How to Waste Money on Advertising

On 12.07.16, In Resources, by Blake Houser

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The easiest job in the marketing world is “advertising” … you know – the big budget stuff.

For example, the fancy TV commercials or two-page spreads in national magazines that do not solicit responses and have no way of measuring effectiveness. In a weird twist, these ad agencies also make the most money, charging gross fees for over-creative and under-effective advertisements.

How convenient for the big budget advertiser, because there is no way to tell if they are being successful or not.

As a small business, using this type of advertising can be straight-out dangerous. If you are American Express, Exxon Mobile or Bank of America, it’s not that big of a deal … you have money to waste.

For the rest of us who have to get a return on our advertising dollar, you can dump what would have been this year’s net profits in the trash, because you went with a traditional ad agency focusing on everything but getting you a ROI.

It’s like highway robbery when you take a company’s money to do something without anything in place to measure it. After all, how can you fail, if there is no way to tell?

It’s not right. In fact it’s flat out wrong and a waste of money.

Meanwhile the direct response marketers (which are what small businesses should be using) are getting paid nickels in comparison.

Instead of going down that path to nowhere, use a direct response copywriter or agency. These men and women are on the firing line, living and dying by the campaigns they create. After they are finished with your campaign, you either hail them as the hero or as the bum that bombed on your campaign.

Here are three effective marketing channels to use for your next marketing campaign:

Option 1:
Create a good pay-per-click campaign. We live in a time when in a few clicks of your computer mouse, you can setup and run a Google ad campaign and see results that day! You know exactly how much a click cost you, how many people contacted you from it, and the most important metric is you are able to tie new revenue to that click.

Option 2:
A direct response radio ad. This is not the cheapest route to go, and you definitely need an ad that will motivate people to call you from your ad. This can be done by offering an incentive, like a free report or samples, consultation etc. It depends on your industry and what you are doing. Continue to test as you move forward. Even on a big radio station in a major market like NYC, a 60-second spot can cost as little as $150.

Option 3:
Direct mail. And yes, I added that for two reasons. One, because I am in the printing industry. Two, because it’s still extremely effective at growing a business. Ask Google – they still use direct mail! What you will like best about direct mail is you can specifically target individuals, which you cannot do as easily with radio, magazine, or newspaper advertising. You can get super-targeted down to income levels, age, profession, etc.

It’s easy to market without having to show results. Do not do it, and run for your life from general ad agencies like it’s the plague. For your next marketing campaign, think to yourself “how will I measure this?” If you cannot, toss the idea away and move onto the next.

P.S. When you do get a marketing campaign that produces revenues and profits, run it for as long as it works. Eventually, there will come a day when that marketing campaign’s response declines to the point that it is no longer profitable. But until then, use it over and over.

Blake Houser

Client Relations Manager at The Wells & Drew Companies
About the author:
Blake Houser is Client Relations Manager at Wells & Drew. In addition, he is the third generation in this family-owned speciality printing business.

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