Are you suspicious of the ROI on advertising? I was too until I started using social media marketing.
By Rich Ryan, President of REVEXEL
John Wanamaker (1838-1922) was a very successful merchant and is considered to be a “pioneer in marketing”. He is credited with coining the phrase
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.
As a Managing Director/GM of large business units for most of my career, I went out of my way to avoid advertising costs. Even highly relevant trade shows were allocated a minimum budget. My behavior was driven by the perception that advertising and promotion was like throwing dollar bills off the top of a tall building and watching them fade out of sight into a black hole #flyingblind. Not happening on my P&L.
Where is the ROI? Okay, it’s a classic MBA case study problem. Got it. But if I can’t understand an ROI maybe I can have some activity measures like how many saw the ads? Who were they? What was their reaction? Data not found. It was too much trouble. I decided that Corporate people should worry about advertising.
In my new career, it became clear that the small business leader does not have the luxury of taking this approach.
BAM!! …Enter the age of social media marketing and I have made a 180 degree turn.
Advertising on social media lets you track and monitor the performance of your ad’s almost continually. You can understand reach, CTR and view how your target audience reacted in terms of volume and engagement. With the right planning and forethought, social media platforms will even report on ROI.
But, here is the best part.
We know that all successful advertising and promotion programs involve experimentation through trial and error. Social media advertising makes it easy and cheap to change important aspects of campaigns with fast feedback creating a very practical platform for experimentation.
If you look at the anatomy of the most successful traditional advertising campaigns as scored by AdAge, you will find a steady pattern of “going-in thinking” for audience, ad placement and creative that is later revised into a “brilliant idea” through iterations of experimentation. The challenge for small businesses has been the high cost associated with this experimentation.
Things have changed. Social media marketing not only changes the paradigm for customer interaction with ads but it levels the playing surface by making experimentation more affordable. In fact, the social media advertising platform invites continual tweaking of campaigns until they are either scrapped or become just right.
In my opinion, small business leaders should implement a plan to exploit social media marketing immediately. It takes time and patience to reach success. The many no cost opportunities available to build a social media presence and an organic reach is the best place to start. Having your company’s expertise, experience, knowledge and personality potentially exposed to thousands of people who could be your customers is a growth opportunity that should not be passed up.
Once you are ready, avoid running the advertising race blindfolded and winding up in a hole. Instead, use the full spectrum view that is provided by social media marketing to spend effectively.
About The Author
Rich Ryan launched REVEXEL™ to help sole proprietors and small business enterprises accelerate growth by using social media affordably and without investing time to figure it out themselves. Rich is a “digital refugee” enjoying the journey riding on the back of technology. As a “baby boomer” with a past life in “big time consulting”, technology-driven disruptions have turned out to be a source of great opportunity and adventure for him. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org