Yet, many window coverings retailers, competent in other store procedures, feel inadequate when planning the content and scheduling of ads and commercials. They treat advertising as a guessing game, rather than as a regular and reliable marketing tool.
Advertising is not an exact science, but good results follow tried and tested guidelines. Here's a chance to test yourself on some of these accepted guidelines. This little quiz concentrates on budgets, media and trivia. Questions are from the step-by-step series of articles that have run in the Window Treatment Advertising column in this magazine beginning with "Advertising by the Numbers," August 1998.
So, have fun. Circle your answers, check them against the correct ones provided on the following page, then score yourself. We will run other Advertising IQ Tests on other topics from time to time in future issues.
1. If you are an "average" person you spend most of your time each day doing what?
a. Working (always working?).
b. Sleeping (not always sleeping?).
c. Planning weekends and vacations.
d. Media viewing, reading, listening.
e. Eating (or thinking about food).
f. Nothing (reading e-mail, meditating?).
2. What is the recommended "rule of thumb" advertising expenditure for window coverings retailers?
a. Two to three percent of total annual sales.
b. Four to six percent of total annual sales.
c. Seven to 20 percent of total annual sales (depending on competitive ads).
d. Percentage needed to meet planned sales objectives.
e. All of the above.
3. Regardless of recommendations, which advertising expenditure schedule is preferred by most window coverings retailers?
a. Percentage based on past year's sales total.
b. Miscellaneous, based on a once-a-week image ad and other ads as needed if money is available.
c. No ad schedule, rely on word-of-mouth referrals.
d. Planned percentage based on future sales objectives.
e. Miscellaneous meet or beat the competition ads as needed.
4. Each of the following is an important business fundamental. Which one do the experts consider to be most important?
a. Accounting procedures.
b. Personal sales.
c. Management techniques.
e. Store image.
5. What is the most reliable way to compare advertising costs for using various media?
a. Total circulation or audience.
b. Editorial content or radio/television station format.
c. Coverage of desired target group.
d. Cost per thousand circulation/reach (CPM).
e. New home owners reached.
6. After you compare CPMs, which consideration is most important in selecting media?
a. Cost per ad or commercial.
b. Target audience reached.
c. Ads run by competition.
d. Audited circulation.
e. Media rep recommendations.
f. Home fashion editorial support.
7. When advertising custom fashions/stylings, what long-range appeal and prospects' benefits should you stress in your ads?
a. Your years in business.
b. Your brand-name products.
c. Your low prices.
d. Your fashion know-how.
e. Your prospects' desire for beauty and status.
8. You have developed effective newspaper ads and radio spots. Now, how often should you repeat them assuming you have the available budget?
a. At least seven times for newspapers.
b. At least 10 to 15 times for radio/TV commercials.
c. Until you become bored with them.
d. Until the ad or spot raises negative reactions from prospects.
e. No limit, even when prospects hate them.
9. You want to increase inquiries from your newspaper advertisements. What is the most effective way to achieve added response?
a. Run larger ads.
b. Use a second color, if available.
c. Run ad on upper-half, right-hand page.
d. Include a free or low-price idea book coupon in your ad.
e. Run ad in a special "Living" or "Building" editorial section.
10. You plan to run radio spot commercials supporting your newspaper ads. What times are best for your spots? Hint: Two answers are correct.
a. Mid-morning or afternoon talk shows.
b. Run spots during run of station (ROS), whenever time is available during day or evening.
c. Schedule repeat daily spots on station with best reach of target audience.
d. Run spots during morning and afternoon drive
c. times regardless of station format.
e. Run spots for less cost during post-Christmas slow times: January and February.
1. d. Media viewing, reading, listening.
Valid studies report that on average we spend almost nine hours a day (3,256 hours or 20 weeks a year) staring at the tube, watching movies, listening to the radio or discs of some kind and reading various media.
Yes, it's a trivia question, but one that highlights our obsession with media and the necessary advertising support we give it.
