[Editor’s note: I’m excited to share this guest post from John W. Ellis of Crescent Interactive, a Nashville, Tennessee PPC and SEO consultancy. A successful hands-on practioner of SEO and PPC for more than a decade, John is a frequent blogger, article contributor, speaker and consultant able to empower companies seeking to improve and expand their online marketing efforts.]
For over 10 years, I have been managing PPC (per-per-click) advertising. By far the most utilized PPC resource has been Google AdWords. At Crescent Interactive, although we are familiar with multiple channels and platforms, we spend the vast majority of our time in Google Adwords.
There are two primary methods of marketing, ‘push’ and ‘pull.’ Push marketing uses intrusive delivery methods and has served us well for decades, even back in the 50s, 60s and 70s when it was simply a game of whoever could afford to ‘push’ the most direct-mail, print and broadcast advertising in front of consumers won the battle. Pull marketing is a whole different beast that relies on things like value, relevance, informative content, and, yes, entertainment value to create significant gravity to pull in, willingly, your best prospects.
I’m a cheapskate by nature. That means while I may miss a good opportunity now and then because it is too expensive, it also means I always gravitate towards the most effective and efficient marketing methods. That’s what I do for my clients in an effort to gain them Fortune 500 visibility and strategy on a mom-and-pop store budget. Even back in the days when I sold advertising, if I thought the client was asking me to waste their money (e.g. when they’d say, “Let’s run a couple ads and see what happens”), I preferred to forgo the commission than to be party to wasting their money.
Do you put your shoes on before your pants? No, of course not. Things get a lot more difficult if you did, right? So why do you, mister and missus business professional, always insist on creating logos, graphics, signs, web sites, emails, and other business / product identifiers before you know who your target market is, what your best offer to them is and how best to reach them?
Committing to visual and messaging elements of your company’s marketing before understanding your market is much like putting your shoes on before your pants (or “handing a blind man a gun” or “the tail wagging the dog” if you love metaphors). You may be able to ultimately get your pants on but you’ll struggle, work really, really hard and look silly doing it.
It’s the greatest source of frustration for business owners. You pay a pile of money, provide a great valuable offer and you get little to no response from your advertising. Is it the advertising venue’s fault? Is it the wrong time to do this? Is it that you didn’t spend enough money?
It’s probably because your advertising did not stand out enough to be recognized as relevant to your target market. In short, while they may have seen it, they didn’t SEE it.
I’ve used radio recently to advertise promotions occuring at the same time the ads were played. They were very successful at driving 30-50 year olds to the promotion. There was some print and direct marketing done ahead of time which hopefully helped create the success with the radio spots.
But even with such evidence to the contrary, I have to ask, is anyone listening to radio these days? I see my wife and kids plugging their music players into the car’s auxillary input jack all the time. And when home, their music players are their source of background music. I’ve noticed coworkers streaming Pandora and other music websservices for music at their desks unless they are using their music players too. I just don’t see/hear people listening to local radio stations any more.
I had an interesting sidewalk conversation with a friend recently that I’ll share with you. We were standing in front of a retail store-front business that was shuttering after a short (few months) attempt at launching. We both knew the owner and the issue of their lack of advertising came up. It’s good to know at this point that my friend has been quite successful selling print advertising for many years.
My friend pointed to the lack of advertising as their downfall. I said that there had to be much more to their situation than that. I went so far as to suggest it was probably best they hadn’t begun advertising during the early stage of their business anyway. That comment was met with a jaw-drop.
It’s probably good to know at this point that I have been referred to many times as the “unmarketing marketer.” That’s because I have never bought into the “you have to be doing something and a lot of it” reasoning that can be found behind a lot of wasted marketing budgets.
The conversation was over quickly and I believe it was punctuated with a statement ending with, “agree to disagree.”