Advertising Business



Chapter Twenty One

Good Business

A rapid stream ran by the writer's boyhood home. The stream turned a wooden wheel and the wheel ran a mill. Under that primitive method, all but a fraction of the stream's potentiality went to waste.
     Then someone applied scientific methods to that stream - put 
in a turbine and dynamos.  Now, with no more water, no more power, 
it runs a large manufacturing plant.
     We think of that stream when we see wasted advertising power.  
And we see it everywhere - hundreds of examples.  Enormous 
potentialities - millions of circulation - used to turn a 
mill-wheel.  While other use that same power with manifold effect.
     We see countless ads running year after year which we know to 
be unprofitable.  Men spending five dollars to do what one dollar 
might do.  Men getting back 30 per cent of their cost when they 
might get 150 per cent.  And the facts could be easily proved.
     We see wasted space, frivolity, clever conceits, 
entertainment.  Costly pages filled with palaver which, if employed 
by salesman, would reflect on his sanity.  But those ads are always 
un-keyed.  The money is spent blindly, merely to satisfy some
advertising whim.
     Not new advertisers only.  Many an old advertiser has little 
or no idea of his advertising results.  The business is growing 
through many efforts combined, and advertising is given its share 
of the credit.

     An advertiser of many years' standing, spending as high as 
$700,000 per year, told the writer he did not know whether his 
advertising was worth anything or not.  Sometimes he thought that 
his business would be just as large without it.
     The writer replied, "I do know.  Your advertising is utterly 
unprofitable, and I could prove it to you next week.  End an ad 
with an offer to pay five dollars to anyone who writes you that he 
read the ad through.  The scarcity of replies will amaze you."
     Think what a confession - that millions of dollars are being 
spent without knowledge of results.  Such a policy applied to all 
factors in a business would bring ruin short order.
     You see other ads which you may not like as well.  They may 
seem crowded or verbose.  They are not attractive to you, for you 
are seeking something to admire, something to entertain.  But you 
will note that those ads are keyed.  The probability is that out of 
scores of traced ads the type which you see has paid the best.
     Many other ads which are not keyed now were keyed at the 
beginning.  They are based on known statistics.  They won on a 
small scale before they ever ran on large scale.  Those advertisers 
are utilizing their enormous powers in full.  
     Advertising is prima facie evidence that the man who pays 
believes that advertising is good.  It has brought great results to 
others, it must be good for him.  So he takes it like some secret 
tonic which others have endorsed.  If the business thrives, the 
tonic gets credit.  Otherwise, the failure is due to fate.
     That seems almost unbelievable.  Even a storekeeper who 
inserts a twenty-dollar ad knows whether it pays or not.  Every 
line of a big store's ad is charged to the proper department.  And 
every inch used must the next day justify its cost.
     Yet most national advertising is done without justification.  
It is merely presumed to pay.  A little test might show a way to 
multiply returns.
     Such methods, still so prevalent, are not very far from their 
end.  The advertising men who practice them see the writing on the 
wall.  The time is fast coming when men who spend money are going 
to know what they get.  Good business and efficiency will be 
applied to advertising.  Men and methods will be measured by the 
known returns, and only competent men can survive.
     Only one hour ago an old advertising man said to the writer, 
"The day for our type is done.  Bunk has lost its power.  Sophistry 
is being displaced by actuality.  And I tremble at the trend."
     So do hundreds tremble.  Enormous advertising is being done 
along scientific lines.  Its success is common knowledge.  
Advertisers along other lines will not much longer be content.
     We who can meet the test welcome these changed conditions.  
Advertisers will multiply when they see that advertising can be 
safe and sure.  Small expenditures made on a guess will grow to big 
ones on a certainty.  Our line of business will be finer, cleaner, 
when the gamble is removed.  And we shall be prouder of it when we 
are judged on merit.
                       *** The End ***
Return to Book Intro and Chapter Index:  Scientific Advertising


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