From the February 1997 issue of Entrepreneur

Anyone who can still sing the "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner" song knows ad campaigns can stick with you for a long time. In fact, according to a recent study conducted at Ohio State University in Columbus, advertising typically affects purchases for six to nine months--catchy, effective advertising, that is.

Determining your advertising's longevity can help you plan better timing and placement for your ads, says Robert Leone, the study's author. For instance, if you determine that your print ads are remembered for four months, you probably don't need to run them in a weekly publication; instead, space them farther apart.

Television, radio, magazines, newspapers . . . is one medium better than another for helping customers remember your product? According to Leone, how well and how long people remember your ads has more to do with the ad's cleverness. Also, remember that promotional ads--such as coupons and special discounts--usually enjoy less longevity since they're intended to get consumers to act immediately.

Stuck In The Middle

You learned how to cater to boomers. You even managed to come up with a unique marketing approach to attract Generation Xers. But are you ready for the Tweeners?

Technically, Tweeners--born between 1960 and 1965--are boomers, but according to marketing experts, their attitudes are a far cry from those of the typical boomer. "Younger boomers are more pessimistic and worried; they're more concerned about their personal economic situations," says Cheryl Russell, editor of the newsletter The Boomer Report.

How should marketers who previously lumped boomers in one huge mass proceed? Unlump--and assuage thirtysomething boomers' insecurities. "These boomers need reassurance," says Russell. "They're looking for a helping hand." Above all, "they need to be told that your products or services will help them achieve the American dream." If you can manage that, you'll be reaching more boomers than ever.

You Make The Call

Looking to develop a telemarketing program? Consider these 10 tips from Alert Communications Co., a telemarketing service bureau in Los Angeles:

1. Test your program first. Estimate the results you'll need to justify the costs. Give the test enough time to judge its effectiveness (you'll need to allow at least 20 hours per telemarketer just for the learning curve).

2. Assess the degree of difficulty of the calls to be made. "Don't hire an entry-level telemarketer to make a sophisticated sale," says David Kissell of Alert.

3. Write a complete script for your telemarketers to use. No matter the size of your company, Kissell recommends using scripts, at least in the beginning.

4. Use call screeners, such as your prospects' secretaries, as your allies. Verify with them that you're calling the right person and where to send information.

5. Role-play with your telemarketers. Have an objective observer comment on both the positive and negative points of the pitch.

6. Use direct mail in combination with telemarketing. "[Sending] a piece of direct mail before the phone call is a great door-opener," says Kissell.

7. Establish a follow-up and call-back system. "If I try to reach 100 people a day, the next day I can say `Here are my 20 hits from [yesterday]; they need to be followed up on,' " says Kissell.

8. Track outgoing call statistics. Use your calling statistics to identify your best lists and markets, as well as the best calling times. Also test which script works best.

9. Use your statistics to pinpoint areas for improvement. This will help you hone your telemarketing staff's skills.

10. Always reinforce the powers of listening. "Hire telemarketers who listen to what your prospects are saying and are not robots," says Kissell. "They need to listen and respond intelligently."

Contact Sources

Alert Communications Co., 5515 York Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90042, (800) 333-7772, (213) 254-7171;

The Boomer Report, 1900 Powell St., #800, Emeryville, CA 94608, (510) 652-9099.