As an advertising agency, the answer may be obvious to us. But to others, this is a question of belief as much as anything else, especially for local businesses. It’s not a question about if it works, it’s about how to make it work and, when possible, be able to measure it to see the results.
We believe in the power of advertising. Advertising has been around for many, many years, with a recognized start when newspapers started printing in the 17th century. It became more prominent as the years followed, and businesses started to see the benefit of doing so. Advertising has evolved as technology has evolved, from the early roots of newspapers to other forms of media, including television, radio, magazines, phone books, and the internet. We can even think of buses and trains with adverts on them, as well as billboards and placements on shopping carts. The advertising vehicle may change with the times, but the goal is always the same: get your business in front of more people who are willing to try your product or service, and align with a message which connects them to the brand.
Every business type will have a different approach to marketing. A Business-to-Business (B2B) company may focus more on reaching potential customers through salespeople. A Business-to-Consumer (B2C) company may focus more on traditional media. Both business types should always focus on being accessible to a prospect when they are considering making a ‘buying’ decision. If a consumer is looking to eat at a Mexican restaurant, having your business at the top of the internet listings is very important. If a business is looking for someone to help them with their laundry needs, being available at the top of an internet search is important. We refer to this as Directional Media, which is where the consumer is looking when they are trying to make a purchasing decision.
Directional Media, to a larger degree, is easier to measure for some companies and a bit tougher to measure for others. A restaurant or retail store may not know if someone found them from Directional Advertising since their customer walks in. With today’s advance geo-tracking this may get easier and easier in the future, as businesses may be able to track who walks into their business after seeing them earlier from an ad. For businesses whose new customers typically call, this may be easier to track through asking, call monitoring, and other tools available that help define results.
Branding is an important part of a longer-term strategy and needs to be considered when building a marketing plan. Branding creates Top-of-Mind Awareness (TOMA,) when so when a consumer is ready to make a purchase, your brand/company is one they are already thinking about. There is no doubt on the effectiveness of this for large companies, but local businesses struggle to get into the action as there is no immediate gratification. There may be measurable results if there is a direct call-to-action on a message, in which consumers would take action right away and the campaign is large enough to demonstrate an impact on sales. Branding is about belief in the process and knowing it works.
History shows marketing works and the data proves it. Targeting the right message to the right audience at the right time is key to successful marketing. Marketing works, just have a consistent message, stay on brand, and trust the process.