kansas city advertising agency

Kansas City Advertising Agency Expert

Dave Wieser the founder of DW Creative Marketing,  a Kansas City-based marketing agency that helps local businesses increase leads and sales through effective marketing strategies and systems. Dave is one of Kansas City’s top advertising experts.  He has a decade of previous working experience as an account executive for Kansas City area TV stations.

DW Creative Marketing, LLC has a strong reputation of providing marketing and advertising consulting services in retail and home services. These services include:

  • Creating and implementing marketing strategy
  • Strategic “New Market Entry” communications
  • Brand strategy
  • TV & Radio Advertising
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Crises management
  • Social media marketing
  • Reputation management
  • Web design
  • Pay-per-click advertising

Learn More About Dave Wieser


Meet Dave Wieser of DW Creative

Phil Singleton: Hey, Dave. Welcome to the show.

Dave Wieser: Thanks, Phil. Thanks for having me.

Phil Singleton: My pleasure. Let’s just kind of get into, before we start talking about marketing and some of the services and things that you do around here in Kansas City, which is nice to have somebody that we’ve got somebody local with me we can talk shop with, tell us a little bit more about kind of your background and maybe those first steps out of school and maybe some of your early career things and what brought you to your own agency today.

Dave Wieser: Sure. Yeah, so I was actually a finance major in school. I had no ambition to go into marketing or advertising, and wanted to be a CFO or do something with managing corporate cash flow or some kind of training. We were going through kind of a mini recession when I graduated, and so a lot of the positions were not that desirable right out of college.

I needed a sales internship to graduate and the local TV station was advertising a sales internship, and I’m like, “Oh, that’d be cool to go work in a TV station.”. And I had done sales before. I had actually worked one summer in upstate New York [loss od audio]called Southwestern and did door to door book sales so that summer it was tardo I thought maybe let’s check the sales intern thing out and I worked under the national sales manager kind of learning the language of the TV. What a rating is, what shares are, what HUTs and PUTs are and when I graduated they offered me a job. And like I said, the finance jobs at that time weren’t that desirable so I said, “Yeah, let’s give it a shot”. So I worked for literally selling local air time right out of college for about two-

Phil Singleton: When you say local college was that here in around Kansas City or was that in another state.

Dave Wieser: University of Nebraska at Carney; go Lopers. So it was in the sticks really, my … the t.v. station was 13 miles south of town in the middle of a corn field. So I had to drive 15 miles before I could even get to a business. So when I started I had no, basically no billing. You’re starting from scratch and when I say I’m talking to local business owners, it’s literally Main Street. Main Street of Carney is paved with brick, so it’s everything you can think of in terms of mom and pop, right?

So that was … but the finance background actually helped me, I don’t know, maybe speak the language of business. You know, long story short, kind of cut my teeth in that small market and really kind of held accountable for selling these campaigns to, directly to the business owners. It has to work so you have to figure out how to write ads, figure out copy, placement of schedules, because we didn’t have a creative services department.

I sold there for two years and then moved to Kansas City and worked for the ABC affiliate KNBC for eight years and it was really quite different because in Carney, everything was direct pretty much. You’re dealing with the business owner directly, that’s where your sales come from. That’s who you’re held accountable to but when I got to a bigger market, well medium, it’s bigger in my eyes being from small town Nebraska, but in Kansas City a lot of the buys are transactional so you’re dealing with the media buyer, who has a media supervisor, who deals with an account planner, who deals with the actual client. So I went from 100% pretty much direct billing to 75-80% agency billing.

And that was just a big change for me so I worked at Channel Nine for eight years and then moved on to a small ad agency called Proof and learned a lot about research and brand positioning and then was there for maybe a little over a year and started DW Creative four years ago.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. And since then you’ve just basically been providing general marketing services to mostly local businesses here in Kansas City?

Dave Wieser: Yeah, yeah. And we’re … we kind of look and see ourselves as an external marketing department. So I’ve had to beat the streets and try to find my strategic partners who have various areas of expertise whether it be PBC-SCO, web dev, graphic design, all that, and so I kind of have my team, quote unquote. And-

Phil Singleton: Awesome.

Dave Wieser: Like you said provide any and all of the above services that the client needs to grow.

Phil Singleton: So let’s dive if we can a little bit into … cause I’m really intrigued, I don’t know much about it, I’ve always been really interested in … traditional advertising because you know I think a lot of folks think, “Oh, it doesn’t work and it doesn’t work like it used to”. My personally think that creating demand out in the market place is never gonna go away. Somebody’s got to go out there and try and like spur sells … stuff that’s open … and yeah, sure it’s changed a lot because people come back online to research stuff or verify or look for social proof, but somebody’s always got to be out there creating demand.

