“Dear Gumas” – Volume 1

May 5th, 2015 Written by

Like most full-service advertising agencies, we receive lots of random calls and emails from well-meaning marketers looking for some quick advice and “simple” answers to various marketing questions. We thought we’d share some of the more colorful examples in a Marketing Smart segment we like to call, “Dear Gumas.” All questions that appear in these segments are real and the names of the inquisitors have been changed to deflect embarrassment.

“Dear Gumas,
I’m a Marketing Director in a small Northern California market. In today’s ultra competitive environment, every marketing dollar is precious and I am being judged on the results of my marketing plans. I need to be certain my advertising budget translates into sales. How do I guarantee maximum ROI with my ad spend?”

– Nervous in NorCal

Dear Nervous,
The popular marketing pioneer and former US Postmaster General, John Wanamaker might be most reknowned for his famous quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” In so many words, Wanamaker makes the point that advertising works, but there are no guarantees. Part art, part science, well-conceived advertising is designed to reach the right people at the right time for them to make a decision to buy. Of course, there are multiple variables that get in the way of this equation, including pricing, packaging, distribution and competitive environment to name a few. If you truly need to be sure every advertising dollar is trackable and ROI-based, then abandon brand awareness and focus on digital and direct marketing. Media that is sold on a Cost-Per-Click, Cost-Per-Action, Cost-Per-Lead, Cost-Per-Sale basis ensures that you are only paying for advertising that drives action. Of course, the quality of the offer has a direct impact on the success of the campaign. There are no guarantees in this world, but at least with the Cost-Per-Whatever approach, you’ll know how each ad dollar is performing.

“Dear Gumas,
We need a website. We are a pre-angel-funded technology start-up in Texas who needs a website towards which we can direct potential investors. Our technology is brilliant, but we’re a bit of a solution without a problem right now. We need a modern, whizbang website to show off our smarts. Can you help?”

– Anxious in Austin

Dear Anxious,
You’re not ready for a website. Until you know exactly what it is you need to say to your target audience (investor or customer) that will drive them to action, you will be wasting your money on a pretty digital picturebook. Challenger Brands like yours need to identify the meaningful messaging that will resonate with your target. Whether it’s an Elevator Pitch, a mantra, a themeline or even just a tagline, you must be able to articulate who you are, what you do, what separates you from your competitors and, most importantly, why a prospect would want to invest in you, work with you or buy from you. Get the messaging right first and then we can talk about drawing the pictures.


If you have a “Dear Gumas” question, please do not hesitate to email it to: editor@gumas.com. We’ll answer it immediately and possibly even publish it in a future Marketing Smart.

Until next time…

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