A couple of weeks ago, I did a talk on how to buy media, and how to sell the value of your organization when you’re asking for free media. It was a lot of fun and I got great questions. I also saw people taking fervent notes, so I’m going to break up my talk into a couple of posts so that there’s a record of it.
I first talked about how my experience as a media planner warped my sense of money and what equalled “a lot of it.” I would buy national magazines and television and plan millions of dollars and think to myself “wow, that was spent rather quickly on a couple of things.” I then moved into the position I am in now and, when working with smaller businesses, the question is no longer “do they have a set advertising budget and what have they allocated to media,” it’s “if we were to sell them an advertising program, what would they be giving up on having because the money is being reallocated?”
For a local business, every dollar out of pocket is a dollar it’s not keeping in profit, using as a reinvestment, or paying for something else that may be crucial. With the money going out, a business has to figure out what or how it needs that dollar to be profitable. But without knowing what the money is doing to help grow the business, a business is helpless to learn how to use it better or more wisely.
So before any business can think about advertising, it has to consider how it would be able to measure any kind of success that would come from it, and would they be able to handle that volume of success once the advertising starts? If the business doesn’t have enough people to handle the phone calls or sell to the bodies coming in the door, even if the advertising was successful the business couldn’t grow because it couldn’t handle the demand. And if the business doesn’t use website analytics and keep track of how people heard about their business, they’ll never know which parts of the advertising was successful and would never learn how to make their media mix or messaging better.
Next time: So if you have solid ways of knowing if your money in advertising can work hard for you, how do you go about buying it?