Ad Value or Add Value?


One of the first bridges to be crossed when launching or building a brand is advertising. How much time and money and effort do I spend “reaching” my target audience with advertising? What is the “ad value” – what’s the ROI?

Advertising certainly has its place in building brand awareness. But perhaps, first and foremost, you should ask this question…how do I add value?

What are you doing, not merely to reach your target audience with a message, but to be a valuable resource? Do you add value, or just add noise?

From the beginning of my new business launch just over a year ago, I started a weekly e-newsletter joined to a blog, in which I highlight news, links, resources, my own commentary, and other stuff. It’s a mix of industry information (pharmaceuticals) and some lighter fare as well. It’s been quite well-received, because many of those in my target audience do not have time or expertise to gather all this info. It’s a weekly investment of time gladly made, because it’s one unique way in which I seek to add value.

This week, I received a very encouraging e-mail, from someone on the list (whom I’ve never actually met):

    I have to say the information that you share with everyone is fascinating and informative, and also fun. I have passed your weekly news on to several of my colleagues here at _________, but wanted you to know how much I look forward to receiving your email every Friday…You really do excellent work in your investigation of current items, future items and even nostalgic things.Thank you so much.

It’s not the first such note I’ve received, but this one certainly made my heart sing, because this person was gaining value. If you invest in adding value to your community, it’s a near certainty that you’ll eventually gather a return on that investment.

So, before you get all caught up in ad value, take a creative look at how you can add value. If others aren’t doing it, why shouldn’t you?

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  1. I agree, there is so much advertising in our local paper that I tend not to even see most of it. It seems like most of the advertisements are the same each week and they weren’t put together very well. There is one that stands out to me each week. A local business takes out a section where each week they answer a question regarding their industry. It is very informative, and always interesting. I always find myself reading it because it gives me insight. I also picture them as more knowledgable than there competition with the same old boring ads on the page.
    It adds value.

  2. I absolutely agree with you here Steve. When I discuss advertising with small business owners, many advertise as a neccessary evil. They have to put out something and they appear to be happy so long as people see their name.

    My concern expressed is, what is the point if there is no message that is compelling to their audience or has no frequency. If you plan on one ad – don’t bother, no one will see it. If you’re going to spend the bucks to advertise, have something to say. Give me a reason to check you out. Give your prospect great value, much like Adam’s example. That advertiser is very clever. He is positioning himself as the expert. What better value is there?

  3. Andy LaPointe says

    Hi Steve, I just finished reading your post and it was an “add value” for me and my company. It is the littles things that make the difference in creating an average brand or an excellent brand that will last for generations. The Add Value approach can be easily overlooked. It is much easier to Ad Value with a brand or a company than really think about the Add Value component.

  4. I think that one of the most important factors to consider is that typical Advertising has a fairly well-defined (and typically expensive!) set of channels to use. Adding Value, on the other hand, opens up creativity to the max – there is no limit to how this may be done, and it all fully depends on the nature of the business and the audience.