Would You Use Meat Loaf in Your Targeted Small Business Marketing

Paul Flood asked:

Copyright (c) 2008 Paul Flood Marketing, LLC

Entrepreneurs know the importance of a targeted small business marketing strategy. Many make the mistake of doing what big advertisers do. Rock icon Meat Loaf is in a great commercial but the product and company selling it are easily forgotten. Learn a lesson on how not to advertise

Remember Meat Loaf (born Michael Lee Aday)? His album Bat Out of Hell, released in 1977, has sold nearly 40,000,000 copies and was on the charts for over 9 years. He is also featured in a new commercial that is running pretty frequently on TV.

The ad features Meat Loaf as a dad whose son is begging him to get him a cell phone. He’s singing about how he won’t run up the minutes. Personally, I am a fan of Meat Loaf and I like the commercial. He includes some lyrics and riffs from Paradise by the Dashboard Light, which I’ve always thought was a cool tune.

The other afternoon, I heard the commercial and started singing the tune in my head and realized I had seen the commercial several times and could not think of the company or brand of the phone! Now, I’m thinking this was a fairly expensive production because in addition to Meat Loaf, Tiffany is in the commercial and they are probably fairly expensive talent to hire.

After all of this expense, I couldn’t relate a brand or a product to the commercial! I kept an eye out for the next airing and saw it was for the AT&T GoPhone. Think of all the money spent on the ad. They did a lot of things right like using celebrity endorsements, a good tune and an entertaining spot. But it really made me wonder, why couldn’t I think of the company or the product?

What could you do differently if were considering a similar TV ad as one of your primary small business marketing tools ? For one thing, a bit more focus on the product instead of the production. You could easily think of special offers that would give prospects a reason to buy soon. I’ll bet a contest to have dinner with Meat Loaf or win a free “Bat Out of Hell” concert DVD would attract buyers. You would have a tracking mechanism to see how many inquiries and sales were generated. What if they had a toll free number, 1-800-MeatLoaf, to call and get a special offer and find out how to download the song to iTunes or even a ring-tone? The marketing folks could track response and the ROI on the ad. What if there were a contest to be in a commercial with Meat Loaf?

But instead, the focus was all on creativity and entertainment. I’ll bet the ad will even win an award but I still think ads should be written to sell the product now, not build a brand or win awards. My guess is that you can’t afford Meat Loaf in your ads but remember, when you do advertise, it’s about making money, not building your brand. Brands don’t put food on the table, sales do. When you spend money on marketing, either do it yourself of find a professional whose goal is to increase your profits and is willing to guarantee results, not just earn a commission.

The commercial may not be on TV too long but you can catch it on www.youtube.com. Search for Meat Loaf AT&T. This version is a 90 second commercial that does a better job of naming the product than the spot on TV but it still could have soooo much more potential as a source of REVENUE instead of a brand. When you think about branding as a strategy, ask yourself if you want to get your name out there or sell as much of you product or service as possible and build a strong and loyal customer list as quickly as possible.

For the small business marketing tools to add to your toolbox, go ahead and think about branding. However, your brand needs to be strong and you should strengthen it with incredible products and service or with your Unique Selling Proposition. Build your brand using marketing that creates prospects and leads. It is just as expensive to get your name out there with a compelling offer and reason for a client to buy from you now as it is to just get your name out there. The difference is the ROI. The Meat Loaf commercial offers no way to measure the ROI and small businesses can’t afford to throw scarce marketing dollars up against the wall and guess at the ROI.

Here is a powerful small business marketing tip when it comes to a brand-building strategy: If your financial planner came to you with an idea to spend $10,000 on marketing as an investment, you’d think, “What will my return be?because she is a trusted advisor. Use the same standards with your marketing, advertising and media reps. Ask the question: “What is my projected return and how does it compare to other marketing investments?When the rep tells you the value of impressions, ask for some statistics from other advertisers regarding the ROI of the ads and spots they are running?

After you watch the YouTube video, see if you can help me out. Why is Tiffany holding a leg of lamb when she enters the commercial set? Maybe there is some reference I don’t remember from Meat Loaf’s earlier days. He was quite a theatrical talent!

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