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Beaver's Business Sprouts New Leads: A Marketing Allegory, Part 5

Beaver's Business Sprouts New Leads

Stepping out of his office for some fresh air, Charlie Hatchet hurried down the path to the main trail that ran past the Moosepicks’ warehouse and then wound deeper into the forest. Not that he would admit it, but the fresh air was just an excuse. The real reason he had come outside? He had just seen Flyer Squirrel drop off the day’s mail.

Stuffing his hand into the knot hole in the big old oak along the trail, Charlie pulled out a wad of mail. He sorted through it eagerly—did it come? Ah, yes, there it was. The weekly issue of Nutshells.

Normally Charlie didn’t go nutty over the arrival of Nutshells, but this week was different. This was his first time to advertise in the weekly paper, and he couldn’t wait for a rush of orders. If the ad works, he thought.

Charlie's first Nutshells ad

Opening Nutshells, he skimmed over the ads until his eyes caught the distinctive gold and brown Moosepicks’ brand colors. The ad looked great. Ricky Redcap was a top-perch designer. The colors combined with a clean, professional look were definitely eye-catching and attractive.

But Charlie knew the power of the ad wasn’t just in the design. The headline boldly announced: Teeth Trouble? Moosepicks Bring Relief.

The effectiveness of the advertisement—if it worked—wouldn’t be just in how it caught the eyes of moose, but how it addressed a need and offered a solution to make their lives better.

Charlie had read the ad plenty of times before, but he ran his eyes over it again anyway. It was only two sentences: “The irritation of a piece of bark stuck between your teeth can kick the joy out of your day. Moosepicks kick the bark and restore the joy.”

The advertisement included an image of a moose grimacing as he vainly struggled to remove a piece of bark with his front hoof. At the bottom of the ad was a call to action inviting moose to request a free leaf-let about Moosepicks and healthy teeth.

Charlie headed back to his office, pushing the new Nutshells ad to the back of his mind as he tackled his to-do list for the afternoon.

When the first moose stopped by the next morning, Charlie was ready. He had firm instructions from Fred Squirrel to ask each customer where they had heard of Moosepicks. Charlie didn’t really like the extra hassle this created, but figured he would give it a try. But as it turned out, this moose had seen his neighbor with a Moosepick, and had not even seen the ad in Nutshells.

Charlie waited all that day in suspense, but no one mentioned seeing the Nutshells ad. He told Hannah about it when he got to the lodge that evening. But Hannah wasn’t worried. “The paper has only been out one day,” she said. “You’re acting like a kit who can’t wait for Christmas!”

Charlie implements more of his marketing plan

Charlie was no longer on edge four weeks later. The “Teeth Trouble?” ad had run every week and seemed to be having an impact.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but we racked up 63 leads from that ad this month,” Charlie told Karl Skunk. Karl had stopped by to chat and had brought up the Nutshells ad. Now they were seated on a log outside the Moosepicks warehouse enjoying the cool breeze. Karl had chosen the downwind end of the log, Charlie noticed.

Charlie went on. “I kind of wish I could keep running the same ad, but I’m planning to switch to another one for next month,” he said.

“Why stop now?” Karl asked, leaning forward. “If the ad works, just keep using it. What’s stopping you?”

Charlie hesitated. What would Karl think of him for following Fred’s Squirrel’s advice? He took a breath and said, “Fred Squirrel and I have worked out a marketing plan for the whole year. The plan calls for swapping out Nutshells ads every month.”

Karl Skunk wrinkled his nose. “Sounds like a waste of time to me,” he said. “My advice to Porky Pine was to keep using the same ads all the time. Simpler is better, you know.” He looked at the sun and slipped off the log. “Gotta go now, but keep me posted on how your fancy marketing plan works out!”

Charlie watched Karl’s tail bob down the trail until the skunk was out of sight. He makes it sound so easy, he said to himself. But I’m going to stick with my plan. Fred Squirrel has always been able to help me before, so I’m not going to jump ship now.

Karl and Charlie

The headline of the next ad was Save Your Teeth for Life! It focused on the benefits of healthy teeth, one of the results of regular Moosepicks use. Charlie noticed with interest that, based on the leads it generated, the ad seemed to be most effective with the older generation. Charlie and Fred had not intentionally targeted older moose with the ad, but it must have resonated with them.

If an old moose had bad teeth, Charlie knew Moosepicks couldn’t bring back their healthy teeth—a rotten tooth was a rotten tooth. But what intrigued him was how these grandparent moose often bought Moosepicks for their children and grandchildren. He made a mental note to mention this to Fred Squirrel.

In fact, the “Save Your Teeth” ad resulted in a record-breaking sale. Miles Moose was one of Charlie’s heroes and had even endorsed Moosepicks. When Miles’ brother-in-law bought 28 Moosepicks, Charlie was so excited about the sale that he offered free delivery. His kits delivered the order that very afternoon, getting a break from their normal production work.

Charlie runs ads on Cloudpuff

The weekly Nutshells paper was not the only place where Charlie invested his marketing dollars. He had also started advertising on Cloudpuff.

