Advertising Dollars – Do You Know Which Half is Working?
A business owner knows that in order to be successful, they need to get more customers; they need to sell more of their products or services and keep on top of the consumer’s mind. To gain the attention of customers and secure their brand and market share, they realize that they need to do something to advertise their products or services.
It’s seems pretty simple at first glance. But where do they begin?
I often think of the John Wanamaker quote: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” It’s not unusual for small and mid-size businesses to assign the duties of advertising to either the business owner themselves or a trusted employee. And often neither has an extensive background or degree in marketing or advertising.
Based on several media analyses we’ve done for businesses, here are a few challenges that business owners and marketing executives encounter in regard to their advertising strategies.
To Cut or Not to Cut?
Another favorite quote of mine is: “The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.” I’ve seen the quote credited to both Henry Ford and Thomas Jefferson, although I’m not convinced that either of them actually said it.
The statement does have truth in it. How can a business expect to have any success by spending less to get their name, product, or services to the people they need to help the business grow? Although it is tempting to save money in the short run, if your business is no longer on top of the consumer’s mind, you are really eliminating any potential future business when they are ready to make a buying decision.
What is needed is an expert to help give them an objective view and to make sure they are keeping the advertising mix aligned with their expected outcomes and goals.
We’ve Always Done it That Way.
Like anything in life, you can’t do the same thing continually and expect a different outcome. That is very true with advertising. We call that “ritualistic buying.” Just because a form of media or a particular station has always worked in the past does not guarantee that it will continue to deliver audiences or efficiencies.
Audiences shift, demographic needs change, and new trends in consumer behavior trump everything. Be sure to get the most up-to-date research and ratings from your media buyer or representative.
Putting All the Advertising Eggs in One Basket.
This happens fairly often. Businesses think that it is better to spend a lot in one medium to increase their frequency. Frequency is good, but in order to be effective, the media plan needs to reach the right people the right amount of times.
When putting the entire advertising budget into any one media outlet, it sacrifices reaching more people. And ultimately, the message just beats the same people over the head again and again to the point of becoming wallpaper or white noise.
Being objective and making decisions to spend the advertising budget in a way that is both effective and efficient is critical. It has to be more than just advertising in media that you like or where you know someone or even just buying the “sales package du jour.”
In this market alone there are approximately 25 local radio stations, five broadcast TV stations, at least 50 cable TV stations, multiple print and lifestyle publications, out-of-home advertising and billboards, digital and social media options … the list goes on and on.
Just how does a business owner know what is best for them?
Of course we like to hear our own commercials or see our ads in print, TV, out-of-home, etc. However, isn’t it more important to reach your potential customers who will buy your products or services?
Your advertising needs to target the right people.
Each media outlet has its strengths and can deliver a positive outcome when it is properly matched to the businesses goals. Each media outlet has weaknesses, too, so if the wrong media mix is chosen, it can’t be expected work.
If your business isn’t focusing on the specific demographic and geographic target of your desired customer and spending your advertising dollars and efforts trying to reach them, you might as well just throw your money out the window.
A strong advertising strategy includes multiple media outlets that deliver the targeted audiences most likely to buy your products or services. Your business doesn’t need to spend more money than you can afford to budget just to get results; you just need to invest it wisely! BW
Maureen Williams, president and owner of Monarch Media Solutions, has almost 20 years in the media industry. Williams and her strategic multimedia buying firm help businesses maximize their advertising budgets and drive customer results. www.monarchmediasolutions.com