And then you’ve just gotta make sure that I guess you’re in the right places to capture it if you create it. But how’s that changed to you? Just TV, TV advertising … how do you see things people are doing right and wrong and kind of where are we with it? How would you explain it to somebody who hasn’t used it for their business or even a marketer like myself. I have no experience with any form of TV advertising, I just kind of love to hear your thoughts on it.

Dave Wieser: Yeah, it’s … traditional has really been beaten down. Kind of feel bad for the traditional media reps. It’s kind of like Apple/Mac commercials, you’ve got the kind of stuff [inaudible] versus digital to start where everything’s trackable too so, but when you look at the numbers. When you look at really at how people consume media these days, and that’s I think a place that really gets overlooked. The latest I think I read was people are on TV seven hours a day. The average adult. People are still spending an hour a day with radio; over the air, terrestrial radio. So that’s a lot of time. That’s a lot of consumption and obviously they’re consuming with the phone in their hand or their on a laptop and that’s obviously changed the approach that a local marketer has to take. In terms of dying, TV or these traditional channels, they’re still very, very much alive but it’s how a local advertiser approaches it.

So one of the biggest issues I see with local advertisers and traditional approaches is dipping their toe in the water. TV is definitely not a platform where you try it, quote unquote for a month or two or three. It’s a long term game. You need to be … you need to understand that you’re building a awareness. You’re building a brand. You’re building that type of mind but it doesn’t happen in a month or two.

Phil Singleton: It’s probably always been like that to some degree, no? Or is this-

Dave Wieser: Always. And that’s the challenge because in the digital context you get immediate analytics right? I know how many people came to my website off this display ad, or I know how many people downloaded a PDF for some kind of dated content. So that’s a completely different part of the funnel for a local advertiser who … if they’re not on the list, if I’m shopping for whatever category, could be tree service or a piece of furniture … if you’re not on the list in the consumer’s mind you really have no [inaudible] but again that’s where the digital approach comes in. So that’s what I think has for right or wrong has changed.

Phil Singleton: Right.

Dave Wieser: But the advertisers, they need to understand that it’s not dead, and the two pronged approach, the traditional impacted with a solid digital footprint, can be very, very powerful. And if you look at the top leaders in any market, most of the guys who are number one, number two, share wise within a category, they’re doing some sort of traditional.

Phil Singleton: Yes. And just like I said … of course we’ve got listeners all over the place, but a lot of them are in Kansas City. Just out of curiosity … I know the answer to this is all over the place but I mean if somebody did want to like to get started and dip their toes into a way that was like perhaps could be somewhat meaningful, what is it like investment wise? I mean is it usually like a few couple thousand dollars a month to tens of thousands a month? Is it like almost like some of these people come out like myself, you go out and try to build a website, well it could be a $500 website or $50,000 website depending on who you call and what you’re try to do. Generally start calling around figuring out what people do and you kind of understand, okay, I get an idea of like what an investment might cost to make sense but-

Dave Wieser: From a dollar perspective it’s really, really tricky. Because in Carney, Nebraska I remember selling Good Morning America 30 second commercials for $35.

Phil Singleton: Wow.

Dave Wieser: I mean that dollar is the same there as it is here, right? But you’re paying for the high balls. It’s just far less high balls in Carney, Nebraska versus Kansas City.

Phil Singleton: How does it work in Kansas City? Are you doing like a zip code or a city or is it city wide or is it like one channel, multiple channels? How does it … how does one even go about like figuring out who’s gonna see what, where, and what channels?

Dave Wieser: Well any station can provide you with the coverage map and the way Nelson breaks it up is what’s called DMA’s. Designated marketing areas, and for Kansas City it’s gonna be your major counties and beyond. So you’re gonna have some spill over. There’s no doubt.

Phil Singleton: Look, I’ve seen some commercials that seem to be like, when I’m flipping around or even on a cable station, they seem to be playing on different channels. Is that something because you’re buying it through like a cable … how does that work? Or should it only … am I not seeing this right? Am I only seeing it on one channel and thinking that I’m seeing it on multiple channels?

Dave Wieser: So your local broadcasters … that like your ABC, CBS, your big four. If you buy an add on the ABC station, that ad is gonna run on the ABC station in that market. It’s not gonna matter if you’ve got Comcast. It’s not gonna matter if you have Sure West or AT&T or Google Fiber, or any kind of paid TV for provider. That ad is going to run the whole market.

