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Don't Be a Tom, Dick or Harry

Don't Be a Tom, Dick or ... E. Hipp, Author, ... ... You've followed all the "rules". You took out a few ads to promote your company, ran the ad ... and gave it time t

Don't Be a Tom, Dick or Harry

(Karen E. Hipp, Author, Do-It-Yourself Marketing)

You've followed all the "rules". You took out a few ads to promote your company, ran the ad frequently and gave it time to turn into sales. Yet, here you are left with advertising bills to pay, and not much to show for it.

What went wrong? Maybe you were a Tom, Dick or Harry.

That means that the actual ad itself that was produced by you, the newspaper, your graphic artist etc. looked like every other ad you see in print. "But, you say, I was just doing what everyone else does." Exactly. Hopefully you don't have a product quite like everyone else so why should your advertising look like everyone else?

Just like your product, your advertising must "stand out" from the crowd to get noticed.

I'm not making this up. But when I was working for a large company, I was responsible for the "creation" of the ads. The size, headline, overall look, etc. We placed a lot of ads. Sometimes up to 5 times a week in our local paper. One day as I was skimming through the paper looking for our ad, I couldn't find it. Irate because someone at the paper must have screwed up, I called my account executive. She started going through that morning's paper on her desk and15 seconds later said,

"Here it is, on page 4."

Yup. There it was. Sheepishly, I apologized to my account rep and gently put down the phone.

I couldn't find our own ad! And it was big! If I couldn't find it, I'm certain there were many others who didn't either. Ok, there were two possible scenarios.

I had seen the ad in the paper so much, that it became invisible to me.

The ad never really did stand out.

Neither one of these scenarios is good. I asked people who had never seen our paper to find our ad. No problem. So that left #1.

*I had been using this same ad format for over a year, changing copy here and there.

*It became too stale. Everyone's like "Yeah there's that ad again…whatever." Of course you know what I changed ASAP.

Now about the way the ad looks and sounds. Let's start with the copy. The copy should be written as if you were having a conversation with someone. Not full of stiff sentences and things that mean a lot to you, but to no one else. What do they think after they read your ad? Does anything urge them to take action? Maybe they even laughed (in a good way). Good humor is easily remembered.

Spend your money on creative to come up with the concept and design the ad. A lot and I mean a lot of heads of companies or owners think they know how to do this.

Wrong. You know the product you are selling. You don't know art direction or concept. You do know your product, so tell the art director or agency about the product and what market(s) you are trying to reach. They are the professionals, so trust that they know what they're doing.

If you are concerned about the cost of such services, then run your ad 8 times instead of the 10 you planned. Branding your company and your product is worth the extra cash. First impressions do count.

You have to treat advertising like overhead. Just like shipping materials and postage. It's all part of the cost of your product, so it must have a respectable position in your overall budget. Not "what's left-over."

Now you are armed with the tools so you won't be like "Tom, Dick or Harry."

Move advertising to the right place on your balance sheet and don't follow the crowd.

Six months from nowArticle Search, you'll be glad you did.
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Karen E. Hipp is a nationally recognized marketing consultant and the author of the ebook "Do-It-Yourself Marketing." Karen has been honored with "Marketing Director of the year in two separate industries and has won 54 Addy Awards. Karen's business, Hipp Marketing, focuses on small to medium sized businesses that need marketing help.

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