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May 28, 2014

“Should I advertise?

I got an email from a client last week. In it, she said that an industry magazine had reached out to her about advertising in an upcoming issue with an editorial theme that tied in nicely with her services. And her question was, “Should I advertise in that issue?”

I wish the answer was a simple one, but like everything else in Marketing… it depends!

First, understand that I believe in advertising. In one form or another, it should be part of virtually every firm’s marketing mix. Advertising builds awareness and can help to position a firm in the marketplace in ways that other marketing vehicles can’t.

But, that wasn’t the question. The question was about advertising in that one particular issue. Here’s how I responded:

  1. First, just one ad probably won’t do a lot for you. The key to advertising success is repetition. If you’re willing to invest in advertising, then you need to figure out how to create some sort of “campaign” over a period of time. As Trout & Reis said years ago, “marketing is not a battle for market share, it’s a battle for mind share”… and it takes time to reach that coveted “top of mind” position.
  2. That said, one ad can help if it coincides with and supports the other things you’ll be doing – emails, press releases, social media, etc. This is particularly true when tied to some sort of an event… a webinar, the launch of new service line, etc.
  3. Finally, advertising isn’t just about the ad… it’s also about what happens after someone sees your ad. If your ad piques someone’s interest, then their next action is likely to call in, send an email or click-thru to your website. Are you ready for that? You need to make sure these “next steps in the buying cycle” are buttoned-up before your ad ever hits the street and that these new sales prospects are not disappointed when they occur.

Bottom line: As these one-off advertising opportunities come to you throughout the year, think through them… and if you decide to move forward them, make sure you’re ready when the responses come in. And remember the old saying… “If your ad is great, then one ad is enough… if it’s not, then one ad is plenty!”


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