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Word Power

Make no mistake about it. Words are powerful. They have been used to motivate, inspire, and invigorate. Think about these leaders: Lincoln, King, Reagan, Winfrey, and Kennedy. Their words painted an audio portrait of a world where slavery could be abolished, character is more important than color, walls get torn down, women lead the way, and a nation can reach for the stars.

The words used by these trail-blazing leaders derived their power from the actions behind them. The vision their words invoked were brought to fruition through commitment, determination, and often times, sacrifice. Words without corresponding action never quite reach their full power potential. Those words are still influential, but their power is more destructive in nature; eroding one of the most foundational of all natural resources: Trust.

Appreciation. Value. Service. These are just a few of the words businesses use in marketing campaigns to express their gratitude for their customers. Your time is valuable, your business is appreciated, and it is a pleasure serving you. That’s what their words say.

Do the actions match?

It’s not hard to tell a caller placed on hold that you appreciate them and that you understand the value of their time. However, leave them on hold for extended periods, subject them to the same ‘appreciation’ message repeated every twenty seconds that promises you will be ‘right with them,’ then leave them on hold indefinitely means that your actions are in direct contradiction to your words. This hypocritical approach not only gives on hold advertising a bad rap, it robs you of the positive power your words have with the one marketing tool you already own.

John F. Kennedy said, ‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’ As a business owner, the best way to let your customers know how much you appreciate them is how you treat them; not what you tell them.

Default music from your VoIP phone system? Don’t think so. Cookie-cutter messages with royalty-free music? Not for your customers. Let your competitors follow the herd in that type of approach to on-hold advertising. Besides, following the pack has never been your mentality anyway.

‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’
– Emerson

Make sure your actions match the words you use with each caller. Treat them to a professionally produced, creative on-hold advertising program from Woodstock Media Group. Then, program your phone system to make it easy for them to more quickly reach a real, live person. And, if a caller has to leave you a message, make sure you return that call immediately – every time. Those are the actions that put power behind the words appreciation, value, and service.

These actions may not seem like much to the casual observer. They may not spark a movement, launch a media empire, or tear down a wall. But for your business, they will build something invaluable with every one of your callers: Trust.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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The All-Star Game

It’s All-Star week, a much needed break in professional baseball.  The All-Star Game is a chance for fans to see all of their favorite players in one place. These are the best players at their position, and being named to the All-Star team is a tremendous honor.  It means that they are the one player who can be depended upon to deliver in the clutch – every time.

What a fantastic opportunity. Getting to see all-star players like second baseman Ildemaro Vargas, catcher Victor Caratini, and pitcher Jean Machi.

What do you mean you’ve never heard of them?  Each of them has been named to the All-Star Team this year… for the 2017 AAA All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington.

That’s right. Minor League Baseball has an All-Star Game with everything you’ve come to expect from the mid-summer classic. Media day?  Check.  Home Run Derby? Oh, yes. The best players in the league battling it out in the All-Star Game? Of course.

Just because these players don’t register with top of mind awareness for you does not diminish their productivity. These all-stars are getting it done. Heading into the break, Vargas is hitting .305 with a .795 OPS, Caratini has a .957 fielding percentage, and Machi has a 1.17 ERA.

When it comes to advertising, many businesses get caught up in focusing on ‘major league’ marketing venues like TV, radio, and print. Those are all excellent vehicles for getting the word out about your business.  However, it is the ‘minor league’ marketing vehicles like on hold advertising where you lay the foundation of sustainable success for your business.

On-Hold Concepts from WMG leads the league in batting average by reinforcing your image with professionally produced and creative on hold advertising programs. It is said in baseball that no one bats 1.000, but on hold advertising does.  It reinforces your image with every caller, every time.  This ‘Cal Ripken’ of your marketing team never has an off-day or needs a day off. On hold advertising is the iron man that continues to produce, day in and day out, at an all-star level for you and for your customers.

In baseball, teams who try to win by focusing only on filling their roster with the biggest names in the major leagues end up with nothing but an astronomical payroll and a mortgaged future.  The Yankees have proven the futility of that approach this decade.  Developing a solid minor league system is the key to sustainable success in baseball and in business.

