You don’t have to spend $3 million to promote your business

By Jeff Bowman

Promotion is the key to business success.  You can have the greatest product or service in the world, but if no one knows how or where to get it, or the advantages of owning one, the effort has been lost.

Being in marketing for more than 25 years, I have seen a ton of promotions, everything from the bizarre to the fascinating, not to mention some of the dumbest and mundane promotional activities as well. The black and white ads that I grew up with in the back of 15 cent comic books, have morphed into 3D, full colour animations so real you can reach into the picture. The availability of short live spots on local television stations in the 80s really brought horrendous ads to the forefront, especially for supermarkets and auto dealerships. They were low-budget and corny, but deemed to be cost-effective.  There are all types of promotional activities available from extremely high-priced advertisements with big name stars, to the simple public appearance with little fanfare.

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing both ends of the spectrum, attending a CD launch event on Saturday night and then watching the Super bowl ads, I mean watching the Superbowl on Sunday. At a cost of over $3 million  for a 30 second spot, companies had the opportunity of reaching over 100,000,000 viewers across North America. That was just the cost of the placement.  Some companies spent obscene amounts of money to produce the ad itself. Money deemed well spent by the corporate sponsors. When you’ve got the cash, spare no expense!

What about those who don’t have the cash? Well, the internet and social media have made access to an audience far cheaper. I received a Facebook invite to a CD launch at a local restaurant, by a young musician who I have known for a long time. The invite cost nothing.  The venue was very nice, and had a crowd that covered almost every demographic. A small table was set aside for CD sales. The performance was very good and well appreciated by the audience. The cost for the exposure for a local singer/songwriter, was small, but was deemed money well spent. Today, like the expensive Super Bowl ads, you can see Karl’s clips on the web. Definitely not in the same sphere of viewership as the more expensive ads, but a start none the less.

Keep in mind the type of activities that are available to small business today when planning your marketing approach.  The key is to know your audience, where they get information, and how they prefer to communicate.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but if done right, will be deemed money well spent.

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Filed under advertising, Branding, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, social media

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