I have had every Tom, Dick and Harry in my store. (see previous post) And yes the economy is, for lack of a better word, floundering in it's best effort to get upright, despite being out all night with the Bush daughters mixing alcohol till 3 am. (bad idea, NEVER ever mix) But every sales pitch I hear from my advertisers, "you have to stay in the game, stay in front of your audience" And while there is some truth to this, keep in mind that their sales pitch gains them a chubby little commission.
I have been advertising for three years. I have used numerous angles. I have tried substantial ads, skinny ads, and square ads. I have tried direct mail, newspaper and pamphlets. SO what has yielded the most gains? None of it. BUT what I have seen with my consumers is the presence, the "planting of the seed". When they walk in the door they have "seen" me somewhere. I often laugh because they will blurt out some magazine I have never heard of and they will argue to the death that they saw me in there.
My biggest advertising gains are the people I meet at shows, galas, engagements or meetings. (AND through other trades that I work with). Not the ones that are already customers or clients but the "potentials". Often times, business owners will say it is all about word of mouth. Yes that is VERY important. But when a "potential" meets you, the personal level of connection that could not be captured through that substantial ad, skinny ad, or square ad is cemented in stone. You have now grouted their thought process with super glue. They may not need you right now, but if you have done your job, they will REMEMBER you. They may have looked at that ad a hundred times, but now there is a face and a personality attached to it. So when they need you, they will call.
I don't want to float my own boat here, (it is a great boat with shiny instruments, a fancy name and a big horn. Whoop Whoop!!) but I see every opportunity as a business opportunity. I eat, sleep and breathe business. How can I be better, how can I leave the best impression, what can I do to make my services better, what products can I carry that are the best? This exclamation point attitude has been my saving grace in these harsh times. I have cancelled most of my advertising, to my ad reps disappointment, but I have found a GREAT sense of camaraderie and partnership with everyone I meet. They are all hopeful and HELPFUL. Everyone is helping everyone out. We are all in the same boat (although I think mine is THE best boat... and well decorated!)
SO my tip for today is: reevaluate where to best spend your dollars. Is your advertising working? If not look to something else. If you are considering advertising, reconsider. It has been helpful to me in the past. But we are in different times and different circumstances. This is a NEW economy. Take that money and invest in your business in other ways. Get creative, and invest in those around you! They, the community, and friends are the "potentials" that yield the biggest gains in business, and lasting friendships. (band together barbies! these are harsh times and we don't want our roots showing!)