You’ve just started your business, your website is finished, your SEO is lined up, your products are ready to ship, and you’ve got a hungry team eager to seize the moment. All you need to do now is get the word out about that amazing product. Right?
Maybe, but maybe not.
When speaking to budding entrepreneurs, I sometimes find myself giving advice that you wouldn’t expect from a PR professional. I tell them that, for a lot of brands, hiring a PR pro isn’t worth the cost. Don’t get me wrong, a great PR team is one of best brand-building tools a business can employ. But if your brand isn’t positioned to benefit from a well-executed PR strategy, you could end up wasting your time and money.
Twitter may have re-oriented itself and laid off part of its workforce to streamline its business, but it still doesn’t look like it is bringing in enough money to keep Wall Street happy.
Here is the biggest data point from the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report: according to the company, advertising revenue totaled $638 million, which was down slightly year-over-year. A reversal in its advertising growth is certainly not going to help Twitter’s case, which needs to be able to pitch itself to advertisers as a legitimate alternative to Facebook — and now Snap, which is expected to go public in March and already generated $400 million in 2016.
If you ask the person next to you about the difference between marketing and advertising, there’s a strong possibility you won’t get a clear answer. That’s because for many people, there’s only a subtle difference between marketing and advertising that’s often difficult to explain.
To be honest, advertising and marketing are closely related disciplines that have much in common. Yet they differ in many ways too. To see the differences and how each can benefit you as a small business owner, you must first understand the basics of both.
There is a consensus in advertising that mobile video is the future, but that future is still hazy.
Mobile video can run in apps like Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube or be bought through ad networks that serve the mobile Web. There are six-second, 15-second and 30-second formats, and there are Gifs. There also are ways to measure by impression or engagement.
It’s this fragmented landscape that is creating uncertainty at an otherwise golden moment for mobile video, according to eMarketer, which released a report today taking a comprehensive look at the forces shaping the sector.
“There’s still some inconsistency with the ad formats for mobile video,” said eMarketer analyst Jeremy Kressmann. “There’s in-stream video working off publishers’ native players; there’s interstitials that pop up; there’s in-app, in-game video; interactive video; in banner and in-feed video.”
“It’s confusing on the ad-buyer side trying to figure out what they’re buying and how to get scale,” he said.
Do you like salespeople? If you answered yes, you might be a salesperson. In The Sales Bible, Jeffrey Gitomer discusses the reputation problem faced by salespeople—and how to solve it.
Why is this? Sadly, ever since the days of snake oil, the craft has been heavily associated with lying. Years of advertising have hardened consumers and trained them to be skeptical above all else, and no one is more suspect than a salesperson. A salesperson is, first and foremost, interested in getting you to buy what they’re selling, and usually only secondarily interested in your enjoyment of or satisfaction with the product.
Recently, however, some brands have seized upon an interesting strategy for dealing with this issue: get someone else to sell the product. Though professional salespeople struggle with trust, there is one employee who still retains it: the person who engineered, developed, or created it in the first place! Let’s call these people “Product experts.”
Whether you have a million-dollar marketing budget or are just launching your startup, making your advertising dollar work harder for you can make or break your growth. Following these five steps will help ensure that you get the results you need.
Identify Your Audience
You may have heard someone say, “She is such a good sales person. She could sell ice to an eskimo.” While that skill can come in handy, persuading prospects to go against their natural inclinations can result in higher acquisition costs for new customers. Instead, start with an understanding of who is currently buying your product or service. To do this, look at past sales data for demographic indicators: Where do they live? Are they primarily families? What is their gender?
You don’t want your potential audience to become so narrow that it is impossible to reach them, but these types of answers can give you a great jumping-off point for structuring your campaign.
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Type “marketing budget template” into a search engine and you’ll find several examples, from the most basic to impressively detailed.
But 99 percent of the time there’s one important line item missing – your Cost of Occupancy.
Cost of Occupancy = Yearly Rent or Mortgage
Your yearly cost of rent or mortgage payments should be treated as a marketing expenditure.
You sell a product or service that relies on foot traffic. The better your location, the more visible you are to potential customers.
The more visible your location is to potential customers, the less advertising you need.
Location = Advertising
Therefore, your Cost of Occupancy should be designated as a line item in your marketing budget.
Are you still advertising and marketing your small business based on how customers used to find your business years ago? Then wake up and smell the coffee: The way customers buy has changed in the last few years, and if the way you’re marketing your business isn’t keeping up, you’re going to be left behind.
eBay has been one of the largest advertisers on Google, but that might not be the case for much longer. It decided to do an A-B split test to determine how many of those clicks they would have eventually seen even without those paid placements; even going so far as to go dark in 30 market areas to provide a control. In a study conducted with eBay Labs along including fancy degree holders from Berkeley and U. Chicago, it showed that it only made back about 25 cents on the dollar spent.
The study shows that brand ads – and by that they mean ads that focus on the brand names of the products to be theoretically purchased, rather than “branding” ads – can be efficiently effective for potential new users to the retailer, but tend to be unnecessary for those who are already familiar with the retailer. eBay, more than most, would suffer from a high familiarity ratio, thus making its relative efficiency low.
One thing the full version of the study appears to miss, however, is that very high clickthrough rate experienced by an ad due to a specific brand reference that is common to the search term may have another financial benefit to the advertiser: increasing the “quality score” of the ad campaign, and thus reducing the expense of other clicks in the campaign.
eBay bids on a universe of more than 170 million keywords. It spends more than $50 million a year on online advertising.