Within ten years the total circulation of national publications has doubled. In 1912 the leading 57 periodicals had a combined circulation of 21,000,000. The total expenditure for advertising in these was more than twenty-nine millions of dollars.
The service which these publications are pre- pared to render is a necessity for the manufacturer who makes honest goods, for which there is or ought to be a country- wide demand, and who would like to sell them to every man or woman who could use them and pay for them.
If his goods are not honest, he had better not advertise. In the first place, many publications will refuse his advertising. In the second place, those which take it will simply call forth for him a lot of buyers who, once having tried his product and found it wanting, will thereafter not only cease to buy his goods but will actually be prejudiced against them. For just as advertising makes the merits of good goods conspicuous, so, too, does it make conspicuous the faults of poor goods.
The maker of dishonest products will last longer without advertising. In the comparatively brief period since the nation began to consult it in its marketing, periodical advertising has created volumes of evidence for its efficacy.
To prove to your own satisfaction that it is an evolution, a fundamental of a large market, take any well-known publication and look through its pages. Note first the firms with years of merchandizing history behind them Pears, Ivory, Royal, Waltham, Regal, Lowney, Ingersoll, Apollinaris firms whose advertising has covered decades.
Then note how many commodities there are which have recently been invented and have quickly found place in every-day life by the help of advertising automobiles, vacuum cleaners, electric irons, talking machines, rubber heels, bread mixers, kodaks, washing machines.
Then see how many of the great staples of life are being persistently advertised flour, sugar, clothing, shoes, furniture, roofing, varnish, starch. If you still need further evidence if you want the real stories of success make a personal trip to interview some of these successful advertisers and get their experiences from their own lips. Nippers and pliers would not suggest themselves as especially susceptible to popular advertising, and yet Utica pliers, after years of un- branded distribution through agents, were placed on the market under their new name and advertised.
A $4,000 expenditure in one publication in six months brought 50 per cent, more business than the company had done during the previous six months under their old selling plan. At the end of two years they could not keep up with their orders, and are now extending their plant. A great food-product company ten years ago spent $3,000 in two publications.
The results were so satisfactory that last year this company spent $113,500 in the same two publications alone. The experience in each of those ten years must have been satisfactory to bring about an aggregate increase of four thousand percent
Such returns as are brought by these expenditures in national periodical advertising come in several ways.
(1) The reader may be impelled to write to the manufacturer, enclosing his money for the article advertised. That is mail-order advertising.
(2) He may be sent to the retail store, which will in anticipation or in consequence of the demand stock the article, buying either direct from the manufacturer or from a jobber. Or
(3) the advertising may be planned essentially to interest a wide circle of dealers in selling the product.
This last is commonly called “influencing the dealer.” Here is a case of a typical mail-order business. It sells clothing to women exclusively by advertising in the magazines. It has no agencies what- ever, and never sells to retailers. Twenty-one years ago this firm started with a $300 appropriation for advertising. Its policy was a new one to fit clothing to women without even seeing the women.
The idea itself was ridiculed, to say nothing of the plan of using advertising as the sole selling force. Today that firm has a mailing list of 6,000,000 women. It receives 5,000,000 letters a year has received as high as 37,000 in one day. It uses more than $90,000 worth of fabrics annually for samples sent to inquirers. It ships out considerably more than a million packages a year spends $520,000 for postage, $460,000 for expressage.
It maintains five printing shops just to turn out its catalogs, and keeps seventeen clerks, under bond, to do nothing but open mail. The annual investment of this firm in periodical advertising is now $350,000. This is an instance of success due not, as many successes are, to a combination of advertising with other good sales methods, but wholly to advertising backed, of course, by consistently good goods.
An example of a “small-space” mail-order success is that of Elmer C. Rice, of Mel rose, Massachusetts. He began in 1900 with a one-inch “card” in two periodicals and one Sunday news-paper, offering a free booklet about the raising of squabs.
This booklet in turn, without other follow-up, leads to the sale of a large manual, and then of pigeons and supplies, with which the inquirer may set up in business. Today, over 1,000000 birds have been sold. The cost per inquiry varies from 15 to 25 cents. Distribution directly and exclusively through the retailer is illustrated by a great Chicago house dealing in men’s clothing.
