IDENTIFYING the problem is the key to real understanding.

Identifying the target is often the most important part of the marketing process. Many times, a company overlooks obvious information within their own database. For example, a software client marketing software to architects hired AIM to purchase media. In reviewing his records (by size of company in terms of employees and annual sales), we were able to identify that the majority of their current customers hold single licenses for the software, and that they are small to medium-size firms. Our recommendation was to avoid advertising in any of the print publications, and utilize direct mail since these firms can be easily targeted, thereby avoiding waste.


Reach can be defined in many ways. One of those ways is making sure you cover the “entire” marketplace. In examining one of our client’s customer files – a major distributor of products in one state – we asked ourselves: how is the coverage by magazines in that state compared to this customer’s file? We pulled all the BPA WorldwideSM statements from the four leading trade journals and added up the circulation: it did not equal 30% of the customer’s file. We then asked, “What are we buying when we recommend advertising in those magazines?” In other words, we got a really new picture of what “reach” actually means! This is only one example of how we redefine marketing processes and words and make them work for – not against – our clients.


Frequency is the preferred strategy, but sometimes, you can use frequency AND size in innovative ways. For example, one client had a very small budget compared to two major competitors who were running spreads in every issue of the two major architectural publications.

The innovative AIM media strategy was to select just one of the major publications and run a “carpet bombing” tactic. Our media buy was an opening volley of four consecutive pages for one month, followed by the same consecutive pages the next month. We then ran one page in the magazine each month for the remainder of the year. We predicted what would happen, and the client was delighted when it came true. First we generated unbelievable readership and leads. Second, the competitors reacted predictably. After the first volley, not much, but after the second four-pager, one competitor pulled their advertising, firing their agency. It disrupted the marketplace, and for a time, our client had a distinct advantage!


If you look close enough and long enough, you can usually find a pattern. We were studying leads for one client and turned up a single inquirer who came in 26 times in different issues of three magazines as “different” people. We exposed this pattern using addresses and cross-reference directories.

The client concluded that this was a “literature collector.” Not so fast… AIM called this person and he turned out to be one of their best customers who loved the client’s products and just liked to have the latest literature. But you wouldn’t have known that unless you saw the pattern, then confirmed it. One of the names he used was Cody, his cat. Imagine! They had been fulfilling leads to a cat! In fact, this customer lived near the corporate headquarters and drove past the building every morning going to his shop! The company honored him with a tour of the facility and all the literature he could carry!