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The Closer

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The final month of the regular season for Major League Baseball is upon us and it is GLORIOUS! Unless you are a Mariner fan and have watched their playoff chase turn into a tailspin in the opposite direction. If your team is in it, or if they are even close, this is an exciting time of year.

One of the many things to love about baseball is how specialized pitching has become. You have starters, middle relievers, long relievers, set-up specialists, and the closer. The starting rotation sets the tone of the game. The long reliever is the emergency ‘go-to’ person if something goes horribly wrong with the starters. Middle relievers are the glue that holds the game together and provides the transition from your starter to your set-up specialist who handles the 8th inning. But the anchor of the staff is the closer. At the end of the game, when you need to hold on to the lead – this is the one person on the pitching staff you can depend on to deliver in the clutch EVERY TIME.

The closer can make or break your season.

Take the Mariner’s 1995 ‘Refuse to Lose’ Season. With closer Bobby Ayala no lead was safe. Then came the late season addition of Norm Charlton, The Sheriff. In late August, with Charlton anchoring the pitching staff as the closer, the M’s came back from 11 games behind the Angels to win the division and beat the Yankees in the playoffs. (I can still see Ken Griffey Jr. smiling at the bottom of the pile at home plate after scoring the winning run!)

Marketing campaigns are similar to pitching staffs. Your outdoor media (radio, TV, billboard, print, etc.) sets the tone and gets the word out to your target audience. Your social media efforts can handle emergencies, and provides a forum to transition members of your target audience into potential customers who contact your business. But the closer is your on-hold advertising program. This is the critical moment where the ‘rubber’ of your external campaign meets the ‘road’ of the actual experience when they call you.

Now, I’m sure you are familiar with your radio, TV, print, and social media ad campaigns, but what about your on-hold advertising? Do you even know what your customer hears when they are placed on-hold? In the ears of your customer, a bad on-hold program will quickly erase the images evoked by your external marketing campaign. At that point, all the financial resources you poured into marketing won’t matter. The lead was lost because you did not invest in an effective closer.

A well written, professionally voiced and produced on-hold advertising campaign should reinforce the image of your company. But, campaigns like that don’t just happen. They are created by professionals like the team at Woodstock Media Group. Their forte is creating an audio portrait of your business, to make sure your on-hold concept matches your external marketing concept.

Invest in your closer. Hold that lead and finish strong with each call. While you do that, I’ll keep holding my breath each time the Mariners send their closer to the hill.

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

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