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Would you say I was crazy if I told you you should have an infinite marketing budget?
Well in all fairness, I might be a little crazy but don’t get out the straightjacket yet.
Anyways, instead of questioning my sanity, why not ask yourself a question… “What kind of advertising could I do where it would make sense to spend as much money as I possibly could?”
I’ll give you a hint, it’s the type of advertising where you know that for every dollar you spend you get X dollars in sales coming in.
No, it doesn’t involve telling the customer how long you’ve been in business or how trustworthy your staff is.
Nope, it doesn’t have anything to do with co-op money from the manufacturer, try again…
The two magic words for advertising your business are... Direct Response.
I'm sure most of you have heard of direct response advertising, and I'm sure lots of you understand what it is, but how many of you actually use it to promote your business?
For those of you who may not be familiar with it, direct response advertising is the type of advertising where the soul purpose is to generate a response from the prospect. It's usually pretty ugly, it's not designed to build your brand, develop your image, or get your name out there... It's meant to get the person seeing (or hearing) it to take immediate action. (Pick up the phone, send in a coupon, show up at your door etc...)
Okay, so now that we all know what it is, what are the positives and negatives of direct response marketing?
First the negatives:
1. Direct response marketing isn't too popular with the people selling the ads.
Why not? Because you are able to track the results. If you can track the results you know whether or not the ad was effective, if their ads aren't effective, how much money will you spend with them? It's far better for them if you just keep blindly spending money getting your name out there...
2. Direct response marketing isn't usually flashy or fancy.
This means your friends and family (and competition) won't be super impressed. You won't have the fancy glossy stuff to show off like your competition does, so you will be uncomfortable for a while. Which leads me to...
3. It's not the industry norm.
That means you'll stand out. Standing out means you'll be talked about. That means the other reindeer might laugh and call you names. (Not to mention the lack of all the reindeer games...)
4. It's not as easy.
There are far too many details to cover here today, (if you're interested we will talk more about this in future posts) but suffice it to say there is a lot more to direct response advertising than just making it funny, or catchy, or pretty.
Now for the positives:
1. While it may take a while to master, it's (relatively) cheap to test.
The problem with the advertising you've been doing is that you know that only half of it works but you don't know which half. The benefit of direct response is that you can test small and only roll out what works. You don't have to blindly blow your ad budget every month without knowing if it's working, you are able to test small campaigns and then only roll out the successful (profitable) ones.
2. Once you've got something that works, it will keep working.
Do you know the cheesy looking full page advertisements in trashy magazines like the National Enquirer? (Like the ones that offer collectible plates or knick knacks for sale?) Those are direct response ads. The advertisers run the ads and measure the amount of sales that come from each one. Since as far as I (and Google) can tell, the cost to run one of those ads is over $50,000 they probably measure pretty closely don't you think? And since you see the same ads over and over and over, they probably do pretty well.
3. When something doesn't work, you'll know before you waste too much time and money.
I don't think this needs too much more detail does it? The whole point here is that once you get this process dialed in, you can basically get customers in the door at will.
Well I guess that about does it for the overview of direct response vs. image advertising. The decision you have to make is whether or not you are willing to put up with the grumblings of your ad reps and the potential embarrassment of going against the grain, in exchange for the knowledge to get customers and make sales as easily as getting a bag of chips from the vending machine.
If you think you might be interested in how to apply this to your business, like this post and/or leave a comment below. If there is sufficient interest I will write a series of posts (or maybe do a webinar) on how to specifically apply direct response marketing to the car business.