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Business Advertising 101

Business advertising is not as basic as the heading of this post might portray. Advertising is complicated, especially in today’s society. Regardless the size of your company, advertising improperly can cost you a lot of money. The problem is, there is too many media options. I have clients who tell me all of the time, “The Information Age sucks because it is just too hard to find my customers.” I get it. With all of the options available to reach consumers, it is hard to know what will work the best for your business needs.

And to make matters worse, major media companies hire really intelligent sales people, and train them how to sell the “AD Products” that only that company sells. And the reps sell it as the “best available advertising opportunity” for any business. These guys and gals are sharp! Chances are, you know them too, or their parents, or brothers and sisters. I call them the “pawns.” The “pawns” are usually educated enough to be dangerous. Dangerous because they know just enough to get you to buy their business advertising opportunity. The “pawns” have cost companies just like yours hundreds, thousands, a hundred of thousands, and even millions of advertising dollars, all because you thought that advertising media was going to work for you. The “pawn” did his or her job. Did you do yours?

Its time to stop shooting with a shotgun at a long range target and start shooting with a high powered rifle and a scope at a 100 yard target. Its much easier to hit. Lets stop trying to figure out what works best for your business and start understanding your customer’s needs. In BUSINESS ADVERTISING 101, I am going to share an industry secret that the “pawns” or their corporate bosses will not tell you. So get ready to stop the bleeding when it comes to wasted ad dollars being spent.

business advertising collage

A hundred years ago, it was much easier to advertise. The options were few such as: Print, Radio, Outdoor/Billboard, Direct Marketing/Sales, and Direct Mail. Anything else would have been grass roots. Okay, so maybe “easier” was a bad choice of words. Even a hundred years ago, consumers had enough options for obtaining information and products that business owners still had trouble deciding which advertising options would work best at reaching their potential customer. Even a hundred years ago, millions in advertising dollars were still being wasted. I know you want me to answer WHY, here. So I will.

BUSINESS OWNERS DID NOT KNOW THEIR CUSTOMERS THEN AND STILL DO NOT KNOW THEM NOW.

THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING you have to know before you start advertising is your CUSTOMER. I am not talking about their demographic info, or their socio graphics, even though these are very important. I am talking about KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER; What, Why, When, Where. What makes your customer your customer? Whydo theybuy from your store and not the store around the corner? Whydo they use your service over your competitor? Where do they live? Where do they shop? What music do they like? What TV shows do they enjoy with their family? What do they do on the weekends? What Internet browser do they use? I bet you are thinking to yourself right now, “this guy is crazy.” But if you want to advertise to your potential customer successfully, understanding your customer is vital. The more you know, the better!

HOW CAN YOU LEARN THIS INFORMATION YOU ASK?

Its simple, just ask them. This is called MARKETING. Marketing/Sales are very similar concepts, and they ARE NOT just about selling a product or service. Marketing/Sales is about research. Understanding your market or potential customer is the key. So if you do not understand your potential customer, do not blame your advertising failures on your sales representative. Blame your advertising failures on yourself, Mr. Advertiser. Your sales rep did their job. The reason your business advertising failed is because you do not know your customer. This is the single best piece of advice you will read in this article. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER.

Maybe this article should have been called “KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER.”

Knowing your customer was really important a hundred years ago, with just a few advertising options. Imagine how important it is now with thousands of business advertising options in a market. In this year of 2014, digital media (Online Advertising PC, Mobile and Tablets) is not even close to reaching its peak and offers numerous ways to market through it. Cable TV offers hundreds of channels and millions of programs. Local Broadcast offers thousands of programs plus local news. Radio now offers local stations and satellite along with all of its programs, plus you can listen to radio online. Outdoor is everywhere with numerous ways to utilize it: Billboard, Digital Billboard, Air Planes, Buses, cars and moving trucks with signs and much more. I can keep going but we might be here a while.

Then, on top of all the possibilities and choices to advertise your product or service, you have to create a message that reaches your target audience in a manner that your audience will understand and want to respond to. Hopefully this is not overwhelming for you. I understand that you are running a business and it is hard to consider all of this stuff. I get it, you just want traffic through the door or phone calls/e-mails with quote request. Its way more complicated than that.

Business Advertising 101 was written to help you understand that advertising is not easy to do properly. Though, the key to advertising properly is somewhat simple: know your customer. Make a demographic and socio-graphic breakdown. Research. If you want to see more information from Yee-Haw Marketing, visit our CONTACT US page and send you e-mail info for e-mail newsletter subscription.

Advertising Your Business 101
by Marketing Consultant -James Haik

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