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Help! Big Product Range: How To Advertise?
6/17/2013 at 9:44 PM ET
We have 25 products categorized into 3 different categories (3 types of consumers).
Each product in the three categories targets different consumers.
We are currently advertising one product per month, 12 products per year. The other 13 are missing out.
Is it best to just focus on a few products that need a push? OR is it best to make sure all products are advertised, so no product is missing out?
Would advertising multiple products confuse the market?
Your advise is greatly appreciated.
6/17/2013 at 11:43 PM
Why not advertise in 2 week cycles, to be able to rotate through your entire inventory? Can you better target your niches, so that they don't receive any "noise" from you?
6/18/2013 at 12:41 AM
If the 80/20 rule holds, five products in your portfolio are generating 80% of your profits. Why not focus on those five? If you have one other with unusually high potential, perhaps add that to the mix.
Splitting your budget across a dozen different items probably guarantees that NONE of your products gets enough support.
6/18/2013 at 12:45 AM
Thank you for your post Jay, the two week rotation is definitely an option for our online media. However, is two weeks enough to bring our product message across?
Unfortuantely, this is not an option for our print advertising. Would you suggest to have let's say two different ads in the one magazine and update them every month? I am worried that print media need repetition to actually bring our stories about our products across, so the two ads in one magaizne might not work? What are your thoughts?
6/18/2013 at 12:54 AM
mgoodman, thank you for your response. That is exactly what I am worried about. I feel that rotating our ads every month might be too much already. If I look at big brands they advertise one product properly for many month to really get their story across...
Our industry is very limited and defined (horse feed). My boss asked me why we are not taking up our advertising and double if not triple the amount to fit in all our products. He is worried that our "less popular" products are missing out. However, I feel we are pushing the few products that allow us to create a story and drive demand.
I guess my question is, if we were to double our advertising budget and have two ads online and in print for two products, would that be double effective or would that just backfire at us?
6/18/2013 at 2:04 AM
Mr Goodman is on the right track by suggesting you concentrate on what you already sell the most of.
I want to extend this to the other side of that equation: using 80-20 who are your best customers? After all, online you have practically unlimited customers and that's where the sharpest advertising money starts it's day.
So take your best customer and speak to them directly. Write copy or tweets or facebook comments as if you were speaking directly with that best client. It'll take some imagination, it does work. Have a look at this site - they've taken their best customer and gives them what they want.
The point is that when you say "If I look at big brands they advertise one product properly for many month to really get their story across" taking the approach that speaks to your best customers you'll only have to do it the once.
So how can you do this with something as pedestrian as horsefeed? It's not that hard, really. Look at what motivates your customer to buy your feeds and focus all your advertising on that. Plus write about the results it gives. Try three different angles (= three different motivations) and you'll find one that comes out tops in terms of online advertising. Hone this for all its worth and you'll have an advertisement that speaks directly to your best customers.
Having started with that, you can broaden this approach to your other products.
Do you have a newsletter? Keeping people in the loop is key in our modern world.
DOUBLING SPEND - firstly organize your campaign so that it is working. THEN start spending more - because it's like putting a dollar in and getting two out. Get this right and the spending questions answer themselves. Online advertising - PPC/Display - are so reflexive that you can try practically any approach and see if it works. You'll discover things about your clients and their approach to your products that you can use across media that are way less easy to judge the effectiveness of.
SO: start with your best products. Worry about the poor performers later. What's more there will be good reason for them not being good performers - however the fact that you put one in the order with twenty of the others means you'll sell those twenty. My local supermarket cut back on my favourite soy sauce - so when I need some I shop elsewhere. I have to. The supermarket saves a tiny amount of shelf space and loses a whole basket of profit. If you work out what products support others with an analysis of orders you'll be able to work out a strategy to get them in their proper place.
It could be that you've dropped a seemingly poor performing product that was driving bigger sales of other things.
What do you think?
Peter (henna gaijin)
6/18/2013 at 1:14 PM
Slight variation to what Mgoodman and Moriarty have said - if there is a product that the company thinks will be a big seller in the future (usually something new or updated), then also focus advertisements on that. You don't need to just focus on the ones that are already good sellers, just the ones that in the future will be good sellers.
On confusing the market - you say you have 3 different types of customers and a bunch of products that go to each type of customer. It is likely that you should be targeting each type of customer using different advertising channels. As such, the type of customer should only really be seeing one set of ads, even if you ran them at the same time. As an extreme example, think of General Electric. They sell appliances for use in homes, and these ads would be in general media and targeting adult homeowners. GE also sells engines used on jet planes. These would be targeted to the airlines. They wouldn't advertise the jet engine in the local newspaper, so there isn't a risk of confusion.
Now a bigger question comes to mind - why online? When I think of horse owners or caretakers (stable folks), I don't think of people who are very tech savvy. Online ads are cheap, but even something cheap needs to be cost effective. I wonder if it would be more cost effective to spend more money and advertise in a different media (direct mail, trade magazines, etc.).
6/18/2013 at 1:40 PM
Peter - if I may make a comment on your thoughts.
