As I write this, the 2012 edition of the Tour de France is entering the final week of its three week circle around France. That means it’s time for my annual non-poetic rambling on the Tour as advertising/marketing metaphor (though I know most of you have them committed to memory and posted on your refrigerator, if you want to catch up on my previous entries, you can see them here: 2011, 2010, and 2009).
If this is your first TDF as advertising non-poetry, my contention is this: The Tour de France was started to sell newspapers and, today, its one big rolling ad for any and every product or service imaginable. Everything has a paid sponsor, from the official timer to the official drink on down to the multiple logos and sponsor names on the riders’ jerseys, and the race itself is preceded on each day’s route by a Mardi Gras type parade of advertisers and promoters. Hence, it makes a fitting metaphor for illustrating some thoughts on how one can improve their advertising.
Though the Tour de France is a relentless, three week race of over 2,000 miles around France, there is always a rest day or two built in to the Tour schedule. While these days often allow the Tour caravan, personnel, and machinery to relocate to a more distant locale for the next stage, many people are surprised to find out the riders actually ride on their “rest day.” Why on earth would they do that? Simply put, given their level of fitness, their bodies are attuned to riding every day and, to keep up their fitness, they need to keep riding, even on their off day. Granted, it’s not a really long ride (at least by pro cyclist standards) and it’s not at race pace, but the goal is to simply keep their body’s physical momentum going forward while at the same time allowing for some rest, recovery, and recharging (and maybe even trimming your sideburns).
Coincidentally, if you’re marketing your business, the same principle should apply. That is, you should keep the wheels rolling on your marketing machine to keep your momentum going. While it’s easy to drop a bunch of money and make a big splash with TV, radio, direct mail, web ads, or email blast (and yes, even newspaper), ask yourself one question: Will the ads you ran in January still resonate with your customers in July?
If the answer is “no” (and barring an ad featuring a human sacrifice or carnal act, it will be) then you need to make sure you have an annual ad plan that will spread your advertising expenditures over the course of the year to insure your brand stays in front of your customers. You can adjust as you go and plan accordingly based on your sales and the seasons but, just like the Tour riders, the goal is to keep your momentum going so that your advertising (in whatever format) works together to keep your brand at the top of your customer’s mind when they’re ready to buy.
I said it last year and it applies here too: Think of your marketing like a bicycle. If you stop pedaling a bike, it stops rolling. And if you stop peddling your business, your sales stop rolling. Set up an ad plan and budget, spread out your ad expenditures to keep your name in front of your customers, and keep your marketing momentum rolling throughout the year.