HUNTSVILLE, ON, Canada — Doug MacMillan suggests that the best way for contractors to stretch their advertising dollars is to achieve the “perfect marketing mix.” He is the owner and president of Barrow Communications, a Guelph, ON advertising and public relations company.

“A perfect marketing mix [for the budget-conscious] is a combination of activities,” said Mac-Millan. “It is consistent and also reactive.”

The problem, he said, is that consumers are hit with an average of “5,000 advertising messages a day and can only retain six or seven of them.”

MacMillan said there are different types of marketing mixes:

  • Mass marketing — A wider, broad reach, getting to as many people as possible; an expensive approach. “Make it a good message because people only give junk mail about four seconds of attention before they throw it away.”
  • Micro marketing — The opposite of mass market. There is a greater ability to target and pinpoint the audience. “This direct mail should include some type of response mechanism to gauge its effectiveness,” said MacMillan.
  • Directional marketing — Customers have already made the decision to buy and visit Yellow Pages, classified ads, or a website.
  • Nondirectional marketing — Considered intrusive because consumers aren’t looking to buy.
  • MacMillan said businesses do not need to continue to push their company history and reputation on customers if they have already made the decision to buy.

    With that in mind, MacMillan suggested seven ways to set up a marketing strategy and 10 tips to stretch a marketing dollar.

    Set Up The Strategy

    1. Invest the time.

    2. Do a “strength-weakness-opportunity-threat” (SWOT) analysis with your staff.

    3. Have fun; encourage new thinking.

    4. Identify your objectives.

    5. Define realistic expectations.

    6. Empower someone to set up a marketing strategy.

    7. Revisit, revamp, and revise.

    Stretching the Dollar

    1. Implement a “pulsed” ad campaign, which is not a regular day-by-day campaign.

    2. Utilize media stories in place of media ads.

    3. Learn printing tricks (e.g., create a formatted newsletter and run large volumes). Ask printers if they have any excess card stock to use for your newsletter.

    4. Take out smaller ads in the newspaper; place less emphasis on ineffective Yellow Pages ads.

    5. Utilize the web.

    6. Host a public relations event.

    7. Target your market.

    8. Stand out from the clutter.

    9. Create a co-op with local businesses in order to share advertising/marketing resources.

    10. Keep a “brag book” (pictures of your best jobs).

    publication date: 09/24/2001