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Don't confuse "What Works" with "How Quickly it Works"

I was speaking with Charles Laughlin, an analyst with BIA/Kelsey and he offered one of his typically brilliant insights.

I was preparing for my presentation at the Association of Directory Publishers annual conference.  My charge is to provide a positive sendoff to directory publishers and encourage them to aggressively move to assist their clients with more than just printed directories.

Tall order.

We were talking about what is really working for small businesses in the way of advertising, and how perception and reality are often distant cousins.

In other words, what appears to work and what really works are frequently disconnected.

Charles’ insight made me think.

He said that speed of delivery is the key.

Let me ‘splain

When a business owner purchases an ad in the Yellow Pages or in a community directory such as the HomePages (my employer), there may be several months from the time the ad was purchased before the first customers show up.  It takes time to complete the sales canvass, produce the directory, distribute it, and then wait for the consumer’s need to trigger a reference and purchase.

On the other hand, when a business owner signs up with our text marketing program, we get to work right away with marketing materials, vehicle decals, Facebook postings, and counter displays.

Immediately after the business owner send out their first text message (we work with them to send a powerful message that gets results), they get customer feedback and response.

Send great message . . . get immediate results

Advertisers have the overwhelming impression that text marketing is the best type of marketing that they’ve ever done.  And it is very powerful.

But it’s important not to confuse speed with overall effectiveness.

It is entirely possible and quite likely that a well designed ad in a community directory will generate a better ROI than text marketing.

But it deliver the immediate results, so the advertiser often confuses the lack of a burst of business with a lack of effectiveness.

When comparing various types of advertising, the thing that matters is total ROI.

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