Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Lessons I’ve Learnt 19–Advertising vs Promotion

My thoughts on this subject form part of the Guest Lecture “ Crafting a Small Business” I deliver to Business Students at Qld University.  It has been abbreviated. As with all the posts in this category my thoughts are based on Lessons I’ve Learnt and what is right for our business.

Paying for advertising can be costly for small businesses. It is a cost that quickly adds up. Before you place an advert ask yourself “Who am I trying to impress?” Are you trying to create some hype or increase sales?  Are you advertising to retail customers or business to business? There is nothing wrong with trying to create a bit of a buzz  but just be clear about your purpose.

Another point to remember about advertising is that it is usually associated to a product or a limited range of products. Rarely do you see advertisements promoting a brand. Kellogg has a different advert for each of their breakfast cereals. They don’t advertise the brand.

One more point on advertising. It is always profitable. Always for the person selling the space, not always for you.

Promotion is a less expensive option. There  is still a cost though it tends to  involve less real $$$$. It will involve a lot of time and in small business time = $$$$

In the customer’s eye Promotion is not selling therefore message is more honest/real. I have found that targeted promotion is more effective in the long term. It is linked to your brand, name and what you stand for.

When I published my book I wrote Press Release and sent it off to a local paper. They printed a photo on the front page with the story and another photo on page three. This story and different photos was published in six of their sister publications. I sold a heap of books off the back of this one Press Release or Promotional activity. Imagine how much it would have cost me to have bought the same space.

This is the main Lesson I’ve Learnt about Advertising and Promotion.  Did we get a return for our investment? If it costs us money, or if all we do is break even then it hasn’t worked for us. After all I could leave the money in the bank and get interest.

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