Yes, It is a Tough Economy, But You Need to Advertise

Ask any business manager to name the first things he cuts back on in tough economic times, and you will likely get this answer: advertising and travel.

Forgoing advertising can seem like an easy first step to reducing costs, because managers can simply decide to make the cut and—unless they are tied to a contract—do so immediately

Advertising often gets the first cut because managers make the mistake of viewing advertising as overhead, not as investment.[1]

Like any investment, advertising should be carefully planned, not decided upon ad hoc. Here are some elements that will help you not only treat your advertising as an investment, but also ensure that it is a good and lucrative investment:

Target Market

I cannot tell you how many times during my 15 years in advertising I have asked the question “Who is your target audience?” and the client on the other line had no clue. Before you start an ad campaign, ask yourself, “Whom are we trying to sell to, and what will they be reading?

Your advertising has to be seen by your target market in order to be effective.

A lot of marketers and business managers assume that the Christian market is all the same, or that all nonprofits are the same. So they call the first religious or niche publication they can find and start negotiating a price. This is poor targeting and often the campaigns do not work, leaving the managers frustrated and disenchanted. Just like you would do your due diligence in picking stocks and bonds for your portfolio, you need to invest the time to make sure that the publisher you advertise with is the right vehicle to carry your message.

Advertising Content and Design

Have you looked at the actual design and content of your advertisement? What does it say? Is it selling? Is it differentiating you from your competitors? The content of your advertising needs to position you in the marketplace. Also, in terms of design, it needs to speak to your market.

Your advertisement also needs a ‘call to action’ or hook. It’s of little use to simply advertise the fact your company exists; your advertisements have to give people a specific reason, with an incentive if possible, to come to your business and make a purchase, to actually become a customer.


Repetition is a key element for the effectiveness of advertising. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is basic recall. Readers have to see an advertisement an average of nine times before they remember it. The second reason for repetition in advertising is credibility. When people see a company or product being advertised continuously they naturally start to lend credibility to the business, building overall brand awareness.