ADVERTISING FOR ENGINEERING SUCCESS
Every business, no matter the market, needs clear brand positioning that differentiates it from the competition
There’s a famous quote about advertising attributed to Lord Leverhulme, founder of the company that would eventually become Unilever. “I know that half the money I spend on advertising is waste. My problem is that I just don’t know which half.” As quotes go, it’s a gem – pithy, memorable, amusing and it reflects something that accountants “know” to be true about advertising. There is a delicious irony here, because there is no evidence that he actually said it. The same quote has been attributed to American retail titans JC Penney and John Wannamaker, and to Henry Ford – who probably never said about half the famous lines with which he is associated (including the one about faster horses).
The trouble with corporate or brand advertising is its infuriating lack of accountability (which is why accountants don’t like it). In contrast to other marketing channels, advertising through broadcast media such as newspapers and magazines (leaving aside television, which isn’t applicable to the engineering sector in most cases) cannot be individually targeted in the same way. Given the importance of ROI as a marketing metric, should businesses avoid it? The answer, of course, is no.
Advertising’s image problem stems from the fragmentation of audiences, and this is as true in business-to-business as it is in the world of consumer brand advertising. Whereas once an advertisement placed in the business pages of, say, The Financial Times, was guaranteed to reach the entire readership (even those who didn’t read the whole thing would spot an eye-catching ad while skim-reading), much of that audience is now reading online – if at all. The proliferation of alternative information sources – from free papers to blogs, podcasts and other digital channels – means it’s much harder to predict reach. However, with such an array of channels and the inherent complexity of the engineering sector – advertising’s chief virtue is its simplicity.
Every business, no matter the market, needs clear brand positioning that differentiates it from the competition. Advertising is the ideal medium for establishing this. The flip side of media fragmentation is that media owners are working ever harder to attract advertisers, with specialist supplements, integrated packages and detailed analysis of the audiences they can deliver. This should make it easier to define precise objectives and to integrate advertising activity with the rest of the marketing calendar, such as a big PR story or high-profile trade shows.
In many cases, whether you are looking to promote a brand or product, announce a special offer, recruit the best employees or raise your corporate profile, advertising is a highly effective vehicle, not to mention highly trackable in the case of direct response advertising.
However, it goes without saying that a successful advertisement needs to quickly gain attention and maintain it for long enough in order to get the message across. Fail to include a powerful message and strong imagery at your peril.
One final word in favour of advertising – it avoids the complications of having to navigate the hurdles presented by the new GDPR regulations. Surely that alone makes it worth considering as part of your marketing mix!
To find out more about advertising for engineering and how it could work for your business, call us today on +44 (0)1582 761212 or get in touch by email.
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