Archive for March, 2014

Consumer Team Interviews Mike Quincy on Best Cars

(Dallas-Ft. Worth)   Consumer Team host Pete Thomson calls the Consumer Reports annual auto issue the best source of automobile information available anywhere.   Mike Quincy, a key contributor to the CR auto issue will join Thomson for a series of interviews for the next 3 weeks on The Consumer Team, Saturday from 5-7PM on 1080 KRLD.

Commenting on the special Consumer Team automotive broadcasts, Thomson said, “Mike Quincy is one of the country’s top authorities on cars.  He’s a big contributor to Consumer Report’s annual auto issue and we’re delighted to have him on the broadcast.   Our listeners will be able to get some great information from our series of automotive interviews.”

According to Thomson, the interviews will cover areas where consumers are the most exposed to bad decisions.   He added, “One of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is buying a car that has received bad ratings.  On our interviews with Consumer Reports, we’ll review their top picks for new 2014 vehicles and their top-rated used cars too.  Beyond that, we’ll discuss how to use Consumer Reports’ website as a resource when buying a car.”

Thomson said that he considers the Consumer Reports research and data very objective.   He added, “Consumer Reports is the gold standard when it comes to consumer research.  First, they accept no advertising.  Beyond that, they buy every vehicle that they test.   As a result, the research data is very objective.”

Thomson and The Consumer Team have been critical of car business, especially the tactics of dealerships.   Thomson said, “The deck is stacked against the consumer when it comes to buying a car.   If a consumer goes into a car dealership without preparation, they can really be hurt financially.   On The Consumer Team our goal is to help our listeners be prepared.  With the proper preparation, consumers can come out of the process in one piece and with a good car to boot.”

The Consumer Team, one of the most listened to locally produced consumer advocacy talk radio programs in nation, airs weekly on CBS Radio’s 1080 KRLD, Dallas-Ft. Worth.  The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, TX.

 

Small Business: Don’t Overpay for Advertising

(DALLAS-FT. WORTH)  Consumer advocate Pete Thomson recently wrote that small business owners need to be very careful about overpaying for advertising.   Thomson’s full Op-Ed, which appeared on the website for McQ Media, details circumstances where small business can pay up to 30 and even 50 per cent too much for marketing campaigns.   Thomson, host of the weekly Consumer Team talk radio program, worked in radio and television spot sales for over 20 years.

A major obstacle facing business owners, according to Thomson, is time.  Thomson wrote, “Every day, small business owners juggle a number of  important priorities.  From HR to customer relations to paying taxes, their plate is full.  Because they often approach advertising and marketing on a very part-time basis, business owners ultimately pay way too much for their advertising.”

Pete Thomson - McQ Media

Pete Thomson – McQ Media

“Media Pricing 101”

Advertising is a commodity.   According to Thomson, “Like other supply-driven commodities, media inventory pricing is based on available inventory.  Just as seats on a plane flight are sold for a wide range of prices, media inventory is sold in a similar fashion.   Still, many business owners that buy media are not aware of price fluctuations that exist because of seasonal conditions or other factors that can impact inventory pricing.   These factors can include length of advertising campaign, pricing dictates from inside a media company, the experience of your media rep and even the advertiser category that is assigned to a client by the media company.   As an example, the rates charged to local businesses can often be vastly different than those charged to regional and national advertisers.   Because they’ll pay it, small business often pays a premium rate.   This pricing nuance has always seemed strange to me.   Small businesses, with limited resources, can often pay more than brand advertisers with much more robust budgets.”

Getting More For The Advertising Dollar

Thomson details several strategies for small business owners wanting to maximize their advertising investment.

Set an Expectation with Media:   Thomson says, “I encourage business owners to set ground rules from the beginning of a discussion with any media seller.  Start with notifying your rep (or manager) that you’re expecting competitive rates and that you’ll be vetting their presentation and pricing.”

Get Multiple “Bids”:   Like getting a second opinion on a major transaction, Thomson says that getting multiple ‘bids’ is very prudent.   “It’s amazing how competitive media companies will become when they know you’re also engaging the competition.”

Demand an Experienced Rep:   According to Thomson, about 30% of media sales people turn over every year.   He recommends, “Successful business owners don’t have time to help a media company provide ‘on the job training’ for a seller.   If you’re contacted by a media rep, insist on learning about their background before you agree to meet with them.  If they’re new to the business, either ask management for another rep or make sure a manager is closely involved on your account.”

