An Alternative to Advertising

May 11, 2008

Posted in Marketing.

Ian McKee from “The Power of Influence” writes about how advertising can hurt your brand, specifically through the idea that “brands that have to rely on traditional advertising are not as good as ones that succeed through word of mouth.”

This is a fascinating idea, and I admit to having made this conclusion from time to time. From a producer’s standpoint, however, this is dangerous thinking. Word of mouth may be the best kind of marketing, but ultimately it requires someone to make that recommendation. What producers really seek is awareness.

Advertising is an expensive way to buy awareness, and non-profits rarely have the budget for such methods.

Jeff Brooks comments on the same article, and hits the nail on the head:

“If we get our cues from the advertising world, we probably make the same mistakes they make. But more important—and more likely—we should be asking ourselves if we’re offering donors something truly remarkable to do. Something that would actually spread through word-of-mouth, making advertising unnecessary.”

If you offer something truly remarkable, people will remark on it. You’ll get word of mouth. You’ll get press coverage. You’ll get the right kind of attention and hit the right constituents. And that kind of awareness is far better than anything you can buy.

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