The advertising is for the purpose of influencing men to go into their clothing stores predisposed to buy this firm’s suits. When the advertising began, the company was doing a $3,500,000 business annually. The selling cost was 8 percent. The business now amounts to more than $14,000,000 a year, and the selling cost including the “additional expense” of the advertising is down to 5 per cent.
The traveling salesmen individually make more money with less effort, notwithstanding the fact that they receive only %2 per cent, commission on their sales in- stead of 5 per cent, as formerly. The usual type of distribution is through the jobber. Some manufacturers have an erroneous impression that when the distribution is of this character national advertising is not feasible.
A telling illustration, however, of the effect of periodical advertising upon a jobber distribution is found in the experience of a certain textile mill. This mill hesitated to advertise because it was selling all its goods, unmarked, to wholesalers who, before reselling them to retailers, placed their own marks on them. Goods so marked are known as “private brands.” The mill feared to jeopardize its existing business through the jobbers by the introduction of a nationally advertised mill brand.
It was believed that the jobbers would refuse to continue to handle the goods except under their own names, because the jobber usually prefers to stand before the retailer on his own reputation, not on the reputation of the millbrand of a manufacturer. The plan finally adopted was to advertise the line under a trade-mark the jobber being given his choice between the trade-marked goods or the same goods under their private tickets as be- fore.
It was understood that the two kinds of goods were identical. Here was the result: Before Advertising 100% 0% 1910 86% 14% 1911 61% 39% 1912 50% 50%
In other words, the stimulating effect of the advertising, plus its attendant service features, upon the consumer, the retailer, and upon the organization of the mill itself, was reflected upon the jobbers. They found that it was more to their advantage with half their trade to handle the trade –marked goods than to push the same goods bearing their own marks.
During this period the total sales of the mill increased more than thirty percent. The power of national advertising to secure dealer cooperation is less obvious, but frequently very important. Many a worthy commodity has failed to get a start because of the lack of proper distribution, while an article less deserving has swept the sea of trade because it had the dealers with it.
To enlist the support of merchants and agents has come to be one of the primary duties of national advertising. This is frequently done by indirect appeal. The message to the consumer catches the quick ear of the retailer, and the retailer “taps the wire.” Realizing that a desire is about to be stimulated in his own community by the advertising of the manufacturer, the dealer seizes the opportunity to “cash in” on it for himself. This is just what both want a mutually advantageous alliance.
An automobile company from a large advertisement, for instance, received 6,837 replies in thirty-three days, of which nearly 3,000 were from dealers. A hosiery firm from a small advertisement, in addition to 1,000 cash sales, made new connections with 50 dealers. A piano company reached 250 dealers through its advertising.
These random instances go to show that dealer advertising need not be a separate effort, but may run side by side with advertising to the consumer. Whatever the distribution mail-order, jobber, retailer or agent the leverage of advertising is exerted on the consumer.
People buy goods because they want them. A great many buy what- ever clerks persuade them to, but a far greater and constantly increasing number enter a store persuaded by advertising to buy certain goods identified by a name. No dealer can afford to pay his clerks to spend their time convincing a customer that he should buy one thing when he wants another.
No jobber will long refuse to sell what the retailer continually needs. No prospective dealer will be blind to the demand created in his own territory. It is advertising which has developed this great selling force. Advertising, moreover, is as much for the little fellow as for the great corporation.
The further one pushes it, the more perfect one’s organization, the greater the capital invested, the more powerful it becomes. Yet, if rightly conducted, it can have the smallest beginning and develop naturally, side by side, with the business it is helping. It is a giant for a giant; but it goes hand in hand with the youth, if the youth has ability and ambition.
Advertising is gradually receiving greater credence, and is, as a whole, more worthy of such credence. Guided by trained hands, conducted systematically and conscientiously, it has come to be no more hazardous and is surely far more profitable than ordinary ventures upon which manufacturers enter daily. “Advertising,” said a speaker at a great business men’s dinner, “is merchandizing by wire- less suggesting comforts and necessities before the need is born, creating new markets, building new factories, selling the surplus. “Advertising makes for better furnished homes, better dressed people, purer food, better health, greater comfort, bigger life; and, incidentally, advertising makes the advertiser a bigger, broader man a national figure.”