In advertising, there are no stupid questions.
I never object when a retailer asks me a question about advertising, particulary if he's really interested in improving his advertising knowledge. Here are a few of the questions I've been asked mosr recently.
Q: What can an advestising agency offer me that I can't do for myself?
A: You can probably do all or most of the same things an ad agency can do, but you can't possibly do them as well. An agency offers a level of professionalism and expertise no layman can hope to match. An agency is usually staffed by a group of specialists who are trained and experienced in the advertising arts - everything from creating effective ads, commercials and promotional literature to selecting the most cost efficient advertising media. You could do all those things yourself. But, you could probably pull your own teeth, too.
Q: I ran an ad in a local shopper and turned it in to the manufacturer for co-op reimbursement. Even though I followed all the manufacturer's guidelines, the ad was turned down. Why?
A: I would have to read the manufacturer's co-op program guidelines to know for sure. But off the top of my head I'd guess your local shopper probably does not qualify under the plan as an acceptable form of media. Most profssional advertising people do not view shoppers and "Penny Saver" publications as viable advertising vehicles because their circulations are hit and miss rather than controlled. Trained media buyers always look for some kind of verifiable circulations figures or audience measurement data before they'll invest a nickel in any media. There is no good way to accurately measure readership of a publication that's dropped indiscriminately in mail boxes and stacked near the check-out stands at super markets and hardware stores. Frankly, if you had read the coop guidelines throroughly, you probably would have known that shoppers were not kosher. But, if you really believe this particular shopper is a viable media selection, put your money where your mouth is and pay for it yourself.
Q: I've been thinking about trying some billboard advertisisng but I'm really confused. What's this "showing" business the salesmen keep talking about? And what on earth is "junior" billborad?
A: "Showing" is the method of audience measurement used in the outdoor advertising industry. For instance: A group of billboards will deliver a 25 showing if it can deliver a total number of gross impressions (people who see it) equal to 25% of the population each day. A 50 showing will deliver 50%, and so on. It's all determined by scientifically measured traffic flow as well as population figures. "Junior" billboards, more correctly referred to as "8-sheet posters," are the smallest of the three standard billboards sizes. They usually measure five feet by eleven feet. They're often considered "neighborhood" billboards, because they're commonly used in neighborhood locations for special promotions, as point-os-sale posters, or as directional signs on or near business. Even though they lack the impact of the bigger billboards, their lower price often makes them a smart buy for small retailers. Incidentally, the two other standard sizes of billboards are 30-sheet posters (ten feet by twenty-two feet) and Bulletins (fourteen feet by forty-eight feet). For more information on outdoor advertising, refer to my column in the February, 1990 issue of SHOOTING INDUSTRY.
Q: Are ten-second television commercials worthwhile?
A: They are ifyou run enough of them, and if you realize the limitation of the short format. You sure can't say much in a ten or fifteen-second commercial, but if you run enough of them you can definitely gain some name recognition or call attention to a special event.
Q: Can my distributor get me pictures of differnt products to use in my ads?
A: Maybe. But I'd suggest going straight to the source. Contact the manufacturer, and either the sales, marketing or advertising department should be able and willing to provide you with all the line art illustrations, logos and, sometimes, even prepared ads you'll ever need. Manufacturers want you to advertise their products locally, so they're usually more than willing to provide you with the tools to do it.
Q: I've been approached to be part of a multi-store advertising campaign where several area stores' names are listed at the end of commercials and ads for a particular manufacturer's products. I'm not sure I want my store's name listed along with some of my unsavory competitors, and I'm not sure how good a deal this kind of promotion is. What do you think?
A: I think you need to set aside any silly notions you might have about not beeing mentioned in the same breath with other dealers. You have to make a rational decision based on whether or not your involvement is going to help you. If the campaign is originated by and paid for by the manufacturer, it's a no-lose situation for you. If you have to foot part of teh expense yourself and/or if the campaign is being planned by another dealer, a newspaper or an outside agency, it becomes a value judgment. If all participants are being treated and charged equally - and if the products in question are potentially hot sellers - then it's probably still a worthwhile endeavor. Don't substitute this for your regular advertising, though. It should be considered a supplement and nothing more. And try not to let your emotions get in the way of your advertising decisions. Since there's so much riding on the success of your advertising program, rational of your advertising program, rational thinking and plenty of factual information are prerequisites to making the right decisions.
Got any questions about advertising, promotions or marketing, specific or otherwise? Send them to me c/o SHOOTING INDUSTRY. I'll do my best to respond to your questions and concerns in future columns.
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|Title Annotation:||question and answer format on subject of advertising in firearms marketing and retailing|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1990|
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