Before you can discuss Marketing and Advertising you need to know the difference is between Marketing and Advertising. If you go to www.ask.com and ask the question, this is the answer you will receive which by the way, is in keeping with the principles taught at Keller Williams University.
Marketing – identifying your customer.
Advertising – attracting your customer.
Advertising: Generally speaking, advertising is the paid promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas by an identified sponsor. Marketers see advertising as part of an overall promotional strategy. Other components of the promotional mix include publicity, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion.
Marketing: The way a business or organization identifies its customers, defines and develops the products or services that its customers want, and sells and distributes those products or services to customers.
By definition advertising is promoting your business, product or service to the masses in hopes of making a connection (the shotgun principle). Marketing is promoting your business, product or service to specific customers, both past, present and future that you already know (targeting).
If you already know someone, would you approach them differently than if you were promoting yourself to the masses? If not, you should be.
There is an endless source of information regarding both advertising and marketing. Here is what I believe to be true. Is this Nugget all inclusive? Certainly not. Someone in sales ought make marketing and advertising a life-long study. Instead, most sales people follow the 80/20 rule in reverse. If 20 percent of sales people do 80 percent of the sales, the reverse would be that 80 percent do only 20 percent. Since so many (the 80%) do things in a certain way (such as marketing and advertising) most sales people use the 80 percent as a guide as to what to do rather than the more successful 20 percent sales people.
To prove this theory you only need to look at a real estate advertising magazine where all the ads seem very similar. In fact most of the real estate advertisements (and they are advertisements not marketing pieces because they target the masses of unknown potential customers) show a small photograph of the property, contain the same generic information about the property and have either a small “head shot” of the agent or the head shot is in the advertisement header. Check for yourself; that is the way most real estate agents advertise themselves and their properties. “Everyone is doing it so it must be effective, right?”
If you are trying to attract (advertise) potential customers you do not as yet know, you have to ask the question in regards to the structure of your advertisement, is there anything in the advertisement that asks the potential customer to take an action? Action like calling you or visiting your web site? Before you publish an advertisement of any type, ask someone, NOT in your business, to review it. Find out if you have a “call-to-action” contained in your advertisement. If not, why are you advertising? Two reasons may be: (1) everyone else is doing it, therefore, it must be the right thing to do; and (2) the customer either expects it; demands it; or YOU THINK the customer expects or demands it. Neither one of these reasons are valid.
If you are going to advertise to the masses, you MUST give the masses a reason to take an action like call you or visit your web site. If you get someone to visit your web site then you still have a need to create a call-to-action on your web site and that usually means giving the visitor a reason to provide you with their contact information. This may take the form of offering a “freebee” such as a report or brochure. Or it may encourage the customer to sign up to receive future reports or advisories such as new homes on the market.
What specifically in your advertisements causes someone you don’t know to call you or visit your web site? In the case of real estate sites it may be the property photograph as enhanced by the text description provided. Look again. In most cases, so much information is provided there is no reason to call you or visit your web site. If you are lucky enough to get someone to visit your web site, then what? Do you have something very obvious on your site to cause someone to call you or register? Check it out for yourself. Look at your advertisements and web page through the eyes of someone not familiar with real estate. Does it have a specific call-to-action?
Marketing is what you do to promote your business, product or service to those people you already know (the Mets in your database). You already have some form of relationship with the people you “market” to; never take your relationships for granted. Treat them differently than the masses as in the case of advertisements.
Would you spend a lot of money on advertisements (newspapers, real estate magazines, etc) or on items to give away (pens, calendars, magnets, etc.) or both? I would recommend that you keep your “advertising dollars” to an absolute minimum. Advertising is like using a shot gun where you scatter your message to a lot of folks. Marketing it is more like using a bow & arrow and you target your audience. It would therefore make more sense to limit your advertising dollars and maximize your marketing dollars.
For example, consider a trade show that YOU attended as a visitor, not a vendor. What did you do? Upon entering someone gave you a bag to put all the “goodies” you are going to collect. You then go booth to booth colleting the goodies and probably dropping off a business card or filling out a registration form for a door prize. Then when you get home you might go through the bag and you throw away most of the items you collected. There may be one or two items (pens, stress-relief-balls, etc) that you keep but few if any will ever be used. How much money was spent on all the give-aways you received for which you had no immediate need or the item served only a temporary need (calendars)? Lots! Just how effective was all this advertising – it was advertising because remember, the vendors probably did not know you and they were banking on the “hit or miss” advertising principle (shotgun).
Let’s be specific and think of someone selling widgets (for you-know-who, a widget is a fictional product that a lot of authors/trainers use as an example). You have no need for a widget today or tomorrow. Will you remember the vendor who was selling widgets at the trade show when you need it 2 years from now? Doubt it. If you need a widget on the day you visited the show you might consider using this vendor to obtain it and that is what the vendor is banking on (one hit amongst many misses). If the vendor gives you a pen, for example, the vendor is hoping you will keep it and use it so when the day comes you need a widget you will remember this particular vendor, good luck on that one. Pens are so common most end up in a drawer with all the other pens people have given you or they run out of ink and are thrown away.
The major problem with advertisements is that they have no “shelf-life.” How long will a potential customer keep whatever it is you gave them? In the case of a calendar it is usually less than 12 months. In the case of a parade or football schedule it is usually less than 4 or 5 months. When you consider shelf-life, is the cost of the advertisement or give-away justified by the results? In most cases no.
If I were to give you a coffee mug with my picture and contact information on it, would you consider it to be a valuable gift? Initially you might; gee a coffee mug. But in time the personalized coffee mug would find its way to a trash can or a yard sale table. Why? Because you have several coffee cups that match and you have no need for numerous mugs with different company’s logos on them. Be honest, you know this is true.
On the other hand, if I were to give you a coffee mug with a Smiley Face on it with no contact information, is there a better chance that you might keep it and even put it in your kitchen cabinet or leave it on your desk than a company logo type mug? You and I both know you most likely keep the Smiley Face mug before you would keep a company logo mug. My guess is that every time you use the Smiley Face mug you would remember from where it came – me. I could be wrong but I don’t think so. I have two such mugs. One is a Winnie-the-Poo mug and the other a mug with information about Alaska; I remember exactly who gave them to me.
Here are what I consider to be my rules for advertising and marketing:
- You advertise to the people you don’t know (Unmets in your database).
- You market to the people you do know (Mets in your database).
- Your marketing dollars should be maximized and tracked.
- Your advertising dollars should be minimized and tracked.
- Advertising AND marketing pieces should have a call-to-action.
- Marketing pieces should have a shelf-life to prolong exposure to you and your product.
- Marketing pieces should be unique (how many calendars do you need or use). Unique gifts are remembered.
- For real estate ads, at least 1/3 of the ad should be dedicated to personal promotion with some form of a call-to-action.
- Advertising and marketing pieces should NOT provide so much information there is no reason to respond to a call-to-action.
- Have someone who is NOT in your business review your advertisement and marketing pieces BEFORE you go public with them. Have someone review your pieces through the eyes of a customer.
Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown is the Broker of Keller Williams Realty in Slidell, LA. You can find more “Nuggets For The Noggin” from Gymbeaux at www.NuggetsForTheNoggin.com