Get the Most Bang for Your Advertising Buck

A woman flipping through Philadelphia magazine pauses at an advertisement for Govberg J. Roberts Jewelers, her eye momentarily captured by a photo of a diamond and platinum ring. The following week she sees a cluster of diamond watches on a colorful billboard, the name “Govberg J. Roberts” displayed in a corner. Two days later, she hears a Govberg J. Roberts jingle on the radio. A week after that, she asks her lunch companion about the stunning diamond ring she’s wearing, and the friend replies, “I got it at Govberg’s.” Later, when the woman decides to buy a watch, Govberg J. Roberts is the first jewelry store that comes to mind.

This scenario is what Bob Rovinsky, a principal with Govberg J. Roberts in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, pictures happening over and over as a result of his store’s local marketing. (The store recently acquired a new name when Govberg Jewelers, founded in 1928, merged with Jay Roberts Jewelers, founded in 1992.) Rovinsky says he’s learned that to give your store a high profile, your marketing efforts must all work in concert to burn a positive image into the customer’s mind.

Liz Chatelain, CEO of MVI Marketing Ltd. in Paso Robles, Calif., also believes in local ads. It’s a message the store owner controls, she says. And she thinks local print ads are the most cost-effective way for retailers to get that message out.

Target your market. Govberg J. Roberts spends heavily on local advertising. To get its name in front of affluent customers, the store runs four half-page, four-color ads in the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s programs. That’s in addition to monthly four-color, full-page ads in two regional publications. The magazines’ audiences are more diverse than the opera company’s, but their “images” are in sync with the store’s market, Rovinsky says.

Customers who cite specific ads offer insight into how people are hearing about you, says Rovinsky, but he cautions that such information is not necessarily a reasonable measure of ad effectiveness. “If you never heard someone say ‘I saw you in XYZ publication,’ then that vehicle might not be a good one. But once you become a regular advertiser, people don’t know where they see you,” he notes. “They think they see your ad in places where you haven’t advertised at all.”

Rovinsky also places quarter-page or larger ads in weekly and biweekly newspapers distributed to wealthy communities. He snubs the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city’s largest newspaper. “It’s expensive and doesn’t focus exclusively on potential customers,” he says.

Martin Pearlmutter, vice president of Lester Martin Jewelers in Flourtown, Pa., reaches his customers with weekly half-page ads in a home-delivered newspaper advertising supplement that local residents receive for free. Most of the young, middle-income families who shop the store for gifts cite the supplement when asked how they heard about the store. One percent of Pearlmutter’s annual sales is spent on local print ads.

But newspaper ads don’t work for everyone. For nine years, Shulers’ Jewelers in Norristown, Pa., ran weekly third-page ads in three local newspapers. “When we polled customers, they said they either saw our cable TV ads or received a piece of direct mail from us,” says store owner Harold Zenker. The store dropped the newspapers and now concentrates its advertising—7% of total sales—on cable TV and direct mail.

Zenker hasn’t given up on print ads. He finds that ads placed in religious bulletins, homeowner association programs, and school programs are effective. Moreover, the expense is modest. For fees ranging from $10 to $50, Zenker invests in three annual religious programs, two annual homeowner association programs, and more than 20 annual school programs. “At least four times a year, I hear customers say, ‘I came in because you always support my high school,’ ” Zenker says.

Pearlmutter, on the other hand, didn’t see any results from the ads he ran for six months in the weekly bulletin of a nearby Catholic church. “I mainly ran them for public relations,” he acknowledges.

One way to get better results in religious publications is to advertise religious jewelry, Chatelain advises. And key the ads to religious holidays.

Chatelain cautions jewelers not to scoff at their communities’ “bedrock people”: churchgoers, town leaders, and PTA moms. These are your neighbors, and they’re also potential customers who can easily—and inexpensively—be reached via the activities that interest them. Put posters in your store to let customers know about your involvement in local events, such as school plays. Better yet, sponsor one of the nights and place your logo at the entranceway of the theater or auditorium. Make sure you’re the exclusive jeweler sponsor, Chatelain suggests. Pay more to ensure exclusive sponsorship. “If two or more jewelers run ads in one of those programs, then they both

figured the ad was lost money,” she says.

Perhaps the most effective of all print ads are those in the Yellow Pages. In 13 years of business, George Gaugler of Gaugler’s Clocks & Jewelry in Lederach, Pa., has not found a better form of print advertising. He invests most of his ad budget—more than 2% of total sales annually—in the Yellow Pages. Even after he cut his business-card-size ad in half, most customers still say they get his name from the phone book.