Phil Singleton: Just on the one station, okay.

Dave Wieser: Yeah, just on that one station and that’s why they talk … that’s why the reach is so powerful. But let’s say-

Phil Singleton: So do most companies pick a station or do they do all three or how does it-

Dave Wieser: So you asked on the approach to what’s the cost, and I’ll back up a little bit and I’d completely ripped this off from Jim Doyle and Associates. You can look them up. They have what’s called the glass theory. So local advertisers should really look at their whole budget, and it doesn’t even really matter what it is. And most of the time … and you even see it in bigger advertisers … is they’re splitting up that budget between glasses. And each glass is a different platform. Your PPC might be a platform, your SCOs a platform. Any kind of traditional, so a radio station is a glass. All these are different glasses and they take their budget which is a pitcher of water and they just dip a little bit in each of these glasses. What they should do is, from what my experience is … the biggest impact if you’re kind of approach this tradigital approach is just strip away a bunch of glasses and just overflow one TV station. One program, and own it. And be something to somebody. As opposed to just, how many of these direct mail opportunities are there. These shared mailings … there are thousands of opportunities locally for any advertiser to spend money. It’s overwhelming. But from what I’ve seen the biggest success are those advertisers who strip away those glasses and just vest in very few areas.

Phil Singleton: So then what … the company like yours … I don’t know how this would be more … let’s say the you’ve got a company like mine that wants to do perhaps … I don’t know if it makes sense for a web design internet marketing company to do a television ad … but let’s say you do and he comes in and says, “Okay, I want to do a TV ad in Kansas City”. Is it like you gotta do research to see make sense on what station. Do you just pick one? Is there like you go over a business channel? How is that part of that approach? I guess some of it might be … is there anything where there could be a couple different channels and there’s somebody might give you a better deal that they’re running on right now, so you run with that or? I know I’m kind of throwing a bunch of stuff out there. I’m just kind of thinking how does this even work?

Dave Wieser: Well you’re gonna approach it the same way you would any kind of marketing planning. Is you start with the customer, right? Who do you sell to? Whose your ideal customer? What do they look like? Describe them for me? What’s the age, demographics, psychographics?

Phil Singleton: Do they have better data now because stuff runs through cable a lot? Do they know stuff really better than they would without cable or does that make a difference? I’m just wondering how well stations like know what their demographics is versus like-

Dave Wieser: A lot of them will commission … I mean have you heard of Scarborough … that’s probably the biggest one where it’s qualitative research. So they’re gonna be doing surveys throughout the market a couple of times of year. Marshall Marketing is another one. You can dip into what is the demographic profile of a certain program. And with TV, because programs change from every half hour or hour or whatever it is, you’ll see audience changes between those programs. So we have to do the homework up front to understand what program might make a lot of sense to reach the ideal customer.

Phil Singleton: Interesting. And then, how … cause I can imagine … and we talked about this before … working on our previous conversations, Dave, and kind of even before we started recording the show and that is … to me it makes no sense to do any kind of traditional demand creation if you don’t have something on the internet to make sure that you capture your own demand. Cause it’s like … So kind of speak to that a little bit. Do you agree with that? Is it like when people are out buying media now … do you think they could do a better job of driving stuff to a website or is that something that’s still missed? Is people doing a better job of that? How has that kind of changed since you originally got in the business versus how it is now.

Dave Wieser: That is massively important. I think I even heard you, Phil, on another podcast talk about this. And it makes zero sense at all to invest in mass media and have a very weak digital footprint.

Phil Singleton: You think people are still doing that? It seems that some do.

Dave Wieser: I absolutely think they’re doing it. I see it every day.

Phil Singleton: I mean I can give a perfect example of a company that I know that I’ve seen recently do advertising and then go to look them up on line and they haven’t really worked on their reviews at all. So it’s almost like they do this thing, sounds compelling, do a brand search, they pop up. They’re getting killed on reviews because they’ve only got three reviews and they’re not so great where they should have like 50 and all of a sudden that money that they spent just went to the competitor. [inaudible]That has 50 or 100 reviews that’s been working on their digital presence and all of a sudden those guys just stole the TV dollars from the guy that I just saw.

