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"A bridge over troubled waters is better than burning your bridges after you've crossed them."

Companies tend to stop advertising in times of economic downturn or at a point when it just doesn't seem like the program is working. The troubled waters could be a recession or they could represent a time of year when people don't buy as much of what you sell. But at those times, what will happen if you drop your advertising? Will people forget you? Will someone steal your customers? Possibly.

Picture this: You have built a bridge, that is, a communication link to your customers. You have built up a certain amount of awareness. If you stop advertising, that will be lost. You will lose your investment. As one marketing guru has put it, "The bond of communication is too precious to break capriciously." Remember, it does take time for a program to show results. So be consistent in your efforts; regard them as an investment and be committed.

You need one bridge or program to reach, retain and cross-sell customers, and another to reach prospects. Often, people think of advertising only as a way to reach prospects, and that is unwise. In today's marketplace, retaining your customer base is a key to survival. To retain customers, do simple things like reinforcing purchase decisions with a "thank you" or with an elaborate brochure that celebrates the benefits of the purchase.

We usually court the customer with a brilliant website and gorgeous printed materials to sell the product, but once it's sold, we think all is well. However, that may be the very time when the customer begins to doubt his decision especially on large ticket items. At this point he needs a congratulations or other positive reinforcement. That will assure positive word-of-mouth advertising.

To get new customers, you need a creative advertising program which features a simple message touting customer benefits, not product attributes. Remember, a benefit is what a product or service attribute does for the customer. Make that clear to capture their attention and awareness. Then repeat the strategic yet simple message with as much frequency as your budget will allow.

©2014. DAY Communications/fastzone.com. All rights reserved.

lady seeking ideas

Despite continual change, some things remain true:

ADVERTISING
The foundation for a successful ad campaign is still adequate research and analysis. Because of all the new media, messages and companies, careful research is essential before brainstorming for creative insight. Otherwise, imitation could occur.

MARKETING
A message that explains and promotes a company’s offerings in a focused, fresh way is crucial, but no message can help a product or service that needs to be improved or updated. The “4 Ps of Marketing” still apply: Number 1 is the Product/service, and Promotion still is the last P. To help you think about your products and services, download DAY Communications' free marketing worksheets.

MEDIA PLANNING
The internet is not replacing the print media, but has affected the function of print. A brief print message that points to a lengthier message on a website may be a good use of print. Reinforcing your message to your target audiences through a variety of media is still the best approach.

YOUR WEBSITE
Keeping a website up to date, attractive to Search Engines, and pertinent to customer’s interests, is common sense. Using common sense is important in an age of rapid change, but informing your sense of what is commonly true could require a lot of google-ing or bing-ing.

GRAPHIC DESIGN
The principles of graphic design generally still apply, but not wholly. For example, should a designer should use muted and unusual colors when marketing to more intelligent people? Are bright colors for the less educated? The experts of the last century said so, but one marketing guru, Tom Peters, has stated that the Internet has made necessary the use of bright colors.

DAY Communications is committed to your success in TODAY's marketplace.

bus advertising and much more

How will you invest in your business in the coming year? Which options will you pursue in your quest for growth and a profit? As you lay plans for 200?, we encourage you to budget a tax deductible 5%-7% of your gross sales or billings to advertise. This amount is usually considered a minimum. In a competitive marketplace, it's a necessary operating expense-- NOT an option, even in times of economic recession.

Generally, a greater market share, faster growing markets, new products or services, or higher quality products necessitate spending more than the minimum budget amount to get results. Companies may spend as much as 20% of gross sales or more to launch a new product or service.

A frequently asked question is: "Should I figure my percentage based on last year's gross sales or on what I think this year's will be?" The answer to that question matters a great deal less than HOW you spend it.

Don't invest in short-lived programs or schemes which equate to junk bonds. To maximize your investment, let us help you set a definite figure itemized in an annual plan.

Once we understand your goals and objectives, we can recommend a realistic outlay for advertising in support of their attainment. And we'll develop concepts and programs that will add excitement to your day-in-day-out road to achievement.

Also, by involving us in your annual business plan, you can trust us to evaluate the proposals of all media salespeople over the course of the year. By referring them to us, you will save time and aggravation.

By the way, don't think of advertising only as newspaper, radio or www banners. E-letters, annual reports, capabilities or product brochures, and even instruction booklets can be used as promotional literature to sell your firm to prospects and build its image with customers to encourage repeat business. We can assist you with the range of collateral pieces-- (our jargon for) items which extend your advertising message or explain your firm or products to the public. We can produce such literature in print, for broadcast or on the Internet. Let's make plans.