How to Advertise Effectively

Regarding retail walk-in companies, we often hear it said – “Location, Location, Location!”  No doubt, for that type business, the physical location is extremely important and can make or break a company regardless of anything else they’ve got going on.  For non walk-in companies, of course, location isn’t terribly important. But something else is – “Advertising, Advertising, Advertising!”


The importance of advertising can’t be stressed enough. But if such marketing is going to be effective, you have to know how and where to advertise. The results of the recent Rod Builders Survey (4300+ builders responded) tells us that barely 20% of custom rod builders participate on custom rod building forums or websites.  It should come as no surprise therefore, that the 4 largest component supply dealers, who combine for almost 75% of the total sales in the industry, all have one very important thing in common – they still publish printed catalogs.


Early on, I began collecting data on the builders who attend the International Custom Rod Building Exposition. Very quickly I learned that over 90% of those who attend learned of the event through either print advertising or direct mail postcards. Since that time, I’ve put the bulk of the Expo advertising resources into just those things – print and mail advertising. I do very little insofar as internet advertising because I’ve learned that you can’t reach the bulk of the builders via the internet – only 2 out of 10, at the very best, in fact.

30,000 Expo postcards are sent by direct mail each year. Response is about 5% - which is well above most marketing expectations.

With all the evidence we have that print and direct mail are still king in terms of reaching the custom rod building craft, you have to wonder why so many companies or entities trying to market a product, service or event to the custom rod building craft, refuse to spend the money on the type of advertising that works. And then they wonder why their endeavors don’t seem to go over very well.


Sure, you can get a lot of internet advertising for free, but that’s because it’s the least effective form of marketing you can do – at least where the custom rod builder is concerned.  Want to get the word out about your product, sevice or event? Then advertise – in print and with direct mail. Those get results!


Tom Kirkman