“Why advertise?” is a question often asked by those who do not understand the value of advertising. Advertisers know that promoting their business is vital to their success and growth. Whether through word-of-mouth and signage or broadcast campaigns and Internet marketing, in some way you are advertising your business.
Deciding not to strategically advertise your business based on the assumption that your reputation alone is sufficient is a mistake that many businesses have made and a decision that most have regretted. Although word-of-mouth continues to be a major player in advertising, intentional advertising is a necessity unless you are one of the few companies who have more customers than you can handle or you are not interested in growing your business and increasing your revenue.
In our communities of years past, word-of-mouth alone was often enough to keep our businesses operating comfortably, but the introduction of the Internet forever changed the scope of the marketplace. Now, traditionally local businesses have become global, and global companies have become as much a part of our daily lives as the neighborhood corner store. Make no mistake; the Internet is not just a place for retailers and get-rich-quick schemers. Service providers continually have a strong presence on the Internet as today’s savvy consumers often research products and services online before making their final purchasing decision. In addition, advertising in local markets remains an important avenue to let consumers know your doors are open, educate potential customers about your business and allows you to help shape your public perception.
Businesses that fail to realize the importance of professional, strategic advertising will not succeed as consumers become more comfortable with purchasing products and services online and become savvier shoppers basing their purchasing decisions on Internet research. Oftentimes, consumers are already aware of the features and the suggested cost of a product or service before speaking with a salesperson. Think about it, today a vehicle can be purchased online without ever stepping foot on a showroom floor. For many service companies, a strong online presence coupled with a localized advertising campaign will prove to keep you top of mind for consumers.
“Why advertise?” To this question I reply, why not. In my earlier years of sales and advertising, I could never understand how educated executives could listen to the great sales pitch I put together and then walk away without jumping for joy and realizing that their business could not survive without my advertising expertise. Once I opened the doors of my own business, I realized that I was faced with the same problem that many other self-funded startups face, limited financial resources. Not only do limited resources hinder advertising, but it also hinders the ability to purchase extra equipment and employ extra personnel needed for the new business prospects generated from advertising. One of the worst mistakes a new business can make when creating their business plan is not including advertising.
If you do not advertise your business, how are we going to know you exist? Several years ago, I met with a business owner to discuss the benefits of television advertising for his flooring business. After listening patiently to my presentation, he replied, “Honey, that’s why I pay a premium for this location. Who needs to advertise when you have a location right off the interstate? Have you seen my sign when you pass by?” Several months later I drove past his premium location, but this time the only sign I saw was the “For Lease” sign in front of the empty building.
The decision to advertise or not to advertise is definitely a major player in the viability of a business. According to The Nielsen Company, advertisers spent an estimated $117 billion on U.S. media in 2009. If advertising did not work, do you think well-branded companies like Wal-Mart, Nike and Coke would continue allocating a large share of their dollars to advertising. Simply put, advertising works. Try it.