Get “Real” Advertiser References:   Thomson recommends going deeper when asking for advertising references from a sales rep.  Thomson said, “The question goes something like ‘Give me the names 3 businesses that you’ve helped in the last 120 days.’  Then, ask for 2-3 businesses that advertised but didn’t renew.   What happened?   What did the rep learn from the experience?”

Negotiate For the Long-term:   “Media companies love long-term, annual deals,” Thomson says, “By negotiating on an annual basis, you’ll get the best rates and most generous added value.  Just make sure to include a 30 day cancellation clause in the terms.”

Timing is Everything:   Thomson says that booking at the right time can save yield big savings.  “Buying media at strategic times of the year can yield significant savings.   The period of Dec 15 to Feb 15 is generally a ‘buyers market’.    Media companies have just released new annual budgets and managers and sellers alike are under-the-gun to get the new year kick-started.   The ‘dog days of summer’ (July 15-September 15) can also be good.   Because of vacations, buying generally slows down during this period.  Times to Avoid:  October 1-Dec 1 and 60 days prior to any election.  Christmas and the political campaign season are difficult times to clear spot, let alone get a good deal.”

Get Help From a Specialist:   When selected properly, a competent advertising agency can more than justify their expense, according to Thomson.  “The pricing issue is one of several important variables that need to be addressed when buying media inventory.  Other items on the success check-list include creative, cost-per-point and cost-per-thousand measurement and negotiation for added value.  A competent agency can deliver a valuable and essential service to the advertiser.   Agencies can be hired on both a commission (percentage of the buy) or retainer basis.  Regardless of the arrangement, an effective agency will deliver significant efficiencies to a small business owner.”

Editor’s Note:   Pete Thomson is a 30 year broadcasting and marketing veteran.   He’s held positions in programming, sales, sales management and general management.   Thomson is now President/CEO of McQ Media, a Dallas-based advertising and marketing firm.   Thomson and McQ Media are activity in consumer and small business advocacy.  McQ Media produces the weekly radio program, The Consumer Team.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consumer Team: Hybrids Not Worth the Cost

(DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TX)   For consumers thinking about buying a hybrid vehicle, The Consumer Team radio program recommends that you reconsider your decision.  “Hybrids aren’t worth the additional cost”, commented Pete Thomson host of The Consumer Team, heard Saturdays 5-7PM on 1080 KRLD Radio.   Thomson added, “Based on our research, we believe that hybrids aren’t quite ready for the mass market.”

Hybrids:  Not a good deal yet, according to The Consumer Team

Hybrids: Not a good deal yet, according to The Consumer Team

The Consumer Team recently aired a segment discussing the costs of hybrid ownership.  Joining Thomson was Consumer Team automotive expert, Richard Walsh.   Walsh, a veteran of the auto industry and owner of Auto Locators of Texas, cited specific math on the payoff for hybrid technology.   Thomson said, “The time required to break even on the extra cost of a hybrid just doesn’t make sense for consumers.   In many cases, we’re seeing a 7 year period to reach break-even, which is longer than many people keep a car.”    Adding to the overall cost of owning a hybrid are higher maintenance costs.   Thomson added, “We’re finding that local, independent mechanics are not comfortable working on hybrids, which means that consumers are required to use franchise dealership service departments, which are more expensive.”

Will hybrids make sense someday?   “Absolutely,” Thomson said, “But right now, consumers who are trying to save on fuel costs are better off buying a high MPG gas powered vehicle which can get over 35 MPG.   That’s good mileage but without having to incur the additional costs of a hybrid.”

Thomson has been critical of the automobile industry on The Consumer Team.  He said, “Several surveys have shown that consumers don’t like the car industry.  They don’t like the tactics, tricks and lack of transparency.  It is because of these problems that we are so excited to have Richard Walsh of Auto Locators of Texas on The Consumer Team.   Auto Locators of Texas offers outstanding pre-owned vehicles at fair prices in an environment that people find very refreshing.   They’re an outstanding addition to The Consumer Team.”

For more information on The Consumer Team, go to http://www.myconsumerteam.com   The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, Texas.

 

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