Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Friday, January 12, 2007

The advertising/marketing continuum

New (or more accurately newly widely available) models of advertising are reshaping business practices and giving much more effective choices for companies seeking to promote and sell their products and services.

The Internet has opened the door to pay-per-click, pay-per-call, and pay-per-order advertising in addition to the conventional and traditional pay-per-view (or circulation) models.

Traditionally, media outlets sold their advertising based on their circulation or audience. These can be measured and verified through circulation audits or audience rating services, and segmented by demographics. Whether anyone who reads, listens to or views to your advertising in this model of course doesn't change the price you pay. Your ad could 'reach' thousands of people, but no one would buy anything, and you would be stuck with a very expensive advertising bill.

In its original incarnation (and still an important part of the equation) internet websites sold banner ads on their websites on a cost-per-thousand (or for smaller sites, on a monthly fixed price contract). You paid the same regardless of results, again, but at least if you had things set up correctly you could measure the results by the amount of traffic the site generated for your business (as you could, if you organized things properly, through the other media.)

Then Google came along and revolutionized the model. Now you could pay per click, and the price you paid is determined by an auction process. You set the budget and price you are willing to pay, and pay only for the clicks that arise from your advertising.

This model of course gives you much more control over the results, but is still subject to less-than-perfect consequences -- obviously people can click on your ad and not buy anything. In fact, a form of 'click fraud' exists where competitors or malicious users deliberately click on your ads to drive up your advertising bills. (If click fraud is discovered, Google will refund your advertising fees).

Another alternative is the pay-per-call system, where you only pay when a prospective client dials a special toll free number, which is referred to the line of your choice. Here you know there is a live inquiry, which can be converted to a sale with the skill of your own staff. Pay-per-call models are especially effective for local businesses. One pay-per-call service is Ingenio.

Finally, organizations such as Commission Junction have set up affiliate marketing systems where you can pay per lead or order -- allowing for set up fees and minimums, this model gives you the greatest control over your advertising budget and ensures your dollars really produce sales results.

So, you are in the construction business. Which model works best for you? It depends. Are you offering a highly specialized service over a wide geographical market; or are your clients mostly local businesses or for that matter consumers? Each circumstance is differerent.

I'm a believer in using the continuum approach -- starting with conventional ads for branding purposes, and moving to highly focused keyword and pay-per order ads for actual order generation. Business-to-business marketing has different challenges, especially if you are a building products manufacturer or distributor and need to get your product in the specification cycle.

If you wish, I welcome your call and may suggest some specific approaches that will work for you. There's no cost, of course. If you wish to engage my services, compensation will be on a performance-results basis.

Mark Buckshon can be reached by phone at 888-432-3555 ext 224 or by email at

No comments: