Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘advertisers

Now I’m an advertiser. What does that mean?

with one comment

This past week, I was talking with a friend whom also happens to own her own business.  Recently, she’s been thinking about putting spots on TV which she’s never done before.  One of the questions she asked me was how will that make her look.  Does being on TV make a business look “desperate?”

This is actually a very viable question and one I’ve never really considered before.  Within her business peers and competitors, she was concerned that this would impact how they would view her.  In her line of business, how she appears among her peers is important.

If she has a commercial created and puts it on the air, what does that say about her business?  What does that say about her?

Advertising means telling as large an audience as possible about you and your business.  It’s a very effective way to establish your brand and to create points of differentiation in the minds of potential customers.  Advertising means that you believe in your business enough to put marketing dollars behind it.  Since no business has 100% market share in their segment, every business can increase sales with smart marketing.

All of that said, the key has to be smart marketing.  It starts with the message.  Is it right for the medium you plan to use?  Does it exactly match the image of your business you want to portray?  If not, then you can actually damage your business by releasing that message into the public.

Let’s say you now have a perfectly crafted mass media message that will cut through the clutter.  The job is only half done.  Next is finding the right medium for delivering the message.  As I stated in my series of posts on the various mediums, there are a wide range of media to use for delivering your message:  television, radio, newspapers, Internet, direct mail, and outdoor.  Deciding which to use requires thought as to what type of audience you want to reach, the message you want to convey, and budget.  Then you have to make sure that your placement within that media works for you as well.  Is your print ad buried in the paper or did you get a good placement?  Did the TV station sell you ROS (run of schedule) and then put your spot in Jerry Springer?  Did the radio station give you first spot in break or bury you in the middle of the break?

It’s vital that you talk with a good media buyer before committing to a media plan.  Speaking with a rep from a media company will only give you the perspective of why you should advertise only on their station.  Once you’ve purchased a plan from them and started to establish yourself as an advertiser, then good reps will start to have an eye out for you on other media…and you better still be buying time/space with them.  Media buying firms have the whole picture in mind and generally can secure better rates than you can on your own.  They make their money from ad agency commissions that media companies give for placing buys with them.  If you place the buy directly, the media company keeps that commission for themselves.

The bottom line is advertising is good for your business.  If your competition is already advertising, then by not doing so you will start to lose market share.  If they are not, then you immediately place yourself above them in the public’s mind and will start to reap the benefits shortly.  You should know that by putting yourself out there as an advertiser, you should expect that other media reps will start to call on you.  It’s wise to find a good media partner (buyer or ad agency) that you are comfortable with and are confident that they have your best intentions in mind.

Advertising Media – Part 4a: Original content delivered by web

with 3 comments

As I mentioned in my last entry, “advertising on the Internet” is just too broad of a statement to make. There are too many ways in which to get your message out via the Internet as a delivery platform. That’s way I decided this week to create a sub-topic which is a new and creative way to soft-sell yourself and your company.

I have been working with companies to develop original content delivered to viewer’s desktops, laptops, TiVo’s, iPods, and so on. These days, people want their content when they want it and how they want it. But simply tacking on a :15 or :30 pre or post roll commercial onto a video podcast, for example, is only slightly better than advertising on TV. It’s an excellent way to reach a highly targeted audience with your message, but that audience is increasingly adversarial toward traditional advertising methods. A :15 preroll might be marginally acceptable. A full :30 spot is just too long to endure in a podcast environment. Other traditional modes within podcasts include product placement, sponsored segments, and lower thirds. I have a more effective solution.

What I wanted to talk about today is something even more creative and acceptable. I also believe that it’s far more effective. Imagine creating a 5 minute video podcast in which you teach your audience about something they didn’t know about, but something that your business does well. It should be something connected to your company’s core business. As you teach your audience, it will become clear that you are an expert in this topic. At no point do you try to overtly sell your business, but it’s clear that you know what you’re doing. Plus, you have the benefit of teaching your audience something new. Ultimately, if your audience finds they need someone with your talents, they will contact someone they know to be an expert. They will call someone they’ve had interaction with, even if that interaction is just through the podcast. They will contact you.

And after all, isn’t that the whole goal of marketing?

Written by Jeff York

May 10, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Advertising Media – Part 4: New Media/Internet

with 4 comments

I’m pushing it a little. What, you might ask. Saying you “advertise on the Internet” is starting to become like saying you advertise in broadcasting. It’s too broad of a statement to really tell anyone exactly what you’re doing.

Once upon a time, advertising on the Internet pretty much meant that you bought a banner ad on someone else’s website. Then came pop ups. And then sponsored links, rich media, and on and on. Now there are whole companies buying other companies just for the ability to gain revenue from ‘Net advertising. Many of us visit sites like Google and Yahoo every day. We use their free services, mostly search, and then leave their site without once thinking about pulling out our wallets. Yet, these are some of the most profitable websites on the Internet. Why? Why would a company like Microsoft even consider having made play at Yahoo to the point of concidering a hostile takeover?

Income from advertising.

In the same way that advertisers should seek to generate compelling content that will cut through the clutter and be retained by viewers, Internet advertising should also be compelling without being overly intrusive. Today we still find the standard banner ads and pop up windows, but there are easy to find, free pieces of software out there that will suppress those types of advertising. That software is used often by most people surfing the web today. In fact, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari all have some type of pop up blocker built in free.

Most of the effective Internet advertising that I’ve seen today is more subliminal in its pitching. A couple of months ago, Wired wrote an exceptional article outlining the concept of free being the new business model. I have successfully seen how a company will generate video or audio podcasts where in they give away 5 minutes of information on a topic related to what they are an expert in for free. By doing so, they are establishing themselves as an expert above their peers by virtue of the fact that they are proving that they know their topic. This is one of the focuses of my company as we work toward helping people grow their business. It is also an excellent way to generate frequent new content on your website creating an excellent reason for your web visitors to come back. Your website becomes a destination and your branding on it gets reinforced through repeated visits.

Other methods for reaching out to customers is via rich media. Since it is not frequently used by many websites, those that do use it stand out from the crowd more. One of my favorite companies that’s doing innovative rich media today is Eyemedia. Check out some examples of work that they’ve done.

Much of this is possible because we have now surpassed the tipping point where more than half of the Internet users today have broadband connections. As the Internet grows and expands, the opportunities and methods for reaching new customers creatively and effectively will also expand. Whatever media developer and provider you choose to partner with, make sure that they are constantly looking at emerging technologies to ensure that you continue to be on the cutting edge of this advertising medium. If you’re wondering if your current partner lives up to that billing, see my post on passion.

Written by Jeff York

May 4, 2008 at 4:55 am