A week or two ago, on a sunny afternoon, a small business owner set up a folding table in a park near my house. He was selling various small Judaica items, and he parked himself on a bench for a few hours, equipped with his phone and a portable credit card reader.
My wife found out about the small sale, and we walked over together. We ended up selecting a few items. While waiting for the payment to process, the man asked us how we’d found out that he was there for the day. My wife told him that she’d seen it on a neighborhood Whatsapp group.
I was reminded of a routine challenge for any marketer: determining the advertising channel provides the greatest ROI, and optimizing accordingly. It can be surprisingly difficult. In fact, it’s downright hard to find the common denominator; the proper channel; the right community; the right message; the right timing.
John Wanamaker, Wikipedia tells me, was a 19th century merchant (and, apparently Postmaster General!), who may be best known for a pithy quote ascribed to him, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
I am amused by the idea that, firms of all sizes are faced by the same challenges, albeit at different scales. Whether you’re Apple in Cupertino or a merchant in a park with a folding table, you’re driven to find out where your advertising is working, and where it isn’t, and to properly attribute sales accordingly.