Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Third Mistake

The boss says,"Cut your spending." The acountant says, "You've got to cut spending." The board says, "Reign in the spending."

But as you pour over your expenses, they all seem necessary. Utilities? Yep, gotta keep the heat on. Insurance? Don't want to be caught with our pants down. Selling Supplies? Can't sell without supplies. Payroll? Don't want to be like Circuit City. Advertising? Advertising? Yeah, advertising... everyone says advertising doesn't work any more anyway. Let's cut advertising.

Wait!

Before you make the first cut, you better know what you are doing. Cutting money out of the ad budget must be done with the skill of a diamond cutter. One wrong move and you'll cut off your business at the knees.

You have to know how your ads work for you, how they grow your business, how they attract new customers and keep old ones, how they influence the decision-making process of your potential clients. You have to know where your ads are most effective and where they are wasting time and money. You have to evaluate each and every component of your ad budget before dropping the axe. And then, only drop it sparingly.

Advertising is your lifeline in a down economy. It is also your ticket to the top of the hill. Way too many businesses in an economy like this take the easy road and cut huge chunks out of their ad budgets without truly evaluating why their ads work or don't work. They say things like, "I tried radio for 4 weeks and it didn't work, so I'll cut all radio ads." Or they muse, "That newspaper ad did nothing for business, so I'll cut all newsprint ads from the budget."

I know, because I used to have those kinds of thoughts, too. It was always the media's fault my ads didn't work, never the fault of the ad I designed, never the fault of making wrong assumptions about how my ad should work within the medium.

But once you begin to understand first how each medium is designed to work and then how to design ads that work well within the medium of your choice, you will find your business getting a better return on your advertising investment.

And when you choose to continue advertising while all your competitors cut back, you'll find your return ever greater. The cold stark truth is that no matter the economy, business is still being done. The beauty and danger of doing business in such times, however, is that customers are more fickle, less loyal to their usual shopping patterns. To the stores who disregard this behavior and cut back their advertising and customer service, these customers are turning their backs and looking for someplace new that is willing to serve their needs.

The businesses still advertising, still investing in their employees, are in position to win the hearts of these customers. Yes, even in tough times, some stores thrive. And I can guarantee you they all have one thing in common. They didn't cut back on their marketing. They just learned how to do it smarter and more effectively to win the customers other stores are neglecting.

Would you like to learn how to market your business better?

As part of the Midtown Morning Breakfast, I'm going to present two workshops in April and May on How Ads Work.

The first one will be April 15th from 7:30am to 8:45am at Jackson Coffee Company. In this class we'll explore how the different mediums work and how to use them most effectively. We'll also look at the absolute best formula for calculating your ad budget that doesn't overextend your resources. And we'll demystify the 4 biggest myths of advertising.

The second class will be May 20th, same time, same place. In this workshop I'll show you how to identify the true essence of your brand and make it work harder for you. Plus, we'll discuss different techniques to make your marketing more impactful and memorable in ways that move customers toward your business.

Before you make a classic mistake and slash your marketing just to cut expenses, learn how to make the most of what you do spend. You're bottom line depends on it.

Will you join me?

-Phil

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