This picture hangs on the wall of my office serving me as a reminder of what value I bring to my customers.  My job is to connect my customers with their current and potential customers.

Granted the format is a bit dated, but the core message still rings true.  Although there has been some constriction in the woodworking industry over the past decade, this is still a very competitive market. It is imperative, now more than ever, that companies remind themselves why advertising is important.

This post is going to be about advertising as opposed to marketing. Let’s assume that there is a market for your products and technology and that the challenge is there are multiple competitors in your segment, whether it is wood components, tooling or machinery.  What you cannot assume is that your prospective customer has the faintest inkling why they should do business with you over the other guy.  This is where advertising comes in.

Doing business without advertising is like winking at someone in a dark bar; you know what you’re doing, but no one else does.

There are hundreds of touch points between you and your prospective customer today.  You hear about it all the time – the information overload age – kids are spending hours consuming digital media, people are getting tons of emails everyday yada, yada, yada.  How do you cut through it all?  I’ll tell you how; consistently.  Advertising is a sustained effort to influence a future decision.  The response to a crowded marketplace and a crowded media landscape isn’t to give up on advertising, the response is to get better at advertising.
There is an old industry saying “doing business without advertising is like winking at someone in a dark bar; you know what you’re doing, but no one else does.”  You could have the greatest product in the world, if you aren’t telling anyone about it you won’t sell a single one.  Now, advertising isn’t going to sell you product either; that’s why you have a sales force. Your advertising is telling your prospects the “what, how and why” about your products and technology – see the above graphic.  
If you aren’t “out there” telling your story to your prospective customers, your competitors are.  Is that who you want telling your story?
Next time we’ll talk about why ad creative or messaging still matters.  Let me know what you think in the comments...

Jim Leahey is the Eastern Territory Sales Manager for Woodworking Network.  Jim has spent over 15 years working for media related companies, helping businesses connect with current and potential customers.


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