put the right information in the spotlight.


Just as knowing your objective is important, so too is knowing your audience. By understanding your target consumer, you can strategize just where your advertisers should go. For example, If your brand appeals more to younger males, a rock radio station would be a better advertising fit than a pop station. If you serve older customers, a classic rock or a talk station may be a better fit for your brand. Luckily, radio stations’ advertising departments are all eager to work with you in deciding where your advertisement fits and will help you determine which approach works best for you. Use their research and resources to ensure that your advertisement will reach the targeted audience.


Once you’ve identified your objective and target demographics, it’s time to target an appropriate time to hit the widest range of listeners possible. In radio advertising, times of day are split into chunks through a process called “dayparting.” These chunks can vary greatly in price; what works for you will be dependent on your objectives and your budget.

The early morning (6am-10am) and afternoon drive (3pm-7pm) times are the most popular and, thus, the most pricy on average. However, these times might not necessarily fit your demographic. For example, if you are trying to target stay-at-home mothers or retired individuals, midday and evening slots may work just as well for you. Likewise, later evening and overnight dayparting slots are usually the least effective for engagement, but they also often offer low costs and may be worth considering, depending on your aims. It’s also important to keep in mind that each station differs, so be sure to get the appropriate information for each one you consider.


For businesses that are new to radio advertising, there is a tendency to want to pack as much information into an ad as possible to ensure every possible outcome is covered. However, this rarely leads to the desired result. Instead, focus on being creative and making your message as streamlined as possible. Remember, you want your listeners to be able to recall your message later. Because there is nothing tangible for listeners to see, radio advertising relies on a less-is-more call to action to stick in consumers’ heads.

Before you put out any radio advertisement, ensure that your targeted audience will want to hear it (or will pay attention when it comes on). Your message should be strong, clear, and united with your objective. An effective radio ad will always end with a call to action that prompts customers to stop in a store, go online, participate in a competition, or visit a social media page.


Because you have only a minute or so to make your mark on radio listeners, it is imperative that you understand the basics of radio advertising in Boston. An effective and thoroughly researched marketing strategy will ensure that your airtime will get your audience’s attention, establish your brand, and put your business in the spotlight. Written by Mark Keaney

Getting Results for Local Advertisers

Headline: “the business environment has changed”. Shocker, right? uh NO! This is one of life’s constants, change will always occur. As we start to wind down 2013, I have observed some things this year,  that I will be giving thought to in 2014. One of the old marketing models was to have annual events, or appointment events. Gone are the days of the “one day sale”, with its pent up demand and huge returns.  Now, everyday is a “one day sale”, Filene’s and Macy’s took care of that for the mass retailers.  Car dealers, retailers and shopping malls would put a lot of energy and marketing dollars into a focused effort driving the audience towards a one day event.  In the past, this would be very successful both in terms of visual response to the marketing message and sales totals at the end.  For those of you that have lived in New England a long time you may remember the Alpine Ski sales in Rhode Island, people waited for the tent sale and they were rewarded with great prices. Somewhere along the way people got too much of a “good thing” and they became immune to it. 

I can only imagine that the thought process went something like this: ” wow so many people came out for our tent sale and we made so much money, let’s have another one at a different time of the year.” That fever of chasing what was unique and special starts to burn out the consumer.  They just cant buy “XXX” 10 times a year, they just don’t need that many or that much.

I think there is another force at work as well, the ” ill do it my way attitude” of consumers.  Online shopping, bidding for items and services and our learned A.D.D,  has created an attitude in consumers that they will do it when they are good and ready.  People are being bombarded with messaging all day long, from their coffee cup, to the radio, the billboards they pass and the scrolling ads on their phone when they access anything.  It is increasing difficult to create urgency, when every message is, ” only today”, “best prices ever” etc.   People have developed a pretty astute filter to sort, organize and delete messages. 

Long term, consistent AND creative messaging may be more important that ever.  While this is not new, I think many advertisers have gotten away from the tried and true, the proven and the one that requires patience. Clients want the “wow”, the “pop”, people lined up around the corner ( ala Apple I phone demand).  For most local advertisers that just isn’t realistic.  I had a meeting today with a great, local client.  It was our first year working together and we were recapping the year, talking about what he liked, what he needed for next year and how I can help him moving forward.  In that conversation, it became clear to me, that as much as we want to herd potential clients to his business, when we say so, we can only build the road, and illuminate it to show them the way.  They will act, buy and mingle when they are ready.

As a local marketing professional I need to find ways to help deliver the “wow” the “pop” and the “sizzle” to my clients in a more effective way.  To be honest there is no secret to this ( if I find one I’ll let you know) and it would be different for every client.  I think 2014 will be a year of more long term branding for clients, sprinkled with targeting ROI campaigns, and the quest for the new driver of “wow/pop/sizzle”.  I would welcome a sharing of ideas of what you believe the new “one say sale” is or what may be  the newest version of ” tent sale 3.0″. In the meantime I am going to continue to develop and recommend marketing plans that achieve my clients needs and goals. I will strive to provide them as much frequency and exposure through out the year, so their name is out there, WHEN the consumer is READY.