My drug dealer gives me a taste for free.
I would bet that anyone who works in any kind of advertising sales in the Washington DC area has experienced a statement similar to this: “We are planning on spending a lot of money, we just want to run a little test for free. If it works, we will spend A LOT of money with you.”
As common as this seems, you don’t see this in other industries:
- “My family eats a lot of pizza. Just give me this one free, and we will be back all the time.”
- “You know, let me try this patio furniture out for a summer. My family is planning on sitting outside every summer for many summers to come. We will definitely buy it next year if we like it.”
- “Doctor, I have so many organs in my body that I will need your services for years to come. Just take my gallbladder out now and next year I promise to be back for more operations.”
While these seem ridiculous, are they really that different than asking for free advertising?
If you are thinking about buying advertising from someone who will give it to you for free at first, then find another option to consider. Most advertising options provide a return on investment. Yes, some more than others, but usually your return on investment is proportionate to the size of the investment you make.
This success should be either commensurate with the amount spent, and/or directly related to the level of targeting you will receive from a highly niche opportunity. For example, using mass media to advertise a local bank (with multiple locations around the metro area) would closely follow the size of your investment, whereas advertising for crane rentals would be more successful in construction publications and websites even though the audience is smaller than on local radio or TV.
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