He wasn’t very familiar with Cloudpuff, having not used the service himself very often. It was a new technology that had emerged in the forest and was getting a lot of use among the younger generation of forest folk.

Cloudpuff worked this way: small Cloudpuff twig switches were deployed throughout the forest on signposts and at events. Flipping the twig resulted in a message appearing directly overhead. Flipping the switch three times in quick succession allowed interested forest folk to send a voice message back to the advertiser.

One thing Charlie learned about Cloudpuff was that it allowed advertisers to run three messages simultaneously. It rotated through three messages, displaying a different message each time the switch was flipped.

He asked Fred Squirrel which three ads they would start with. Earlier, with Ricky Redcap and Clifford Crow’s help, they had created a whole series of different ads. Each ad communicated one of six marketing messages they had developed. Which of the six messages should they use for their Cloudpuff launch?

Together they decided to use the “Teeth Trouble?” and “Save Your Teeth for Life” ads they had been using in Nutshells. They chose Miles Moose’s endorsement for the third message.

“If you can keep doing the extra work of finding out where your leads are coming from, this Cloudpuff series will help you quickly determine which of these three messages is most effective,” Fred pointed out.

Charlie runs ads on forest signposts

Large signposts were a common sight along major forest trails, but until now, none of the signposts had ever sported a Moosepicks ad.

To be honest with himself, Charlie was a little bit nervous about signposts. They weren’t cheap. What if he lost a lot of money? On the other hand, he trusted Fred Squirrel’s advice and he knew the marketing messages they had developed were right on target. Furthermore, the Nutshell ads seemed to be working and he had just started getting leads from Cloudpuff.

Though he was a little anxious about the signposts, Charlie knew exactly which message he wanted to run. He had arranged to rent three signposts, and he wanted to focus on Moosepicks’ quality. After all, quality was Charlie’s main focus and this ad message hadn’t even appeared anywhere yet!

Fred Squirrel doesn’t seem to quite understand the importance of quality, Charlie thought for the tenth time. This ad would be a strong sell. It would communicate that Moosepicks were easy to clean, were made from a sap-free wood, and had a sharp centered point.

Charlie could never quite forget Porky Pine’s cheaper toothpick, and he felt it was high time that he start drawing a distinction between his product and Porky’s product. He could hardly believe how rough and ugly some of Porky’s toothpicks were. They kind of got under his skin, really. Hannah sometimes laughed at him when he ranted about them, but he liked the nickname she had given them. “Pork chops,” she had called them.

But when Charlie told Fred that he planned to use the quality-focused ad on all three signposts, Fred pushed back. “You would be better off to try different ads simultaneously in case one of them performs poorly,” he told Charlie.

But Charlie was determined. “I have to get the point across. Everyone needs to know that there is just no comparison between Moosepicks and ‘pork chops.’”

“Careful with your comments, there.” Fred smiled. “Remember, Porky has a viable business, too. He just serves a different target market than you do. You should be glad that he is helping to promote the toothpick industry.”

“I never thought of it like that before! I’ll need to soak on that for a while but you might have a good point.”

Charlie reviews his progress

Back when Fred and Charlie had created the Moosepicks’ marketing plan, they had built review meetings into the schedule every three moon cycles to check up on their progress and discuss the upcoming actions Charlie needed to take.

In preparation for the first quarterly review, Charlie gathered all the lead tracking forms he had so studiously filled out. He knew Fred expected him to have data ready for their meeting, and he didn’t want to disappoint. He got to work tallying up the information.

When the day arrived to meet with Fred, Charlie was ready. He handed Fred a birch bark filled with numbers. “For a person who doesn’t like math, I did pretty well, don’t you think?” he asked with a grin.

Fred agreed, praising Charlie not only for his meeting prep but also for keeping good records over the last three moons. “That makes our job so much easier,” he said. “Measuring and tracking is an important part of marketing.”

Fred and Charlie added up the amount of acorns Charlie had spent on advertising in the last three moons. They divided that amount by the total revenue from sales, and were disappointed to discover that they had missed their goal of a 10:1 ratio and only managed a 10:2 ratio instead.

“Let’s see which ad messages performed the best,” Fred suggested.

“Save Your Teeth for Life!” was a clear winner, generating 94 leads and resulting in 63 sales. They had been big sales, too, because that particular ad was the one that attracted older moose who almost always bought at least two Moosepicks. But that had not been enough to lift Charlie to his sales goal.

“It seems that there are plenty of leads coming in, but sales are not high enough,” Fred said, pulling on a whisker and twirling his tail at the same time. “What can we do about that?”

Next month, read how Charlie and Fred continue to tackle their marketing challenges. Will they be able to increase sales without overspending on marketing?

Moral of the story

Is your advertising generating a steady stream of new leads? You need strong, clear messaging that connects with a person’s real needs and offers them a real solution. In addition, try to connect with people on an emotional level, not just a logical one. By tracking results, you can discover which ads and advertising outlets are the best performers. But as Charlie is starting to learn, generating leads is not enough...

Can you relate to Charlie Hatchet’s challenges? Rosewood Marketing is your Fred Squirrel for the real world. Would you like someone to walk alongside you to help solve your marketing challenges? Call 717-866-5000 or e-mail