Let’s say you were tasked with reviving flatlined sales for a golf brand...
The type of business doesn’t matter; it could be a product, a service, a resort, a course... and you were given the following options to invest your brands last $10,000:
Which would you invest in?
Option A) Advertising Option B) Marketing
Let's imagine you are steering a ship that is taking on water and your mission is to not only keep it afloat but turn the entire ship around.
9 times out of 10 the frenetic business will default to ADVERTISING because it is viewed as the transactional vehicle that fuels revenue. But as the invisible rudder of a ship directs its every move, marketing is the driving force behind any business.
It is possible to have advertising without marketing and even have marketing without advertising but to turn prospects into customers efficiently requires marketing-minded advertising.
So there is an Option C, and it’s all of the above.
However, it really does matter how you execute both because marketing can fix advertising, but advertising can never fix marketing.
I’ve had hundreds of conversations with business owners who’ve become disenchanted and after spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars with little to no return, have resigned themselves to their final duty of going down with the ship.
So many companies are eager to invest money in advertising and marketing becomes an afterthought or considered a formality best handle by social media and pr. However, the most influential brands in any industry know that without proper marketing you’re either wasting money or leaving money on the table.
Advertising platforms do a great job of selling advertisers on reach but what they expect is that YOU have done the marketing work to ensure your ad spend generates the type of response you need to run your business.
Email marketing, for instance, is an excellent way for golf brands to reach their ideal customer and nowadays it seems like everyone has a list and is ready with a CPM, Open and Click Rate to provide to earn your business. However, many trust the list size and not their own marketing. This is the most costly mistake brands make. This is where I spend most of my time - helping brands who have struggled to turn the corner for positive revenue.
So how do you improve advertising with marketing?
Honestly, it’s an on-going effort of testing but for lead generation and sales you will want to focus on the following strategies to ensure your business is maximizing return on advertising investment.
Start with the End - The last leg of the customer journey is the most important. It’s easy to pin your failed efforts on the email list or the ad platform, but if you keep running ads at a deficit, you need to take a long hard look at your website. Dig in deep and find out how your customers are interacting with your landing page, product page, and checkout page. We find that many times the weak link in advertising efficiencies is the path the customer takes once they hit your site. We’ve outlined many of the conversion optimization efforts you should consider in this blog post.
Know Your Audience - Don’t expect a single campaign to yield the same response across every list or every platform. To generate revenue, you must bypass the facade of 'reach numbers'. Before you make an advertising investment based on reach or stats, perform your due diligence by thoroughly vetting your potential ad partner. Spend time looking at previous campaigns that have delivered to that list and determine what types of products are getting the best response. Look at each advertising opportunity as an individual campaign and build to suit.
Control Your Content - Never leave your ads in the hands of your ad partner. Invest time or money developing quality campaigns to ensure you get the most out of your advertising efforts. A marketing minded company should be able to pull from past ad experiences and build a campaign that has the best chance for success.
Perfect Your Pitch - Hedging your bet on a single piece of creative is a death wish. Our function as a marketing team is to continually reinvent our pitch, positioning the brand in different ways to evoke a response from our ideal customers. As a marketer, we must avoid ad fatigue by crafting messages that resonate with the audience and provides innovative ways to highlight a brand without annoying them. When you vary your content across platforms and campaigns, you are able to find optimal messaging strategies.
DON’T Always Be Closing - One major issue that impacts advertisers is that they are merely looking at advertising as an opportunity to sell. But what happens when the impulse buyers are few and far between? The best and brightest brands find success in advertising by building a relationship with their potential customers through advertising. While not necessarily the best way to proceed when you’re down to your last dollars, using ad spend to tell your brand story can pay off in a big way but this strategy requires a carefully executed content ad strategy.
Advertising mistakes can be the most costly. Once your ad runs, there is no chance to recoup your loss. I look at it like this, Marketing is all of the hard work required to ensure that you can have a successful advertising campaign and it happens far before your ad runs. Marketing needs innovation at every turn of the Product, Price, Place, and Promotion process. So make sure you have the right marketing mind guiding your ship!