If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you’ll never get there. Or if you do, you’ll never even know that you made it!
What does this have to do with advertising, you ask? A whole hell of a lot. You see, 99.9% of the advertising you’re
tormented with annoyed by exposed to every day is big-time, “brand advertising” used by the Fortune 500 types. Either that, or it’s small businesses doing their best to copy the big, Fortune 500-type advertising.
This is where a ton of people run into trouble.
Here’s the thing: what works for Coca-Cola is not going to work for you. Not if you’re a small, growing company. Not if you’re trying to establish yourself in a local market. And definitely not if you aren’t doing billions in revenue each year.
Mark this. Remember it. Tattoo it on your body like Guy Pierce in Memento if you have to. But whatever you do, don’t let it slip your mind:
What Works for the “Big Dogs” Like Coca Cola, Apple, and Microsoft Will, in All Likelihood, NOT Work for You!
Well, why the heck not? The main difference between you and these international conglomerates is budget (or lack thereof). For you, “budget” means keeps your spending in check and pinching pennies; it’s the responsible, stoic angel on your shoulder wagging its finger at each and every frivolous purchase. For Microsoft, “budget” is a pile of discretionary “playing around money” their advertising guys get to muck around with for various projects.
Another thing: Microsoft, Apple, and other pillars of capitalism (with a dash of corporatism thrown in…) are already established. People recognize their names when they see them. You don’t have to go far to hear some doofus talking about how he waited seven hours for the iPhone 5 to come out.
When it comes time for you to advertise, it’s hard to wake up from the spell those titans of industry – and their decades of exposing you to expensive “brand advertising” – have you under. After all, those Coke commercials with the polar bears in them won all those rewards, right? So, something like that must be just the ticket you need for your young company to succeed, right?
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Listen:
Your Advertising is Shooting Your Young Business in the Foot if it Focuses on Anything Other Than Results.
What do I mean by results? Anything that puts more money in your pocket (either now or in the future). Good advertisements are messages you can measure… and they’re only as “good” as the amount of new business, leads, or publicity they bring to your business.
With brand advertising, it’s basically impossible to measure what kind of financial impact the ad has on the company’s bottom line. And for the mega-companies that use it all the time, it’s not the end of the world for them. Brand advertising helps people recognize the company; it keeps it in the front of the customer’s mind. I’m not knocking it (there is a ton of great creative work done on Madison Avenue).
I’m just pointing out that, for 99% of the businesses out there, it’s probably not the best use of their advertising budget.
Which brings me to my bulletproof thesis…
Good Reputation, a Marketable “Brand” (and 99% of the Other Garbage Media Experts Try to Sell You on) are Organic BYPRODUCTS of Excellent Results
How do you think Coca Cola became the high fructose corn sugar tyrant it is today? Here’s a hint: it’s NOT by slapping polar bears in cute commercials. Coca Cola became a staple in the soft drink industry by turning in year after profitable year. It spent DECADES systematically expanding its influence and gobbling up market share until it reached a critical mass of customers.
This is what you should focus on right now if you want to dominate in this slipshod economy (and I know you do). Stop looking at advertising as something you need to “add on” at the tail end of your business projects so customers will “remember your name.”
Focus your time and efforts on how to use advertising as your secret weapon to put more coin in your coffers. Why is it a “secret” weapon? Because almost all of your competitors will keep trying to make cute ads that could air during the Super Bowl.
All while you slip right by them. While you quietly gather all the leads, customers, and cash money.
Let your reputation build itself and always deliver. Then, when you’re sitting at the top of your industry, you can spend your extra pennies worrying about how to “reshape your brand.” It’s a good problem to have, friend.
If you’re totally lost, remember this:
Advertising is salesmanship-in-print.
-John E. Kennedy
Maybe it’s time to reassess your current ads. How well are they selling your products or services?
Now you know where you want to go… but what do you need to do to get there?
Patience, young grasshopper. Stay tuned.