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Thinking about advertising in a new or different media?

Copyright 2009 Benjamin Glass

A business owner has a ton of choices when it comes to which media to run their next ad in. Often, simply because of the number of choices available, they think about going into a new media. For example, they may try coupon advertising, Google Adwords, a billboard or a local specialty magazine.

They all want to know: "will this media work for my business?"

Here's my answer: there is no good or bad media. Most all media can be made to work. The real question should be: "where do I invest my next dollar/hour when thinking about going into new or different media?

Here are some tips on choosing media:

First, do some research to see what your competitors who are using that media are saying to the marketplace. The last thing you want to do is to try to simply shout louder or try to "outmuscle" them in that media. Think very carefully of how your message could stand out. I recommend "ghost shopping" with your competitor. What happens when you fill out that web form at their site? Where do you land? What's the compelling message. How can you be different?

One obvious strategy that I teach over and over is to go with an ad about an information product, not (directly) your business's services. Despite what some of my members think ("hey Ben everyone is already doing what you are telling us to do and ripping me off,") those who are actually implementing a comprehensive marketing campaign are few and far between. Yes, you will probably get ripped off is all you did was copy what I or someone else has done (after which, by what right do you even claim to being ripped off?) but you are mistaken if you think that going with "ego centric-here's all of my great credentials" type marketing over marketing your information package is a good strategy.

A second step with new media is to actually study the THE MEDIA before diving in. I'm still surprised by the number of business owners who buy Google Adwords without having every picked up a book on Adwords or called in an expert to explain things to them. Writing a book? Have you looked around at how "real" book authors promote their books? Have you read anything at all about public relations, self promotion, social media etc. besides what you read in these pages?

The third thing to think about with new media is: what, exactly is your plan? What do you want the consumer to do when your superbly designed ad/website actually attracts their attention? Most businesses have a four word answer to this question: "make the phone ring." OK. I get that. But what happens if they aren't ready to make a hiring decision now? (For almost all professional service businesses, for example, clients actually hire the business months after entering the marketing funnel. Do you even know what this statistic is for your business or firm?)

Most businesses have no plan. Marketing is a one-step knee jerk reaction to either (1) a marketing vulture deadline or (2) a sudden realization that "hey, we don't have enough new clients or customers in the office."

Taking the time to really think about the three steps above BEFORE you implement will yield a much higher ROI on your efforts.


BEN GLASS is a Fairfax small business owner and marketing and small business consultant. He runs monthly marketing meetings for Northern Virginia business owners and entrepreneurs. To come to our next meeting for free, and get one of Ben's books, for free, visit www.Glazer-Kennedy-Virginia.com or call 877-IBA-GKIC (877-422-4542)

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