Beyond the anticipated awareness and image building benefits that good advertising campaigns can achieve, the majority of the clients we work with simply want to know if advertising can generate leads!
|Recent Campaign for Dible & Roy.|
Well, in a word, yes it can. But given the limited numbers of companies who buy in the professional services arena and the probable infrequency of their purchasing decision making, it is likely that a strong case would need to be made before undertaking any advertising at all!
Of course, for many years some professional services were not actually allowed to advertise for so-called ethical reasons and when these restrictions were lifted, there was a mass pilgrimage to the media for advertising where they tried to emulate their FCMG cousins!
Anyway, I digress. Yes, we all want our advertising to generate a response, but there also can be other objectives which are equally as important; a desire to be talked about and famous which is hard to resist for example! Similarly, advertising in the professional services arena may well succeed in getting your competition rattled – which may be satisfying enough!
To me, advertising falls into 2 key categories or types – brand awareness and direct response. The former may well require some budget allocation, but it can be justified when running, for example, a campaign to launch a new professional service agency or a new offer. Similarly, announcements aimed at building brand awareness can have a valuable role to prepare for the other marketing initiatives you’re running. Direct response advertising is primarily what we all want, but this is hard to achieve without an element of brand awareness.
Which is it you want to achieve from your advertising? Or maybe you want a combination of both? Either way ask yourself, who are you targeting? Where are they located? Are you sure they read the publication you are considering – don’t always believe the media salesperson when they churn out readership and circulation figures! Also, is the publication you’re considering a free one or a paid one – this makes a difference as the value consumers place on the advertisers within it.
To simplify things, I try and stick to 4 key elements when deciding what style advertising to run :
Identify the target audience’s problem big and bold – “deafness”
Promise them something new and helpful immediately – an aid
Sell as hard as possible – “only from us”
If possible, offer a relevant incentive – free trial