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Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

How to get results and value from your marketing spend (and everything else)

Last year we conducted a survey of professional services firms, to find out about their experiences of effective, and ineffective, marketing.  Marketing has long been an area where businesses struggle to understand the real impact of their activities, and spend.  We wanted to know what makes a difference to that.  As a result we have developed a whitepaper that we offer at our website at no charge to help professional firms get the best value from their marketing spend.

The survey explored a range of areas including planning, targeting, use of expertise, types of activity and opinions of effectiveness.  The results were interesting – predictable in some areas and not in others.  It was no surprise to find that overall, respondents considered paid media (newspapers, radio, television) advertising to be least effective.  Perhaps more surprising was that the number was twice that of the next ‘least effective’ category – being tradeshows. 

On the other hand, the overwhelmingly most effective method of advertising was considered to be ‘word-of-mouth’.  

The survey explored marketing as a whole though, and not just the advertising aspect.  We explored whether respondents had a strategic plan that directed their marketing effort, and whether or not they used marketing expertise.  In most cases those with a plan also used marketing expertise, although the data was not able to tell us whether they had a plan because of a marketing presence in the firm, or whether the developing of the plan had resulted in recognition and acquisition of marketing skills.

Nonetheless, there were three key differences in those firms that had a strategic plan in place.  They were:

  1. Twice as many respondents who had a strategic plan reported that inviting prospective clients to events, lunch etc was cost-effective, as compared to the respondents overall.
  2. Three times as many respondents from firms with a strategic plan reported that  providing informative copy, press releases or articles for mainstream media was cost-effective compared to the respondents overall.
  3. Those with a strategic plan had a larger quantity of effective methods than those without.

Most activities are more likely to be effective where they are well-targeted, whether that’s marketing, investment, human resources or production.  Logically, it must be easier to achieve with a clear plan.

As a result of this survey we have produced a white paper titled ‘Find More Clients With Less Effort, and Get Better Value from Your Marketing Budget’.  This whitepaper is available at no cost from our website – http://www.strategies-direct.com.  It sets out how to target your marketing activity with a clear strategy, so that your firm can be sure you are gaining new clients from your marketing spend.  The whitepaper is available now for a limited time.

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Categories: Business and Strategy

Do I Pay or Do I Read the Ads?

A few years ago now I remember reading a prediction that companies would begin to offer two types of services to clients.  One would be a paid service, and the other free or low-cost in return for accepting advertising.  For instance, you could get a rental car at normal rates, or get one at low rates that is covered in advertising for a company, who are paying for the car rental instead of you, in return for their message being driven around.  Another example would be a paid drink at a vending machine immediately, or a reduced price one after watching 2 minutes of advertising on the screen.  The assumption at the time, as I recall, was that it was likely to be the younger generations happy to take the advertising and the older consumers more willing to pay for speed, discretion etc.  Sadly I cannot remember where I read it, but whoever wrote it was certainly on the right track because this has become common with some products and services.

I am facing a dilemma of exactly that kind right now.  I am about to source some new webinar software.  I do not currently run many webinars and certainly at this stage cannot justify the high monthly rate of some providers, however excellent their product might be.  I need to start somewhere and the product I am looking at has two options – one with a monthly fee, and one free – but the free version includes the webinar attenders have advertising displayed on their screens during the webinar.  So I find myself endeavouring to answer these questions:

If I opt for the free version, will my clients mind the advertising?  Who will, who won’t?

If I opt for the paid version, can I sell enough products and services from the webinars to cover this and more?

Will my clients have a different view about seeing advertising if the webinar is free, versus part of a paid subscription product?

Does the appearance of advertising during the webinar affect in a negative way, my own and my company brand?

If you have a view on this I would love you to share it.  In the meantime I will deliberate further and let you know in a later post what I’ve decided to do!

Categories: Business and Strategy
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