Is Advertising Dead?

I don’t think so. I think the face of it changes. But while million dollar ad space for Superbowl still exists, no matter how much of a social media and relationship building fan I am, I can’t say advertising is dead. Even if you don’t have a million dollars. Even if your business is so small you can’t imagine good advertising campaigns… yet.

You want your business to grow right? So even though right now you are so wanting to believe that building relationships, being all woo-woo, and fighting your way through the social media hub-bub is the BEST way to win at your business… it’s not. It’s one way. It’s one free way that has serious legs to it for small business.

But what about that dream you have of not being a small business? At some point you better plan on profitability that accounts for a 30-50% marketing budget dedicated to your growth. And when you get there, the phone will start ringing from sales reps wanting you to buy into what they are selling.

If your business lives locally at all — that is, you actually have a face to face relationship with clients — advertising can be a powerhouse for your business. But not until you can afford it. Here is the most scaled down way to describe getting from here to there that I can explain:

Build your brand. Gain credibility through consistent messages, visuals, offerings and presence (where you promote yourself). This may take a few years if you are doing it on next to no budget.

Build your following. Social media is fantastic for building a following if your business is online. If it’s not, the old school version of social media is still “word of mouth”. Build programs online and in your real world that get your customers to talk for you, that gets you in front of your potential customers as often as possible.

These 2 efforts are the basics of marketing. Do these well – remembering consistency and sticktoitivity – and you are half way there. Practicing persistence and patience is key.

Once you have some money rolling in, I’m not saying leap into advertising, but I’m saying don’t discount it. To be a smart marketer you need to know ALL your options.

What if your competitors are SO into social media and excelling at relationship building that nobody in your industry is using radio advertising anymore, as an example. What if you found a clever and effective way to run a radio campaign that you could afford… perhaps you’d stand out amongst the millions of potential customers who don’t use Facebook, Twitter or read blogs for information. It’s a matter of being unique amongst those you share market share with, and responding to where your customers are. Do you know?

Yes, advertising spending is dwindling, but it still works in the right scenario… as it always has.

Here’s a thought… back in the day before Internet marketing (or relationship building existed)… there was a notion that the ideal customer scenario was when someone was surveyed in an advertising awareness poll and claimed they heard about a business on television BUT the advertiser had never run television ads. How is this possible? The consumer mind is complex. There is evidence that a great radio campaign well timed and extremely connected to a great print advertising campaign — where audio appeal and visual appeal are extremely consistent and clever — leads consumers to believe they saw it on TV. Interesting right?

So here’s the modern day version of this scenario. As both a social media and traditional media believer, I LOVE this new finding. In the article “Mapping Social Media Chatter to TV Ads” there is an indication that this kind of perfect marketing scenario is possible too.. where Twitter conversations and television content overlap… leaving the consumer not caring what they heard where.

Marketers know that providing one clear message multiple times in multiple media all visited by the same person (the article maps the show “The Voice” where people watching the show are also tweeting about it) is the ultimate goal in making a measurable impact. You don’t think this show is marketing? I would bet my Starbucks card that Maroon 5 sales, because of guest judge Adam Levine, have spiked as a result of the show, as would the other judges.

This is mostly food for thought. I am not advocating jumping into spending money you don’t have in media you don’t understand. I’m an expert in media spending, and it’s confusing. More money is wasted on advertising – money loss that could put you out of business.

But if growth is on your 5 year plan and your business grows based on people who live in one community, understanding old school marketing – advertising and promotions in your community – in combination with social media will improve your chances of success.

Let me know if I can help!

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