Advertising is expensive and, next to creating your product, probably the most critical and expensive investment for developing and growing a successful business.
You May Have To Sacrifice Equity
Some businesses see advertising as their way to growth but I know this is often a gross oversimplification. And the reason is, advertising done wrong can be the biggest waste of money which can often leave the company without working capital.
It’s quite simple – the best ideas mean nothing without connecting with the marketplace. In fact it’s so critical to make this connection, that Steve jobs gave 30% of Apple to a venture capitalist who invested less than $100,000 to support their initial marketing campaign. Without Steve’s understanding that advertising has to be done right and risking 30% of his company to get the right individual’s know-how, we probably wouldn’t have Apple today, despite the brilliance of their products.
The lesson is brutal in its simplicity.
Understand your marketplace and the need for the right advertising campaign to connect to with it and then fund it – almost at any cost. If you can’t fund the proper advertising campaign then you need to find the funds, which may well mean dilute your shareholding.
If Social Media’s Not Your Space Grit Your Teeth
If your company can effectively use social media, then count yourself lucky. At least for the moment while the phenomena lasts! Being able to effectively use social media is one way to reasonably easily put your message in front of your market place.
Many of us however do not have an audience keyed into any of the current social media platforms and if this is you, then you are up for an expensive campaign which could be your make or break.
The problem with advertising in marketplaces other than social media is overcoming the saturation of consumer products information which confuses everyone. When I say saturation, there are now over 4000 books published every day and the amount of printed knowledge doubles every four years. So when you consider that as a species we hate confusion, you can see why it’s so hard to shine your product’s light through this marketing fog.
Whichever advertising platform you use, it’s critical to make people aware of your point of difference.
Key Elements To Your Marketing Message
There are some key lessons to be learned about your message in this respect:
- It must be simple – and strike the reader as a good idea – immediately!
- It must be logical – your message must make sense
- Repetition is critical – you must ‘keep on message’ and continue to relentlessly push your point of difference.
I have been reading Jack Trout’s excellent ‘Differentiate or Die’ again and borrowed from his cautionary comment about creativity where he explains that advertising agents and marketers love being creative, (after all, this is how they win their coveted industry awards). The trouble is, this means they like to change the message often and sometimes not reflect your need for a simple, logical and repetitive message.
New Product Launches
Launching a new range can be far better than trying to adapt an existing one.
In 2001 on the launch of their environmentally friendly car, Honda put it in the body of their successful and long established Civic Hybrid. Swing over to Toyota who, with a similar performing model, created a clearly identifiable Prius that many critics said did nothing better than the Honda. But the Prius success story is now a legend. People wanted to be recognised as driving the friendly vehicle despite its odd looks. There may be a lesson for you here.
It’s a question of people making a choice because it’s what they think they should have based on what others have chosen. How many people you know own a four-wheel-drive or SUV and haven’t taken it off road for example? (Confession, ours has made it twice and very briefly at that.)
Stick To The Script
It’s important to maintain focus. But even the largest companies drop the ball – A beverage company was well known but they blew because they’ve became creative and tried to replace it with their new versions in new bottles.
So you see the bad news is advertising is not always successful, and certainly not overnight. Also reference the phenomena of light beer taking close to 10 years to gain a foothold in the market in Australia despite all the RBTs outside the pubs every night.
I hope this information helps you exploit your point of difference so you can get on the road and grow your business and harness more raving fans.
So get your act together, set a budget, and then get out there and make it happen. And when you hit the sweet spot at all costs stick to your message and don’t let your creative advertisers make the change too soon!