Have you ever been offered an irresistibly great advertising deal? Ever wonder why these ‘great’ deals are so cheap? Do they really pay off? Why not try the following strategy next time you get an offer you can’t refuse…
Here’s an idea that can save you thousands of dollars in advertising per year. It is the most effective way I know to screen potential advertising campaigns for their effectiveness.
You are sitting at your desk, minding your own business when a call comes through: “Doctor, I’d like to talk to you about a phenomenal advertising campaign in your area.” What is it? It doesn’t matter. I’ve been hit with the following (notice anything familiar in this list?):
- Yellow Pages covers
- Newspaper ads
- Gadgets that attach to the telephone
- Park bench ads
- Supermarket coupon ads
- Bowling alley scorecard advertising
- Direct mail coupons
- Beauty parlor ads
- The police department newspaper
- The Association for Retired Police
- The Association for Tired Police
- The Association for Police Chiefs
- The Association for Police who want to be Chiefs.
When I began to practice I was a sucker for all kinds of advertising. Boy, did they see me coming. During the depression, hobos used to place a special mark on the fence or near the house of the people who were soft touches for a warm meal or some money. I swear the advertising people did something like that to my office. I looked but couldn’t find any marks. (Maybe I needed special glasses?) Anyway they found me. In droves.
I was new in practice and had almost no money, but somehow they could wheedle some out of me. Talk about lousy sales resistance.
And then one fateful day…
…I got a call from the police.
“Hi Doc, this is Officer Greene from the Philadelphia Police Dept., there’s no trouble, this is a friendly call, heh, heh, heh, no need for alarm. Will you help us out and place a small ad in our police magazine?”
I told him “Sure.” I didn’t want to upset the cops and besides, maybe this is how you start getting them to fix tickets and stuff. Also, he mentioned that I could send him a whole bunch of my business cards and he would “put them around” the station house. I could just see all those guys talking in the locker room like they do on those cop shows telling each other about this chiropractor who helped them. Soon my waiting room would be loaded with cops. I would have the safest office in the city. I would never get another ticket (“Don’t worry Doc, just make sure you don’t run over anyone again, O.K?”)
I mailed them a check and waited for the phone to start ringing. Three months later I got my first call from the ad. It was officer Greene. He said I still wasn’t in trouble with the police (“heh, heh”) and would I like to run the ad again?
“Well, I’d like to help you out but I really didn’t get any business from the last ad.”
He answered in a gravelly voice that reminded me of the trainer from Rocky I: “Ya wanna know why that ad didn’t work?” he said, “I’ll tell ya why: it was tiny, it was just a business card. What you really need is a real ad, a quarter page or half page.”
“O.K. but please let me see what my last ad looked like. I was never sent a copy of your magazine.”
A few afternoons later as Mr. Greene looked on, I opened my checkbook. “By the way doc,” he said, “here’s a copy of the last magazine that came out.”
The “magazine” turned out to be a newspaper style tabloid. I started leafing through it, unable to locate my ad, but I did come across a large ad from a chiropractor I knew in another part of town. A thought came to me, “Why not call him, and ask if he was happy with the ad?” I mentioned this great idea to the man waiting for the check but he did not seem to share my enthusiasm. I called anyway.
“Hi, I’m Dr. Tedd Koren in Center City. I have Mr. Greene from the police newspaper across from my desk. I’m thinking of putting in an ad like yours. How did it work for you?”
“It didn’t. I didn’t get a single call.”
Hmm. Well, he’s only one person. I called a dentist who took out a very nice, very large ad. “How was the ad?”
I called an optometrist who advertised. “I’m sorry the number you called is no longer in service….”
I closed my checkbook. “I’m sorry,” I told the salesman, “It looks like your readers are not patronizing your advertisers.”
He gave me a dirty look, pulled out a gun and aimed for my leg…
Just kidding, he left without incident. (Well, the dirty look was real.) I saved four hundred sixty big ones and got an idea. Why not use this strategy on the next person with a hot advertising idea who came through my door? It didn’t take long, and this time I was ready:
“Yes,” I said, “This is a great ad idea, let me call some people who’ve used your campaign and see if it worked for them.”
“Uh, they’re not local, doc.”
“That’s O.K., my phone can call people far away.”
The more I did this kind of “ad research” the more money I saved and you can too. The great thing about it is that you do not need any sales resistance. Actually, quite the opposite. My talk to ad sales persons goes like this:
“I’m really interested in using your ad campaign…”
“That’s great Doc, you made a wise decision now I’ll just”
“But I’d first like to call your previous advertisers and see if they did well. If they did well, I’ll definitely sign up. Can you give me some names and numbers?” Sometimes they never even bother to call back.
What if you are asked to participate in a brand new, first time, ad campaign, magazine, coupon book, mass mailer, etc? There’s no one to call since it’s never been tried before. Just say “No, thank you.” Advertising is enough of a gamble. You don’t need to make the odds worse. Let them find another guinea pig.
