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Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA)

   Top-of-Mind Awareness (T O MA) is a measure of your name awareness among local consumers. If local consumers were asked to name one firm in your line of business, how many would you name first? The answer to that question determines your TOMA ranking.

   TOMA Research, an independent market research firm, recently conducted a survey of Otero County consumers measuring Top-of- Mind Awareness in over 60 business categories. How does your business rank? Being the first in the consumer's mind is the key to real business success.

   TOMA Research has conducted these name awareness surveys in more than 500 markets in the United States and Canada over the past six years. The results reveal a tremendous number of facts about advertising and marketing for small businesses.
   There is a direct link between your TOMA rank and your market share. For example, when consumers were surveyed in terms of unaided awareness of bedding brands, Sealy outranked all other brands, Sealy outranked all other brands in consumer awareness by an overwhelming margin. Fifty-six percent named Sealy, 14% named the second ranking brand and 13% named the third ranking brand. More than twice as many people mentioned Sealy than the next two leading brands combined.
     "First name mentioned" is the acid test of brand awareness, and that kind of top-of- mind awareness translates almost directly into sales potential. According to another survey, more than twice as many families who bought one of the top three premium brands bought Sealy Posturepedic. Clearly, name awareness and market share go hand-in-hand.

    Mature categories are ones in which there is a high percentage of name recognition. These categories are dominated by strong industry leaders, such as Pepsi, Coke or McDonalds. When competing in a category with clear leaders, smaller businesses can increase their TOMA ranking with "niche" advertising, emphasizing specific products or services. Non-Mature categories show no dominant leader and have high "no-response" rates.
     People like to do business with names they know and trust. Building name recognition throughout your business' buying cycle insures that when consumers need the type of products or services you offer, your business will be first in their minds.

  The time between "needs" is your business' buying-cycle. To be successful, plan your budget to span the typical buying-cycle of your business. Grocery stores have a buying-cycle measured in weeks or days. Air conditioning contractors have one measured in years.
   Successful businesses don't go for "all at once" advertising budgets. Every day new needs arise, so they get in front of the public regularly. Staying in front is having Top-of-Mind Awareness - those with the most of it are the businesses people call or shop first.
   Where do you want your business to rank five years from now? By advertising across the buying-cycle of your business, you increase name awareness and climb the TOMA ladder. By building Top-of-Mind Awareness today, you build the foundation for your business success in the years ahead.

   How do you create a high TOMA ranking for your business? By continually "impressing" the name of your business on the minds of consumers. .The more impressions, the more they are likely to remember you.

   Since early 1990 American Consulting Services has been conducting surveys across the nation measuring Top-of- Mind Awareness of local businesses. Not only do these surveys show that creative advertising pays off and that heavier creative advertisers win, they also show us that spending too much on Yellow Pages can actually damage a business. Furniture stores show a 9%" no-response" rate whereas a business such as plumbing, with a typically high investment in Yellow Pages, shows a 55% "no- response" rate. This represents an excellent opportunity for businesses currently spending large amounts in Yellow Pages to convert to creative media and get a jump on the competition.

Source: Alamodordo Daily News, Monday, July 5 , 1999 pg. 3.

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