Your earlier piece, “Personal branding as smart business”, indeed has helped in projecting me in line with my boutiques. It is a ‘master stroke’, hence this new appeal – This time, to seek your opinion on whether various now expensive forms of advertising are ‘do or die’ for my business. I believe promoting my business can take other more affordable configuration. Please let me know your stand on this – Fred Obeya
As you rightly hinted, advertising per se may not be a ‘do or die’ issue for your business (that is, something you must adopt in order not to fail or even seize to exist completely), but promotion is. With promotion (which encompasses advertising) being an essential part of marketing, remember that it stands for communication with individuals, groups or organisations to directly or indirectly facilitate exchanges by influencing such to accept your offerings (e.g. products, services). ප්රවර්ධන, in a general term, entails getting the rest of the world to know about your boutiques. Even where you are looking at giving advertising a ‘wide berth’, it should not make for terminating promotion in your business. Efforts at creating awareness must be put in place or else no one knows about your business, and it may ‘die’ subsequently.
My focus here is not on the rationale for increased costs of advertising (as is the case with other components of business sustenance these days). කෙසේ වුවද, it does not rule out the significance of this aspect of the marketing promotion mix, as this definition of advertising, among several others, highlights – “A paid form of non-personal communication about an organisation and/or its products that is transmitted to a target audience through a mass medium”.
Having commenced “cutting my teeth” in the area of marketing communications, as part of the creative department of an advertising agency a long time ago (when all parts of that field were executed under one roof, and the use of “Letraset” was the ultimate for all graphic artists, as computer aided input were in the sphere of ‘dream land’), I composed this definition and upheld it as mantra: “Paid announcement, publication or display, issued according to the desires of its sponsor and through an organ of mass communication, aimed at selling products or services”.
Remember that various means or ‘vehicles’ of conveying advertisements (the media), are often outside the control of the creator of your advertisement (the agency) and significantly portray the increased cost elements you are complaining about; place of advertising in the promotion mix of marketing; and the combination of two or more of these components of the mix yields the term, Integrated Marketing Communications or IMC. The related traditional media of advertising remain, මුද්රණය (e.g. newspaper, magazine), radio, television (these two form broadcast advertisements often tagged ’commercials’), outdoor (e.g. billboard, poster, yard-sign), transportation media (e.g. exterior and interior bus or van displays). New media platform for it come as banners, other displays on the website, and short messaging services (SMS) of mobile phones.
Along with advertising, these also make up elements of the promotion mix – Personal selling (often called sales), public relations/publicity, අලෙවි ප්රවර්ධන, and direct marketing. As usually applicable these days, where a communication programme does not require applying only one of the above elements of the mix, but blend two or more in the process, the tag Integrated Marketing Communications or IMC applies.
This is why I urge that in spite of your complaint of increased costs of advertising, you can still apply other less expensive means to create awareness about your business. It may not be ‘do or die’ to advertise, but it is with not promoting your boutique business at all. Where it seems an uphill task to advertise, remember that activities of your sales persons are also part of promotion. Public relations or PR is another form of promotion that can serve as way out. PR being referred to as essential to launching a new brand or boosting an existing one” is not a fluke. It stands to convey the ‘true story’ about your offering, and its application here remains significant in creating awareness. Trying out this aspect of promotion will offer some respite.
These can also help, as your boutique will likely collapse from lack of patronage, where all forms of creating awareness seize:
– A web site for your new business can be of positive impact, these days of the World Wide Web (www) and its immense associated benefits from awareness creation.
– The social media (e.g. ෆේස්බුක්, MySpace, ට්විටර්, LinkedIn, ආදිය), as tools of passing words around about your boutiques, should not be ruled out.
– Offer to be a speaker (e.g. at industry conferences, seminars, local business meetings). This has a major positive side being benefits derivable from name recognition, contacts and publicity.
– Become active in two or more business and professional groups.
– Your business card, stationery, letter head, envelope, brochure, ආදිය (reflecting your logo) ‘tell’ prospective customers so much about your business – What it does and how it can help them. Graphic forms of company’s identification conveyed through these items obviously create instant awareness about your outfit.
– Make “cold calls” (e.g. using the telephone) – To contact directly those who may likely patronize your boutiques, for appointments to provide details about what you offer. Always note that word-of-mouth has been adjudged the publicity with most impact.
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Image credits: http://adgecko.co.uk