Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Generate Advertising Dollars With Top of the Mind Awareness

What tools do you have to show them that advertising with your paper is the way to go? TOMA.

Although you may know what top of the mind awareness (TOMA) is and why its necessary in marketing, your clients may not. While this strategy may seem obvious — the first business thought of is the first business sought — presenting this idea to your prospects and coming back with some proof may help you land them as a client. For example, you are trying to sell space to an auto repair shop. They already have a relatively steady client base, but could, of course, service more customers. What tools do you have to show them that advertising with your paper is the way to go? TOMA. Show them how other local businesses in their vertical are thriving despite a frustrating economy because their brand is at the top of everyone’s minds.

Be proactive. Before contacting this client, find out what business is at the tops of minds. Run a survey in the paper asking consumers who pops up in their mind in a variety of industries to find out who the frontrunners are and if they are successful in the market. By having the survey results and information about competitors’ advertising campaigns at the start of the meeting, you can illustrate that you are interested not only in selling advertising, but also in the success of the business. Having a list of businesses and where they score will also allow you to show your potential where they are in relation to their competitors.

Target specific areas on your list. Who can stand to benefit the most from TOMA? Have you noticed that certain successful local businesses use specific marketing strategies, and can they be emulated? Ask yourself these questions to determine who to talk to, and who will most likely be convinced to advertise by discussing TOMA. 

If your potential is already at the top of the list, don’t walk away. Discuss where they score, but also remind them that other businesses are attempting to gain what they already have. Encourage them to continue using advertising to maintain TOMA.

If your potential is not one of the frontrunners, discuss the marketing strategies used by more successful businesses in the same vertical. By showing your potential that you understand the successes of others’ marketing strategies, you will show them that you can help them with a campaign that might inch them further up the list. In a case study found at, Kellogg Cereal Company was the industry leader prior to the Great Depression. However, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign just as other companies were downsizing, C.W. Post outstripped all other competitors and came out of the Depression on top. This case study can be used to remind businesses that regardless of a downtrodden economy, consistent and aggressive advertising will keep you present, and could keep your business in the minds of consumers when they begin to have more disposable income.

No matter where your potential sits on the “TOMA” list, remind them that although they will probably never be able to compete financially with large retail or service corporations, they can maintain a sizeable percentage of the local community through the use of strategic advertising that will make their business the first to pop in everyone’s mind when someone asks, “Where would you go for auto repair?”

Workshop it. Hold a workshop for local business owners where they can see examples of TOMA in other industries and the marketing plans that accompanied their successes. Allow attendees to ask questions without the pressure of a sale, and let them come back to you once they have realized the power of TOMA.