DALLAS - "Advertising done properly solves problems," said Mike Morosi, the CEO of MultiMedia Advertising LLC, Binghamton, N.Y. "Advertising done improperly becomes the problem."

Morosi spoke to a group of contractors at the Associated Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (APHCC) of Texas at the group's annual convention.

He said contractors need to have a specific message in their advertising and promotions - a positive one.

"You need to manufacture good news because bad news happens all by itself," he stated. "Sometimes you do this by sponsoring a local baseball team or a cancer walk. But other times, you do it by advertising."

Morosi noted that many contractors don't seek marketing help when they need it. "Most contractors - without professional help - don't have a clue how to promote their company," he said.

Different Strategies

Morosi said that acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones involves several strategies. Strategies designed to maximize sales to past customers include using proven direct mail campaigns and handouts such as magnets and thermometers.

He differentiates between advertising and promotions. "I look at advertising as what you do to retain your old customers and maintain top-of-mind awareness," he said.

"Promotion is a way to get new customers and drive profitability.

"Effective promotions will stop you from losing money while keeping your overhead under control. But the long-term solution to success is advertising, not promotions."

Morosi talked about the effectiveness of telephone book advertising, noting that if a typical ad costs an average of $50 or more to get a customer, a business owner should consider changing the ad layout to resemble an ad with a proven successful national track record.

Morosi added that effective television or radio ads have a direct effect on a telephone book ad, as people are often drawn to print advertising with name recognition derived from other media.

Contractors must understand the demographics of their community and narrow down the advertising focus to fit the demographics, urged Morosi.

"If you want to be unsuccessful in advertising, try being everything to everybody," he said.

Morosi had one final secret to a successful advertising campaign. "If you advertise on the radio or television, you need a memorable telephone number," he asserted.

"Get a telephone number that is a word - and attach a catchy phrase to it."

Publication date: 07/11/2005