The general principles of advertising have already been treated in a preceding article. Following is given by Arthur H. Vandenberg, a description of a method of placing advertising and of recording results which may be used to advantage by the wholesale and retail dealer alike.
Advertising appropriations run the entire gamut of expenditure, from $50 a year to $500,000 and more. They are framed by establishments with backing of millions and by the dealer renting deskroom on a side street. They often represent an expenditure in excess of the yearly cost of actual production and are always a dominating figure in the annual budget. The conclusion, then, is inevitable that advertising appropriations and advertising space should be just as diligently studied, just as carefully regulated, just as thoroughly systematized as any other branch of the modern business machine. Because of the comparative infancy of the "buying-by-mail" era in commercialism and because of the surprising indifference which often exists in the expenditure of an advertising appropriation, there is wide opportunity for "leakage" in the advertising department unless system is vigorously applied. The office manager or the advertising man can reduce the details of his task of keeping tab on the advertising appropriation to a minimum by observing a simple card and loose-leaf reference system.
There should be a loose-leaf reference book, similar to that illustrated in Figure I and in Figure II. This is a preliminary essential unless complete dependence is to be placed on the figures given out by advertising solicitors and agencies. This is to be a book of ready reference, always up to date. At a glance the buyer of space may tell the circulation of a medium, the advertising rates, the size of page and dates of issue, and the character of circulation. Every card tells its own story.
LIKELY TO USE
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In considering rates, the schedule of prices on space is no criterion. One magazine may sell a page for $10 and another may charge $1,000. Yet the $1,000 page may be the more economical because it reaches more people, is read by more prospects than the $10 page.
Again, the size of the page must be considered. A page with ten inches for $100 is more expensive than a page with twenty inches for $150, although both have the same approximate circulation. The only common ground for comparison, therefore, is the rate a thousand circulation per inch of space. With all scheduled prices reduced to this basis, an impartial and reliable comparison may be made at a glance. The reference card, therefore, gives, above all else, the rate a thousand circulation an inch of space for every medium under consideration.
The advertiser may desire to cover some particular field. He may be aided in his choice of mediums by the loose-leaf reference, which suggests at a glance the character of the circulation of a medium and of the firms which have declared it a successful puller.
After the question of choosing the medium and of placing the contract is disposed of, the advertiser must carefully watch the results of his experiment. His advertisement has been keyed, perhaps by the business address. the department letter, the individual department head, or the name of the catalog. He may safely check the returns with a card system similar to that suggested in Figures III and IV. In keying results it is again necessary to secure a common basis, and here it is the actual cost of every inquiry and sale. Again, the $1,000 medium may be more economical than the $10 one. The advertiser knows what he can afford to allow out of each sale to apply on the general account of publicity. He may tell by a glance at his card system whether a specific magazine is above or below the minimum standard. A single month, however, is not a fair test.
The cards should therefore be arranged to cover six-month periods.
Finally there must be system in the campaign itself. An aimless distribution which may include practically every publication is wasted energy. Concentration is a fundamental requirement and is elementary to system and success.