Return on Investment

In our previous post, we’ve established that advertising does work – even if it can be difficult to track results effectively. Advertising forms part of a key branding exercise. It helps prospective buyers gain knowledge of a company prior to even have a need for its products or services. It helps decision-makers form an informed judgement about a company.

All these continuous activities form the new ‘decision timeline’ – a process which can take months or years. No sales rep receiving a new business call will care much for just how exactly the prospect came to pick up the phone and ring. Not in today’s economy anyway.

Assuming your advertising material is fit for purpose and that it ticks all the boxes (including a clear and strong call to action), the onus remains with publishing houses to demonstrate your money won’t be wasted. Increasingly, this is being done through the concept of cross-promotion. This will involve a combination of print and web advertising, supported perhaps by emailing, branded webinars, lead-gen activities and more.

One can see where this is going: advertisers that cross-promote may never be in a better position to pinpoint exactly where their results are coming from and attribute clear value to their advertising activities. Shouldn’t advertising budgets be cut to zero, if tracking specific results aren’t forthcoming? Actually, a big spender did just that: the year was 1993.

Granted, it wasn’t a major semiconductor manufacturer who took the plunge: it was a state tourism board. Colorado eliminated its tourism marketing function that year – in what was a first, ‘never been done before’ exercise. The state cut its promotion budget worth $12 million to… zero. The states domestic market share plunged 30% within two years, representing an estimated loss of over $1.4 billion in tourism revenue annually. So much for doing away with promotion entirely!

This takes us to the age-old conundrum: is advertising an investment, or an expense? In Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance (2010), the authors state: “Certainly, marketing spending is not an ‘investment’ in the usual sense of the word. There is usually no tangible asset and often not even a predictable result to show for the spending, but marketers still want to emphasize that their activities contribute to financial health. (…) Marketers believe that many of their activities generate lasting results and therefore should be considered ‘investments’ in the future of the business.”

These are words of wisdom worth meditating upon, both for marketers themselves and business managers who might be tempted to ‘cut their way’ into the black. Any healthy advertising plan should embrace cross-promotion and combine a number of mediums, including Pay-per-Click activities and display advertising. It makes good business sense.

Pinnacle has years of experience in advertising for businesses involved in the B2B engineering and electronics sector. The company has fostered strong relationships with the media and we have a deep understanding of what works, with who and where. Get in touch with our team: we’ll be happy to help you maximize your advertising budget and get the best results from your activities.