Fri. Apr 19th, 2019

A BSM Top 10 To Make You More Money

“Small business owners love to talk about why they’re better than their competitors, and that’s exactly what this question will turn in to.”

It’s been a week of lists here at, with the 4th annual BSM Top 20 series being unveiled for 2018.  It’s great to see the recognition the format gets during this week and I’m sure the lists spark many conversations across the country.  I have absolutely nothing to do with the results, but I did thoroughly enjoy seeing so many names I’ve worked with through the years show up on the various lists.  Congratulations to all the people who were named on any of the lists and a big tip of the cap to Jason and the BSM staff for really putting a spotlight on all the great talent in our format.

In keeping with the theme this week, I present to you my Top 10 list of things you need to know about each of your clients or prospects:

10. Do they hold any major or annual sales or events?

In the “old days,” pre-internet, I remember reps getting sent to the library to look at old newspapers.  They’d look through all the ads from the previous year and mark down the dates of big sales or anniversaries.  Knowing your client’s annual calendar can help you get ahead in preparation and allows you to keep them in mind if opportunities pop up in their important windows.

9. What community efforts, charities or causes does their company support?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve used this information in a presentation over the years.  Being involved in community efforts, charitable events and causes is not only a great way for local businesses to support their communities and brand, but if the client is using it in their advertising, it’s good for the station as well.  

8. What misconceptions do they hear about their business or industry?

In a true marketing partnership, we bring the expertise in marketing and advertising and the client is bringing the knowledge on their business.  If they can help you identify misconceptions, you can use that information for copy ideas or even to help identify who to target with a certain message.

7. Who is their biggest competitor and why would people shop there?

Eight or nine times out of ten, the answer to this question will write your copy for you!  Small business owners love to talk about why they’re better than their competitors, and that’s exactly what this question will turn in to.  

6. Which of their products or services are considered their specialty or are things they like to feature because a higher profit margin? 

Now you’re trying to make sure you understand what they want to sell and what it costs.  This will not only help with copy or focus of a campaign, but it can also start to help you formulate a budget based on the main products they want to move.

5. Do they have any access to co-op from manufacturers?

Back in 2015, Borrell Associates did a study and found that almost 40% of co-op goes unused.  Sit down before you read this, but that’s around $14 BILLION dollars.  The Radio Advertising Bureau website has a ton of co-op information to help get you started, but this question should always be asked.

4. How will they measure the success of an advertising campaign?

This is all about making sure you’re on the same page with the client.  How success will be measured should be very clear from the beginning, so everyone knows the target that is being chased.  Both sides need to make sure the goals are reasonable, and you need to make sure the proper budget is being spent to match the expectations.

3. Who is their target market?

When it comes to who your clients are targeting, never assume you know.  Whether it’s age, gender, income, education or simply location, drill down as far as you can to the specifics of who they wish to reach.  Our first job in being the client’s marketing consultant is matching our products up with the audience they are trying to be in front of with their message.

2. What is their digital marketing strategy?

I know each-and-every one of you reading this is hearing this message from all directions.  This is where the money is, and they’re going to spend it with someone.  Might as well be with you, right?

1. What is their monthly budget?

You have to ask.  And when the first response comes that doesn’t in any way, shape or form answer your question, you need to keep asking until you get an answer.  I’m a big believer in the strategy of throwing numbers out in wide ranges to elicit some sort of response.  Whatever your strategy is, do whatever you can to get guidance that will allow you to know, up front, how serious they are about investing in their business.