Awareness Drives Response


I read a lot about the latest and greatest technological advances in marketing. Every day I learn about a new system, or software, or plug-in, or application, or smart device, or Big Data dealio. Everybody and their brother has a new tactic for improving marketing. Many of them are useful, but some are not. The convergence of technology and marketing has made it easier to build a better marketing mousetrap.


As marketers we are constantly trying to improve performance and get our clients the best results, which means we have to fully vet new tech tactics. Just because something is “new and shiny” doesn’t mean it’s going to be worth the cost or effort. 


I have found that new technology may come and go, but old fashioned strategies still work. One of those marketing mantras I have repeated over and over in the last 30 years is “Awareness Drives Response.” This simply means that you must first be aware of a product or service before you buy it. Yes, it’s a very simple and easy-to-understand premise, yet many business owners forget this fundamental truth when forming a marketing strategy. My friend and business associate, Harry Garmon, managing partner of Top Of Mind Communications put it this way: “No one ever bought a product or service they weren’t aware of.” 


I recently met with a very smart business person who has used Google AdWords consistently for almost 20 years. In 1998, Google was a brand new technology. During that time he has seen higher costs and diminishing returns. Potential customers do not know his name, the name of his company, where they’re located, how many years they’ve been in business, what products they sell, what distinguishes his company from competitors, and how much his products sell for. His customers search a generic name for the product, see his PPC ad placed amongst 10 others on page one of Google and sometimes he gets lucky and they click his ad. Most times, they don’t. He makes one sale out of 40 clicks. If he revised his strategy and created awareness through brand marketing, he’d probably get one out of five people to buy his product. It makes me sad to think how many hundreds of thousands of dollars he has wasted over the last two decades. I only wished I had been able to talk to him in 1999.





Monday, July 15 – Traveling To The Rivah



On Monday we made our way down to Williamsburg and met with our clients from Two Rivers Country Club, a beautiful community, golf course and club, where the James and Chickahominy rivers meet. For the past month, we’ve been working on a Brand and Marketing Analysis, and offered up some creative marketing solutions. The meeting went incredibly well. Then I was off to the banks of the Rappahannock and my favorite little town of Urbanna, where I worked outside all day in 95 degree heat. All is well, because I had my fill of oysters and soft-shell crab. Special shout-out to a new place, The Half Shell and an old favorite, Virginia Street Cafe, for the great food and hospitality. 


Meanwhile, we all missed Communications Manager Kent Brockwell this week. He’s taking a well-deserved vacation on the “Redneck Riviera,” also known as Myrtle Beach. Director of Account Services Kaitlin Thomas missed him so much, she wrapped herself in his winter camouflage jacket and pretended to be him, minus the dip cup.






Tuesday, July 16 – Trendy








On Tuesday I was working on location, but still connected to everyone, thanks to my trusty smartphone. Along with the Madison+Main-ics, I spotted a midday trend on my social media feeds. And it got old. Real quick. (See what I did there?) A new iPhone app, called FaceApp, took the internet by storm. It instantly turns your photos into an 80-year-old version of yourself. The only problem is that the app was made by a Russian company that may now have access to all of my photos. (I hope Putin enjoys the one of me in a dress at the Chesterfield Chamber banquet.)


Another trend that may be getting old is Kombucha. It’s organic, gluten-free, healthy, and full of antioxidants. It also tastes horrible. I tried some this week. Look what happened.



Wednesday, July 17 – The Midweek Scoop








As you know, we do bold things at the Madison+Main headquarters. That’s why we threw a As you know, we do bold things at the Madison+Main headquarters. That’s why we threw a spur-of-the-moment sundae social…on Wednesday. I’ve been in the gym and out of the snack drawer for five weeks now but still spoiled myself with a sweet treat. Why? Simple. #ItsNotGonnaLickItself


Also on Wednesday, Account Executive Allison Throckmorton dropped off a plaque for our client Toby Town RVA. Their grand opening story made headlines in the Richmond-Times Dispatch and that is worth framing for posterity. Special thanks to Greg Gilligan for the awesome write-up.



Thursday, July 18 – Thanks For Letting Me Speak



Last night, I was invited to speak at the Westwood Club at the monthly WHIMBY meeting. (WHIMBY = What’s Happening In My Backyard). It was a great crowd and it was nice to see so many friendly faces. I was especially happy to see my friend Harry Garmon, who I quoted above. He won a bottle of the World’s Best Bourbon, complements of our client A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg, Virginia. #BoldBrandsWin


If you’d like to book me to speak at your next event, call Leanne Ferry, our super-friendly Marketing Manager. 804-521-4141.






Friday, July 19 – News Travels Fast








Last week I asked Warren Buffett for a favor. I needed newspapers delivered each day to our empty News & Advance box in front of Texas Inn. This week, we have newspapers. It’s nice to know that Warren Buffett reads my email newsletter. 


This morning, Creative Director Art Webb and Graphic Designer Erin Rebmann attended CreativeMornings RVA’s latest event to learn all about overcoming obstacles. The guest speaker was Executive Creative Director and Founder of Hue & Cry, Magnus Hierta. He spoke about focusing on the end goal so that you know where to begin. He uniquely started with a standing ovation at the “end” with his presentation and worked his way to the beginning.



A Few of Our Favorite Events


Watermelon Mojito Cocktail Release Party

Bold Rock | Nellysford, VA

July 26, 2019 | 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.


Grab your friends and family and join us July 26th to celebrate the release of Bold Rock’s new Watermelon Mojito Cider Cocktail! Remember: This is a cider cocktail and does not contain any spirits. Each guest will receive one FREE limited edition pint glass with the purchase of a cocktail. Limit one per guest — while supplied last! They’ll be featuring delicious eats from the Bold Rock kitchen and Moe’s Original BBQ from Charlottesville, as well as live music from 6 – 9 p.m. courtesy of Pat Anderson!



Lucy Corr’s National Night Out

Lucy Corr | Chesterfield, VA

August 6, 2019 | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.


Join us on Tuesday, August 6th for National Night Out: America’s Night Out Against Crime! They will have music, games, a bounce house, crafts, face painting, popcorn, and lots more fun — including an Blue Bunny ice cream truck. For more information on Lucy Corr’s National Night Out event, visit here.



2019 Bourbon and Beer Festival

A. Smith Bowman Distillery | Fredericksburg, VA

August 24, 2019 | 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


A fun event to start off fall. Join us at the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fairgrounds (2400 Airport Ave.) to enjoy bourbon tastings, local craft beer tastings, and cigars! Mix and mingle with local brewers, distillers, and new friends. A select number of Virginia wineries and cideries will be sampling their award-winning beverages as well. Live music will be on the Safford of Fredericksburg Main Stage.


Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!




“No one ever bought a product or service they weren’t aware of.”

— Harry Garmon