Don’t Baffle Customers with Bafflegab

By Tim Murphy, EVP, Corporate Business Development, Audacy

And the word of the day is… bafflegab. defines the noun bafflegab as “(slang for) confusing or generally unintelligible jargon; gobbledygook.”

It’s a delightful-sounding word, but it describes frightful-sounding communications – and unfortunately, the way many media and marketing sales pitches can sound to small- and medium-business advertisers.

Such pitches can dazzle potential clients with information and case studies depicting all types of data and metrics: trackability, accountability, attribution, precise targeting that eliminates waste, and dynamic content that engages prospects. Fees come with an alphabet soup of acronyms: CPL, CPA, CPC, CPM, CPT, and CPO (abbrieviations for cost-per lead, acquisition, click or call, thousand reached, or open of an email, respectively).

For people whose day jobs don’t include advertising and marketing, these pitches are often unnecessarily overwhelming and complex. But what if sales pitches were simple, from a true customer perspective, in language everyone could understand?

Focus on the “Cost-Per-Blank”

First, let’s forget about your marketing or advertising capabilities – what is your customer’s “blank”?

Every business or organization has a ”blank” – an outcome it’s trying to drive through marketing or advertising. It might be awareness, phone calls, form fills, 50 units moved this weekend, butts in seats at an event, sign-ups for an email database, Facebook “likes,” attendance at a webinar, downloads of a white paper, or participation in a promotion or contest.

Once you ask the “Cost-Per-Blank” question, you’ll discover endless possibilities as you engage in two “levels” of productive dialogue with your potential client:

  • Level One. Many small- and medium-business owners need help identifying and prioritizing their most important “blanks.” A simple, competitive analysis can help them organize their thoughts before they start spending money on marketing and advertising.
  • Level Two. Aternatively, the business owner might have a focused and thoughtful plan for the best “blanks” to drive, but not be able to quantify the value of each “blank.” For example, the client might know a phone call from a qualified lead is “valuable,” but not know what it is worth. If you truly want to go beyond being a “vendor” to becoming a “partner,” help the client determine the value of that phone call. Examine the data together, determine the close rate from phone call leads, find the average order size and renewal rate, calculate the lifetime value for each qualified lead, understand the expenses, and calculate lifetime profit.

Here’s how it works.

  • A landscaping service closes 40 percent of its qualified calls, averaging $2,000 order size.
  • It garners a renewal rate of 50 percent, with each renewal averaging $3,000.
  • The profit margin is 50 percent.
  • For every 10 qualified lead phone calls, the business generates $14,000 in revenue, and $7,000 in profit.
  • A smart business owner will want to pay less than that $7,000 profit for 10 qualified lead phone calls – a reasonable rate might be closer to $4,000.
  • So as the “Cost Per Blank” becomes “Cost Per Qualified Phone Call,” with an actual metric of $400 per call.

Then, once you know the customer’s expectation of success, you can explain whether your marketing and/or advertising solution can deliver – even if it means converting your metrics from CPM or any other cost-per basis, so you’re talking the same language.

And if the client buys your service, you need to monitor progress, optimizing and tweaking throughout the campaign to ensure that success. For example, you sell an endorsement deal for a morning host to tell listeners the landscaping firm is first-rate and worth contacting at a unique (trackable) phone number. You recommend a two-week flight of 100 spots at $200 each for a total of $20,000. You had better be sure it generates at least 50 quality calls! (50 calls x $400 cost per call = $20,000, recouping the customer’s investment.)

Replace the bafflegab with simple math that starts with filling in the customer’s blanks.

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