Advertising Advice: Avoid Wasted Circulation & Be Effective!

Real-world tips on advertising and getting business.

“If you think advertising does not work, consider the millions of Americans who now think that yogurt tastes good.” Joe L. Whitley (management consultant) Should you advertise? Yes! However, unlike other products and services you buy, the results and benefits are not easy to measure. It is difficult and may even be impossible to apply cost-effective means to advertising. It is easy to waste money on “poor” or ineffective advertising.

Be cautious of advertising “advice.” Don’t be an explorer or pioneer unless you have deep pockets. Advertising salespersons may know about media costs, frequency of ad discounts, half tones, etc., but do they know anything about your business? Do they know who your customers are? Where they are? And what to say to them? If not, put your checkbook away.

As you will discover there are many types of advertising media – some good, some not so good. If you have a limited amount of money to spend promoting your business, deciding the most beneficial advertising program will not be easy. Just as you shop carefully for your insurance, your equipment and whatever else your business requires, you must be as analytical and critical with every ad dollar you plan to spend. Unlike a product, ads do not carry a warranty and cannot be returned or exchanged.

Target Marketing and Wasted Circulation

Target marketing sounds auspicious and important. It is one of those business phrases that have origins in World War II, such as tactics and strategy. Even if you have never taken a course in management or marketing, don’t be put off by such terminology. Target marketing is the result of the questions Who, Where and How Many? As you may “target” a goal you must “target” your advertising to the “Who and Where.”

Placing ads before readers (or listening or viewing audiences) that cannot buy the product is wasting money. In newspaper advertising it is known as “wasted circulation.” It is easy to squander your ad budget if you do not pay attention to where your customers are. Ads that are “wasted” on viewers or readers not located in your geographical market is a foolish waste of your money.

Advertising is Not Entertainment

Advertising is not entertainment; it exists only to sell your product or service. It has no other function. The only reason you spend money on advertising is to sell your product or service! No other!

Unfortunately, there are creative artists and writers at various ad agencies who view advertising as an artistic statement. Recently in the fashion industry there has been criticism of ads featuring models supposedly high on drugs. If that is true, what a waste of money! Fortunately for these agencies, the effectiveness of such ads may not be measurable.

Yelling at the audience is a creative technique I find offensive. Not a very intelligent tactic! It does not say much for your message if you must yell to obtain attention. All the media (broadcast or print) contain poor examples of such advertising- from the outlandish claims of car dealers to the use of animated violence to sell toys. Do not confuse originality with effective marketing and selling techniques.

How many owners and chief executives do you see doing their own advertising? Too many. Are they effective at presenting their companies’ products, or do they want to be “celebrities?” Most owners and entrepreneurs are not actors and should leave the selling messages to professionals. Still, if they really want to see themselves on camera, no one can stop them. Certainly no agency or station is going to discourage it. Some owners love the attention.

Is your building really that important? Forget family portraits. Interest your customers in what you can do for them, not in your family. Please, do not get out your video camera and decide to become ad director of the year. You will waste your money and perhaps even hurt your image.

Before you start spending your working capital on any type of ad campaign, be cautious, be thoughtful, and place yourself in the position of your customer. How do you wish them to think of your business? It is easy to create a negative image. It is difficult to undo it!

Article © Copyright 2001 Dr. Paul E. Adams. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.

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