There's More To Promotion Than Just Advertising


Most businesses spend money on advertising themselves, and some of it is well-spent. A lot of it however, is wasted, and it’s pretty hard to identify just which part of your advertising expenditure has simply disappeared out the window to little or no effect.

Yet, traditionally, some of the biggest battles in marketing have been fought out in the advertising media on the assumption that the biggest spender gets the biggest share-of-market. And perhaps in years past when there were just a few marketing channels and an equally small number of big marketers, that approach might actually have worked. There was usually a close relationship between money spent on advertising and money earned in sales.

But what must be remembered is that advertising is just one element of marketing and times have changed dramatically in the field of marketing in general. Media selection is vastly different from the world David Ogilvy knew and described in his 1963 classic Confessions Of An Advertising Man. Then, terms now in common use like ‘Internet marketing’ and ‘Guerrilla marketing’ weren’t even invented.

These days you’re as likely to see advertising on rest room walls as on television, and even objects like drink coasters and the grassy surfaces of sports grounds have become accepted advertising media.

If you’re concerned that your advertising spend isn’t bringing in the return it should be, then it’s time to start asking why.

The first question is: Who do you want to reach with your message? If you can’t get really define who your target audience is you’re probably wasting a lot of what you spend. And besides knowing who already buys your product, its worthwhile thinking about who else might buy it if they only knew more about it.

When you know the sort of audience you want to reach and their behaviour patterns, like what they read, what they watch, what sort of messages they react to, and what events they attend, then you’ve gone a long way towards understanding which media to use to get your message out.

You can spend big on building up a brand name through the common marketing channels but still be a stranger to a whole group of potential customers who don’t tune in to these.

Try something that’s worked for some of the world’s best marketers. Cut your advertising budget by 25% or more and then try to make what’s left work just as hard in getting sales. That’s part one. Next, take what you’ve cut from advertising and use it to fund more closely-targeted marketing activities and promotions. Just making this much effort will radically change your thinking on how to promote.

Think way outside the box – consider new media, sponsorships, events and other things you’re not doing at present. Challenge yourself to come up with more original ideas. You may find that simply by focusing your attention on discovering alternatives to your present advertising you come up with a better option that lets you cut your budget and retain an effective marketing presence.

For example, if you can acquire a mailing list of the people or businesses that form your target audience you have the option of going direct to them instead of using the ‘shotgun’ approach of putting an ad in a newspaper for an article that may be irrelevant to most of the readership. If you can get your name across to the right people by such means as sponsoring your local football team or a public concert, consider how valuable that might be. There’s a lot you can do that doesn’t fall into the ‘traditional’ idea of what advertising is but still puts your business name in front of prospects.

One vehicle parts supplier found that by using their advertising budget to publish a magazine targeted at those who were interested in classic cars they dramatically increased their sales as well as having a profitable publication on their hands.

Marketing yourself can be done in more ways than just the traditional advertisement. You should consider all your options before planning your next campaign and see if other forms of promotion just might offer a worthwhile alternative.

Until next week,
Mike Reddy