In reading a recent article by The NEWS’ long-time refrigeration columnist, Joe Marchese, titled “Ice Breaker: Do It Right - Clean, Dry, and Tight,” I realized that two out of three of those items apply to advertising. Clean and tight are essential to do it right; being dry in the case of your advertising is something you want to avoid. Thus, I appropriated two-thirds of this concept and came up with the title atop this article.


The saying, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door,” is totally untrue. Many people have built a better mousetrap (i.e., a better product, better service, etc.), yet no one has beaten a path to their door, and they’ve gone out of business.

You need to build a better mousetrap (offer a better product and/or service) and you need to promote it tirelessly far and wide. People need to know you have a better product or better service. If they don’t know about you, no one is going to be at your door, no matter how good you are. The reason Thomas Edison was such a resounding success was because he was not only a great inventor but also a great promoter of his inventions.

And you need to promote your business effectively, not in an amateurish way.

Your ads should have a professional appearance. They need to be Cadillacs and not clown cars. The fit and finish of your ads should be clean and tight.


I originally was going to be an engineer. I studied engineering for two years before I decided I was not engineering material and switched to journalism.

In the engineering school you needed to take a computer class and learn how to write simple computer programs on punch cards to run on a mainframe. (Young readers may need to look up the terms “punch cards” and “mainframe,” since this is ancient history.)

What I learned way back then was the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” This saying is totally true. The quality that comes out depends on the quality going in. And it applies not only to computer programming, but also to advertising. If you don’t put sufficient thought, effort, design sense, and professionalism into your ads, you’re going to be shoveling garbage in and getting garbage out.

When it comes to your ad campaigns, it’s important that you do it right. That’s pretty obvious. But when I read, see, and hear all the garbage advertising in newspapers, on TV, and on the radio, it’s obviously not easy to put into practice.


A very simple tip to apply in your advertising is: don’t try to sell everything in your shop in a single ad. You may think it’s cost effective to cram as much as possible into an ad to make sure you get your money’s worth. In fact, you will be wasting your money.

Your ads need focus and the consumer needs to understand and buy into your pitch. If you pitch everything at your prospects, they’re more likely to become confused and not remember any of the many points you’re trying to make.

An ad that tries to sell all things to all people will not work. It’s going to be unappealing and overwhelming. It will not be effective.

If you want to sell high-efficiency furnaces, just focus on your furnaces. Don’t throw in the need for a high-efficiency filter, a quality humidifier, the importance of IAQ and how vital it is to a family, and on and on.

The purpose of your ad should be to sell the basic product and get you in the door. Let your salesperson explain and sell the need for all the extras. There’s a reason they’re called add-ons. You don’t have to, and won’t be able to, do the complete sales job in your ad. Your ad opens the door. Your salesperson comes in and closes.

If you have a lot of money and you want to do a series of ads, you can do a separate ad on high-efficiency filters and a separate ad on humidifiers, but sticking to the basics and just selling furnaces in the fall and winter and just selling air conditioners in the spring and summer is never a bad approach.

Focus on a single product and get to the point. Speak in the customer’s language — not SEER and AFUE. Talk about features and the corresponding benefits, with the emphasis on the benefits. Customers want to know: “What’s in it for me?” Tell them.

Keep it simple. Keep it focused. You’ll get the word out about your “better mousetrap” and you’ll make money.

Publication date: 10/10/2016