What if they give you a great deal? Don’t. If it were worth a lot, they would charge a lot.
If you are new to an area and want to know what form of advertising is best ask the people advertising. Ask D.C.s, dentists, podiatrists, massage therapists and other health professionals which advertising avenues worked best for them. In certain areas of the country for example, the yellow pages is a very good source of new patients. In others it’s not. In some places supermarket throw-aways work. In other areas they don’t.
Be careful. Be cautious. It’s your money. Keep in mind what John Wana-maker once said: “Half of all the money I spend on advertising is worthless; the problem is I don’t know which half.”s
Tedd Koren, D.C., of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is President of Koren Publications, which produces incredibly effective chiropractic patient education material. For more information, call 1-800-537-3001. Dr. Koren can be reached on-line at American On Line at TKOREN1@aol.com.
ADS THAT GET ATTENTION
|+11%||Inserts & Spreads vs. Single Page|
|+14%||Full Page vs. 2/3 Page|
|+16%||Full Page vs. Half Page|
|+28%||Four Color vs. Black & White ads|
|+48||Multiple Ads vs. Fewer Pages|
|+17%||Ads with People vs. None|
|+28%||Technical Copy vs. None|
|+12%||Logos at Bottom of Page vs. Logos Elsewhere|
WHICH MEDIA WORKS?
What are the plusses or pitfalls of the following media?
Permanencelong life, High reach and frequency potential
Limited consumer usage, Market coverage limited to phone customers
2. Direct Mail
Long lifepermanence, Flexibility, Impactfew competing ads,
Easy-to-measure results, Market selectivity
Expensive especially on a cost-per-person basis, Little or no editorial support,
Limited reader interest in business market
Demographic market selectivity, Long-life ad capacity,
Good quality print production, Editorial support
Lack of flexibility, difficult to make last-minute changes,
Limited availability, Expensive especially for color
Geographic market selectivity,
Flexibility ease of ad insertion and changes, Editorial support
Lack of permanence of advertising message, Poor quality of printing production,
Limited demographic orientation
High reach and frequency potential, Market selectivity
Impact due to size, Inexpensive on a relative basis
Brevity of message, Image is thought to be poor for certain markets
Clutter is often present, Location choices may be limited
Promotes impulse buying, “Sells” in nonpersonal selling environment,
Ties together product and ads
Difficult to obtain desired placements, Clutter, Limited creative possibilities
Geographic and market selectivity, Flexibility, Inexpensive on a relative basis
Lack of permanence perishability, Clutter, Lack of visual support,
Limited impact background medium
Show and tell demonstration possible, Geographic market selectivity,
Market penetration due to large viewing audience
Perishable message unless repeated, Expensive on a relative basis,
Cluttermessage may become lost in a group of advertisements
High reach and frequency potential, Impact total bus may be advertisement,
Geographic market selectivity, Inexpensive on a relative basis
Limited demographic selectivity, Limited availability does not exist in many markets,
Image is thought to be poor for certain markets
Determine the Promotional Budget
The Task Method or Objective Approach
This method is probably the most logical of the budget-setting techniques. It calls for identifying the task or objective to be accomplished and then determining the costs and efforts required to attain that objective.
The Percent of Sales Method
This method is likely the most commonly applied means of setting advertising budgets. The planner using the percent of sales method need only know a sales figure, take a percentage of that amount, and use that percentage as the promotional budget. For example, 7% is considered a “reasonable” percentage of sales to spend on promotion in the men’s clothing business. The amount varies from industry to industry. Food marketers generally spend about 14%. These industry averages are simple to use, but have many disadvantages. There is the logical problem presented by deriving a promotional budget from a sales figure. Supposedly, sales result from promotion. This method makes promotion a result of sales.
The Comparative Parity Method
Determining a promotional budget with this method boils down to doing what the competitors do. It matches the moves made by competitors or industry leaders, thus making one’s firm a near mirror image of another’s.
The Marginal Approach
Theoretically, the marginal approach to almost anything in business is “the best.” When applied to the setting of promotional budgets, the organization would spend promotional dollars until the payoff from the last dollar spent indicates that it is no longer worth it to continue to raise the budget.
The All-You-Can-Afford Method
The name of this technique is self-explanatory. Using this method, the marketer spends whatever is available to be spent on promotion. Organizations using this method typically do not have enough of a cash flow to justify using other methods.
Solutions to real-world problems, such as determining an advertising budget are seldom left to one formula or one method of analysis. This method utilizes many approaches.
Cooperative Promotional Programs
Many marketers, at all levels in the distribution process, employ what is termed a cooperative approach to advertising and other promotional activities. The attractiveness of these programs is clear. Every channel member gets some of the benefits, no individual channel member must bear the full cost. Savings are realized by all concerned parties.