Have you ever heard someone say this? Well, I have heard this over and over from business owners who think that advertising is a “bad word”. They say with pride, “I don’t advertise”, as if it is a badge of honor. They throw out this phrase “word of mouth” as if it is the key and anyone who doesn’t “depend” on word of mouth is missing the mark.
I can say from experience that every business advertises. It may not be the traditional advertising such as taking out an ad in a newspaper or magazine. It may not be something costly such as running a commercial on television or radio. It may not be something as simple as passing our flyers or business cards, but whatever it is…you will advertise if you plan to stay in business.
I decided to write this article after watching an episode of Your Business on MSNBC. In one of the segments they interviewed a small business owner who owns two shops located in Portland, Oregon and NYC. I will not name the business or the owner since he stated “he doesn’t advertise”, by naming the business I will be giving him advertising he clearly does not want. The name of the business or the owner is not germane to the story, so I can tell it without adding those particulars. What this owner failed to realize is that by being on MSNBC, he was advertising his business. I don’t know if he sought their attention or they came to him, but either way, the results are the same. Another thing this owner fails to realize is that PR (Public Relations) or what many consider as “free” media coverage is advertising. It has the same effect as paid advertising and will yield the same results.
After seeing this segment, curiosity got the best of me and I had to learn more about this business and how it became so successful without the aid of advertising. Upon visiting his website, I began to understand that this business owner is either ignorant of the definition of advertising or he is a liar. On his website, I viewed his Press page and low and behold, he has a long list of press review, articles and television appearances dating back to 2008. He has even written a book. I then looked at his Events page and he has had a number of events in the past and has a number of upcoming events for his business. The website in and of itself is a form of advertising.
I have concluded, he does not understand that media coverage, be it free or paid, is still advertising your business. If he really didn’t want advertising he would have turned down every offer from the media, he would have never hosted an event for his business and he would not have written a book. I have also concluded that maybe he has an aversion to the word advertising because the connotation is a cost. Or maybe he is just cheap and doesn’t want to pay for something if he can get it for free. He never mentioned the words marketing or public relations so maybe this is what he thinks has stimulated his “word of mouth” success and the success of his business and I concur, but I still have to say, news flash: advertising is a form of marketing.
Whatever the case may be, he is getting advertising from a number of sources and to not recognize advertising for what it is, is misleading to other business owners. To say “I don’t advertise” and share that with other business owners, who have businesses that are not as unique and trendy as his, send a mixed message and may be detrimental to business owners who really need advertising to grow their business. I’ve seen too many business owners believe that “word of mouth” will grow their business and when it fails, as most times it will, they are dumbfounded.
Take it from the Mad Lady, if you think word of mouth, PR or other sources of “free” advertising is all you need for your business, you are sadly mistaken. Evaluate the source before you take advice from someone whose business is resting on its laurels.
She is mad and she is not going to take it anymore! The Mad Lady Marketing Blog is just her way to drive home the importance of marketing in business. With over 15 years of experience in marketing, graphic design and communications, this marketing expert is mad (crazy) about marketing and mad (angry) at small businesses that don't understand or utilize marketing to promote their business.
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