Enjoy the All-Star Break.  Then take a serious look at your minor league system.  If you are serious about building for the future, there is only one name you need to remember: Theo Epstein.

But, if you want to treat your callers to all-star service every time they call, contact On-Hold Concepts and put US on hold.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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The Finish is Golden

The Golden State Warriors are NBA Champions once again. They proved the pundits right. But, it was far from a foregone conclusion at the start of the final game of the series. It was close. Dangerously close, up until the end of the fourth quarter.

In the 2016 version of the NBA Finals, the Warriors looked unstoppable. No other NBA franchise ever won more regular season games. Golden State was the easy favorite throughout the playoffs and found themselves up 3 – 1 in the championship series against Cleveland. No team in NBA history had ever lost the finals with such a commanding lead. But that is exactly what happened. The Cavaliers came back and took it all, winning the title in seven games.

The Warriors were a great team. But, they lost the series simply because they couldn’t finish.

Such a monumental collapse could have a lasting effect on an organization, possibly even sending this Top-Gun into a flat-spin that is unrecoverable. But that was not the case. They did what all great organizations do when things aren’t working. They evaluated what happened, formulated a plan, and made the appropriate changes.

Golden State got to work immediately. Within two weeks of losing game 7 to the Cavaliers, the Warriors started making changes. They restructured their already talented line-up to bring in the premier free agent on the market – Kevin Durant. Golden State changed their roster, the roles of their players, and the focus of the organization moving forward was clear: Finish. Strong. It took the Warriors a mere 15 days to institute the change that would bring them the championship one year later.

How long would it take you to make a change after learning that the quality of your on-hold program is costing you business?

Unfortunately, many businesses fail to follow in the footsteps of the Warriors and make a course-correction. For some reason they choose not to institute the changes necessary to facilitate a different outcome. They continue their course, hoping for a different result – the textbook definition of insanity.

It is puzzling that businesses are unwilling to change, even when faced with the reality that their on hold program is generating a negative response. Tones that blare into the ear of your caller every 8 seconds are frustrating. So is the default music from your VoIP phone system provider that starts from the beginning every time. This type of ‘business as usual’ approach to on hold programming is as tired and worn-out as the Cavaliers were in the closing minutes of Game 5.

Essentially, your on-hold advertising is the final moments of a championship game; and what you do determines whether or not you win by securing a satisfied customer, or lose to the competition once again.

On-Hold Concepts from WMG is a professional and creative approach to on-hold advertising designed specifically for a single purpose: To help you finish strong with each person who calls you. We believe everything we do will help your business grow by harnessing the power of a captive audience. If you need a change, the answer is simple. Put US on hold.

The Warriors have learned how to finish.

Now it’s your turn.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Stay to the End

Okay, this has been bothering me for a while now. The basketball universe is broken. The powerhouse franchises of the NBA are in Cleveland and Oakland? Los Angeles is a basketball wasteland, and Boston was just happy to be in the same building with LeBron James during the Eastern Conference Finals. Do you really expect me to believe the Chicago Cubs are the reigning World Series Champions?

Something is definitely wrong.

This disturbance in the force is even more unsettling when you look up and the Warriors and Cavaliers are battling in the NBA Finals. Again. For the third year in a row. Major League Baseball at least has catchy names for their classic championship clashes: The Bay Bridge Series or the Subway Series come to mind. But, Warriors vs. Cav’s will go down in history as the Groundhog’s Day Series. You tune in for some NBA action and all that comes to mind is, ‘Haven’t I seen this one before?’

Advertising campaigns can be like that. You feel like you are sending the same message out to your audience over and over and over again. You begin to fear that the primary response to your marketing materials is not increased awareness or brand reinforcement – but, boredom. Or even worse, indifference.

The Warriors breezed through Game 1 and Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Their average margin of victory was 20 points. The games weren’t even competitive. Pundits are not giving the Cavaliers much of a chance in this series. After watching this level of ‘competition,’ you’re probably thinking, this has got to impact TV ratings and ultimately league revenue. Right?

