Advertising in 2009, why bother?

Avast ye adlubbers! Baton the hatches! Cut costs! Lower expenses! We’re sailing into choppy waters…… blah de blah de blah.

Advertising is one of those intangible things whose effectiveness can be hard to measure and quantify. As a result it is often one of the first things to be axed from a business budget when times are hard or there is an economic downturn. The ensuing slowdown in business then confirms the fact that it was wise to cut back on the advertising spend.

Research has shown however that businesses that advertise during a recession increase both their profits and market share

It is of course necessary and wise to make adjustments to any advertising budget. But to stop completely would be foolhardy. As the saying goes “Trying to do business without advertising, is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know you’re doing it, but nobody else does”. It is far better to measure the effectiveness of your advertising and cut out what doesn’t work and improve on what is actually getting results. Test and measure, then test and measure again. If you are running ads in a number of local papers set up a simple spreadsheet to track the number of enquiries/sales or whatever it is you want to keep track of.

There are a few simple formulas you can use to measure effectiveness. For example if an advert costs €100 and you get 25 enquiries, the cost per enquiry is €4. If you get 2 sales from those enquiries, the cost per sale is €50. Will you make enough on each sale to cover the cost?

To work out the value of the advertising use the Cost per Thousand (CPM) ratio which basically tells you how much it costs for 1000 people to be exposed to your message. If it’s a magazine or newspaper with a circulation of 10,000 and a full page ad costs €2,500, then the cpm is €250. If a similar publication had a greater circulation for instance 40,000 and the same price ads, then the cpm would be €62.50. It would make more sense then to go for the one that offered the best cpm rate. However if a publication targets a specific niche or demographic rather than just appealling to a broad population, then you should be prepared to pay a higher cpm. Provided of course it’s the market that you wish to target.

There are a number of factors in determining the effectiveness of any advertising campaign. And there are any number of types of advertising campaigns. The important thing is to measure the results and do whatever works. But make sure you do something!

The Twelve Tweets of Christmas

With too much time on my hands and the creative juices flowing from a week of party nights, I composed a little ditty. I have no notion of typing out all the versus, so this is the last verse which encompasses all the previous ones. I hope you enjoy.

The Twelve Tweets of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas,

A blogger tweeted me,

Twelve twitterers tweeting

Eleven steaks a piping

Ten books for keeping

Nine videos enhancing

Eight wines for drinking

Seven phones a ringing

Six routers relaying

Five podcast things

Four flying turds

Three great tunes

Two wedding doves

And a fluffy link from Mulley dot i e

I tried to have it rhyme with the original version and used a bit of poetic license, while at the same time limit it to Irish blogs/sites who are on Twitter. Better rhyming lines most welcome along with the relevant site.

Happy Christmas one and all!

What’ll I do tomorrow?

Here I am now writing a blog post. I’ve been meaning for ages to get started on my own blog. I set one up a while ago for the wedding stuff but haven’t been meticulous in updating it. What really got me started was Twitter which is described as a micro-blogging site.

I think it’s great you can follow different people who have interesting things to say. You don’t have to wait for them to accept you as a friend like other social networking sites. Right from the word go you can receive snippets of information like links to interesting websites, blogs and what not, along with general musings on what is happening in their life that day. You can see who they follow, and in turn who that person follows and on and on like that. In typical fashion for me I was tweeting before I was blogging, most do it the other way around.

Through Twitter I have been led into many wonderful blogs and websites that I would never have come across if left to my own devices. I have put off writing a blog because I wasn’t sure what I’d write about. I’m still not sure but I’m going to just wing it anyway because I love to write. And I get so caught up in the everyday running of my business that writing is usually the last thing I get to do. Like anything else you have to start somewhere and learn as you go. And that just leaves one question,what’ll I do tomorrow?

What am I doing now? Part 3

I kept plugging away with the Tipp Tatler. Mary and I built a house. A friend of mine asked me one day to look up the price of flights to Paris. When I got back to him he had more questions about other places and things. He eventually told me he was planning to propose to his girlfriend. We hatched a plan.

He bought her a flying lesson at Moyne flying school, just outside Thurles. Got a huge sheet of black polythene, painted the words ‘Will You Marry Me?’ on it and rolled it out over a field. He told the pilot of his plan, who duly obliged by flying over the field. Of course she said yes. This got me to thinking….

There must be quiet a few blokes out there with no where to go for help or assistance in planning a marriage proposal. Derry to the rescue!

