Advertising….The Facts!

Advertising and marketing your business is a critical investment in today’s tough economic times; cutting back on your marketing budget is never a wise entrepreneurial move, however, shrewd placement choices and calculated marketing modes, will always immune and strengthen your business whether we are mid recession or during times of boom.

Worryingly, advertising is still often shied away from, it can be seen as another interruption to the day, a sales call, but it warrants your time, it is a form of marketing that needs careful consideration in your overall marketing mix. It is your opportunity to communicate to your prospective clients and still cheaper than direct mail in the majority of cases. It is an expense, which your accountant can offset at your year end, and its success can be measured, tried and tested.

If advertising didn’t work then we would not have any commercial breaks on the radio or television. To the contrary there are, and we must emulate the bigger companies’ example by taking an essential proactive, rather than, the fashionable, reactive approach through our entire marketing mix of which advertising should be amongst your list of marketing modes.

So how should we embark on our own unique marketing mix? The key is testing because your business is unique and what may work for example, for one IT consultancy, may not necessarily be fruitful for your business. The one size fits all approach will not work and spending all of your marketing budget in quick succession, or only allocating it for certain periods, rather than spreading it over each month will only leave your business exposed and indeed deem your company as a vulnerable, and soft opportunity, when your competitor snaps up the chance to assume a more proactive role. Rigid planning too far ahead, even for the next twelve months, is not good advice either. Not in an economy where such rapid changes are occurring, social changes, the ways in which we communicate are more fluid now than even six months ago. Instead commit to making a twelve month “working document marketing  plan”, one which is adaptable according to trends; one which focuses per quarter and that will give you time to modify your route, react to new opportunities and have the financial resources to do so.

There are, according to the marketing Guru, Jonathan Jay, in excess of eighty forms of marketing methods; advertising, PR, Publicity and telemarketing to name a few. Additionally the group includes social media; facebook and key words  being a couple so it may seem a daunting task to decide which modes will work for your business, which will yield a healthy return on your investment?

This is why testing is so important, coupled with an adaptable personal approach. Do not fall into the trap of becoming reliant on a single mode just because it’s working today. Key words on Google will for example pull your company to the top of search engine results and you may be enjoying plenty of impressions as a result on your website, but that’s not insurance that you are converting the enquiries into sales. It’s also bypassing the need to be emotive, the provision of the human intervention, the opportunity to build a rapport with your prospect, answering their objectives.

Some of the old fashioned marketing modes are being over shadowed. The telephone and an informative sales person may not get the hit quantity but the informed, tenacious human will answer questions immediately whether you are wishing to receive inbound enquiries or create outbound leads.

Similarly, careful advert placement, matching a publication to your desired social demographic, will get the telephone ringing, though series booking is essential so that you can truly measure response. Three month booking is recommended and be proactive and change your advert to address seasonality or peak or trough times. Give your prospect a reason, or “call to action” to get in touch with you and dare to be different!

Today’s prospect is time deficient, and may be impatient as a result, the prospect will almost certainly like questions answered in real time rather than signing up to a newsletter. The prospect will refer back to valuable benefits depicted carefully in a static advertisement.

I am not undermining social media, I am simply stating that it sits within a much larger, must have bespoke marketing mix. As with any relatively new system, product or service, it is human nature to jump on the band wagon or follow what’s in vogue but the flip side of human nature is that in so a lot of other factors get over-looked or neglected.

In my role and over twenty five years of sales, PR, Marketing and publicity, I talk to lots of businesses, I represent many of my clients and listen to what their prospects needs are on a daily basis. I enjoy the narrative back to my clients and it’s very interesting to report on how people are reacting in today’s market. The findings are quite remarkable. Whilst people are busier than ever “doing the doing”, I am continually hearing the same reactions. Prospects are enjoying the personal touch for instance, they do not mind speaking on the telephone either, through of course succinct communications. They see it as a time efficient way to grasp new information. They, like my customers are craving for new ideas, ways to stand out from their competitors, ways to attract media attention, help in creating an advert, a marketing letter and so on. They are in short enjoying the good old fashioned, personal touch against the backdrop of faceless communications.

Communications are changing; the government is making cutbacks to stabilise the deficit. Companies are beginning to awake, the savvy ones becoming proactive in their actions and in the wave of change are opportunities, and changes always provide new opportunities, new opportunities to reconsider some of the wider group of marketing modes.

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