Dave Wieser: Happens every day. Something as simple as buying your own brand and Google ads which cost nothing, you know. The SCO part is again massively important because that’s automatic trust. Consumer’s gonna Google and if the maps don’t show up or if it’s not that kind of relevant search but you’re in the top … you’re ranking for these key words … well Google says they’re, I should be seeing them right away then I should probably put them on my list. There’s a little bit of … I don’t know if the local advertisers are thinking that my TV advertising or traditional advertising is kind of going to take care of that for me. It won’t. You have to have a completely separate digital strategy to-

Phil Singleton: It’s almost like what good is the brand awareness that you create if you haven’t stacked the deck in your favor on the internet. If your website sucks, no good content, you don’t have good reviews, you’re not participating in social media, I mean you could do brand awareness all day long on mass media and all of a sudden the guys that are doing it right look ten times better than you. So that’s what I was getting at in the beginning is yeah, I think demand creation works. It’s like, “Oh, yes I do need a plumber”, but I’m not gonna go from the TV to the phone like I used to. I’m gonna go from the TV to the internet to the phone. So it’s like-

Dave Wieser: Well, nobody ever goes from the TV to the phone unless your somebody-

Phil Singleton: They probably used to though to some degree, right?

Dave Wieser: Maybe if you’re [inaudible] pets right? It’s just not that kind of platform. I have never thought of it like that. It’s an influencing, perception changing, attitude changing, platform. It’s ones that shapes opinions about a brand over time, whether it be positive or good based on the message. If you look at … I cannot stand bringing up political … we’re in a mid-term … you’re gonna see a lot more political ads. But these politicians have one chance, one chance to win. They’re gonna put three-fourths of their budget into TV. That can be backed up. Look at any study. And they do that because they’re trying to change the perception but obviously-

Phil Singleton: That works, right? Obviously they wouldn’t put so much money into it.

Dave Wieser: So that’s for a local advertiser. They have to be committed if they wanna … they can’t dip their toe in … they would have to be committed on almost in perpetuity to be committed to these traditional platforms.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, you never see in a mid-term election or an election, one advertisement. I mean those guys are of course are going on a time frame but they are doing a lot of it consistently over the time that they’re going after versus just kind of dipping their toes and hoping oh that one or couple commercials is gonna do what it takes to get the vote. It doesn’t work like that.

Dave Wieser: Exactly.

Phil Singleton: Well, one thing I was gonna say is it seems like it’s gotten better, although maybe not … over the years it was almost laughable where the quality difference between a national commercial versus a local one, was almost comedic in terms of how bad it was. And I’m sure there’s still some of that to this day but it seems to be that it’s gotten a little better. There’s local companies now that have TV commercials that seem like the production quality has gone up some, that are really good, but you don’t see so much the really, really bad ones, I guess. Or maybe I’m noticing less or maybe I just don’t watch as much TV anymore, but any comments on that? And how do you go about making sure that you’ve got a good quality commercial if you decide to do something let’s say in a local market?

Dave Wieser: Wow, quality commercial … equipment technology has gotten so much better and cheaper so there’s a lot more I guess, democratization of the creative services opportunities. So you can get really good production for a relatively low cost. Local advertiser for the best local TV commercial might be spending 25 grand or even more. Can get something easily less than 5. No problem. I’m definitely not an expert in that area, in terms of the actual technology and how they shoot. It’s just, I look at the ad. Is it distractingly bad? Does it pass that test? Is the message crystal clear?

Phil Singleton: Well that’s when it helps to have a marketing person like yourself come in and actually try and … cause I could see some companies saying, “I’m either gonna like go direct and do my own commercial” and maybe the TV station says, “yeah, sure, we’ll do the” or somebody will just say well … and it’s just kind of like the production is just kind of whipped together just to kind of get it going. Almost like if you do like a magazine ad in some cases. I don’t know, I’m just saying sometimes you can spend some time on the good advertisement for the magazine. Do it up or sometimes you can just be like okay the magazine got you to commit to it and all of a sudden everybody else says we’ll whip something up for you and put something in there and all of a sudden it’s done just to get it done, type of thing. Or am I oversimplifying?

Dave Wieser: Well still, all the stations, all the platforms are gonna have … they’ll approach you to do the ad for you.

Phil Singleton: But you can do your own I guess, is that how it works or they’ll do it for you?

Dave Wieser: You should do your own. You should definitely … and that’s something I had to learn over time is what is the point in investing all this money into shaping perceptions and not and just … it’s almost like the message is an afterthought. So yeah, it never made any sense to me why a local advertiser shouldn’t put a little more thought and effort into the actual ad itself.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. Well look I’m just gonna bring it back to close the interview out and just kind of things that … anything you want to talk about or like about. I ask people favorite things in Kansas City. Is there … it’s funny cause I’ve asked people that have lived here … what they’re favorite restaurants are and like five people in a row told me Q39. I’d never been there until last night and it was really good. I don’t know if it’s my favorite BBQ place right now. I still like Smoke Stack, probably feels a little more like … maybe it’s been part of growing up type of thing … but yeah, any types of places that you like, anywhere? Businesses you admire? Anything, just tell us what you like about Kansas City.

