We cannot depend much in most lines on the active help of jobbers or dealers. They are busy. They have many lines to consider. The profit on advertised lines is not generally large. And an advertised article is apt to be sold at cut prices.
The average dealer does what you would do. He exerts himself on brands of his own, if at all. Not on another man’s brand.
The dealers will often try to make you think otherwise. He will ask for some aid or concession on the ground of extra effort. Advertisers often give extra discounts. Or they make loading offers – perhaps one case free in ten -in the belief that loaded dealers will make extra efforts.
This may be so in rare lines, but not generally. And the efforts if made do not usually increase the total sales.
They merely swing trade from one store to another.
On most lines, making a sale without making a convert does not count for much. Sales made by conviction – by advertising – are likely to bring permanent customers. People who buy through casual recommendations do not often stick. Next time someone else gives other advice.
Revenue which belongs to the advertiser is often given away without adequate return. These discounts and gifts could be far better spent in securing new customers.
Free goods must be sold, and by your efforts usually. One extra case with ten means that advertising must sell ten percent more to bring you the same return. The dealer would probably buy just as much if you let him buy as convenient.
Much money is often frittered away on other forms of dealer help. Perhaps on window or store displays. A window display, acting as a reminder, may bring to one dealer a lion’s share of the trade. Yet it may not increase your total sales at all.
Those are facts to find out. Try one town in one way, one in another. Compare total sales in those towns. In many lines, such tests will show that costly displays are worthless. A growing number of experienced advertisers spend no money on displays.
This is all in line with general publicity, so popular long ago. Casting bread upon the waters and hoping for its return. Most advertising was of that sort twenty years ago.
Now we put things to the test. We compare cost and result on every form of expenditure. It is very easily done.
Very many costly wastes are eliminated by this modern process.
Scientific advertising has altered many old plans and conceptions. It has proved many long-established methods to be folly. And why should we not apply to these things the same criterion we apply to other forms of selling?
Or to manufacturing costs?
Your object in all advertising is to buy new customers at a price that pays a profit. You have no interest in garnering trade at any particular store. Learn what your consumers cost and what they buy. If they cost you one dollar each, figure that every wasted dollar costs you a possible customer.
Your business will be built in that way, not by dealer help. You must do your own selling, make your own success. Be content if dealers fill the orders that you bring. Eliminate your waste. Spend all your ammunition where it counts most.
Written in 1923, Scientific Advertising is published here as 21 blog posts – one for each chapter.