Local Magazines

BUT, AND, BUT (or How DO you measure value for money?)

counting the pennies

Everyone wants value for money. It’s not an unreasonable thing to demand. But how do you go about defining the return on your investment?

Let start with the easy stuff. Here’s an example where you can define it:

Seasonal sales.

Otherwise known as the quick way for a shop to offload its rash decision to bulk-buy pink feather boas.

The shop reduces the price to a ridiculous level – an eye popping £1 per feather boa. Your inner goddess gets up and struts a sexy samba positively purring at the thought of a pink feather boa to accompany her sashay.

So you capitulate and buy five.

YES 5!

Your inner goddess back flips around the room.

The flawed logic is “Well they’re only £1 each so I might as well have a few spares”

Did you ever use them?

Did you heck.

Was that a worthwhile investment?

I bet every time you walk passed them your sub-conscious growled “You might as well have set fire to the fiver”.

So, we can see that it is easy to measure the return on investment in some things. But it’s not always so cut and dried. Some benefits can be indefinable e.g. a new computer information system may produce an intangible benefit of better employee morale that contributes to retention of talent, more innovation and improved customer satisfaction. But there’s no way to directly translate improved employee morale into pounds, shillings and pence in the bottom line even though employee morale will have an effect on revenue.

Advertising has both tangible and intangible aspects. Tangible is easy enough to grasp – it’s the point when someone picks up the ‘phone and calls for your service/product.

Intangible….well that’s not so easy to get handle on. When the phone is silent or when you haven’t received a gazillion emails jumping on your fantastic introductory offer, does that mean the advert hasn’t worked? Well, being honest, no it hasn’t (yet) achieved its purpose of “selling” whatever service/product you have. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had any impact.

Hopefully the following example will explain better.

One of my advertisers is a really fabulous jazz singer. Jonny croons for a wide range of functions and like all good business people he wanted to take his business to the next level and secure further bookings. However, he knew that booking a singer is not up there with purchasing a loaf of bread so asked me what did I think was the best way of going about it. I suggested placing a small regular advert in the magazines and forgetting about it; my advice was that if readers keep seeing him it would filter through to their sub-conscious and then when someone wanted a singer they’d go “Oh yeah, lets book Jonny”.

The first month produced nothing.

Two weeks after distribution of the second month’s magazines the phone still hasn’t rung. BUT (it’s big BUT hence the SHOUTY CAPITALS) after a local gig someone came over and said “I thought I recognised you – I’ve seen your advert in the magazine.”

The elusive intangible benefit raised its elegant head and revealed itself – someone had seen Jonny’s advert AND remembered where they had seen it.

Without conducting a survey there’s no way of knowing how much traction your advert is getting. BUT (another important but) just because you haven’t received a call doesn’t mean the advert is dead in the water. Similarly getting a call the first month and nothing in the second month doesn’t mean you’ve run out of steam. It takes a while to build a business; part of that process is communicating what you have to offer. However you choose to do it you need to understand your market and be consistent. If you pull out after a couple of months the chances are that the elusive intangible benefit you had been cultivating transfers across to a rival business and that doesn’t bear thinking about.


I know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to advertising and that you don’t have a bottomless advertising budget. But I can help fit you with a made-to-measure slinky little number to match your eye colour and budget. If you’re interested give me a call on 07976 869435 or email [email protected] – I may even throw in a pink feather boa for the first 5…..

Becky Beach
About Becky Beach (144 Articles)
Hi, my name is Becky Beach and I am the editor of 7 local community magazines distributed across North London. Whether you're a business or have an event to promote or need a platform to say your piece, do get in touch as I'd love to try and help