Make your ads stand out. To make your print ads eye-popping, jewelers and marketing experts advise these techniques:

Use color. A color ad on a page of black and white stands out like a ruby on a rock pile. If your ad shares a page with other color ads, use a metallic hue to draw attention. You can also set custom-made colors against light-colored backgrounds or match colors to your logo.

According to 1998 research conducted by Roper Starch, New York City, for the Newspaper Association of America, four-color ads catch readers’ attention 20% more often than black-and-white ads and 13% more often than two-color ads, and they increase in-depth reading by more than 60% compared with black-and-white advertising.

Differentiate sale and holiday ads. Most jewelers recommend bolder borders on newspaper ads heralding sales. Some also run larger ads, citing what’s on sale, and others run photos of featured items. When he has a sale, Rovinsky runs extra ads in nontraditional newspapers just to get the word out to more consumers. “Your expectations are different with sale ads,” he says. “You need a direct response.”

Because Rovinsky runs so many ads so consistently, he turns his back on regional publications during the holidays. “In November and December, city magazines look like trade magazines because they’re so cluttered with jewelry ads,” he says. “They [advertisers] all want to win the ‘jewelers’ page war.’ Well, I don’t need to win it.”

Run newspaper ads on specific days of the week. “If you’re in a bedroom community where papers go to people who mostly work weekdays, then Sunday is the best time to run your ad,” says Chatelain. “If your store is downtown, then the daily distribution would work best to reach consumers.”

Gear your ads to the medium. For newspapers, it’s better to use just your logo or uncomplicated photos of single pieces of merchandise. For slick publications with higher printing quality, you can go for more complicated and elaborate photos, such as the Govberg J. Roberts opera ad (see p. 212). A simple ad doesn’t have to be boring, says Zenker. Beef up your text by listing your store’s strengths—if you offer custom jewelry designs, say so.

Place ads on specific pages, in particular columns. Unless you’re willing to pay a premium for better spots in newspapers (the best is Page Two, top left-hand corner, say some experts), reaching your target audience can be difficult.

But research from Roper Starch reveals that placing ads next to editorial content rather than adjacent to other ads had no impact on readership. Also not affecting readership were:

  • An ad’s placement above or below the page fold.

  • Placement within a section, unless the ad was first in a section or placed on the back page.

  • Left- and right-hand page positions.

Tips for advertisers. If you’re planning an ad campaign, here are some key points to remember:

Be patient. You can measure the effectiveness of ads by sales, but name recognition in the community takes time to develop. “If you expect your $12,000 ad in a local magazine to command lines outside of your door the day it’s mailed, you’re going to be disappointed,” warns Rovinsky.

Be consistent. Make sure your logo and store name are prominent in all ads. “As location is key in real estate, consistency is important in advertising,” says Chatelain.

Perform good works. Donate gifts at local events and use a local photographer (who might be happy to donate his services). Afterward, write up a press release and send it to local newspapers. Let the community know you’re enthusiastic about its goings-on.

Survey your customers. Ask them how they heard about your store or whether they saw your ad. Use the results to help guide your marketing efforts.

The Public Rates the Media
Percentage of respondents rating each media outlet as excellent or very good in communicating each category

Newspapers TV Radio Magazines Direct mail
Making it easy to know where to go to find the products you want 67 52 40 43 45
Giving prices of products and services 65 40 32 43 49
Helping you save money 62 39 33 43 42
Letting you do comparison shopping 63 37 27 36 36
Giving you as good an idea as possible of what products actually look like 50 69 22 62 47
Helping you save time 51 41 36 40 36
Letting you know about new products and product features 53 60 35 62 45
Making you feel good about the products advertised 48 56 38 54 39
Average 57 49 33 48 42
Percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents gave multiple responses.
Source: Newspaper Association of America 1998 Media Usage Study

Newspaper Ad Impact

Findings from the 1998 “Maximize Your Advertising Impact: Elements of Newspaper Advertising” study from the Newspaper Association of America.

Newspaper readers are more likely to notice ads:

  • With illustrations or photographs (20% more likely)

  • That display products in use (25% more likely)

  • With 10 to 12 prices listed (80% more likely to notice these ads than ads that don’t list prices; however, citing more than 12 prices can drive readers away by being too “busy”)

  • That are full-page rather than quarter-page (39% more likely)

Research conducted by Roper Starch, New York City