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by Wai-Lam Liu, Web & Graphic Designer at Direct Target Promotions

If you are not sure whether you should spend money on advertising or not, I hope this article will give you insight about advertising, and how your perspective on advertising will ultimately affect the growth of your business.

Think about the “original” way of advertising before TVs and print came along. To get your business known is through word of mouth. If your circle of friends is small, or that your business target a specific consumer base, then your only other way of getting your business known is time spent on door-to-door. When print came along, getting your business known became easier and more widespread, business owners are now able to INVEST their time back into their product/service rather than doing door-to-door. TV opened up opportunities for businesses to reach potential consumers beyond the business’ geographical limitations that they were not able to reach before.

All-in-all, getting a business known (a.k.a. advertising) is one of the cruxes of a business. It is just as important as a tractor for a farmer, gas for a taxi cab, chalkboard for a teacher, computer for a computer programmer. Without them, the businesses could not exist. I’ve worked in the advertising/marketing field for over 10 years. My experience include working with small business owners to non-profit organizations to large corporations such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Microsoft. The one thing I learned from my work experience is that advertising and marketing are always included in the big corporation’s yearly budgets and are overlooked by smaller businesses. Which means, advertising and marketing is not labelled as an expense for large corporations, but that they see them as investments.

The challenge for many business owners to see advertising as an investment is that there is really no way to measure the return from advertising. How do we know the effectiveness of the ad? It is also difficult to determine whether if the ad is the driving force of a sale because it really depends on the type of industry that your business is in. It depends on the nature of your business, the demand of your product/service in the area you are advertising in, the need for your business, the accessibility of your product/service, the competition, the economy. Some businesses will see increase after their first ad, some (like RRSPs) will need time before things start to pick up and some requires more than one media to deliver their advertising message.

Regardless of what method you deliver the message of your business (door-to-door or print), the power of advertising is truly an investment you can not overlook. Short-term advertising builds awareness, credibility, and delivers new information, but long-term advertising establishes brand image, reputation and trust.