There are two things you have to have in every business to be successful… Leads and Sales. If you don’t have the first you won’t even get to the second part, and your business will die. If you get leads but can’t convert them to sales, your business will die.

The traditional way of getting leads was advertising/marketing. You ran an ad, it generated a lead and then you marketed to that lead to get a sale.

The problem today is that advertising and marketing are shifting again. What worked before isn’t working as well as it did, so the cost of a lead is going up. To overcome that, you must convert more leads into sales to make the same money you were making previously.

There is generally a limit in one’s ability to increase sales on the same types of ads you have been running, so a shift must take place in your advertising to match what your market is looking for. That is exactly what is happening now. If your ads are not working, this is probably the main reason. And you need to adapt quickly.

The old way of advertising was basically centered on brute force. You ran an ad where your consumer was and you barraged him with TV, radio, magazine, and newspaper spots. Unfortunately for advertisers, technology has helped the consumer to avoid ads by giving them the ability to fast forward through television ads, block pop-ups on their browsers, opt-out of banner ads and emails, and the option to pay content providers directly for not serving up ads.

Successful marketers have seen their lead numbers drop from ads in media they have used before and as a result demanded more options from that media. This includes the current type of ads they already use and other types of promotions they could be involved in.  In order to stay in business, marketers, as well as the media content providers, had to change. Many marketers have adapted to the new types of promotions the consumer is willing to listen to, and the shift to different forms of marketing is moving at a faster rate.

Branded content in all forms has increased tremendously in every type of media possible. It used to be that you could not get a story placed to your liking in a major magazine that promoted you or your company in any way. Magazines were very strict on what you could say or do. Now you can have full articles about you and your company placed in magazines such as Forbes, Fortune, Inc. and Success, which are designed to look like they are the same type of content as the rest of the magazine.  In reality, the article or story is written with your own slant and, if it is good, the article offers sound helpful advice to its reader.  It also motivates the reader to act in the manner that you want, which ultimately is to buy your product or service. These are the types of ads you should be looking into and either learning to craft them yourself or working with various media outlets to create them for you.

TEDx, a nonprofit, started out with virtually no advertising, and they originally put tight reigns on the TED talks themselves, which is what they are most known for.  Now, TEDx is offering new opportunities to corporations who want to hire a TED team to hold an event for the company, with that particular brand’s marketing and promotions built into the event. The company leans on the credibility of TED to rub off on potential prospects and make their own products and services more credible and acceptable.

There are now events through the TED Institute such as: TED@IBM, TED@INTEL, TED@Unilever and TED@UPS. There will be more corporations to follow who will configure their message with the type of content people want to here. TED also now offers opportunities in TED Books, TED Radio Hour, TED TV Programs, TED Speaker Programs and TED Fest; all designed to expand its original mission and grow the company and its footprint.

Budweiser is another company that has a cause and uses it to advertise their beer. This Memorial Day, Budweiser affiliated with Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members. They agreed to donate up to one million dollars from sales over Memorial Day weekend of Bud’s new America labeled beer. This donation is part of a continuing contribution of over 11 million dollars generated during the past six years that the company has donated to Folds of Honor; proof that the ad and the connection to the military nonprofit have worked for both parties.

Using language like “Home of the Free Because of the Brave” and “Proud to Serve Those Who Serve” Budweiser aligned itself with a good cause, on the right day, with the right product (including camo decorated beer cans). They were advertising to their target market with the exact message its buyers wanted to hear at the right time. This is your ideal goal in advertising and marketing.

As a company, we too have seen the benefits of doing good and promoting our company at the same time. A group of our clients joined us and donated time and money to Casa Hogar, an orphanage in Mexico.  We produced a documentary film on the orphanage to help raise more money and awareness for it.

We’ve also taken groups of clients on one of our “Mission for Good” trips down to the Dominican Republic and did two films on microloans with the organization Esperanza. This nonprofit enables groups of women to start businesses of their own, and better provide for their families, using microloans. The film Return To Esperanza earned us Emmy® awards in several categories, raised awareness for the cause and brought about much needed funding.

What can you do to make your advertising more meaningful and reach your clients in an impactful way?

  1. Do a survey of your clientele and see what they might like to get involved with as a special event. If you can keep it local it is better, especially if you are a local company. We see this often with doctors and dentists donating time, money and medical services to help others who can’t afford it.
  2. Get involved with charities already working in your area and offer your marketing talents to help them reach others with their message.
  3. Start, and grow, your own annual event to bring recognition to a special cause in your community.

These are just three quick ideas to get you thinking. However, make sure to promote your efforts to your clients and prospects. You are not doing this to brag or pat yourself on the back, but you are doing this so people will know that you are serious about this cause and it will encourage them to join you if they see your enthusiasm and call to action. Additionally, the more people who support your business by buying your goods and services, the more you can do for the charity; that is the relationship that makes it work.

If you would like to learn more about this new way of advertising and marketing you and your business, Nick and I have written about the power of having a Mission in your business called,  Mission-Driven Business The proven System to Express Your Purpose and Propel Profits, Productivity, and Prestige. We would be happy to send you a digital copy of the book absolutely free. Just go to