ACHRNEWS

My Two Cents: Where to Place the Advertising Dollars

March 8, 2010
Butch Welsch

In our last column, we looked at the things we need to understand about the makeup of our customers. Now our job becomes that of determining which media does the best job of reaching those potential customers. Whereas a few years ago there were just a few advertising options available to us, now the options are almost endless. As would be expected, there are pros and cons associated with all of the different options available. It’s important to make sure you weigh all of these pros and cons before making any decisions regarding placing your advertising dollars. Let’s look at the some of the many options.

Daily newspapers have long been a staple of our industry. However, their circulation, readership, and size are dwindling rapidly. With daily newspapers, as well as broadcast TV, you are paying to reach a great number of people who are not your potential customers. These media represent more of a “shotgun” approach where your message is not really being targeted to your specific audience.

With radio and cable TV advertising, you are better able to choose the type of audience you wish to reach. With the selection of the radio format or the cable TV programming, you can choose to reach your type of customer. However, with the advent of the iPod, the impact of radio has been reduced. Also, with the use of VCRs, DVRs and satellite dishes becoming more and more prevalent, it makes us question whether or not cable TV messages are really reaching our potential buyers. Billboards are another form of advertising that doesn’t really allow us to target our market but does allow us to reach a large number of eyes.

Direct mail advertising has the ability to be targeted fairly specifically to your target market. Unfortunately, because it can be targeted, many industries use direct mail and our message can easily be lost in the clutter. Many companies must find direct mail to be a successful approach because so many use it. Direct mail is a good way to encourage referrals by including in your direct mail piece an incentive for someone to make a referral. Speaking of referrals, since a high percentage of our leads come from our own customers and referrals from those customers, I am questioned by our employees as to whether or not we really need to advertise at all.

My response is this; if I am looking to purchase something, and a friend refers me to a company, if I am familiar with the company name, have heard it advertised, or seen their trucks, I am a lot more likely to follow up and contact that company. If I have never heard of the company referred, I am less likely to call that company. For that reason, I feel it is important that we keep our name out there in front of our potential customers.

NEW MEDIA

Then there are, of course, the many newer forms of advertising, which have just recently become so available. Your Website can certainly be used as an advertising medium. You can choose to examine Internet advertising. If you have been diligent in obtaining the e-mail addresses of your customers, you can use e-mail blasts as a method to reach them. The newest forms of this type of advertising, currently referred to as social media, include Facebook, Twitter, and other similar approaches. Then, of course, there are approaches such as sponsorships and promotions, which can be used to reach a targeted market.

For example, sponsoring a sports team that attracts your target market may provide a good return on investment.

With all of these options, it is more important than ever to analyze the way you spend your advertising dollars. We haven’t even mentioned the importance of the actual message that you put out there. First, however, before you put together the message, take the time to study your customers and review all of the media options so you can be sure that the message you put out there will have the best chance of obtaining the results you desire.

Publication date: 03/08/2010