Half the Money I Spend on Advertising is Wasted…


“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Do you know the name John Wanamaker?

It was John Wanamaker who once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Wanamaker was a very successful merchant. He was a religious leader and political figure as well, considered by some to be a pioneer in marketing. He opened one of the first and most successful department stores in the United States. His one department store grew to 16 stores, and eventually became part of Macy’s. (Read more about him)

Wanamaker didn’t become successful by selling things; he became successful by giving people what they wanted. At the turn of the century, that meant giving people good quality, and a fair price. His stores became known for that.

Step into your clients’ shoes

Today, there are many examples of businesses that have become extremely successful by giving people just what they want. But all too often, business owners forget to put themselves in their customers’ shoes and fail to perceive what their clients and prospects really want.

Service businesses, in particular, tend to get very granular on their website. Many of them list all the things they do on their website’s Home page. But remember that people who visit the Home page of your website must have had some way to get there — maybe they were handed your business card, or perhaps they heard you speak at a seminar.

If a prospect makes the effort to visit your website, shouldn’t your primary message be that you can do whatever it is they’re looking for, rather than a list of what you’re selling??

Just do it for me

If Wanamaker was alive today, he might tell you to give the people what they want. “Just do it for me!” is the way one client of mine responded years ago when I tried listing all of the ways Internet presence and digital marketing could help his business. “I don’t have time to understand how it all works, I just want it done,” he said.

There’s money we spend on advertising and marketing that reaches people who “get it”, and there’s money we spend on advertising and marketing that reaches people who don’t “get it”. If we could eliminate the latter, we could all own businesses that are far more profitable.

Always remember to step into your clients’ shoes, think about what it is they really want, and how best to deliver that to them.

If you need help marketing, contact me.

Andrew Lehrfeld

Andrew Lehrfeld

Managing Member at Internet Presence LLC
Andrew (Andy) Lehrfeld is a classically-trained Direct Marketer. His background in Communications, Marketing, Sales, Applied Writing, and Public Speaking helps organizations nurture strong relationships with their clients and others. He has 40 years' experience working with business owners worldwide. He is the founder of Internet Presence LLC, a digital marketing agency that builds websites, social media, and other online platforms that help companies engage with customers and prospects.