“Gang, I’ve assembled you all to help me bring down Leapin’ Larry’s Luxury Lemons. We’ve got three weeks, $3,000, and a whole lot of enthusiasm on our side. After we’re done, we are going to rule the used car trade here in Toad Suck, Arkansas!”

“Yes, Crazy Al! How far do you want to take them down?”

“Send them all the way back to the big city they came from!”

“Sounds good Crazy Al, is that $3,000 per day?”

“Son, are you leaking brain fluid while you speak? $3,000 is the entire budget for this campaign.”

“So Crazy Al, for that amount of money you want us to push Leapin’ Larry out of our territory?”

“I’ll accept nothing less.”

“If I might be so bold sir, with that budget, we can irritate them and maybe even anger them, but that won’t be enough to push them back more than a few feet. We could push them from inside Chili’s to the parking lot behind Chili’s.”

“Son, that’s all I care to commit to this campaign at the moment. And what are they doing at Chili’s anyway?”

“That Awesome Blossom, sir, it’s . . . awesome!”

“Well son, those are my orders and anything short of success will mean the end of Crazy Al’s Crappy Cars.”

“It’s been nice knowing you Crazy Al.”

“What?”

“Nothing sir; we’ll do our best.”

Sometimes, a company can launch itself or a new product with a creative, highly engaging Super Bowl commercial. That’s the one time that the needle can be moved in a short amount of time. And that’s about a $5M investment. And you’d better hope that 50 million of those viewers don’t take that precise moment to visit the bathroom!

Another way to get some serious brand recognition is to be involved in a major financial scandal or an oil spill resulting in pictures of sad oily birds making the evening news. Then you’re good; everyone on planet earth will remember your company’s name, forever.

If you don’t have $5M handy and you value the good name of the company your grandfather founded, then you’ll have to find another way to market your goods and services.

COMMITMENT

If you want to make a big commitment to marketing your company, you can expect to see a big difference in recognition, engagement, and sales. Your efforts are simply pushing aside the efforts of those who are spending less time and money on the battle.

If you want to make a little commitment to marketing your company, you can expect to see a little difference in recognition, engagement, and sales. Your efforts are still making a difference because there are those who are still spending less time and money on the battle.

There is a low end, but too low is a no-go.

Too little of a commitment is simply a waste of money. At the “too low” end, there is no one spending less time and money that you can get ahead of.

It’s an insanely busy marketplace and now that high-speed internet is ubiquitous, even Aunty May has entered the arena with her homemade jellies that she’s selling by the pint and offering free overnight delivery.

And everyone is fighting for the same ad space, for the attention of your customers.

It’s a bit of a battle. And all successful battles are well financed.

If you want to see a five to ten percent increase across the board, you need to think in terms of hiring a marketing company for 40 hours a month at the minimum. There is a lot of work to do and a great deal of it has to happen even before the first shots are fired.

PLANNING THE BATTLE

Who are you? Even if you know who you are—and this isn’t always the case—someone has to translate that into words, images, and stories.

What are your goals? World dominance or just Arkansas dominance? Given your market, what is a reasonable share of the market you can capture? There’s only so many people looking to purchase left-handed scissors. Or maybe there’s a vacuum that can be filled.

Where can you be effective? Trial and error is required here.

Where are your potential customers? Are they online? Do they drive the highways of America looking at billboards? Are they hip or are they square or is it hip to be square?

Can we upgrade your current customers?

How strong is your brand? Is there low-hanging fruit just waiting to be plucked or is the tree bare?

You’ve got to be more creative, more dedicated, and spend more money than Leapin’ Larry if you hope to take his place and it’s high time for a new used car dealership to assume the throne in Toad Suck!

Now let’s go and get those fools out of our beloved Chili’s!

With offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Ca., New Target provides digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, web development, branding, website hosting, and creative services for prominent nonprofits, companies, and government.