Advertising Above The 60th Parallel

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Aug 25, 2023 by Sean Luce

 Recently I have spent time with advertisers and marketers in the Canadian north -- the Yukon Territory -- in a city called Whitehorse. Being somewhat of a history buff, it was always one of my dreams to come to where the last great gold rush happened at the turn of the 20th century which was located in the Klondike region of Alaska and the Yukon. Whitehorse is the largest city above the 60th parallel. We figured that late April would be warm enough for flatlander Sean. The weather on my trip was a whole other story. How did those gold rushers go over the Chilkoot pass in the dead of winter? Ugh.

The seminar was a big hit and congratulations to Rush 96.1 for perfect execution. You impressed me by putting some of the biggest powerbrokers in the city in the same room at the same time. After a few million miles of speaking and consulting, I'm not easily impressed. After our 90-minute seminar, the advertisers had a chance for me to come and visit them personally and explore more in-depth their current advertising, and if I could offer some tips to them. The seminar was on Tuesday, and we offered up Wednesday through Friday for the follow-up calls. We were overwhelmed with the response and could only manage to fit in18 calls -- 6 per day. Is advertising above the 60th parallel any different than below it? No. It's the same and the basic principles of marketing in today's new media have similar threads no matter if you're in Whitehorse or Timbuktu. The only things that change are the media outlets to advertise with.

When you give a seminar, you try to focus on and emphasize certain points. For example, in the seminar, my advice on running advertising is to drill home one idea at a time. My goal was to offer expertise on my experience, how you should advertise and approximately how much of your money you should allocate to specific media as an advertiser.

On the 18 follow-up calls, to a person, came back the impetus of the seminar. I try to make it easy for advertisers to remember, so I use an analogy of warfare and I believe marketing is warfare -- just marketing warfare -- and you have to know how to execute a marketing campaign so you win. Losing in marketing warfare can be very painful and very expensive. On the 18 follow-up calls, to a person, came back:

1) Air Force: Your "Air Force" drives the top-of-mind awareness in the mind of the consumer. Not everybody shops price and item. Some people still shop at the business that comes to the top of their mind. Price is a consideration -- it's just not always the number one consideration. Trust, credibility, superior service, and name recognition play a huge part in the top-of-mind battlefield. Radio, TV, cable TV, and Internet display advertising do an outstanding job in driving awareness when people first come into the buying cycle for a product or service. Based on how people shop today, from the NPD Group's Consumer Tracking survey 2010, 45 percent of people shop top-of-mind awareness. Invest 45 percent of your money in top-of mind-awareness media with a message that rises above the clutter.

2) Ground Force: Once you have established control of the "air" -- and in warfare, if you don't control the air, you will not win the war -- it's time for the ground force. Fifty-five percent of people today shop price and item. This is where the ground force comes in --your print, direct mail, yellow pages, outdoor, magazines, and hand-to-hand combat with your POS and POP materials inside your business. Your ground troops and tanks have a better chance of succeeding when you have dominant air power in the skies. Depending on the ground force media in your market, and if you can dominate without spreading your money around, invest up to 30 percent of your money in the ground force.

3) Special Forces: In reality, and in today's warfare, the "Special Forces" go in first and identify the points of opportunity where you can take a laser beam to your targets. No different in your marketing warfare. This is where the Internet comes into play along with your mobile and social media advertising. Your "Special Forces" enhance your traditional "above the line" media and make your "Air Force" strike their targets with better precision. Some markets have superior "Special Forces" that can take up to 70 percent of the advertising dollars. Your "Special Forces" can build up both top-of-mind awareness/branding and is also very potent with direct-response advertising. Most markets, however, do not have top-flight Internet domains to dominate in advertising and it can become hit and miss on the Internet. Mobile is starting to come on and your social media is starting to become more utilized and effective, though in most cases a retailer cannot survive on social media alone. If you have a normal market, you should allocate up to 25 percent of your money for your "Special Forces."

The above is a guideline on where and how to allocate your advertising dollar. If you spread your money around and do a little bit here and a little bit there to satisfy the media reps who call on you, then take your money to Las Vegas. It will go further and you'll feel a lot better. Scattershot, spray-and-pray advertising is not effective. As in warfare, focus and dominate "share of voice" in your Air, Ground, and Special Forces media mix.

Also, Slovakian born Ms. Eva Bidrman (General Manager of Klondike Broadcasting) gets a distinguished service medal for hanging with me minute by minute, hour by hour, and call by call over an entire week. Well done, Eva. You're the only person I know that has ever done that.

You can reach Sean in the midnight sun at or at



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