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  • Make the Most of Your Advertising

    Are You Getting What You Pay For?

    Much of the money spent on advertising by retail florists is wasted because a few principles are not followed.

    A Slippery Subject.

    Anyone who has done much advertising knows the feeling: uncertainty. It's like a cloud hanging over your head when you write the check to pay the advertising bill.

    Unfortunately, advertising is more like art than science. You'd like to know that certain results would follow each of your promotional efforts. But there are no guarantees.

    Some ideas seem to work well. Others just fall flat. What's the difference? Is there anything you can do to get better results? The answer is "Yes."

    The Basics.

    Although no one can take away all the uncertainty, there are some steps you can take that will greatly increase the odds of your marketing success. Seth Godin and Jay Levinson, who wrote the very successful Guerrilla Marketing series, say there are three basics that you dare not miss.

    There are three main reasons marketers fail:

    • Lack of commitment.
    • Lack of clear benefits.
    • Poor positioning.

    If you haven't covered these bases, don't pass go, don't collect your $200, and don't advertise again until you do.


    It seems obvious. You need to believe in your product. Be committed to it. And that commitment must extend to your pocketbook. You need to be willing to spend money telling people what you have to offer them.

    The reason money is important is that, with rare exceptions, one-shot advertising does not work. It usually takes at least three exposures to an ad before the consumer takes action. You have to repeat your message over and over for it to be effective.

    Another part of repletion is consistency. Your ads should all carry the same message or theme. Even when you get tired of it, keep using ads that work. You're building an image. That takes time, repetition, and consistency.


    Something else that seems obvious. You have to have a product that people want. To do that, you have to know your customers. What do they need from you? What do they want?

    Many business owners start with themselves. What can I make to sell? What am I most efficient at? To really succeed, you need to start with the customer's needs and wants. Offer products and services that give benefits that are more valuable to the customer and are greater than the cost involved.

    Write down the benefits you offer your customers. Don't confuse features with benefits. Features are those aspects of your product or service that give the benefit to the customer.

    Example. One feature of your service might be "one hour delivery." The benefit to the customer would be quick gratification or meeting a deadline.

    Your advertising should primarily talk about benefits, not features. The more affluent your customers, the more removed the benefit will be from the utility of the product or service.

    If you're starving, the benefit of a meal is satisfying your hunger. However, for most of us, the more important benefits of a meal would be the social aspects, the quality and taste of the food, or the overall experience. That's what needs to be sold. Not the food itself, but its taste, its quality.

    Try this simple exercise. List all the benefits your products and services offer your customers. Next try to list any additional benefits your customers might want a retail florist to meet. These benefits are what you are really selling. Not flowers or delivery.


    This one's not so obvious. It has to do with how you are different from your competition. You have to be able to define the business you are in and how your business is different from others that offer the same or similar products and services.

    It's called a niche - a specific part of the market.

    For example, take the publication, Floral Finance®. It was started because there was a need for a monthly newsletter aimed specifically at the financial issues that retail florists face. Although there are many other publications for retail florists, since 1982 the only one aimed specifically at financial issues and the benefit of increasing profits is, Floral Finance®.

    Ideally, that is what you would like to have as well. A niche where there is no other direct competitors. Finding that niche may not be easy, but it can be done.

    That's It. The Basics.

    If you do nothing else, being committed to your product, knowing what benefits you offer, and positioning your business properly will make your advertising many times more effective.

    Don't even consider drawing up an ad or contracting for ad space until you have a firm handle on the three basics discussed here: commitment, clear benefits, and proper positioning.


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