On target

By | February 5, 2019

Let’s face it. Targeted marketing is not getting any easier. The broad, “something-for-nothing” promises of the internet have failed to materialize, and the thundering herd moves from fad to fad as though there really is a pot of gold at the end of the internet rainbow.

If you are inclined to be on the bleeding edge, the next big thing is interruptive voice ads where you can commandeer time on somebody’s Alexa or Siri function, and blast.

Kerry Knudsen

Not so long ago, distributors of wood industry products had no media access in Canada. In the mid-՚80s, there was nothing targeted at your market, so marketers had to spend time and resources in broader, not-so-targeted media. Largely, this meant machinery shows that were designed for metalworkers, and the would-be sellers of wood industry machines would exhibit and hope a forlorn group of searching wood-products manufacturers would wander by.

Things got so desperate that a group of suppliers, to include Bruce Akhurst, of Akhurst; Peter Feindel, of Taurus Craco; Richard Bluteau, of Cooper and Horton (SCM); André Normand, of Normand; Horst Petermann, of Homag and Claude Arsenault of Holz-Her approached a salesman for the metalworking magazine owned by Markham, Ont.,-based Action Communications and literally begged him to approach Action about starting a magazine for wood.

Action agreed, and Woodworking was born, which magazine I took over editorially in the ՚90s and created a reader-focused, original-content publication that has seen drastic changes of its own along the way since I left in 2005 to found Wood Industry.

I was watching the internet for opportunities all along, having had a continually active e-mail account since 1983. The provider back then was CompuServe, and I can still remember my old e-address: [email protected]. Media, after all, is my business. I remarked then, and I maintain now, about the only thing the internet does well is archive and search. Little did I know how right I would be, when the internet can archive the most mundane details and reveal them to the darkest searchers. Even such seemingly benign activities as on-line retail have recently taken on a more sinister hue as they become the world’s most powerful economic engines.

Unfortunately, many marketers and many media still think buying an ad is buying the medium. The object, they think, is to buy ink or pixels and a list. They think advertising is a product. It is not. Advertising is a service, and what media sell is not ink or pixels, but access to a responsive market.

The basis for a response in advertising, is, as in the rest of life, credibility. People have to trust what you are saying. Imagine a rocket-engineering firm where the assemblers could not trust the blueprint. It would be chaos.

Yet, contemporary media is still chewing the old bone of “it’s a numbers game,” and the more people you can hit the more sales you will make, accountability and trust be damned. This results in such irritations as your getting dozens of e-propositions a week, simply for allowing somebody to “notify” you. And if you think your customers are not irked, think again. We have surveyed them, and they don’t like being used as a bowery-pub dart board.

Magazines Canada – often a strong proponent of digital advertising – came out with its survey of media consumers recently, again reporting resounding responses by the public for print. Steve King has the data for you.

So, why print? Maybe the question is not print versus digital, but rather, “who do you trust?”

If that’s the issue, then a quick review of Wood Industry on your part might be in order. We have been around. We know the business. We are unique and offer original content. We are not a stenographer for “the big guys.” In fact, your competitors, Homag and Biesse, won’t even advertise with us because we won’t do as we are told. It is not “sour grapes” to point out that by disrespecting our readers, they are asking to be treated as they treat others. Producing bigger, newer or faster machines will not create quality or trust. Trust is what it is, and it is not gained by force or bribe.

In all, it’s for the good. The metrics are basic. The fewer energized and loyal potential customers their ads reach, the better for the rest of us.

Trust does not come from glad-handing and classy shenanigans. Trust comes from trial by fire. And trust begets trust. So when your customers look for answers, they look to Wood Industry and our associates.

Wood Industry is once again sponsoring Canada Night at AWFS in Las Vegas this July. This popular event is designed to show the world that Canadians are a viable and energized market by stepping out of the crowd at the show and having our own event. We are accepting sponsorships, and, as always, Steve has the answers to all your questions.

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