“Small Business Advertising Strategies – Measure Your Time Investment – Are You Short-Changing Your Success?”

What conscientious manager has not said to himself, “I’m my own worst enemy. I have too little time?” You may not think it, but you already know the answer to this problem. For small business advertising strategies, this topic ranks among the most critical in marketing technique.

You wear fourteen hats running your business. You’re overworked and have too little time for all those jobs.

Does your advertising take too much of your time?

Suppose we take a different tack and ask the opposite question, “Does it consume too little of your time?”

Let me explain . . .

The other day, my old friend Rick complained, “Rod, my advertising’s not working. I’m spending the money but I get nowhere near the return I should.”

We analyzed the problem and reviewed the ingredients you need for good small business marketing strategy.

As we progressed through this exercise, I happened to mention how many hours it takes my own professionals to build a radio ad that actually delivers sales.

On average, Maverick invests about 3 hours in one ad.

“Heck, it only takes me 30 minutes!” retorted Rick.

The little bell in my
brain went ding . . .

“Yes – and how well did you just tell me your advertising is working?”

Why should a radio ad take three hours to write? Well, think of it this way. A working ad is actually a miniature sales presentation.

How do you compose an original sales presentation? If you simply dash it off, you’re probably dead. Think about how you should do it.

The parts you need for a
sales presentation

Knowing he’ll have just one opportunity in front of a prospect, a master salesperson outlines all the basic parts –

  • the offer . . .

  • the benefits . . .

  • the reasons why . . .

  • example stories to illustrate the presentation . . .

  • testimonials . . .

  • reasons to buy from this business (nearly always missing from most sales presentations) . . .

  • price and payment options . . .

  • the sales close.

He thinks of all possible objections and the answers to them. He polishes the words. Then, he actually practices the presentation in his head, aloud, or both.

Unfortunately, few of us can just dash off any presentation, although we’d like to.

If you do meet a prospect while unprepared and start talking, I’m betting your successes are nowhere near the masters’ 85% closing rate.

In proof of this point, any number of sales training consultants (including my own) keep records as to how much sales staffs improve when they train regularly in sales methods. Improvements in performance are astounding.

Example: A friend in a mid-size broadcast company decided to consciously commit $300,000 to formally sales train the sales forces in twelve stations they owned in five markets ($300k was not a large sum as a percent of his total gross volume).

Eighteen months after start, one of his sales managers reported their sales doubled, rising from 1-1/2 to 3 million dollars. When we pro-rated out this market’s share of expense for the training (about $50,000), their $1,500,000 return on investment sounds like the proverbial peanuts.

As we talked further, I discovered . . .

“Time” is Rick’s
culprit . . .

 . . . as it is for most managers. In his harried rush to discharge all his obligations, Rick developed the habit of handling everything on a surface level.

He feels forced to give too little time to any activity. And, of course, he does none of it effectively.

Each of us must allot enough time to every job we do – and, as one of my master manager friends says – “it always takes twice as long to do any job as we estimate.”

First, decide what to do

Since we have too little time for everything, we must first decide, “What’s the right thing to do?” The great management thinker, Peter Drucker, points out it doesn’t matter how expert you become at climbing a wall if you’ve chosen the wrong wall to climb!

So, choose your wall.

Once you choose your wall (or walls), prioritize them.

Now think how to do it

Take out a sheet of paper, number it 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5. and make a list of your five most important jobs to do, in order of priority.

Then, do those jobs as well as you can . . . in that order. Work on one job until you finish it or until you can go no further with it. Then, move to job number two.

I know . . . I know, this sounds too easy.

Did you ever hear the old axiom, “The best ideas are simple”?

A great management consultant relates this story from around the turn of the 20th century, I think. He called on a titan of industry. The harried industrialist challenged the consultant, “Young man, I have too many things to do and no time for you. Give me an idea I can really use or get out!”

The consultant showed our titan this very idea. Then, he said, “I won’t bother you further. Try this and send me a check for whatever you think it’s worth.”

Thirty days later, the titan sent a check for $25,000! (A huge sum for that era).

In elation, he declared this simple exercise was the best idea he had ever received.

