January 2, 2007

3 Min Read

It must be the marketing issue, because the exclamation-mark populace is running wild and FREE has manifested in all capital letters. Marketing, quite simply, is sending a message about your product that is clearly heard by the folks who count. Most of us get so busy with daily operations, we often cheat ourselves in this department. That goes for facility owners as well as vendors and even ISS.

So, heres some insider advice. When youre advertising in a publication, dont accept at face value what youre told about circulation. Ask to see the numbers, and read between the lines. Ill use ISS as an example because theres a lesson here for everyone about print advertising and marketing in general. The basic measuring stick of print ads is cost per thousand readers. We can prove through a legal postal statement that we ship out nearly 20,000 issues per month, which excludes tradeshow distribution and special promotions.

Many newspapers and publications will have this informationothers wont. Our base circulation is triple that of the Mini-Storage Messengers self-stated mailing. As is true of any publication, rates differ based on readership, and its up to the advertisers to do the math. (FYI, we hope everybody gets out their calculators.) Then you have the Self Storage Associations monthly magazine, The Globe. These guys can pretty much say what they want because they arent providing a postal statement or an audit of their circulation. Heres what the SSA asserts on its website: The Globe reaches all 12,000-plus SSA direct members, member facilities and members of 22 international and state associations that are formally affiliated with the SSA.

As a vendor member of the SSA, weve never seen any documentation that the associations membership exceeds 4,000. Have you? Also, international membership sounds impressive and ultra James Bond, but in fact refers only to the Canadian Self Storage Association. Sadly, our friends to the North had fewer than 100 members last time I checked.

Even the allure of reaching affiliated state associations loses its shine when you consider most states have modest memberships. For example, the state of Ohio has about 97 members while the ISS database sports more than 1,400 Ohioan readers.

The SSA also says it has the largest paid subscription magazine in the industry. I dont know how they define paid or subscriptionmaybe they enrolled in the Bill Clinton school of definitionsbut in my reality, The Globe is included as a benefit of membership, whether you want it or not. People dont subscribe like they do for ISS. Indeed, our distribution substantially exceeds their claim with one huge difference: We can prove our numbers!

So heres my point. ISS has competitionjust like you. And when your competition starts sending messages that could lure away your customers, dont just lie there. Get out and spread the truth about yourself. And when advertising, in whatever medium, dont hesitate to ask the hard questions and demand value.

Speaking of which, the ISS Vegas Expo is just around the corner, and remains the industry's best value for your educational dollar, bar none. Come and see for yourself!

Meet you in Vegas!!

Kimberly Hundley 
[email protected] 

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