You say "Online ads are cheap, but even something cheap needs to be cost effective." My take in online advertising is that it is great for gathering specific information about your customers - that is because it gives fast results. It's not about ROI necessarily: it's about getting insights into your customers and what motivates them. What's more with a display network campaign you can discover which printed magazines your customers like.
Bear in mind that most of the techniques that are currently used have been around for at least half a century - and you'll begin to see that a direct marketer from the 1920s could beat 99% of today's internet marketers. Drayton Bird said of Perry Marshall's "Swiss Army Knife" that it was simply well trodden knowledge dressed up for the modern age.
The information you gain from such techniques can be leveraged everywhere. That information can save millions in TV advertising - because you can hone the message before it goes out. Then the effect of the TV ads are 10x greater.
Peter (henna gaijin)
6/18/2013 at 3:29 PM
My response wasn't meant as a comment about your use of the online ads for info gathering, but questioning the original poster's use of online as where they want to spend their money. Online does make it easy to gather information through A-B testing and the like, but it assumes that the online viewers are relevant to the products being promoted. That was what I was questioning. I don't know the products, what online venue they are using, etc., so can not answer that. Quite possible online is relevant to them, but maybe not.
6/18/2013 at 4:49 PM
Thankyou for your kind thoughts Peter.
Given the size of the internet and a little creativity, it is possible to sell practically anything. Or, better put, discover if there is actually a market for hemi-uniball spherical rod-ends.
That means online is relevant as long as they start with some idea of how their customers think, and what motivates them. This goes way beyond split testing and into the amorphous, fluid realm of emotions where nothing is certain. Just as an idea, I advertise my copywriting using the keyword "Louis Armstrong". The CTRs are abysmal. That, however, is not the point.
6/18/2013 at 8:47 PM
i agree with earlier post you should speak to your best customer and get their feedback on why they haven't ordered the least selling product. you will also hear any negatives towards your least sale products and how you can prefect it. when speaking to high value customer i feel is best to visit in person and realate on a personal level. if possible. when you meet in person great time for you to bring samples and sell old fashioned way. who knows you might be sitting on gold mine that hasn't had a enough exposure. best of luck
6/18/2013 at 9:11 PM
All great advice...you may want to try a 'halo' approach in each market silo. Featuring the best/most popular product (telling the story or reinforcing same)...the 'halo effect' is using the feature item as a lead to another product.
If done properly, the 'secondary' product, being haloed will connect with your customer as a equal or close to the superior product
6/18/2013 at 10:04 PM
Thank you everyone for your advice, ideas and thoughts!!!!
We are targeting our products in the relevant category in different online and print media hitting our target group directly. So far, we have had great feedback on our online strategy in terms of click-through rate and general performance improvement of our website.
[However, it is particularly hard to measure the magazine performance. We have tried cut-out coupons, online log-in and so forth, however, feedback was poor and there seem to be too many variables to measure the true performance of using print media. ]
Focusing on our prime products and generating a lead to other "non-popular" products, might work with a few selected items. We will further investigate this.
Despite your great advice and thoughts, I am still not sure about the following possible options:
Focus on the best-selling products in each category and advertise these on relevant websites. One product would be advertised for 2-3 months. Advertising budget remains the same.
Focus on the best-selling, new, niche and moderate selling products in each category and advertise these on the relevant website. One product would be advertised for 2-3 weeks. Advertising budget remains the same.
Focus on the best-selling, new, niche and moderate selling products in each category and advertise these on the relevant website. One product would be advertised for 1 -2 months. Advertising budget will increase.
I obviously realize that the 3 scenarios above are bound to many contributing factors and may not be presented as bold as I did. However, I am interested out of your experience what strategy works best for you and why.
6/18/2013 at 10:07 PM
@ Moriarty, thank you for your tip to speak to our best customers. The link you provided was very inspirational and we are most certainly lacking the personality and story telling approach on our website.
6/19/2013 at 3:40 AM
Firstly, as regards your three strategies, I would set up a PPC campaign for all your products - after all, if the ads aren't clicked on much, they won't cost much, will they? Concentrate on your best ones first, get the data and use that info (leverage) to promote your lesser stuff more effectively.
You say "However, it is particularly hard to measure the magazine performance." - that's the beauty of a display network campaign. You can target magazines online, get the data, refine everything and know that when your ads hit the printed versions they'll be as good as they possibly can be. What's more you'll know which magazines to target too! Remember that the direct mail guys only had magazines and newspapers - and it took thousands of dollars and months and months of work to get results. That did mean they had to be really, really sharp.
As to copy, you need to hone this to your best clients; you can discover this in various ways. The best is to speak to them directly.
Finally: take a look through your sales book. There will be products that sell together in groups. Like flower seeds are always sold with a few tomatoes as well, rarely with other vegetables. Vegetable seeds are sold with Nasturtiums and Marigold seeds - rarely others. So take some time and look out for any patterns that develop. That's when you can use CookMarketing's ideas to the max. In an online campaign you can have the "others bought this". If you have the time, you can set this up on your website and get the data that way - I am no analytics expert, my job is very much front of house. What I can do is get the analytics guys working properly rather than puzzling out their own crazy solutions.
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