Billions being wasted buying missed messages
by Mike Boyd
June 15, 2007
Ever wonder whether those dollars that you’re spending on advertising are doing their job?
If you believe the most recent study issued by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, they’re not. The trade association says that advertisers waste $220 billion annually buying messages that reach the wrong audiences, or no audience at all. (I, of course, would be more than happy to be a completely captivated audience for even a tiny fraction of all those wasted billions — just in case any advertisers or agencies want to divert a few of those dollars my way.)
According to the folks at Copernicus Marketing Consulting it’s because companies fail to do proper research and planning before ponying up the big bucks for an ad campaign.
“When it comes to advertising, executives inexplicably abandon their usual business practices,” said Kevin Clancy, chairman and CEO. “They rely on advertising agencies to tell them how to spend their money — instead of vice versa.”
Research-based advertising campaigns, according to Copernicus, optimize the use of revenue.
“Research-based marketing may not be sexy, but it works,” said Peter Krieg, the company’s president. “There are scores of successful companies that prove it’s the most cost-effective, competitive way to go.”
Planning before spending money — what a novel concept.
No elbows on the table
Ever find yourself sitting at a dinner table with a dozen other folks and been totally oblivious to which water glass was yours or which of the umpteen pieces of silverware you were supposed to use? Fear not, help is available for the etiquette challenged.
Judith Bowman has written a book to help all of us who didn’t grow up licking sorbet off a silver spoon.
“Don’t Take the Last Donut: New Rules of Business Etiquette” provides all you need to know “so that you don’t lose your job position or business deal.”
Some of the tips include:
Order items that are easy to eat — not ribs, lobster, etc.
Eat a hamburger like a sandwich: cut it in half.
Do not dunk donuts in coffee.
For bread and butter, break you roll into small and butter them one at a time over your bread and butter plate with your own knife (more on this bread thing later for anyone’s who has ever been or felt southern).
Don’t wear a napkin around your neck, that is for children.
Always pass the salt and pepper together, do not just pass one or the other.
If your food is bad, try to eat it anyway: sending it back is not recommended in a business meal setting.
But the book isn’t all about just eating without looking like a caveman. Bowman also provides advice about how to be “confident and letter-perfect in any business setting — from pitch to presentation, from networking to contract negotiations and everything in between.”
After reading the news release, I decided I had to talk to her. (Confession time: I skipped the public relations agency and contacted her through the e-mail on her Web site. I know, I have to get over the problem I have with PR people. I do think I’ve done fairly well in not devoting any column space to my senseless ranting and raving about my clueless cousins in quite some time, though.)
Judy (we decided when we talked that Judy and Mike would be better than Judith and Mr. Boyd) and I played phone tag for about a week. It was mostly my fault for being out of the office on a semi-cross country adventure (which I’ll touch on in next week’s column).
When we were finally able to chat, Judy told me that she doesn’t believe that etiquette and manners have been lost, they’ve simply been misplaced.
Some of the reasons are the decline of the traditional family dinner hour and increasing number of single-parent households, which make it more of a challenge to have quality family time together.
“We’re in a fast-paced society and unfortunately some of the basics have been compromised,” she said. “We are competitive. People are working hard and working and lot and something has to give. The good news is that people are aware, and making an effort.”
And the easiest way to make that effort if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation is to “become sponge-like.”
Judy’s advice is to watch and emulate. And if you are a guru of business etiquette, you should do your best to help remove any anxiety that those of us who aren’t might be feeling, she said.
Making everyone around you comfortable is really the key, so sometimes you simply have to throw the prim and proper out the window.
“The beauty in knowing the rules is knowing when it’s OK to break them,” Judy said. “Break the rules and go along so it is cohesive and you put people at ease.”
By this time in the conversation, I knew that Judy was my kind of gal. But I was a bit worried because I thought my last question was something that only someone born or raised below the Mason-Dixon Line could appreciate.
I wanted to know whether there was any way that sopping (using your bread to soak up all that tasty gravy and such that always seems to be left on your plate after a good meal) might pass the etiquette test.
To my amazement, the world has embraced one of the cornerstones of Southern eating. Of course I can’t really imagine anyone I grew up with following proper etiquette when cleaning up the last vestiges of a chicken-fried steak dinner, but there is a way to do it right.
“You can sop,” Judy said. “Break off a thumbnail size of bread, pierce it with a fork and then sop.”
Seems like with enough reading and emulating, even the reddest of us rednecks might be able to pass for polite society. I might just have to try some of this newfound advice out at The Broadmoor (just need to remember not to drive an old ratty pickup truck — dead giveaway).
Mike Boyd is editor of the Colorado Springs Business Journal.