You are absolutely right.

Ratings were up 8 percent over Game 2 from last year. That’s right – they went up! Increased ratings means increased audience share which leads to greater exposure for advertisers which creates the potential for increased revenue – for the network and the advertiser.

Stay the course with your advertising. Your perception that the audience is tiring of your message is not reflecting reality. Remember, you hear your messaging all day every day as you seek to build your business. However, your audience is sifting through a myriad of messages from a multitude of sources which inundates their lives daily. The consistency of your messaging throughout the advertising cycle, from your introductory ads all the way through your on-hold program will reinforce your image in the mind of your audience members.

Two years ago Golden State beat the Cavs in six games to be crowned NBA Champs. Last year, the Warriors won the first two games of the series and everyone thought it was over. Cleveland came back and won the series in seven games. That’s why you stay to the end. You never know what will happen – and that intrigue keeps you engaged to experience what happens next.

At Woodstock Media Group we specialize in on-hold programs that make you want to stay to the end. Our programs are creative and designed to help you engage your captive audience. Listen to this one.

You don’t have to settle for boring. In basketball or in on-hold advertising.

Well, maybe in basketball. Definitely in soccer.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Rule Changes

Blame 1984. No, I’m not talking about the novel by George Orwell. It’s the year the NFL instituted the Excessive Celebration Rule. This rule is one of the primary reasons the NFL has been given the moniker as the No Fun League. That’s because at the end of a big play, a player would celebrate – then receive a penalty. It is one of the weirdest rules in all of sports (not counting all the crazy unwritten rules in baseball). Do something well, celebrate the accomplishment, then get penalized. It’s just not right.

Thankfully, at the NFL Spring Meeting in Chicago this week, the decision was made to relax the rules on celebrations. Commissioner Roger Goodell stated in a letter to fans that this change was brought about to, ‘allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays.’ All I can say is it’s about time. Goodell went on to say that in the interest of sportsmanship, offensive demonstrations will still be penalized. So, to sum up: Celebrations, Good. Offensive Demonstrations, Bad. It only took 33 years for them to figure it out.

You may be thinking how silly the NFL looks in all of this, but you need to know that many businesses are making a similar mistake when it comes to their on-hold advertising.

Let’s break this down. You do something well. You have a great product, fantastic service and your external marketing campaign reflects that. Members of your target audience react to the success of your business and your marketing efforts. They are so excited they want to experience it personally! They celebrate by taking the time to call your business to learn more. That’s when the penalty flag is thrown.

Their call is treated to a dizzying array of voice prompts that make it almost impossible to reach a real, live person. Then, when they miraculously come up with correct combination of digits followed by a pound sign, they are placed on hold and hear music recorded by a teenager back in 1989 or tones that beep in their ear every 10 seconds. Or worse, they are greeted with silence.

You’ve been on hold. You know what it feels like to be penalized this way.

Make a decision to reward your callers for contacting you by treating them to a professionally produced and creative on-hold advertising program from Woodstock Media Group. We specialize in creating an audio portrait of your business that matches your overall marketing campaign. Reinforce your image on hold and help your callers celebrate their decision to reach out and contact you.

You can learn something from the NFL. Institute a rule change at your business to make this right and allow your customers to enjoy proper celebrations every time they call.

Just don’t wait 33 years.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Sound Reasoning

Sometimes a story is just what you need.  Other times, a sports analogy can illuminate a point just right.  Then, there are times when all you are looking for is a reason.

Once upon a time a blogger sat at his keyboard, fed up with ‘celebrating’ when the Seattle Mariners crawl their way back towards average.  Sports radio hosts generating conflict around whether or not a controversial quarterback might be signed as a back-up for the Seahawks left him cold, numb, and frustrated – like a caller placed on hold, subjected to bad music…for an hour.

So today there will be no story. No analogy.  Just facts.  Here are three reasons why businesses choose Woodstock Media Group for their on-hold advertising.

