When Times are Tough, the Tough Advertise.
Submitted by Evolve on Mon, 07/30/2012 - 08:03
We all remember how life was just a few short years ago. For small business owners, things seemed to just be cruising along. Business was good, folks were spending money, and life seemed, well, easier. However it is most often when business is humming and life is good that we make some of our biggest mistakes. One of the mistakes that I have seen has been when companies begin to pull back on their advertising dollars in hopes that their brand will fuel itself while they save a little cash in the process.
The truth is, this happens to all of us, especially when it comes to a brand. The longer we sit and do nothing the chances are someone out there is trying to get your market share of customers. More and more customers are becoming smarter shoppers, searching online, looking at reviews, prices, and more. Your company’s ability to be connected in today’s market could be a question of your survival. Complacency will make you obsolete and if you’re not making the next move, you’ll be gone as well. Below I have listed five ways to keep your company on track and continue using your advertising dollars in a more efficient way. Five ways to your business keep moving on the right track:
1. Set Yearly Realistic GoalsWhere would you like to be a year, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years? Do you want the company to grow? Do you want to expand into new markets? This is an important question to ask since it really allows you to look at the company and plan for the future. Once you know where you want to be then you can set a plan in motion to go after the goal.
2. Get a Game PlanA strategic marketing plan for your company will look at the big picture for the yearly advertising and allow you greater control for your expenses. This plan will keep you on budget and on task for the goals of your company, allowing you save money by accounting for every dollar . The money spent outside the plan, including any last minute rush advertising, will be under control of the marketing plan. The idea is simple, if it’s on the plan you have the budget, if not it doesn’t get produced. This is by far the best way to see where (how?) your money works for you.
3. Smarter AdvertisingOnce the game plan is set and your objectives are clear, it’s time to use that money and use it wisely. Here is a good example of how that works:
Lets take a look at the cost of a billboard compared to a vehicle wrap. Billboards hit a broad range of people – everyone that drives by that billboard will see it, maybe once or twice. Each month your cost might be around $1,000 to rent the board space and $1,500 on design cost and installation. That’s $2,500 spent the first month and then $1,000 each month afterwards. A full vehicle wrap costs approximately $3,000 for a vehicle - a one-time fee. Every time you drive this vehicle, every stoplight, every store, parking lot, any where you need to drive you are promoting your company and brand. Not only will you be more visible, you can have additional services, phone number and website on all sides and the cost spent on a billboard for one month can be spent on a wrap that can last longer than a year. Note that each company is different and wouldn’t necessarily need a vehicle wrap but the basic principal is the same. Being smarter with your advertising dollars will allow stretch your brand even further.
4. InnovationThe questions you should be asking yourself are what can I do to be better, what do people really want, are there other ways/ alternative ways to reach customers. Here is an example, I personally used recently.
-Since October of last year I have been trying to sell my home using yard signs, web search sites, and flyers. The first two months we had three people look at our home but no one was willing to pull the trigger and buy. Months go by and only a trickle of people come to see the house. At the end of my contract of six months, I told the realtor I would give him one more month but we needed to try some other tactics. I had him look into placing targeted Facebook and Craislist ads, as well as write a letter to some of the realtors who have sold properties in the area highlighting my property. Within two weeks we had three families check out our home and make an offer. Whether it was Facebook, Craigslist or the letter, the fact is something got the attention of people who were looking for a home. Thinking of other ways to advertise, alongside the traditional methods , can make a big impact on your brand and your bottom line.
5. Brand ConsistencyThis is huge when it comes to your company. Being consistent when it comes to your logo, your tagline and standards will help keep your brand at the top of customer’s minds. With an over-saturated market of advertising, it may seem hard to stand out. The reality is a consistent look, feel, color, tagline, and voice can be remembered if it is seen and heard more than a single time. If a company uses a variety of logos, one for letterhead, one for ads, one for signage, and one for web, what message are they sending? Aren’t they simply confusing an already confused customer on who they are? The key is to be consistent in your brand. Every year, if you like, work up a new campaign or perhaps every ten years update your logo to stay with the times. Just remember to stick with your brand image, stick with a tagline, and pick a splash of color. All of these things together will actually make you stand out in the over-crowded market and bring brand recognition to your company.
-Tim Ford, Art Director