The gentle vibration of the road mixed with the sounds of the Dave Brubeck Quartet was the perfect antidote to my challenging week at the office. I was resting my head against the passenger side window and the dappled sunlight danced on my closed eyelids. Although I was slowly being lulled into sleep, I felt the car begin to slow and eventually come to a complete stop.
“Would you look at that? Camping for only $25 per night. The campground’s just two miles away. Do you want to go?”
I slowly and reluctantly opened my eyes to see my white Boxer, Margot, perched in the driver’s seat – one paw on the wheel and another pointing to a billboard at some unfamiliar rural crossroad. Surprisingly, I was less taken aback that my dog was driving and talking than I was that she asked for my opinion before taking action. Typically, Margot never asks for my opinion or approval before she rummages through the garbage or lies in the dirt.
“I didn’t realize you liked camping,” I replied as I stretched and sat upright.
“Oh I don’t. I detest it actually, but it’s only $25 dollars…$25 Master!!!”
“That other billboard suggests we fly to Bermuda. I’m sure we’d all enjoy a tropical getaway,” said an unknown voice from the backseat. I turned to find Benjamin Franklin, bifocals resting across his lower nose, pointing out the window with his sausage-like index finger.
“Sounds good to me,” I responded rather impressed with my nonchalance at finding a founding father in my backseat. “Follow that arrow to the airport, Margot. We’re going to Bermuda!” Next thing I knew we were at the ticket counter, Mr. Franklin sporting a Hawaiian shirt, Margot in a sarong and me in my underwear (why does this always happen to me?).
“That will be $595 for your tickets plus a $25 per person no-luggage fee…your total is $674,” said the ticketing agent.
Margot, now in board shorts, and me, still in my briefs, turned to the Mr. Franklin who stepped forward and proudly presented the agent with a string of wampum, five shillings, a few pieces of eight and a beaver pelt.
“I cannot believe you got us all excited about Bermuda when you had no money to pay for it!” I scolded Ben minutes later as Margot drove us out of the airport. “Why would you do that?”
“It certainly sounded grand didn’t it?” said Ben completely unfazed. “How about a cruise? I hear they’re fun.”
We pulled into a gas station to fill up and were presented with the choice of a red gas pump or a blue gas pump. I studied the information on each trying to determine which brand would take us farther.
“Confound it boy, just start pumping. The petrol’s on me,” said Ben waving the beaver pelt in the air.
I was extracted quickly from my dream by my alarm however my surreal adventure remained on my mind as I entered the Electrum Marketing office. Over my fifth cup of coffee, a client called.
“Do you think I should place an ad for my business in the Palm Beach Post? I heard they’re running a special offer.”
“But you don’t have any locations or customers in Palm Beach.”
“I know, but it’s a super low price.”
“I think we can find a more targeted way for you to reach your potential customers.”
“Oh I hear the Business Journal is a good way to reach businesses. Let’s place ads there.”
“Great. What’s your budget?”
“Ummm, maybe not. By the way, we ran ads last week in two different trade publications. Which one got the better response? Perhaps we can place more ads there.”
“I don’t know. Was I supposed to monitor that? Is that important to know?”
Before I could respond with my soliloquy on the importance of targeted campaignsand post campaign measurement, I was startled by Benjamin Franklin who was standing beside my chair blotting my face with a damp cloth. “There, there sir.”
I was jolted out of my sleep by Margot licking my face. As I emerged from my dream state, INCEPTION had certainly occurred. I would make it my mission to teach the importance of the following practices:
- Look beyond attractive offers and place your efforts only in areas beneficial to you.
- Set a budget and maximize it through a targeted focus, contracts and frequency rates.
- Measure results. Ask your customers how and why they patronize your business.
- Stick to your strategic plan. Do not get distracted…not even by a founding father waving a beaver pelt.