By John Eberhard

Do you feel like your advertising and promotion is not working as well as it used to?

You may have heard that we’re in a recession.

I say that facetiously of course, as how can anyone living on planet Earth have failed to hear about it over the last year.

Do you feel like your advertising and promotion has not been working as well since the beginning of this so-called recession?

One major component of any recession is the public’s perceptions and attitudes. In other words, the public at large has a perception that there is a recession. They agree that there is one. And their attitudes about buying things can change rather dramatically.

So we could discuss or argue about whether the recession is real or manufactured, but one thing we could not argue about is that the public’s perceptions and attitudes have changed.

So let’s say you have a business and you are selling a product or service to some segment of the overall population, to a “target public” as we call it in marketing. And you are using the same marketing campaign and the same ads or promo pieces that you were using before this big shift in perception and attitudes took place.

Well, a marketing campaign should use what are called “buttons” in its headlines and copy (sales text). A survey button is something you find out from a survey, that when you say it or put it on a promo piece, it gets a reaction. Usually it is a “positive” button – something a high percentage of people told you regarding what benefit they think they would get from your product or service. Or it’s a “negative” button – some problem or difficulty they expressed that your product or service would solve.

Whether you got them from surveys, or from talking to a lot of customers, or even from trial and error in your promotion, you are using buttons in any successful promo that you’re doing.

But what if you’re using buttons that you found five years ago, but the public’s attitudes and perceptions have now changed? Chances are that promo using that older button or buttons will not be working as well. Is that happening to you?

It is usual after one does surveys and finds out what his target public’s buttons are, to use that survey information for at least 2-3 years, or for that matter as long as it is working well.

But if you find that your promotion is not working as well these days, it may be time for you to do some new surveys on your target public. If you find out what their current attitudes are, it will be much easier to motivate them to buy something from you.

Some business people consider surveys to be too expensive. But there are some less expensive ways to get more affordable surveys done.

Surveying your target public newly at this time gives you a way to disagree with all the bad news and do something about it. It puts you more in control. And considering what’s been happening in the world over the last year, better control sounds good to me. How about you?