“If there was a step by step, guaranteed, fool proof system for starting a business and steadily increasing sales, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?” Of course they would. Problem is, your business is unlike others. You are involved in your own custom scenario - your competition, location, sales force or lack of it, resource and budget restrictions and especially products or services make you unique.
We are admen, and this is what we know about getting new customers and increasing sales. There is no mystery nor magic. As a matter of fact, there are ways of advertising that guarantee results and others that guarantee failure. Some advertising agencies will tell you advertising has to be creative, that it is an art form, even entertainment. Actually, advertising does not have to be creative at all - it just has to be interesting enough to make you change your brand preference and buy the product. In short, good advertising causes you to take action.
Would you rather people talk about how wonderful your ads are or for them to buy your product?
The solution for you is the same as for your competition: use all the appropriate media at your disposal to get your name and image in front of your target group, while spending the least amount of money possible. Advertising or “communication” - whatever form it may take - is the only way to sell anything! From word of mouth to television, effective communication is the key.
Yet this, dear reader, is where the confusion lies. What constitutes
communication? What are the appropriate media and messages for your unique product, service or market? Why does it seem that some magazine ads just do not get the job done? How can you possibly afford to advertise when sales are down? These are all legitimate questions that lie at the core of the advertising dilemma. You know you have to advertise, but how? To begin, you should understand and accept three keys of advertising and increasing sales.
First, and most important, the wrong kind of advertising will actually hurt your sales! When Coca-Cola changed the flavor in 1985 in an attempt to increase market share, the move backfired and caused a boycott. No company, no matter how large and viable, is impervious to bad advice. Only proper research can prevent such tragedies.
Realize the magnitude of difference between one advertisement and another, says direct response copywriter guru John Capels.
“I have seen one advertisement actually sell not twice as much, not three time as much, but 19 1/2 times as much as another. Both advertisements occupied the same space. Both were run in the same publication. Both had photographic illustrations. Both had carefully written copy. The difference is that one used the right appeal and the other used the wrong appeal.”
Second, realize what you are up against. Picture yourself across a table from Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. He has more money than some governments, and if he signs a contract to purchase your product or service, you have got it made! Oh, there is only one problem. He starts the meeting like this...
I do not know who you are.
I do not know your company.
I do not know your company’s product.
I do not know what your company stands for.
I do not know your company’s customers.
I do not know your company’s reputation.
I do not know your company’s record.
Now, what was it you want to sell me?
Third, accept the importance of positioning. Realize that where you position yourself in the marketplace has everything to do with the success of your product or service. What exactly is positioning, you ask. Positioning is what your product does and who uses it.The Dove bar could have been positioned as soap for men with dirty hands, but instead it was marketed as a toilet bar for women with dry skin. Once the product was positioned properly, David Ogilvy masterfully created advertising to reach the target market. Take a lesson from Ogilvy: the better you and your advertising agency positions and promotes your image, the more sales you can expect.
This brings us to the question of why people prefer one brand over another. Some people like smoking Marlboro, while others prefer Camel orWinston. Is this because they have tried all cigarette brands before they chose one for them? Research suggests otherwise.
At the Department of Psychology at the University of California, researchers gave distilled water to students. They told some students that the water was distilled, and asked them to describe its taste. Most said it had no taste of any kind. They told the other students that the water came out of the tap. Most of them said it tasted horrible, because the mere mention of tap conjured up an image of chlorine.
The reality is that different kinds of products have different images
different people. Give someone a taste of Jack Daniels and tell them it is Jack. Then give them another taste of Jack Daniels and tell them its Old Grand dad. Ask them which one they prefer? They will think that the two drinks are quite different. They are tasting images!
Other than the addition of television and the Internet as highly effective media, there have been few changes in advertising since its birth. Yet the mysteries about what is “good” or “bad” advertising prevail. The truth is that if your ads do not change brand preference, they are not doing their job. If they do change brand preference, people will be three times more likely to purchase your product. The point to reiterate is that simply getting someone to remember your ad will not change whether or not they buy your product.
Sale are a functions of product-valie and advertising. Sales promotions produce no more than a short term kink in the sales curve. And, without the promotion, customers go back to their habitual brands.
Another important point is the difference between sales promotions and advertising. In 1981, US manufacturers distributed 1,024,000,000,000 coupons. Talk about sales promotions! Still, in the long run, building a sharply defined image is what gets you the largest share of the market.
According to Bev Murphy, President of Campbell’s Soup Company “Sales are a function of product-value and advertising. Sales promotions produce no more than a short term kink in the sales curve and without the promotion, customers go back to their habitual brands.”
This is the kind of confusion that makes some manufactures secretly question whether advertising really sells their product. On a train journey to California a friend asked Mr. Wrigley why, with the lions share of the market, he continued to advertise his chewing gum. “How fast do you think this train is going?” asked Wrigley. “I would say about ninety miles an hour.” the friend replied. “Well then said Wrigley, do you suggest we unhitch the engine?” The truth is, no matter how good you are, if you do not advertise or stop advertising, your product will be forgotten amongst a barrage of competition.
The lesson to learn is that it is not necessary to advertise in every medium. You do need to understand, however, that your image is influenced by the media in which you choose to advertise as well as the media you omit. Deciding what media to use becomes a function of your target market and your competition. Who are you trying to reach? What advertising venues is your competition using?
When considering different media, keep in mind that all are at your disposal no matter what your budget. Do not exclude any because you have got lots of money to spend, and do not assume you can not afford some because they are too expensive. For your quick reference, the most common advertising media are as follows:
The rest of this article will discuss the pros and cons of the above-mentioned ad media. Warning! Making assumptions about which ones are for you and which one are not can only hurt you. Do not...