I grew my business without advertising

I was at a business lunch yesterday listening to a talk from a local businessman who is doing a great job. He gave an enjoyable ‘off the cuff’ talk, but there was one thing that irked me. ‘I grew my business without doing any advertising’ he said, and then went on to drop two or three little ads into his talk about his great product. That was a small business myth right there that ‘you don’t need to advertise to grow your business’. I think his first comment was referring to a type of advertising that is loud and brash, the kind that misrepresents the product and sounds like advertising. However, he has advertised because he’s a great salesman and to me all advertising is salesmanship. Advertising may be through a third party or through channels such as: radio, TV, online, in print, as an event or sales promotion; if you are selling it’s all advertising.

Why does advertising get such a hard time? Mostly because advertising interrupts, is annoying and is not enjoyable. The best advertising is the kind that doesn’t look or sound like advertising. It’s the kind of advertising that I enjoy seeing and would miss if it weren’t there. I was in a meeting today with someone who was oohing and aahing over some work we had done. It was nice to see they appreciated the creativity. Just the response we want. ‘It’s entertaining’ ‘beautiful’ ‘makes me smile’. Now what are you trying to sell me?.

Advertising can be great if it is done well. It can even make the world a better place if it’s done brilliantly. It is possible to miss it when it’s not there. It can even make a good business a great business. I’m all for advertising that makes our lives better and enriches the endeavours we are involved in.

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