It’s Not a Toolbox, It’s a Marketing Mixer

A successful small business must move away from the simplistic “consumer contact point message” triangle.


I am sitting in this meeting. The guy at the front drones on and on about the latest and the “bestest tool in the toolbox”. I am thinking “if he says ‘push the envelope’ or ‘out of the box’, I’m leaving”

Naturally, the next phrase out of his mouth is “and we are very happy to bring this tool that will allow you to push the envelope and think out of the box”

I try to leave. My hands are glued to the table and my feet are tied to the chair.

Familiar nightmare?

I have been a fan of the music industry since my 20’s, when I was a rock & roll photographer for a music magazine. One of the key success factors for a successful piece is the mixer or, as we call them, the producer.

Have you ever seen a record being produced?

The producer sits at a huge table full of sliders and knobs. The sliders address the individual mikes and break down the instruments by their sound spectrum (low to high) and the knobs adjust the volume given to each one.

By mixing all the different sounds, a producer then crafts the track. It is not a simple thing. The going rates for producers are around $30,000 per track according to trade magazines, but a star producer will charge many times that figure.

To the point: Planning today needs to move away from this non-sense of “toolboxes” and “tools” and other discrete “things” and realize that your Persuasion Platform must adapt to the fluidity of your consumers.

Or, to put it succinctly: Everything moves in a continuum

Media Mixers in day to day planning for small and medium-sized businesses

Strategic Planning in advertising is not really that complex.

There are only three major variables:

1.Your consumers

2.The touchpoints to reach them (your media)

3.The message you put in the media to persuade the consumer to do whatever it is that you want to persuade him/her to do

When addressed in old-fashioned ways, however, many advertisers over-simplify everything:

1.They focus on one consumer, often, on a really broad, unrealistic, mythical one. For example, Women 18-49.

2.They treat media binarily (well… THIS is television and THAT is digital…)

3.They think in terms of THE message



Forgetting that, in real life, the cycle is like this:

You have several consumer groups, the members of this group consume different media at the same time and for different reasons and no single message will be effective in every situation.

A quickie grid

Even if you are a small business (say, a 2 person CPA firm) you can still apply the same principles to your advertising with a relatively simple grid:


So, a good first step is the simple task of understanding your customer base. Let’s say you are a small CPA firm.

Next- Exploring a range of target groups and a media planning strategy

Marcelo Salup
Marcelo Salup
Marcelo Salup's 30+ years career in advertising covers a wide range of everything. A wide range of roles -he began his career on the creative side, won 2 Addies, changed to media, included strategic planning and consumer insight and has been an agency owner several times. A wide range of venues: Spain, Latin America, International and the U.S.  A wide range of clients that go from automotive through banking, electronics, fast food, soft drinks and much more. His professional philosophy can be summed up in four words: “Only performance is real”. Today, he runs a successful strategic planning consulting,  Website