1. Functions of an Advertising Department
An advertising department may resemble the general staff of an army or it may be like a regimental staff.
It may, on the one hand, plan the entire campaign and direct its execution, or it may merely receive orders for operations in its own selling sector and look after the details of carrying them out. Again, it may work wholly by itself, or it may lean heavily on the advertising agency. Under any circum stances, there are certain activities, common to all advertising campaigns, which must be carried out by someone, either in the advertising department or out of it. W the activities of the advertising department are many and vary widely, the following are common to most, and comprise practically all the possible lines of work that should be engaged in, if the department is to concern itself with everything that affects the advertising campaign.
- Charting the selling points
Because of his contact with salesmen and dealers, the advertising manager is in a position to list the selling points which have been found to be most successful. Simply listing these points is not sufficient, however. In addition, he should secure sup porting evidence in the form of endorsement letters, photographs of users, and other similar materials.
- Passing on advertisements
In a great many advertising departments, the copy and follow-up material is written by the advertising manager or his assistant. In others, the advertising agency writes the material. When it is handled in the latter way, final approval of copy, lay out, and illustration rests with the advertising manager.
- Promotion work
The advertising manager is in charge of the handling and distribution of all circularizing—to both dealers and consumers. He also has charge of the distribution of dealer helps, such as window trims, signs, electrotypes, etc. Also, he has complete charge of mailing lists.
- Selling the advertising plan to the sales organization
The advertising manager must of necessity acquaint the salesmen with the advertising program, in order that they may be familiar with the part they are expected to play, and the talk they are to give regarding the advertising activities of the house.
- Checking and approving all bills for advertising
Keeping accurate records of all advertising placed, and studying the results from all advertising and follow-up efforts; close cooperation with the salesmen in their territories through the sales department.
2. The Sales Manager and Advertising
In many organizations, the man who has charge of the sales force is also responsible for the advertising. Theoretically, this would seem to be the ideal method of obtaining cooperation between selling and advertising. These two activities of a business are certainly dependent upon one another for the best results, but it does not always follow that both activities should be under one head. Even a competent sales manager is not necessarily a qualified advertising man. One of the real problems of the advertising manager is to develop plans that will insure the cooperation of the sales force with the advertising; in the same way, the sales manager often meets resistance in the failure of the advertising manager fully to appreciate sales problems and sales value. Such conditions are a question of organization and management rather than of advertising principles and methods, and their existence does not imply that one man should do both jobs.
Advertising alone does not sell goods, either to the dealer or to the consumer. Advertising is an auxiliary sales force that starts the job. The sales force must carry it through, but much of the success of sales campaigns depends upon the manner in which advertising has paved the way for the sales force. The combination of effort is as necessary to produce action as the flint and steel in the old-fashioned tinder box. Neither can produce the spark alone.
Friction between the sales and advertising departments is far too common. Every means possible should be taken to guard against it, and to eliminate it where it exists. There have been instances where a sales force has openly voiced a protest against an advertising campaign under the mistaken impression that the money appropriated for advertising meant a curtailment of their commissions, Had these same salesmen analyzed the situation properly. they would have learned that, as a matter of fact, their opportunities for more sales and more commissions were greater with the advertising than without it.
Disagreements often arise between the sales manager and the advertising manager of a business because of jealousy, and a misconception of each other’s functions and responsibilities. The two departments are interdependent and neither can function effectively without the active and intelligent help of the other. As a matter of fact, in many well-organized businesses, the advertising manager is under the jurisdiction of the sales manager. Where this is not the case, they should work in close harmony, and each keep the other informed as to what he is doing and planning to do.
3. Giving Responsibility to the Advertising Manager
The business that permits its advertising manager to be one in fact as well as in name, allowing him to manage the advertising, will derive more positive benefit from his activities than the business whose advertising manager is operating under a check rein. To him should be delegated the duties of supervising the planning of the campaign and the complete details of the execution of the plan.
In the earlier days of the manufacture of guaranteed hosiery, the advertising manager of a large hosiery mill (who was also sales manager) repeatedly reminded his superiors that the guaranty of “a new pair of hose within three months” was a rock of destruction, toward which the business was steadily drifting. He pointed out that the amount of returned goods from their largest retail outlet, in a great metropolitan center, was out of all proportion to sales. The manufacturer had been one of the first to inaugurate a guaranty with hosiery. He was obdurate. They could not, he said, safely alter the terms upon which the hosiery was then sold. The condition would rectify itself, and the percentage of returned goods diminish until they had reached a normal figure. He would not withdraw the guaranty in the face of competition. A half-dozen or so of his competitors were making hosiery with parallel conditions of guaranty. When the big metropolitan retailer, tired of the tremendous and unproductive burden of making good on hosiery returned to his store, threatened to throw out the line, the manufacturer became panicky and gave ear to the advertising manager’s suggestions.
