Passive and Active Advertising

March 13th, 2009 by | Print



“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” – Ted Turner


As old Ted said, advertising is a daily activity for every successful solopreneur – and I bet you agree. Good luck surviving if you aren’t getting your message out on a regular basis. However, with so many possible methods for capturing the publics attention, how do you decide to get the most out of your marketing dollars?


What are passive and active advertising?


Passive advertising methods are print ads, radio spots, TV commercials, flyers, coupons, phone book ads – a monologue message hopefully placed in the right spot to capture your market’s attention. Most ad pros will tell you to keep your ad image and message consistent with your brand while creating a call to action with some form of tracking.


For example, let’s say that you decide to put an ad in your local paper and create a mailer. Each ad contains your logo, your tagline (i.e. unique value proposition), hours of operation and contact information. You add in a 10% discount if the customer responds within the next 10 days as a call to action. You put a different phone number on each ad so you can track which ad is more effective for your return on investment (ROI).


Pretty standard stuff. Hopefully you’ve created something eye catching with just the right message to capture your market’s attention and encourage them to get in contact with you.


Active advertising is an interactive experience that allows your market to experience your product, giving you the opportunity to dialogue – gaining immediate feedback while increasing your potential to capture the customer on the spot. Active marketing include events, demonstrations and samples.


Let me give you just one example of active advertising. I own a restaurant. We update our menus every three to four months to keep our menu fresh, seasonal and exciting for the regulars. We just updated our menu two weeks ago. I set up meetings with the front desk staff at some of the local hotels. My chef and I served up bites of our food for the staff to sample while we spoke about the new cuisine, upcoming events, awards we’ve recently won and what sets our experience apart from the competition. The cost to my bottom line for each meeting was roughly $25.


Through the meetings we were able to bond with the staff, get their reaction to our food, correct any inaccurate expectations that they had about our restaurant, find out how often they make referrals to their guests, identify what type of dining experience their guests usually request, and create a first-hand memorable experience to improve our chances for referrals – valuable information and exposure that a print ad couldn’t generate. And at a fraction of the cost.


When thinking about possibilities for active advertising, don’t forget about joint venture (JV) partners. Finding other businesses that target the same market with different products can elevate the “wow” factor of your advertising event, minimizing your cost through shared expenses and expanding your exposure to new customers through shared contacts.


I am not suggestion that you ditch your passive marketing altogether. However, I challenge you to readjust your thinking, challenge your creativity and alter the allocation of your budgets to get a better balance between these two methods of marketing. You still need to have your number in phone book, but how many active campaigns are you creating?


All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


2 Responses to “Passive and Active Advertising”

  1. Matt Hanson Says:

    Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader..

    Matt Hanson

  2. Paul Says:

    Great example with the samples to the hotel staff. It points out how much you can get done as a small business for a low price if you are just willing to put in the time and effort.

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