What's That Ad Really Worth?

David Lazarenko

Are you focused on the income statement or the balance sheet?

It's a question that might seem better suited to the world of accounting and finance, or maybe an idea for C-suite executives to debate around boardroom tables (indeed, Balaji Krishnamurthy tackled it in one of his Food for Thought articles). But what does it have to do with marketing?

Well, consider this: In today’s campaign-driven agri-marketing world, communications with the producer audience are generally incased within a finite window. There’s a start date and an end date and a whole lot of marketing expenses involved that won’t deliver any residual value after the campaign ends. Once that ad placement has run, it’s essentially worth nothing. In this model, we’re balancing revenues (i.e. sales) with marketing expenses (i.e. outside costs) on an income statement in the hopes that the former will outweigh the latter.

On the other hand, if we were to take a “balance sheet” approach, we would ask: what can we create that will allow us to continue to build value over time?

The focus shifts from finite promotions to ongoing platforms, from short-term campaigns to long-term assets.

For example, instead of a campaign to build awareness of in-season agronomic issues in hopes of selling products to treat those issues, why not create a tool to help the producer diagnose issues throughout the year – for multiple years – with a connection back to the product as a recommended solution?

This is more than just a passing trend or another push for "new media." We feel strongly that this represents not only a fundamental shift in the way organizations and brands communicate with their audiences, but also a significant opportunity for marketers. And while the consumer is more than ready for this approach, it requires a change in mindset from everyone involved – from advertiser to agency to media.

In an industry where the only constant is change, we as marketers must not only recognize change but leverage it into opportunities for the companies, brands and resources we steward.

And these changes aren’t small. We’re talking about a complete overhaul in the way we create and deliver value. It can seem daunting, but for those who dare to change, the rewards are greater than ever – especially in an industry like agriculture where radical growth and opportunity abound.

If you agree, give us a call and maybe we can help ;)

In his Working Wisdom series, David Lazarenko shares insights and inspiration gathered throughout his 15-year agency career. Through real-life examples and an analysis of industry trends, he offers up practical advice and actionable strategies for marketers.


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