SCIENCE WITH A SPRINKLE OF ART. The very best advertising is word of mouth. If you have more business than you can handle without advertising, then you are doing very well. However, most businesses need to market to potential customers. One marketing strategy is advertising. Today there are numerous ways to advertise, but two traditional methods are magazines and newspapers. Print advertising was predicted to go extinct with the proliferation and access to the Internet. Newspapers have certainly taken the brunt of the advertising decline, but magazines serve a very targeted market and are still one of the best ways to reach those customers.


As I have always said, something is better than nothing. In other words, having advertising is better than no advertising. But having excellent advertising is far superior than “homemade ads”. Excellent advertising requires a multitude of factors. Among those factors are; effective copy for headline and message, appropriate photographic, illustrative or graphic images, and professional design principles. A critical part of advertising is having the right message to the right people at the right time. This should be obvious, but I see this mistake made continually by small businesses.


One of the major factors businesses are successful with their advertising is having a long term mindset. Without this mindset most advertising dollars are wasted. This long term mindset is based on the realities of human nature. It usually takes multiple times for a potential customer to see your advertising message before they consider buying.


Many businesses quit advertising because they didn’t achieve the results they expected. Most of the time the reality is they didn’t give the process the appropriate amount of time, or they were impatient and changed the visual brand they worked hard to establish. They either get tired of seeing their ads or thought the ads were not working. The fact is, that the potential customer is not tired of seeing their ads. I liken this impatience to planting a seed and digging it up every other day to find out why it is not growing, then neglecting to water because the seed did not produce fruit quicker than possible.


The other major mistake most businesses make is not tracking new customer generation. In other words, how did the new client or customer learn of your business? Most businesses don’t have the slightest idea if their advertising is effective or not, which can lead to wasted time and money.


I worked as an in-house designer for a manufacturer for several years. We had a very advanced lead tracking system. Every customer was asked how they discovered our company. We discovered that, of those who found out about the company through magazine ads, one third were looking at magazines that were several years old.


Marketing and advertising are more a science than an art. It is the understanding of the reality of human nature and psychology, not the illusion of how we imagine people will act.

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