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February 19, 2014

Advertising works… and I was in Las Vegas last week to prove it!

I was in Las Vegas last week to speak at and attend the annual joint conference of the Southwest and Northwest chapters of the MRA.  Nancy Hernon and Rommell Montenegro and all of their colleagues put on a really nice event – good sessions, good food and some really great people.

It was the first time I’d been to Vegas in a while that I really had the chance to get out of the hotel and “experience” the city.  My wife, Lisa, was with me and after a few days there said, “You can’t describe Las Vegas, you have to see it!”

And what I saw more of than anything was advertising. Dazzling outside signs 5 stories tall, ads in the hotels and on the hotels, on buses and cabs, at the airport, on permanent and drivable billboards, in those special hotel guest magazines… even being handed out on the street corner.  It was everywhere!

Most of the advertisers are the casinos – promoting their shows and restaurants – trying to sell their products in a very competitive marketplace (122 casinos at last count!)… and hoping to gain a share of the 40 million visitors (!) that come to Las Vegas each year.

Do these casinos have websites, Facebook pages and Twitter sites?  Of course!  In fact, we stayed at The Mirage and they have over 280,000 “Likes” on Facebook.

Do they send out emails?  You bet!

So, why all the advertising?  Simple… they can’t and don’t reach everyone that’s a potential customer with just digital media.  That’s especially true with the first-timer – someone new to Vegas or who’s been there before but not stayed at their casino.  These casinos complement their online efforts with an amazing array of offline advertising for the tens of thousands of visitors who walk around the city every day (and night).

What’s the parallel for you?  Think about it… you have a website, Facebook page and Twitter account.  You send email.  But you certainly don’t have a connection with every business and business contact that could be a client.

Should you complement your existing efforts with public advertising?  Maybe.  While billboard ads don’t make any sense, perhaps a print ad campaign in Quirks or a specific industry publication to attract readers does.  Or a direct mail piece to a targeted list.  Or maybe a banner ad in an AMA e-newsletter (while digital – it’s still public advertising).

So, before you give up on advertising, think through the benefits it provides.  Think strategically about how you might use it.  People can’t do business with you if they don’t know you exist and what you can do for them.  Adding advertising to your marketing mix might provide a competitive advantage that digital marketing alone can’t provide.

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