I attended the National Poultry Show in London, Ontario, this past week and was impressed by the buzz and traffic at the show. While at the urinal, I noticed Advertising at head level which was from a current customer that I have worked with for years. I thought to myself this was a great way to gain extra exposure with a direct contact for a niche product that could yield a positive result. I also thought about the digital world I live in which I would be probed for analytics, as the trend now for digital is to analyze and have a metric for anything you do.  At the show my client told me he was happy with that form of advertising. I know after the show he won’t receive a tracking report on impressions or how many people stopped by the booth as a result from this method of advertising. I feel like it was a tactical, tangible way to increase exposure and he will have the best results measurement from his gut based on effectiveness.

Each person has their own perspective of digital marketing and advertising.  Personally, having lived and breathed the digital world in Agriculture for over a decade, I have seen many changes in our industry such as: pre-conceived notions, old boys’ network, budget cuts, philosophies, and in general so many varying opinions of what is and what is not a good spend. The checklist below is meant to provide your mind with possibly a different way of thinking.

1. Stay even keel, try not to overact or overthink
Try not to get to high with the highs and to low with the lows. If you feel a campaign is not effective it could be from a variety of reasons such as: timing, creative, unrealistic expectations etc. Things are usually not as bad as we think, or as good as we think. Challenge to improve the campaign and process, rather than give up. Try to also focus on the positive aspects and use those as building blocks.

2. Over tracking/Realistic Measurement.
Like anything in life if it is to good be true it probably is, in most realms of advertising there is rarely a shot in the arm campaign that blows your socks off.  Effective marketing is part of a process of consistency, not a quick fix and immediate ROI’s are impossible to compare to cost vs effectiveness.  I don’t believe digital marketing is about a click frenzy.  Possibly when your putting your campaign out there instead of focusing on a number like “clicks” consider that a potential customer might use a website daily.  As they frequently go online and see your ad, they become comfortable with your company and product and in turn they Google you, or look you up at a show or just have the long-term recognition from seeing your company so often.  They may never click on the ad but that familiarity grows and blooms, which provides an intangible of just keeping your name out there.  The real value comes in for impressions, views, and location of your placement and messaging.  Listen to your inner voice/gut on the overall Fung Shui of what you are doing.

3. Just because it “used to be that way” doesn’t mean it always has to be! Keep an open mind!

A few months ago, I took an afternoon to conduct some market research. I phoned some local producers asking how they get information and if they go to key tradeshow shows. I was surprised to find that some major producers do not attend industry events. Potential clients that I speak with seem to have the mentality that they “have to go to the show” and it is the only way to see the public. Why not change your thought process? Leverage the shows to your benefit while considering that not all people are going to shows, or not stopping by your booth?  Either way digital is a constant tool to talk to those who are or are not customers and provide a wider reach and more frequency then a key tradeshow.  Re-arrange your thought process for more efficiency.  Just assuming that because you see traffic at the show and talk to your customers, does not mean the same people or more people are not seeing things online. Keep fluid with changing technology, and look at as many possible ways to reach clients and build your brand within a comfortable budget.

4. Comparing Online Digital Advertising with other forms of media
Print Media: Can you imagine if a print magazine could provide numbers on magazine open rates, ad impressions, and clicks?  If they did you probably wouldn’t put another print ad in a magazine.  Since you can track things on digital there has been an overemphasis on what a click or a number means?  With print you feel good it’s in the right hand and you get exposure. With digital, customers are overanalyzing stats and what these mean. At the end of the day digital is more exposure and you have to be careful how you interpret numbers when adverting is about exposure.  Both forms of media are effective but should not be tracked or judged so differently.
Social Media Ads: Some companies are investing in getting social media followers instead of advertising on digital portals. The difference in having exposure on an industry site is awareness, brand building, and call to action. Where as a follower on social media (if it is real followers) is someone being exposed specifically to your company’s content and not necessarily someone looking for unbiased content. These should not be counted as the same investment, if you pick buying social media followers over investing in an online campaign on a targeted website with videos, native advertising, and banner insertions are not the same type of media/investment.
Are all your current and perspective customers going to each show? Is it wise to both exhibit and sponsor a show? That seems like a lot of push on a two-day event.  Are you getting value out of all your budget to be at a show, in a guide and your logo at the door entrance for a short period of time and put no emphasis on showcasing your brand on a digital platform 365 days a year?  Focus on a tradeshow as a face to face and the strengths and spread out your tactical budget for the long haul strategically.

5. Decision making and delegation
Do you need a team of ten people to decide where you advertise? Execute with the proper content person, digital planner, creative designer, and confidently go ahead with a plan.  Too many minds and cooks in the kitchen, so to say usually can lead to too many varying opinions on things and becomes hard to make a clear-cut decision.  Focus your time and strength efficiently and effectively, put extra time in to continuing to work on enhancing the current campaign and future campaigns.   Focus on the core of the message and simplicity of the ad, sometimes new high-tech ads provide publishers with storage and uploading issues and it is best to keep the ad simple and the message strong.  Focus on the key component which is adverting your message to your targets, the publication is the source to help you execute this.  Have your entire media plan tie together perfectly, spend the extra time to research all avenues and blend Print, Tradeshow, Digital together for the best result to compliment each other and not compare them against each other. Most importantly keep an open mind.

  1. Why do I need to Advertise?
    One great marketer once told me that you can’t sell anything unless people know whom your company is and what you do. Part of that is Advertising. It’s like going to the gym or creating good relationships you need repetition, do the same things over and over to yield the best result. There is no quick and easy path to media success.

7.It is best to maintain a positive relationship with Media/Publications
Working with a digital publication and maintaining a strong relationship is important. Remember, as a digital publisher we are influencers in news, and even though we are trying to sell you media space as a member of the media it is important to be respectful and trusting of us. Embrace us, to create a relationship!

Use this checklist as a way to rationalize digital media:
1) Build a brand /Announce a new product
2) Increase sales (there is no specific way to tie advertising directly to sales as it is an intangible)
3) Communicate with current and new customers to stay top of mind and relevant
4) Make it as easy for customers to know more about you and to have a reason to contact you
5) Showcase research, and the difference between your product to your competitors

Advertising is an Intangible, which is more VITAL to your business. Some expect an IMMEDIATE result when it comes to advertising but there is not one thing in life that evokes an exact instant gratification and more so it is cumulative approach of doing the right things that leads to the desired result.

Jim Eadie