On austerity and advertising…

Hi, folks. Just a quick thought:

In these hard financial times, there’s a tendency to cast about looking for ways to cut your company’s overhead. Certainly on a larger scale countries like Greece have been trying that with their austerity measures. We all see how that’s going. And that’s a problem. I’ve noticed that companies, in an effort to keep the profits flowing in lean times tend to look at outside contracts as a way to cut costs. There is certainly merit in this, but I can tell you one thing that should probably remain in the budget.

Plastics.

No… no… sorry. I mean advertising. In these days of metrics and ROI, it is easy to look at advertising as a place to cut. After all, it is difficult to quantify the affect advertising has on your sales. Sure you can see that you don’t have to cold-call customers anymore, but putting a “how much does this earn me” number on it is hard. Impossible even. If you are talking about online advertising you can look at page hits and impressions, etc., but even that’s kind of a shot in the dark. An impression isn’t the same as a sale. When I’ve been asked what the ROI on the advertising budget is, all I can say is: stop advertising and see what happens. If you feel you can risk that, then go ahead… I, for one, don’t think you can. You have to remember what the point of advertising is. It gets your name out there. It gets your product or service into the public consciousness. Even if a person just glances at an ad, if it is well thought out and designed, then the subject will have that little barb stuck in their brain. And then you’ve got them. It may not bring in a sale every time, but it gets the product in there. It’s like an ear worm. You know… those songs you can’t get out of your head? Same thing. If the idea has planted a seed in the subject’s mind, then it is there forever. Good advertising does that.

In the end you are trying to sell a product or service. If people don’t know about you because they’ve never heard of you that’s simply not going to happen. Wishful thinking and austerity measures are not going to get you out of the hole. Sales will. And that’s why we in the advertising field are here. To get the word out so you can get that sale.

Advertising isn’t a shovel to dig yourself deeper into that financial hole. It is a ladder to get you out.

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