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How to Advertise

By Kenneth Roman and Jane Maas with Martrin Nisenholtz

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2017 by Michael C. Gray

How to Advertise is a marketing piece -- an update of David Olgilvy's classic Confessions of an Advertising Man. The authors are executives with Ogilvy and Mather, the advertising agency that David Ogilvy founded.

This book is a survey of advertising and promotional alternatives, including online promotion using web sites. After reading this book, the reader will probably think, "Advertising and promotion looks really hard. Maybe I should hire Ogilvy and Mather to take care of it for me."

Although the authors present themselves as sales/results oriented, there is a bias to brand building. Most small businesses don't have the budget available to concentrate on building a brand. For them, building a brand should be a byproduct of advertising and promotion that generates sales now.

It's interesting to read the contrast between the chapters on direct response advertising and brand building advertising. For brand building, the emphasis is on visual images with a very brief sales message (advertising copy). For direct response advertising, the emphasis is on providing all the information the buyer needs to make a decision, which requires long copy. Since the effectiveness of direct response advertising is measured by actual sales, it's clear that long copy is better for generating sales.

Over time, some of the advice in Confessions of an Advertising Man has changed. For example, David Ogilvy didn't care for using celebrities in his advertisements. He said the celebrity overwhelmed the message, and viewers tended to remember the celebrity and forget what product was being advertised. Now using an appropriate celebrity is accepted as an effective tactic.

As a marketing piece, How to Advertise tells a lot about what to do but not much about how to do it.

Since Ogilvy and Mather conducts extensive research about the effectiveness of its advertising (what works), it's worthwhile studying How to Advertise.

Buy it on Amazon: How to Advertise: Building Brands and Businesses in the New Marketing World.

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There are a few books of basic wisdom that endure for generations. George S. Clason's book, The Richest Man In Babylon, is one of them.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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