The advertising manager’s proposal was a disagreeable pill for the manufacturer, but losing his largest distributor would have been like losing a leg. The pill was better than an operation. The manager said, in effect: “We will issue no more three months’ guarantees. We will put in each pair of hose a ticket reading, ‘If you feel that you have not had satisfactory wear from these socks, take them back to the dealer who sold them to you and he will give you a new pair in exchange.’”
The advertising manager knew human nature. He knew that the former guaranty of three months from date of sale encouraged the return of goods. He also knew that the new phrasing of the unqualified guaranty put the question of wear up to the buyer’s sense of fair play. Where the return privilege had been abused before, now it was so rarely taken ad vantage of that dealers had no ground for complaint. Returned goods dropped to a negligible figure. Furthermore, competitors were compelled to follow suit, one by one, but not until the pioneer in the unlimited guaranty had established leadership, through the suggestion of his advertising manager.
4. Sharing Responsibility with the Agency
As before pointed out, the responsibility for success or failure of the advertising campaign should rest, finally, upon the advertising manager. To a degree, He may share this responsibility with the agency with which he operates.
Frequently, the selection of the agency either devolves entirely upon the advertising manager, or it is influenced by his suggestions. Therefore, he is in position to stand or fall with the agency of his choice. If the campaign is a success, naturally, some credit goes to the advertising manager. Following the same line of reasoning, if the campaign is unsuccessful, the advertising manager must shoulder a part of the responsibility for failure.
At the outset of every campaign, the duties of the agency, and those of the advertising manager, should be clearly outlined. The function of each should be carefully designated, limits of operation clearly established, and these limits adhered to strictly. Points, such as who is to buy space, who is to make contracts with the various media, who is to 0. K. proofs, who is to keep the records of advertising, etc., must be decided upon, not only to prevent friction in the operation of the campaign, hut to preclude any possibility of shifting responsibility or, in ordinary parlance, of “passing the buck.”
5. Departmental Organization
The advertising department of every advertiser is organized to meet his particular requirements, with the result that there are probably as many different kinds of advertising departments as there are advertisers. Some advertising departments consist of several hundred persons while others hare a personnel of five or six. The majority of these departments are managed by one executive who approves all activities; the work of other departments is supervised by committees.
The method of organization must always be adapted to the particular requirements of the business to be served. In the main, there must be divisions for each branch of the advertising. There must be men who act in contact with dealers. These men see that the dealers are supplied with advertising material, call on dealers to keep in touch with consumer conditions, obtain and act upon suggestions from dealers and check up on retail sales in given territories. Other men act as investigators and research men. They explore new sales territories, perform missionary work with jobbers and retailers, and compile reports of sales, sales resistance, competition, etc. They also work in conjunction with local newspaper service departments in introducing new products or opening up new sales territories. Other men are writers who compose the advertising messages to dealer and consumer, prepare catalogs, car cards, posters, sales letters, direct-by-mail material and, sometimes, material for house organs. Others are clerks whose work is to write and place the advertising orders, forward them with material, keep records of advertising costs, inquiries, etc., check up the advertising bills, and pass them for payment.
6. Branch Advertising Departments
A few organizations, like the National Lead Company, International Harvester Company, and Sherwin-Williams Company, maintain an advertising department at the home office and, in addition, separate departments in each of the branch offices or territorial districts. These branch advertising departments work under the direction of the advertising manager in the home office. Being “on the ground” and in close touch with local conditions, they are frequently able to prepare both timely and pertinent material for circular and newspaper advertising. They are in close personal touch, also, with the salesmen and the dealers, and consequently are able to inject that quality of appeal that touches local pride or reflects local conditions.
7. Working with Salesmen
James H. Collins concludes his brilliant little book, “Human Nature in Selling Goods,” with this sentence: “Salesmanship, be it ever so ably developed, can only sell what people really need.” The greatest aid, therefore, that can be brought to the salesman’s cause is material that shows his prospect why he needs the product or the service that the salesman has to offer. The man or men responsible for the advertising appeal must bear in mind the part of the job that advertising must perform in helping the salesman.
The salesman must be kept informed of how the advertising has been planned and executed to assist him. Many advertisers, who have salesmen on the road, adopt the very good plan of sending them proofs of all national or local advertising as soon as it is approved, often long before it is released for publication. A study of the proofs will inform the salesman as to what the manufacturer is saying to the public about his product, and how he presents his arguments. This gives the salesman an opportunity to tune his presentation to the advertising.
Sometimes new uses will be developed for a product, after the salesman has left the office. These the salesman will learn about from the advertising proofs. Although most national campaigns are shown to the dealers before the advertising actually appears, new appeals are presented from time to time, and the salesman should be furnished with proofs to show the dealers.
The more proofs of good advertising in preparation that a house can forward to its men on the road, the more confidence the men will have in the backing that the house is providing for them. The more enthusiasm a salesman works up, the better he sells. One good way to arouse a salesman’s enthusiasm is to let him see the evidence of the confidence that the house has in its product as represented by the advertising.