You still say, “I don’t have time.” Okay. Do you have time to retrace and do it again? Won’t you almost certainly have to re-do if you do it badly?

If you leave it fouled up, what are the consequences in lost revenue and customers? Too often, we get no second chance with a customer.

What are your priorities?

In today’s economy, marketing has exploded in importance. Massive competition means businesses are forced to rely more and more on marketing to drive customers through their door.

With such competition, isn’t it ever more critical for you to give enough thought, effort and time to make small business marketing strategies work?

If they don’t work, what will your other business activities accomplish? Less effect and more expense, right?

Either we invest enough time
in each activity or enlist
somebody to help.

Okay. Let’s hire somebody. How much time should they spend in your behalf?

Back to the original point – how much time should we invest in marketing?

Maverick consultants must know these things or we’d go broke.

Let’s use this example of a small ad campaign scenario. It may give you some idea of the amount of time anyone needs, including yourself, to do things effectively; and what you should anticipate when you do it yourself or someone does it for you.

Yearly Time Needed To Execute
An Ad Campaign

Marketing plan preparation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Hours
Value story write & polish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
2 newspaper layouts per month . . . . . . . . . 120
18 radio scripts – design & write . . . . . . . . . .54
Prep strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Review progress & activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Negotiate & place ads with the media . . . . . .30
Miscellaneous activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Total hours per year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .261

Total hours per month . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21.75
Total hours per week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.02

Maverick professionals (who are fast and good at it) need about 5.02 hours per week to perform all the jobs and get paying results in a small advertising campaign like you see above.

How much time are you giving it? How much time is your media giving it?

You say you can’t possibly spend that much time? I understand. But . . .

Consider the real cost of
marketing badly

When an ad doesn’t sell well, how much does it really cost you? I discovered it costs in two ways. One’s evident. The other hidden.

First – your cost-out-of-pocket to run your ads that fail.

Second – the dollars you fail to bring in when your ads bomb.

We believe each dollar you invest should return, roughly, another twenty to you.

Consider this example.

For your business, a radio script took three hours to design and write. The radio station charges you $25 each to broadcast – or $875 – to air that ad 35 times (the number our computers calculate will get full value from the ad when you schedule it in the special way we’ve found works).

That one selling script should deliver back to you an average of $15,000 to $20,000 in sales.

If it doesn’t, your cost has been the time and dollars you spent – plus that part of the $15,000 to $20,000 you failed to get back in sales.

The pitfalls in measuring

Can you measure your result with one ad, one time?

No. But there is a way to get an effective measure.

NOTE our measuring stick for ad campaign success. The only effective way to measure success is through a year – never based on one ad or one short series of ads.

Too many variables sabotage measuring any effort correctly with just one ad or a few ads over a short period. Yet, we constantly meet managers who bemoan the fact they tried a media once or a short ad campaign that didn’t work. So they quit. (Among many things, I discuss this in my new book, Maverick Marketing, which you can click on and read about here.

Back to our example. We conduct a small ad campaign and run 18 different radio scripts a total of 630 times per year, at a cost of $25 per broadcast. From that campaign, we expect to return between $270,000 and $360,000 sales.

Of course, other factors come into play here in determining cost – price, size of market, type of media, etc. – so I’m simplifying to make it easier to understand.

What if you return only half that amount in sales because you (or someone) didn’t put enough thought or time into it?

Your real marketing cost

The cost we don’t count is the loss in sales we should have had for our effort.

When your stakes are this high, can you afford not to invest an appropriate amount of time doing your marketing?

If you’re concerned about the results of your marketing, and would like to know more, click on Advertising Campaigns for more to chew on.

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Talk with a Maverick consultant any time about small business advertising strategies, a business advertising idea, and planning. We’ll ask the right questions. And there’s no charge for a first consultation. Just phone Rod Rademacher toll-free at 800-445-3437 or Email us here.


Rod Rademacher
Maverick Strategy
4148 S.W. Emland Drive, Suite 7
Topeka, Kansas USA 66606
785-783-7756 or
Email us here

P.S. If you’d like to explore more helpful articles for maverick managers, click here for the Table of Contents.


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