Beware advertising “opportunities”

If you’re offered an advertising “opportunity” I strongly suggest you do your homework before taking your decision.

I was phoned a few days ago by a chap representing the publishers of a growing business handbook. The publishers are well known and the publication is sponsored by the Institute it’s published in association with. The chap was immediately open about the possibility of editorial/ advertorial possibilities and rate negotiation.

He emailed me the media pack and the blurb said that the handbook was “a perfect way to reach entrepreneurs and senior decision makers in thousands of dynamic SMEs as they plan their future growth”

Under Distribution and Readership it says that the handbook will be

  • Available through all high street bookshop chains
  • Widely distributed through corporate libraries and business information centres
  • Backed up by various targeted marketing activities by the publisher

This all sounds fine, but there’s no real substance in it.

It then goes on to talk about the institute and its membership before getting to the advertising rates.

When the chap called me back a couple of days later I asked him questions I thought would be pretty easy to answer, since the handbook is in its 10th edition:

  • What is the print run?
  • How many copies were bought by Institute members for each of the last couple of editions?
  • Ditto how many bought through bookshops?

Worryingly, the chap couldn’t give me the answers, yet he represents the publisher!

He then went on to quote me some impressive names of blue chip companies that had advertised in the handbook in the past. I pointed out to him that, in my opinion, those companies don’t tend to advertise in this type of publication to generate response – it’s a brand exercise, so there’s no real way of judging the effectiveness of their spend.

I’ve told him that the only way I’ll consider advertising is if he sends me the last two issues, I can find adverts for comparable services to ours and they tell me when I call them that their ads in the handbook pulled quality response.

He promised to send me those issues but I haven’t received anything yet…

If you’re offered an advertising opportunity that you’re not sure about, please don’t rush into it, take your time and do your homework.

Do any of you have good or bad experiences you’d like to share with our readers? If so please respond with your comments.

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