Around about the same time I had set up website for the Tipp Tatler and on speaking with Tom, who organised it, we decided to set up www.WillYouMarryMe.ie and fill it with proposal ideas to help people come up with their own unique proposal. It has since expanded to take in the whole wedding planning process, helped in no small way by my own wedding in May 2008.

I think I have developed a love for advertising and marketing and can never read or learn enough about either. There are just so many different methods for any business to get their message out there. What do you think is the best way or what works for you?

What am I doing now? Part 2

We spent a great deal of time getting to grips with printing, plate making and swearing loads at the pile of crap of a printing press we had. My least favourite job was (can’t think of the word right now, but it means kind of shuffling the paper to stop 2 sticking together and jamming the machine), and often way past midnight. I have to give a special word of thanks also to St. Sheelan’s College, Templemore who very helpful in those early days with advice and use of computers etc.

Anyhow Magical Tipperary was 6 or 8 months in the making between selling ads, design and layout, printing and distribution. In that time I got a crash course, kind of hit by a speeding space shuttle type of crash, in sales, general computing, graphic design, printing and all that sort of stuff. That was a long time between issues if we were to do another one, so we had a think. We decided to publish a free monthly magazine and called it the Tipp Tatler . Then I went to the pub, for a week.

Our first issue was distributed in Tipperary Town and we gave all the advertisers from Tipp Town that were in Magical Tipperary a free ad to get started. We gradually started increasing the numbers we printed and delivering to more towns. After a while we were doing all the main towns in North Tipperary. My future wife to be appeared on the scene (sorry that should read – I was blown away by a new love) and she moved down from Belfast to live with me. We still weren’t getting any richer with the magazine and my father called it a day. I now had full control and was hot on the heels of Rupert Murdoch!

What am I doing now? Part 1

After I got back from my stint in Oz my Father got onto me to work with him in producing a magazine about Tipperary. He had produced a few tourist guide books to Ireland, years previously, and had also published a couple of issues of Magical Tipperary. So a quick crash course in advertising sales and off I went calling door to door to half the businesses in Tipperary selling ads. Then somebody, for better or for worse I’m not sure, gave my father a desk top publishing program to do up the magazine. I had marginally more computer experience than him (could send an email, open Word and Excel and could type with 2 fingers as opposed to his 1) so I got the job of ‘GraphicDesigner’. The sheer joy of learning how to put a block of text into a square box was only surpassed by learning how to take it out again! Through trial and error, several undo’s and regular consultation with the ‘Help’ function I finally got all 96 pages assembled into something that slightly resembled a magazine.

Delighted with ourselves we brought it to a printer on disc.

“Na, no good, can’t open it”

“What do you mean, is your computer broke?”

“No the computer’s fine, we just don’t have that software”

“What?”

“We use Quark Xpress”

“Qworkypress?”

“All printers use it, you’ll need to get it done up in Quark Xpress to have it printed or convert it into a pdf”

“A piddyef, what’s that?”

“I have a job on the go at the moment, I better go, did you try the printers up the road?”

There we were with with weeks of work on a useless round plastic disc that no one except us could open.

Lets print it ourselves! Dad went to the UK and bought a second hand printing press and got a few hours lessons in how to work it. Got it shippped home and then we were ‘Printers’

Who am I? Part 2

After leaving that fine institution that is St. Josephs College in Borrisoleigh, I went to college in Cork where I sat in a class where other people studied accountancy. Went to Chicago on J1. Finished college. Moved to Mullingar, worked as a trainee accountant and learned how to scuba dive.

I lost my balance, left accountancy, moved to Paris, worked in the Meridien Montparnasse for a month , then got a job through a friend with an international law firm. Moved to Nice for the summer, worked in a restaurant, quit that, then took photos of tourists in the market place at night while washing car windscreens at traffic lights for an hour each day. Moved home, leased pub from parents, went travelling again. To Greece, to France, home again, various jobs, travelled some more, did more stuff in different places, moved to Oz for a year, worked/managed pub for 4 years, left that, went to Western Australia, picked water melons and worked in lobster factory. Back to Sydney, pub job again. 5 years in Oz home again.

Who am I? Part 1

I guess from the beginning is as good a place to start as any. My parents met, married and multiplied. I had a happy childhood, at least the absence of any bad memories leads me to believe I did. Similarly the lack of any photographic evidence of me before the age of about 4 causes me to wonder did I have a toddlerhood or was I born at the age of 4? Around about the age of 7 we moved from the town of kings (Cashel, in case you’re wondering) to Borrisoleigh, where my father had opened a pub he had bought and renovated. For years I hated alchohol and drunks, I got over that though!.