Beware advertising "opportunities"
A guy representing the publishers of a growing business handbook phoned me some time ago. The publishers are well known and the Institute it’s published in association with sponsors the publication. The guy was immediately open about the possibility of editorial/ advertorial possibilities and rate negotiation.
He emailed me the media pack and the blurb said that the handbook was "a perfect way to reach entrepreneurs and senior decision makers in thousands of dynamic SMEs as they plan their future growth".
Under Distribution and Readership it said that the handbook would be:
Available through all high street bookshop chains (though it didn’t name any)
Widely distributed through corporate libraries and business information centres (no details or numbers)
Backed up by various targeted marketing activities by the publisher (again, no specifics)
This all sounds fine, but there was no real substance in it. It then went on to talk about the Institute and its membership before getting to the advertising rates.
When the guy called me back a couple of days later I asked him questions I thought would be pretty easy to answer, since the handbook was in its 10th edition:
What was the print run?
How many copies of each of the last couple of editions were bought by Institute members and how many by non-affiliated small businesses?
Ditto how many bought through bookshops?
Worryingly, the chap couldn't give me the answers, yet he represented the publisher!
He then went on to quote me some impressive names of blue chip companies that had advertised in the handbook in the past. I pointed out to him that, in my opinion, those companies don't tend to advertise in this type of publication to generate response - it's far more likely to be a brand exercise, so there's no real way of judging the effectiveness of their spend.
I told him that the only way I would consider advertising would be if he sent me the last two issues, I could find adverts for comparable services to ours and they told me when I called them that their ads in the handbook had pulled quality response.
He promised to send me those issues but guess what? I never received them or heard back from him.
If you're offered an advertising opportunity that you're not sure about, please don't rush into it, take your time and do your homework.
One final point: If, having done your due diligence, you’re happy with the offer and want to go ahead, that’s fine. Otherwise, never fall for the line about: “You have to say yes now or else you’ll lose out.” Walk away and let somebody else reap the “rewards”.
All the best