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Tall Tale Two: "Advertising Is Expensive"

Let's face it, advertising isn't exactly a bargain. We all know that Super Bowl spots are going for $2.4 million. Most small businesses have experienced the costs associated with running an ad in their local paper or on their local TV stations.

Many local companies spend thousands of dollars per year or month playing the ad game. Many national companies spend tens of millions of dollars annually on the advertising treadmill.

But advertising doesn't have to be as costly an endeavor as many people believe it to be.

This Miracle Grow Ain’t Cheap

As we talked about in Tall Tale One, advertising is usually used as a surface treatment. Someone takes a plain-old company and slaps some advertising on top. That’s putting the entire marketing burden on the shoulders of this old workhorse called advertising.

Asking advertising to do the lion's share of marketing your product or service is a yeoman's task. It’s a losing proposition these days. The most valuable asset a marketer seeks is the target’s attention. That attention is far too scarce today to ask paid advertising to do the entire job. That's when things start to get expensive.

For example, a relatively unremarkable store selling relatively unremarkable products in a relatively unremarkable fashion will often times expect an advertising campaign to yield leads or even sales. It's possible, but it will take a hefty cash commitment from the unremarkable player.

The advertising message will need to be geared toward the masses and communicated to as many people as possible. That's not cheap – and it's not always smart either.

A Sensational small business, on the other hand, is playing by an entirely different set of rules. A company with a Sensational product, service or method can deploy a Sensational advertising message to a small, targeted group of individuals who are most likely to appreciate the company's uniqueness and act upon it. They, in turn, will gravitate toward that company and spread the word.

The very challenge that we talked about in Tall Tale One can be a huge benefit to the Sensational advertiser today. The market has become increasingly segmented. That segmentation can play right into your hands if you know what you’re doing.

While everyone else is stuck paying to reach the masses, you can gear your Sensational message to the segment that contains the people who will care – and there is always a segment who will welcome a Sensational idea. If you’re peddling another “me too” deal, you will have a tough time finding that segment who gives a banana.

Free Advertising – The Holy Grail

Another tremendous benefit enjoyed by companies that are Sensational is the concept of permission. Permission, as a marketing concept, is like a permission slip to market to someone. A company with a unique size, flavor, or look has a better than average chance of requesting and receiving permission from their would-be and current customers to market directly to them with specific and relevant information in the future.

It's a concept we'll talk more about in a later tale, but the concept is simple. When someone permits you to market to them, (whether via mail, email, RSS, mobile messaging, etc.) the task of garnering their attention is easier, the cost is lower, and the results are better.

Advertising Cost Is Inversely Related to How Sensational You Are

Advertising is only expensive when you ask it to do a Sensational task for an unremarkable company. So dig deep and find out what's Sensational about your product or service or method or whatever and start telling the people who care.

Uh oh. There isn’t anything Sensational about you or your company? Don’t panic yet.

Is there anything you can do to make your product or service or experience more fun?

Can you learn more about your target than any of your competitors and offer them something they’re truly interested in?

Can you take your best clients out to lunch and ask them what they want to see next?

Can you change one thing that makes what you do fatter, faster, farther, or funnier than anyone else?

If you can do a few of these things and actually take the reigns and make some action, you may find that you are Sensational yet.

When that happens, advertising no longer has to be the cash-draining chore it is for everyone else.

In the next tale we’ll tell you the truth about “getting your name out there.”