Dave Wieser: I like Kansas City because it’s a big little town. You have … commutes aren’t terrible, you do get some kind of the small town kind of neighborhood feels within different pockets. But you still have national things going on with professional sports and the arts and entertainment districts that make it feel bigger, so I mean that’s why … it’s still got the Midwestern feel though.

Phil Singleton: Any places that you like in particular that are you favorite local … no national franchisey type things but any favorite restaurants or nothing you can ring off.

Dave Wieser: Well-

Phil Singleton: Bars, anything, I don’t know.

Dave Wieser: There’s so many good restaurants but I’m a big … I love MicroBrew … and so Beer Station … it’s actually right across from John’s office.

Phil Singleton: Yeah, exactly, he mentioned that in his … he likes Beer Station too so that’s-

Dave Wieser: If you like good beer, these guys always have rotating taps and it’s the best beer selection in town in my opinion. I know that would probably get me blown up in the beer tasting KC social media page but-

Phil Singleton: Naw, that’s cool. That’s a favorite. That place has already got like two or three votes on my podcast so-

Dave Wieser: One thing that I do kind of want to close out with is … we talked about what works the best and that’s a hard question to answer because of all of these different influences that drive a consumer purchase. So there’s two key metrics that every business should be looking at. The first one is the advertising to sales ratio. So a retailer, a furniture retailer is gonna have a different threshold of pain as to how much advertising they can spend, versus maybe an air conditioning company or plumber. You should know that number. So if you’re spending money on advertising whatever in all of these places, and you’re growing and you’re still hitting … you’re not overspending, then your advertising is working.

Phil Singleton: Right, okay.

Dave Wieser: If you are not growing and you are … one, not growing or you’re over spending and not growing. You’re over that advertising to sales ratio, then you really need to look and see what’s going on.

Phil Singleton: It gets tricky though, cause if you do the advertising say on traditional media and mass market and it works and it drives people back to the internet where a lot of them are gonna go. And they click on SCO or they click on PBC or they click on PBC on social or whatever, there’s a cost to that but it’s all kind of working together, right, cause you-

Dave Wieser: That’s where messaging comes in. That’s where positioning comes in. Like how are you different. And so there’s this eco system of marketing … it’s really complex and it’s just never as easy as we’re gonna advertise in this place or do these things and expect to grow. So there’s just so many factors that we need to look at and that’s probably-

Phil Singleton: So look at advertising to sales, and if the sales and if the stuff’s working-

Dave Wieser: Advertising to sales ratio. And different businesses would have different thresholds. If you wanna grow maybe that ratio is higher. It just depends on how mature the business is and your propensity to grow … put more money into it.

Phil Singleton: You mentioned one thing as I close out … I’ve done this for some of my clients before … is there are a lot of businesses out there that spend money on TV and some of the ones I noticed that don’t do a good job on the back when it’s my client, we’ll go out and if we see somebody doing a campaign, we’ll bid on their words while they’re doing TV. Especially if they’re not doing a good job picking up on the web presence.

You gotta kind of look out for that stuff too. So if you’re out there creating demand and you’re not catching it online, there’s gonna be other people that are in, especially digital marketing, that are gonna see you create that digital demand and they’re gonna try and steal your marketing dollars when they come back online if you’re not taking care of that other piece of the pie basically. You mentioned, Dave, and I really should have been on your own bat, your own brand works … you should because smart other guys that are trying … are gonna probably bid on your … if they see you doing mass marketing, they’re gonna come back online and bid on your words if you’re not. Or in addition to you. Just kind of another thing that I’ve done myself so I know people are doing it if I’m doing it, other people are doing it.

Dave Wieser: Oh absolutely. And that’s another thing that a local advertiser … if you’re bidding on competitors key words are those really converting. That’s where call tracking comes in and that’s where recording conversations come in, so it just gets more complex by the day.

Phil Singleton: Well, that’s awesome. Some really great conversation that we haven’t had anybody come on the show and talk about these pieces and kind of how they tie together. Tell us where we can learn more about you online and follow what you’re doing.

Dave Wieser: Twitter is @DWCreative and can find me online at DWCreativemarketing.com.

Phil Singleton: Awesome. We’ll put all that stuff up on the show notes. Dave, thanks so much for sharing your experience and all these great tips.

Dave Wieser: Thank you, Phil, really enjoyed it.