  1. 24-Hour turn-around time for approved copy.

When you make a decision, you want results. Fast.  We provide the fastest response time in the industry. Once you approve the copy, it is voiced, produced, and ready to go the next business day. It’s that simple.

  1. Technical issues responded to within the hour.

Problems happen with technology. Problems should not occur when you need technical support.  Nothing is more frustrating than requests going without response for days on end. Our user-friendly technical staff is here on-site, standing by, and happy to help. If for any reason you have to leave a message, your call will be returned within one hour.

  1. Assistance and expertise provided at every step.

You are busy running your successful business.  The last thing you need is a program that you have to write, produce, program, and manage yourself. What we do best is focus on, and help you with, everything to do with your on hold program – from content to equipment. That way, you can focus your precious time on what you do best.

Many on-hold advertising solutions feature the ‘freedom’ to do it yourself.  That doesn’t sound like freedom – more like added responsibility for you.  One-time purchase, DIY solutions, or one-size fits all programs make it easy – for the on-hold company. It places a burden on you and that’s not right. Which is why choosing a professional, full-service company like Woodstock Media Group for your on-hold music and messaging is so appealing to thousands of businesses across North America.  You deserve to receive the same level of service from your on hold company that you provide to your customers every day.

We consult with you to make sure we craft an audio portrait of your business that fits like a glove. Then, we handle all the details that help you reinforce your brand with every caller placed on hold. It’s what we do every day.  But that’s not the end.  It’s the beginning of the on-going relationship that allows our marketing specialists to help you ensure that what you are saying on hold changes right along with your business, both now and in the future.

At Woodstock Media Group, We believe everything we do will help your business grow by harnessing the power of a captive audience.  That’s the reason we exist. And, sometimes, you just need a reason to put US on hold.

Then you can live happily ever after.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Change-Up

As you may know from reading these posts, I love sports and see them as a metaphor for life and for business. Lessons learned on the field have helped define the boundaries of many successful businesses just like yours across the country.  In researching companies – from sole proprietorships to large corporations like 3M, I’ve learned this axiom: Thoughtfully planned and well executed changes can be powerful. Last minute changes often lead to negative results.

My daughter plays softball for a high school team ranked top 10 in the state, which is exciting for a program like theirs.  Yesterday, they played the first place team in their division, the #2 team in the state.  It was a magnificent pitcher’s duel. The intensity increased with each inning, along with the excitement as both teams made great defensive plays to keep the other team from scoring.

The coach had an excellent game plan for pitching to their potent line-up and specifically to their star player. Our pitcher executed the plan perfectly, recording 12 strikeouts over all – including striking out their best hitter twice.  However, in the bottom of the 6th inning, she came to the plate a third time. There were two outs with a runner on first. Our pitcher was ahead in the count 0-2. The coach made a last minute decision to stray from the game plan and called for a change-up.  She was waiting for that pitch and deposited it over the left center field fence for a two run home run.  The game was ultimately decided by a change that was made at the last minute.

You have a marketing game plan that is executed to perfection throughout your external campaign.  You go to great lengths and expense to paint a portrait for all potential customers so they will envision what it is like to do business with you.  The stage and the expectation level is now set. Your campaign encourages them to contact you.  They pick up the phone and call.

That’s when they are treated to a last-minute change.

The personal touch you promise gets lost in an auto-attendant induced labyrinth where they can’t reach a real person.  The ambiance you clearly created through your external campaign is clouded by cheap on hold music that sounds nothing like the portrait you painted.  The attention to detail you profess is erased because your external marketing campaign is not matched by the actual experience of those who call you.

That is not a change-up that you want to call.

At Woodstock Media Group we specialize in matching your internal advertising campaign with your external marketing efforts. We create an audio portrait of your business with on-hold advertising, so there are no last-minute changes to your game plan. Callers placed on hold are treated to the same ambiance you created with the attention to detail and personal touch they expect from a business like yours.  Not every on-hold company can do that – which is why you should put US on hold.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Designated For Assignment

DesignatedForAssignmentThose are the three most dreaded words in the life of a Major League Baseball player. It’s that moment when the organization believes that you are no longer worth the investment due to your lack of productivity. That moment came last Sunday for Leonys Martin. In the span of 12 hours he went from starting in Center Field for the Seattle Mariners, to standing on the pavement hoping for another team to give him another opportunity.

