Advertising let's your prospects know that you exist and what you can do for them. Marketing explains why your prospect should choose you instead of your competitors.
This article explores, more from a personal perspective, some important aspects of marketing and advertising and why I believe a special brand of marketing is more important to businesses today than ever before.
A Real-World Advertising Primer
Advertising that is hugely successful often calls for:
- The services of a skilled and experienced copywriter, graphic designer and possibly even a publicist.
- Spending money.
- Accomplishment in specific skills, good judgment, testing and adaptability.
- Some hard work.
Yet assuming you have perfected an effective advertising campaign, every promotion you do is still ruled by the laws of probability. That generally means, if you:
- Create a carefully research ad.
- Spend a sufficient amount of money to ...
- Reach a sufficient number of people ...
... some of those prospects to whom you advertise may choose to buy or be persuaded to take up your offer.
However, here's the big problem: usually, you'll need to run some tests, take some risks and lose some money first in order to discover how best to create the right kind of advertising that works for your business.
Yet there's more! Additional drawbacks with advertising include:
- Even if you have perfected a finely tuned advertising program, often in practice, at least 50% of your advertising spend is wasted, with the other 50% actually creating your results.
- If your advertising campaign is not sufficiently thought out, the loss might amount to 75% or more.
- Successful advertising takes time to create the results you want.
- Your particular product or service may even demand a continual advertising campaign to the extent that as soon as you stop advertising, the number of sales can fall drastically. Ouch!
- Today's high advertising costs can cripple a new business.
That's at least 5 reasons why I'm not a big fan of conventional (push) advertising, especially, when the much more effective tool of marketing is available instead.
Nevertheless, some advertising can have a place in smart promotion budget - just get to know the numbers and know how and what type of advertising is required to bring in a set amount of sales or inquiries.
Marketing: a Personal Definition and Blueprint
For a quick snapshot, we can think of marketing as advertising that costs little or nothing to carry out. Marketing calls only for our interest, time and effort and uses the power of attraction (pull). That's why every small business could benefit much by focusing more on marketing instead of advertising.
In marketing, we:
- Clearly show how our products and services can help our customers achieve their goals easily, quickly, and profitably.
- Focus on sharing our true selves, our unique identity, what makes us different and weave those traits into our Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
- Demonstrate accomplishment and competency in the skills required.
- Create reliability fast by showing up on time, staying in close contact, and actually doing what we say we would do.
- Remove barriers by building trust and create bridges to additional potential future business projects, with a level of uncommon generosity, friendliness and openness.
- Look for ways to build solid relationships, not just a one-time sales experience.
Six attractive advantages of marketing over advertising. So why are these traits more valuable to us than straightforward advertising?
- Unlike advertising, we get to control every one of the 6 points introduced above.
- Each of us can determine the outcome of every single point in our list above.
- We can take personal pride in a job well done.
- Enlightened marketing promoters who demonstrate the kind of qualities in our list above can't help but get noticed simply by going about their normal business activities.
- As satisfied customers talk to their friends, colleagues and associates, when one party asks another for ideas and recommendations as potential solutions to a current problem, your name stands a good chance of coming up in such conversations. What kind of value can you put on that? I suggest that the true, lifetime benefits returned through word-of-mouth advertising is incalculable. Personal recommendations can put you or your business head and shoulders above most of your competition, instantly, for zero cost!
- An additional key benefit of positive personal appraisal is that price no longer remains the primary motivator.
- As your own business profitability becomes more closely linked to the commercial success of your customer, a closer working relationship can emerge. This approach can also act as a kind of filter that tends to attract more high quality customers.
Key tip: that's precisely why "caring, sharing marketing" can actually be your best form of advertising. The end result can lead to more fun, less hassle and higher profits; surely the ideal outcome you originally sought.