Focus your brand’s message


June 2017—

…and broaden your profit!

Digital advertising was one of the hot topics at a recent industry event I attended; it was part of most every conversation I had with retailers.

Let me first present some clarifying thoughts and points of conversation so we’re all on the same page. I view marketing and advertising as two very distinct actions; each has its own skill set.

Marketing, by definition, is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. In my opinion, marketing is also the act of discovering and communicating your brand’s story.

Advertising, by definition, is the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services. Advertising does the job of drawing attention to your marketing using media.

Therein lies the issue which perplexes and frustrates most retailers. Years ago, advertising was simple. Television, radio and print dominated the scene. Getting your marketing out there was easy. With enough frequency, advertising acted like a 2×4 across the head of potential customers.

Today there are so many advertising choices that it’s easy for your marketing to become fractured and diluted. The impact you once had with the 2×4 is now more akin to a toothpick when it comes to getting your customer’s attention.

Now more than ever, your customer’s attention, interest and desire to visit your store is fractured. It’s your job as a retailer and marketer of your store and your store’s brand, to pick up those fractured pieces of interest and piece together a mosaic—a mosaic that grabs attention and clearly paints the picture of why customers should shop your store above all the other options.

Distinguishing between marketing and advertising, especially in the digital arena, can be confusing because those lines have been blurred thanks to Facebook marketers and digital marketers.

Think about it, you never sat down with a Yellow Pages, radio or TV marketer, did you? No, you’ve met with advertising reps to place orders for advertising media buys and plans. That advertising communicates the brand story you market.

Clarifying the difference between these two separate, yet complementary actions, will help your future marketing and advertising efforts.

The critical mistake I see retailers make with online advertising efforts with Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and AdWords is that they approach these advertising mediums as though they are anything but media distribution methods.

Remember, it’s called Yellow Pages advertising for a reason, not Yellow Pages marketing. Just like it’s Facebook advertising, not Facebook marketing. You’re responsible for creating and marketing your brand and Facebook, and the other media companies, are the channels through which you advertise or distribute your brand.

An even bigger mistake I see retailers making is to under-utilize the proactive demographic advantage online advertisers have versus the reactive demographic disadvantage traditional offline media can only accumulate.

Remember, your customer’s attention span and interest is fractured today as are your advertising options. It’s your job through effective marketing to piece together your brand story, like a beautiful mosaic, so that, when you advertise, it’s crystal clear who you are and why customers should be shopping your store above all others.

To apply the same tactics you’ve used for ages in traditional offline advertising in the online world is a recipe for failure.

Online advertising affords us many wonderful opportunities to have our marketing meet the customer where they are in their moment with the advertising placed in front of them.

Here’s an example. In my retail business, we position an educational buyers’ guide via AdWords advertising when people search, along with many other terms and phrases such as “best mattress for back pain.” Viewers have to click on our ad and visit our website to get the buying guide. It’s at this moment the beauty of proactive online advertising takes over. A pixel on our website is activated and now on that potential customer’s Facebook page our advertisements are served up to them.

Likewise, we also retarget our online ads to the customer so our brand story is advertised to them over and over.

Now compare this with the advertising mentality I see far too often today. Offline, mass media type advertising via TV, radio and print has often been compared to a river. It’s flowing by the customer at all times whether they’re looking at it or not. Which is why for years the retailers that could afford to advertise frequently and spend the most were the ones leading the market.

The difference today is that online advertising can be served up to those specifically looking for your products or your solutions.

This is why having a firm grasp on the difference between marketing and advertising is so important. When your marketing message is on point and focused, your advertising can be placed in the precise places they’re looking as opposed to the river flowing by them.

Take a minute or two and think about your customer’s journey. How they enter the market, what search terms they’re using, how many sources of information they consider before visiting the store, what devices they use to learn about your brand and what you can do with your advertising to bridge the gap between moment of market entry and the moment they cross the threshold of the front door to your store.

Remember today’s advertising affords you many precise and laser-focused options to communicate and put your brand story (your marketing) directly in front of those most interested.

When you stop applying the old-school methods of just price-, product- and promotion-based talking points to today’s advanced advertising capabilities you’ll see your marketing efforts explode and sales increase.

About the Author

Jeff Giagnocavo
Jeff Giagnocavo is owner of Gardner’s Mattress and More in Lancaster, Pa., a multi-unit destination boutique mattress store. He also co-wrote the book Mega Mattress Margins and Retail is Dead and created the industry’s only turn-key, done-for-you, sales-and-marketing machine called Automated Mattress Profits that creates, captures and converts prospects into paying customers.