Welcome to the 2018 installment of What The Tour de France Can Teach You About Advertising. This is my annual post using the Tour de France, professional bicycling’s greatest race and marketing machine, as a metaphor for how you can improve your company’s advertising. (You can get caught up on some of the previous entries here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)
As I often talk endlessly of it, I usually find myself explaining various intricacies of the Tour de France to friends who bother to feign interest. And this year, I found myself explaining how the Tour de France actually changes routes every year. Though it circles France clockwise one year and counterclockwise the next, passing through both the Alps and Pyrenees and always ending on the Champs Élysées in Paris, the Tour route is different every year.
The Tour de France does this to both maintain fan interest and bring the race to all of France. It also helps that there are towns all over France willing to pay for the exposure of having a Tour stage begin or end in their city. Further, some conspiracy theorists will note that a given year’s Tour route was designed to thwart a certain rider, but I’ve always chalked Tour’s routing up to accommodating those willing to pay the most that year to bring the Tour to their town.
So having endured my explanation of Tour de France minutiae, you’re likely asking, “What does this have to do with my advertising?” And the answer is, just as the Tour de France changes course each year, your marketing and advertising plan should change course every year too. Now, while I certainly don’t advocate going the opposite direction from year-to-year, a few tweaks along the way can go along way to keeping your business rolling.
So how do you do that? Start by looking over last year’s marketing plan and assessing what worked well and what didn’t. Consider not only what drove in business, but also the return on your investment (ROI). If you spent lots of money on radio but didn’t see much return, move that money to another media that performed better. If your digital advertising performed just OK, but it also didn’t cost too much, consider spending more in next year’s plan to see if you can improve on your return.
Further, look at when you spent your advertising budget and compare that with your sales. If your business sees seasonal spikes, consider moving some money in your ad budget to the slower months to try to increase the consistency of your revenues. Did your broadcast ads ran only in certain day parts? Then look to see if morning drive radio outperformed your run-of-station television ads. And, if you used direct mail or email marketing, assess what worked and what didn’t and place a emphasis on what brought in business.
Finally, even if you’re completely satisfied with your sales and your marketing program’s results, look for ways to improve them even further. Focus on the weakest link in your ad program and strengthen or eliminate it. Review what worked best last year and look for ways to make it even better. Don’t assume that what worked last year will work again this year. Always be flexible enough to adjust and tweak your ad program.
The Tour de France was originated in 1903 as a promotional vehicle for a French daily newspaper called L’Auto and, even then, the route was changed annually to reach more consumers and sell more subscriptions. And, if you’re trying to promote your business, you should take the same approach with your ad plan. Keep track track of what’s worked and change it up as needed. Be prepared to promote your business in different channels to reach the most potential customers. And always take the best route with your ad plan to stay ahead of the pack.
See also: Be Ready When Opportunity Rolls Your Way