Why do I ask why?
Many years ago my son asked me this question after a series of "why" questions. Always curious, he would wonder aloud about nature, friends, family, books, music, television, construction equipment, trains and dinosaurs. As I'm the type to seriously answer such questions, I was often left explaining things to an empty room.
I like answers. So do most people I know. However, not everything has a simple answer. Consider the question, "Why should I advertise?". When I'm feeling cavalier I may say, "Why not?" but the question deserves a more thoughtful answer.
It has been said that doing business without advertising is like winking at a pretty girl in the dark. You know what you're doing, but no one else does.
There are five reasons you should be advertising if you have a business or organization.
Promotion - This is the reason that most people think of. You need to let other people and businesses know that you exist so that they will choose your services or products. If they don't know you they can't work with you.
Awareness - Creating awareness of your products and services is more than simply letting them know you are there. Awareness means educating potential customers concerning why they need what you have to offer.
Comparison - How do you compare with the competition? Describing why your products and services are better than the competition helps prospects determine where they should do business.
Retention - Resting on your laurels isn't good business. Savvy advertisers know that you need to keep reminding people that you are there and that you are ready to meet their wants, needs and desires.
Morale - No one wants to hear that people haven't heard of their business or organization. Employees need to know that their place of employment is recognizable and that the work they do is important. It is also important to remind the community of the role your business plays.
Advertising is the act of telling or communicating to potential users the benefits of using or employing a specific product or service to persuade the audience to take or continue some action. Advertising is different than marketing or public relations.
Critical to advertising is the selection of the audience(s) you will be advertising to. Knowing your target audience(s) is important. If you don't know who you are targeting you won't know what they are interested in and how to reach them.
Successful advertising requires the advertiser to know something about potential prospects. Useful information such as age, sex and geographical location are often important. Other information such as whether they are a homeowner, renter, parent, married or retired helps to better define who you are targeting. The information helps determine what advertising messages, and tools to deliver the messages, will be most effective.
Advertising with print and broadcast media is the most common approach. However, it is still important to chose the right medium to reach your audience. Social media is another area ripe for advertising. Many other options exist.
When you advertise, learn more about the ways you can track the return on your investment (ROI). Don't be afraid to ask those you advertise with to help you better understand how your advertising is performing so that you can track your success.
My son doesn't ask a lot of "why" questions anymore. The roles have reversed. Now I wonder why I don't see him more, why he doesn't answer his phone and why time seems to have flown by so quickly. I don't always get answers, but it's worth asking the questions.
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.