I had a call with a prospective client a while back; they were spitting bullets. The first thing they said to me was. ” Why advertising does not work”. A few weeks previous they had been approach by their local newspaper to appear in a feature at a special price. Only to find on publication that all of the competition was give the same deal for the same page. It was harsh seeing hard earned cash spent just to sit in a crowd, and worse when the phone did not ring.
The only way to make newspaper advertising work is to have a real budget and be in it for the long game, dipping in and out is not an option. Without continuity there is no proof it works, also include an offer that is unique to the paper so you can track responses and always ask your prospects how they found you.
Here are some key points to consider before using print advertising:
1) Are your customers reading the paper?
2) Buyer frequency, will the readers buy often enough?
3) Does your product or service sell at a high enough price to return the cost of advertising?
If you can answer yes to 2 of these and you have the budget, it may be worth a try. Look to cut a deal and commit to buying a years advertising. You should be able to get a killer price that slashes the rate card.
Can you stand out from the crowd?
Whatever you do the advert must stand out from the crowd with a point of difference.
When you become part if the herd, do the same as the competition, the product becomes a commodity. Unless you can present a unique aspect of the product a twist on the service, a strong call to action, You just blend. Think what will make this stand off the page. . The problem is that very few businesses take the time to find a unique position, a platform or point of difference. So failing this the default is price, and it all becomes a race to the bottom.
Price is an old story here is what Sergio Zyman, former Chief Marketing Officer, Coca Cola had to say on the subject in 1999
“Because old marketing isn’t working, every year, earlier and earlier in the marketing year, people are admitting defeat and falling back on ‘Plan B,’ which is, of course, price promotion. Price promotion is definitely on the rise, and the cost of it is going up. That’s because when everyone is cutting prices, you have to cut yours even more. The sale that cost you a dime to get three years ago, now costs a quarter, and still, all you are getting is rented volume that is going away as soon as you stop paying for it.
“Every day you can turn to the newspaper’s business pages and learn that another company has succeeded to death. It has sold a lot of stuff and gone broke in the process.
Integrated Marketing takes you beyond the uncertainty of print advertising
In the example at the beginning of this piece, you could argue that the newspaper was serving their readers well by collating all of the players in the market and putting them all next to each other for easy comparison. Is this any different to the online world on a Google search, where we all appear next to our competition in the organic listings
If Sergio Zyman thought it was tough in 1999, I wonder what he would make of our marketplace today, with mobile, the web and social media. The fact remains that we live in the world of the marketing maze, where the integration of marketing channels is the key to survival.
To my mind, the small business must develop a marketing machine that uses a range of lead generation tools and channels.
It is the first place I look when starting with a new client, how many marketing streams are they using, are they testing. I am all for the local and provincial press they provide an invaluable platform for local issues. But as an effective marketing tool for small business? It can be but only as part of an integrated marketing system.
To Your Success