2. e. All of the above.
No wonder we get confused! Answer a is the suggested expenditures in the National Retail Merchants Association (NRMA) bulletin; answer b is given by an advertising council of home fashion ad experts; answer c is from a survey done by this magazine (D&WC, November 1998); answer d is a "standard" for all specialty product retailers.
3. c. No ad schedule, rely on word-of-mouth referrals.
From a recent survey in this magazine (D&WC, November 1998), design studios and specialty custom shops prefer by a slight majority word-of-mouth referrals with no specific advertising schedule.
Multi-product specialty retail stores prefer answers a or b, a percentage based on past year's sales total or a miscellaneous schedule based on a once-a-week image ad and other ads as needed if money is available.
Larger volume retailers prefer answer d, a planned percentage based on future sales objects, which also is recommended by advertising experts in window coverings retailing.
4. e. Store image.
According to a Small Business Administration (SBA) bulletin, "Store image, created by advertising and publicity, is the main business success element. Today, no business, large or small, can grow and prosper without a sound program of advertising and customer communications."
5. d. Cost per thousand circulation/reach.
Varied factors are important in media selection: space/time costs, circulation, editorial content, target audiences, placement, frequency, etc. But, the most used and reliable overall comparison is cost per thousand (CPM). That's the cost per thousand for potential audience, those who could read, hear or view your message.
6. b. Target audience reached.
You want to reach real prospects, not just total audience with a lot of "waste" circulation. All of the answers given are desirable influences, but keep your eye on your target: prospective buyers. That's why a special interest publication may be better than a daily newspaper with its extra and unimportant circulation.
7. e. Your prospects' desire for beauty and status.
This is a tough one because all of the possible answers are important and inter-related. However, the key word here is fashion. The experts and psychologists say one's hidden, ego-driven desires for a beautiful home and its resulting status should be stressed in window coverings fashion ads.
8. d. Until the ad or spot raises negative reactions from prospects.
Probably. No one is really certain.
Answer a, at least seven times for newspapers, was once recommended; answer b, at least 10 to 15 times for radio/TV commercials, was once considered best; answer c, until you become bored with them, can be a major mistake for advertisers.
Answers d and e, until the ad or spot raises negative reactions from prospects and no limit, even when prospects hate them, are difficult, almost impossible to measure. We all hate those repeat-forever ads and commercials, but they still can increase image and awareness results. We may gag, but we automatically choose the known product when we buy.
(Note: The measurements cited above are for competitive commodity products, not custom window coverings. I would pick answers a and b for fashion products.)
9. d. Include a free or low-price idea book coupon in your ad.
All of the answers should increase reader response to some degree. According to the authoritative Starch inquiries survey, a coupon with a free or reasonable price offer for informative materials will increase response by two to three times.
10. c. and d. Schedule repeat daily spots on station with best reach of target audience and run spots during morning and afternoon drive times regardless of station format.
Both answers should have more of the target homemaker and working women audience you probably prefer. Drive-time spots cost more, but audience potential is better.
To increase awareness and impact, radio sales representatives recommend clustering spots-five spots at selected times during the day, wait a week, then repeat five spots on another day.
Answer a, mid-morning or afternoon talk shows, will miss most of your target listeners; answers b and e, run spots during run of station (ROS) and run spots for less cost during post-Christmas slow times, will save you money, but your spots will have smaller audiences.
John J. Lichty is a
consultant and senior editor for Draperies & Window Coverings magazine. He has more than 30 years experience in the planning and administration of
various consumer, trade and retail advertising programs.
* Eight to 10 correct answers:
Start your own ad agency!
* Three to eight correct answers:
Do your own advertising.
* One or two correct answers:
Hire an ad agency!
* Eight to 10 correct answers: Start your own ad agency!
* Three to eight correct answers: Do your own advertising.
* One or two correct answers:
Hire an ad agency!