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Are You Just Advertising or Effectively Marketing?

Internet Marketing, Search

Admin Makespace

I've noticed a common misconception over my years of working with clients. Many clients promoting a product or service are unsure whether they are just advertising or effectively marketing. I'm sure there are plenty of experts with varied opinions on the topic, but let's try to help you to answer the question for yourself.

Advertising is meant to create awareness of your product or service.  It often uses expensive repetition in order to get people to remember your name, number, etc. Advertising can yield results, but isn't always the best way to yield bottom line profits. Consider how many ads you see on TV, in a phone book, or on billboards along a stretch of interstate. You typically don't have much time and they don't have much space, so ads feature a phone number and/or a website. Again, the objective was to create awareness through targeted placement. Unfortunately, advertisements often simply add to the "noise" and may not convince consumers to engage.

Years ago, I attended a meeting of the American Marketing Association in St. Louis. The team from Energizer was there and gave a brief presentation on their Energizer Bunny campaign. The commercials were funny - everyone remembers them - but there’s an interesting side note. One challenge for this campaign was that some consumers confused the brand with Duracell, their competitor. Great commercials, maybe a confusing message.  

Marketing, on the other hand, isn't simply about exposure. It's about differentiating your product and/or service. In a crowded market, you've got to find a way to break free of the noise and really help the consumer to understand what makes you different. Their question, simply stated, is “Why Should I Hire You?” If you can answer that, you have a good chance of getting the prospect to engage with you. If your business is referral-based, people still want to know how your product/service is uniquely suited to help them.

If you're competing in a crowded marketplace (especially dentists, physicians, attorneys, accountants and other professionals), consider marketing as a way of appealing to specific needs of your clients. Niche marketing can be highly effective.  To a certain point, you and your competition provide a similar service -- so now explain how you're different.

There's a simple formula for growing and maintaining your client base:  Educate them and they'll begin to trust you. If they trust you, they'll consider doing business with you. If they'll consider your company or product, it’s much easier to convert them from prospects to clients. If you're the only provider of a particular product/service in the market, then just advertise so people will know how to contact you. On the other hand, if you’re competing among other alternatives, consider taking steps toward effectively marketing.  

Out of all of the websites you've seen recently, do any of them ask you to visit their yellow page ads, or tune in to see their next commercial? Not typically. However, it’s interesting how many advertisements promote their company's website. That's because beyond exposure (advertising), you've got to get them to understand why you're the best solution (sound like marketing to you?)   

Oohology/Makespace has a strong reputation for helping clients understand their brands and positioning.  We've helped them develop messaging to stand out in a crowd. We're a marketing firm. If you've spent a lot of money on advertising and question the return, consider letting us help you to more effectively market your business. You may be extremely surprised at the bottom line results!