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Most communicators think that having a great message secures 90% of the consumer engagement battle. It seems that people in the non-profit, advocacy, or religious media worlds, often focus entirely on the message. Their thinking is that if the message is powerful and compelling, it will find the audience. But nothing could be further from the truth. Having a great message is important, but what the advertising world knows that others don't is that you have to build pathways to your audience. Business leaders understand the concept as building pathways to your customer. The fact is, having a compelling message matters, but in today's media-driven, distracted, competitive culture, it's getting more and more difficult for your audience to find you.

Advertisers know they have to find their audience. That's why they're always looking for more effective media tools, from online video to kiosks inside stores to better media buys, or direct mail. Sometimes it's about putting their message in the most unusual places.

Start thinking about better pathways to your customer, consumer, donor, or audience. Always be alert to tweak those avenues to reach your audience more effectively. Find experts who can help, and listen to their advice. Make sure your message is right, but that's only the beginning; because no matter how life changing your message may be, if no one's listening, you've failed.