That is not likely. Martin’s salary for this year is Five Million Dollars. Not many teams would be willing to shell out that kind of cash for a player hitting .111. The bright spot for the Mariners in this early, yet dreadful start to the season is young Mitch Haniger. The rookie is batting .338 with a .600 slugging percentage; not to mention, Haniger’s OPS is off the chart.

Scott Servais, the Mariners’ manager and GM Jerry Dipoto both spoke publicly about the difficult decision to place Martin on waivers. After all, Leonys is beloved in the clubhouse and his positive outlook has an infectious influence on his teammates. Plus, Martin factored heavily into their plan heading into the season as they made multiple transactions to generate more runs per game. As hopeful as Dipoto and Servais were about their plan going into the season, they had to make the tough call and make a change. They both said this is a results-generated decision.

Mariner players must have been listening, because after the decision to release Martin was announced, their bats came alive and they scored 11 runs in their final game against Oakland that afternoon.

When you look at your marketing budget, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign; specifically the return on your investment. Are you getting the results you projected with your TV, radio, or outdoor advertising? The money allocated to these facets of your campaign is significant. Think about this. Radio, TV, Outdoor, even Newspaper—all have listeners/viewers that you’re spending money to reach. But how many will actually end up doing business with you? Now compare that with your on-hold advertising budget, where every dollar you spend touches nearly every person who calls your business—and, at a fraction of the cost. There isn’t a penny wasted with on hold advertising.

The leadership of the Mariners made the tough call to move away from their $5 Million Dollar Player and focus on a virtually unknown player who is giving them three times the production at one tenth the expense. This decision was not based on a whim, it was based on results.

Emotionally, it is a difficult choice to make. Think of the investment you made! But when you look at this in terms of running a successful business, it is an easy decision. Three times the impact at one tenth the price? Sign me up.

Put US on hold. The professional team at WMG will help you take advantage of the most cost effective, results-driven marketing tool that directly impacts 100% of your customers. That’s every caller, every day, every time.

As for the Mariners, their ‘success’ on the field continues. Their second game after releasing Martin they scored 9 runs. The only problem is they gave up 19. Well, tomorrow is a new day.

For them and for you.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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On-Hold In-FOCUS

FOCUS On-Hold AdvertisingHealthline.com published an interesting article recently on the differences between Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  The primary difference is simple to distinguish – no hyperactivity with those dealing with ADD.  A person with Attention Deficit Disorder isn’t hyperactive or impulsive, but shows symptoms of inattention or easy distractibility.

Callers placed on hold are similar to those who are dealing with ADD. They are easily distracted, paying little attention to your on hold music and messaging.  Can you blame them?  I mean, have you heard some of the programs out there?  They are built to specifications that can only be described as the clinical definition of boring.  These on hold programs lack the essential ingredient necessary to hold the attention of the caller. In order to create a program that will harness the power of your captive audience, you need FOCUS.

F – FRAME your messaging from the caller’s point of view.
‘You’ is a powerful and intimate word. ‘We’ is more sterile and distant.  Tell your callers you care about them simply by designing the content of your message around them and their needs.  Not you and your pedigree.

O – ONE is the loneliest number…
Except when it comes to on hold advertising. Remember, you are speaking to one caller at a time.Help them engage with your on hold advertising by sticking to one topic per message. The more items you discuss, the more you diffuse the power of your message.
One thing at a time!

C – CONVERSATIONAL approach rather than corporate rhetoric.
TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms) make you sound cool when you are talking with other insider nerds. But, that approach comes off as elitist when attempting to connect with your callers.

U – URGENT, but not high pressure.
Create a sense of urgency with a call to action. This will provide your callers with something to do with the information you’ve just shared with them.  Knowledge is not power. Application of knowledge is the true definition of power. 

