Hey kids, the commercials are on! Who the heck watches television commercials anymore? Most of us don’t have the patience to say the word “television,” hence the acronym TV. What in the world makes anyone think we have the patience to watch a minute long television commercial? We don’t! They are generally loud and obnoxious, and for decades, humanity had no way to avoid them – other than not watching TV.
These days, we have some very handy inventions called TiVo and DVR. These handy doo-dads enable us to fast-forward through commercials. For those who have Comcast, you can watch On Demand, and there typically aren’t any commercials to begin with. Simply put, television commercials are a major waste of money. The only forms of advertising I’ve seen work are direct marketing and promotional products.
Direct marketing is taking a product into public and introducing people to it personally. Imagine if you’ve never tried any kind of soda before. I know; it’s very difficult to imagine that, but try anyway. Now imagine Pepsi Cola has a TV commercial, and you actually watched it. For whatever reason, you decided not to skip through it, and you watched people drinking Pepsi Cola and smiling. Remember, you’ve never had any type of cola, so you know nothing about it. Now, imagine you’re at the mall shopping for designer cat toys. Someone wearing a red polo, with a white Coca-Cola label embroidered on it, walks up to you and offers you a free can of Coca-Cola. You take it in your hand, feel the cold can, crack it open, hear the sizzle, smell the syrup and experience your first life-changing taste of cola! Who are you going to buy soda from, Pepsi or Coke?
Another great form of advertising, which works for similar reasons, is promotional products. Let’s say that a guy named Ted opened up a garage that specializes in oil changes, tire rotations and brakes. He charges 20 percent less than his competitors, but he gets less business. Ted’s an ethical guy. He does a quick, quality job. The problem is that Ted’s TV ads, newspaper ads and radio ads aren’t getting through to people; and furthermore, he can’t give free brake inspections at the mall. He can, however, introduce himself to people at the mall. He can hand out some pens with his company name and address on them. He can even hand out some free t-shirts and can koozies with his logo imprinted on them. These items now become walking advertisements, and since they’re useful, they’ll be kept around and referenced from time to time. These items are called promotional products. They make an impression that few stop to think about. You’re meeting the people, you’re giving them a gift, and you’re sending your company name and phone number home with them. The better the product, the more you can trust it will be kept around and talked about. Promotional products are more than just can koozies, pens and t-shirts. You can get literally anything in the form of a promotional product. You can buy anything from post-it notes up to a single $2,000 Taylor Made driver with your name and company logo engraved into the head.
Those two forms of marketing, direct and/or promotional products are the most effective means of marketing you’ll find. Forget TV ads, newspaper ads and radio ads. They’re absolutely useless. Don’t just invest money for someone else to do your marketing. Get out there and meet some people! Some of the most successful businesses today got where they are because they got their butts out into the streets and made an impression. Just imagine how many potential customers walk or drive by your store front every day and don’t give it a second glance because they’re unfamiliar with your product or service. They don’t know you, and they know nothing about your business. Get out there, and show them who you are and what you do. Give them some free goods with your logo on them. You’ll be surprised at the turn-around!