S – SURPRISE them with your content.
Tell your callers something they don’t know in a way they don’t expect. Predictable questions and predicable responses is a recipe for boredom ripped from the headlines of ADD Weekly. Hold their attention by being unpredictable.   Use humor, an inspirational story, or a ukulele.  Shake it up a little. C’mon – not only can your callers handle it, they need it in order to be drawn in to the message you’re communicating.

A person diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder is commonly treated with stimulants, which improves their ability to complete assigned tasks and function at a higher level.  Mental stimulation is also a successful strategy for achieving similar results with your on-hold advertising program.  It is to your advantage to create content for your callers that is worthy of their limited time and their attention.

That is why you need to put US on hold.

I’d like to say that at Woodstock Media Group, focus is our middle name. Clearly, you can see that ‘media’ is our middle name, but FOCUS is what we do when designing your on-hold advertising program.

Creating successful on-hold advertising comes down to the ability to FOCUS.  We take the time to FRAME your content from the caller’s point of view.  You are encouraged to address ONE thing at a time with each message and take a CONVERSATIONAL approach to help you connect with each caller. Your input helps craft messages that are URGENT with a call to action, and then we SURPRISE your callers with a little creativity to help them engage in the content.

After all, you never know the next time a ukulele can impact a post about on-hold advertising.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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The Masters

Masters of On Hold MarketingSergio Garcia did something he has never done before. He won a major tournament.  It just happened to be The Masters at Augusta National.  The competition was fierce, with many of the big names in professional golf in the hunt heading into Sunday. After a thrilling final round left him tied with Justin Rose, Garcia made a birdie putt on the first hole of the sudden-death playoff to bring home the victory.

Much has been made of his journey. The narrative coming out of Sunday was how long it took him to finally win.  If you are following along at home, it took him 19 years. ‘First victory in 74 starts at a major,’ is how the story was framed in the NY Times.  ‘After years of Near Misses, Garcia Grabs First Major,’ is the headline on Masters.com.   Article after article acknowledged the victory, but focused more on his melt downs and behavior issues rather than his golf acumen.

Justin Rose, his competitor for the final round said, ‘We’ve played a lot of golf together since we were about 14 years old. We have had a good friendship, and a good rivalry.’ Rose went on to say that, ‘Sergio Garcia is no longer the best player not to have won a major.’

The outsiders looking in don’t get it. But the one who was right there with him in the trenches did. It is not about ‘his demons,’ (the angle used in an ESPN article recounting the event). This was a significant achievement worthy of celebrating.  It is about what he has done right over the course of his career that brought him to this crowning achievement.

Outsiders rarely understand what is really going on. That’s true in business as well.

There are many who look at your success and think it was luck, or that you stumbled onto a gold mine.  But you know. Insiders know the hard work, the tenacity, and attention to detail it has taken to get you where you are today. Or, maybe the naysayers are focusing on the one thing you can’t do.  Little do they know you made a conscious choice not to provide that item, or that service – in order to focus on what you do best.  That, my friend, is what separates you from them.  That same commitment to excellence elevates you above your competition; the same way Sergio Garcia rose to the top on Sunday.

When it comes to marketing, each medium offers a level of success. It is rarely a bad thing to promote your business. So, if you are struggling with the question about whether or not you should advertise – the answer is almost always YES!  When choosing which medium to use, return on investment (ROI) is always a key factor.  You want to choose the most impact for your advertising dollar, especially when you are on a limited budget.  As you make your decision, understand there is no more cost-effective marketing solution than on-hold advertising.  There simply is no waste because you are marketing directly to those that call your business… period.  Each dollar you invest in marketing through this medium directly impacts a current or potential customer.  That is a return any business owner can get behind.

Outsiders won’t get it. But you do. Insiders easily understand what this overlooked advertising medium will do: Share your message to your callers every single day.  And, when you make your decision to invest in this powerful, cost-effective advertising tool, don’t choose just any on hold company.

Put US on hold. On-Hold Concepts from Woodstock Media Group.

The Masters.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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