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Just been offered an unusual advertisement deal - any thoughts

Just been offered an unusual advertisement deal...

Just been phoned up by someone asking if I do tradesmen's accounts and tax returns.  Said yes and then got asked if I wanted to advertise on Gibbs & Dandy TV.

Deal is a fully produced TV ad shown every 10 minutes in the local branch for £12 pw, £624pa.

I am torn between thinking, yes I need to grow my practice and no way!  My reasons for the no, are I wouldn't know where to start with the TV ad thing, and also I wonder if it would lead to a glut of people with messy books wanting the whole thing done for £150/ £200 and just result in more pain than I want.

Anyone done a similar sort of thing and what was the result?  Any other thoughts?


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08th Jun 2010 14:59


@Luke - knee jerk marketing where you get phone up with an "opportunity" rarely works; I'd urge you to invest the time and energy to develop a plan and consider all the options within your budget taking account of the time frame.  

If not, I'd ask to speak with other advertisers first or go into the store and ask customers what they think.

Regardless of that, balance your budget of time, energy and money between online and offline efforts and look to build brand awareness as well as just lead generation.  

The problem with this type of tactic is that it is difficult to monitor and test, unless you can change your advert every week or month. With other forms of advertising like Google Pay-Per-Click you can change it daily. The same for direct mail and can test different tactics.

Having said that, the strategy of niche marketing is very powerful but you need answer the question about messy books and fee pressure.  I may have that answer for you but from a marketing perspective focus on what your advert will say.

Instead of Luke and Co Accountants have been established for x year use Permission Based marketing.  Depending on your service/product range you could offer a Tax Planning guide for the Construction Industry or a report “In the building game?  Do you feel ripped off by your accountant?” or even promote a seminar “Building a business is like building a house”.

Worked with a client that did an advert in a post office and it worked well.  You'll never know until you try it but do you need to be trying new ideas when other tried and tested tactics have been proved to work.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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By Anonymous
08th Jun 2010 15:35

I have just had the same phone call . . . .

. . . . and turned them down.

It is marketing but brand awareness marketing which I have not got the budget for.

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08th Jun 2010 15:49

Don't do it Luke!

I did exactly this about 5 or 6 years ago with our local branch of Grahams Builders Merchants. We were approached by a (very good) salesman and whilst I felt a bit like you do we decided to go for it.

In the 12 months we didn't receive a single new client or, as far as I know, a single enquiry.

The cost was about £1,500 for 12 months and, looking back, was a complete waste of money. I would never do it again.



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08th Jun 2010 15:52

Brand awareness

@Anon - the style of the advert determines if it is brand building or direct response more than the medium.  For example, the advert you could offer a free Telephone Tax Review with a guarantee of saving £1,000 of tax or you will put their name in the hat to win a £1,000 in cash.

Do you do any brand building/awareness marketing?

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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08th Jun 2010 16:01

What was the content?

@Stephen - could you tell us:

1) What the content was?  Was it about you or did you offer something of value with a gaurantee?

2) Did you get any referrals from contruction clients that year?  It could be your adverts triggered a bit of word of mouth.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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By Luke
09th Jun 2010 13:29

Thanks all for your input

Bob - I'm unwilling to guarantee saving someone £1,000 of tax as I can't necessarily do that within the rules that exist.  It is possible but by no means guaranteed.  Thank you for your first post, it had some interesting points.  I am though not bothered about building Luke & Co any further than it being able to occupy me full time with perhaps one assistant, so in the sense of building a business/brand, I'm not on your wavelength.  I'm quite happy working in my business and only want to work on it enough to enable me to work in it full time.

Anon - I agree, I am a small sole practitioner and my marketing budget is very limited.  I have never placed an advert for £600 before and have generally limited to word of mouth and local village advertising.

Stephen - thank you very much for your direct experience - very helpful and has swung it for me, particularly as tradesmen is not an area I wish to focus on.

Thanks again all

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09th Jun 2010 13:47

As Tom Jones would say, It's not unusual

We get three or four such calls a year from various organisations, the latest being from the local hospital.

We politely decline them all.


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09th Jun 2010 15:02

Brand and strategy = brand strategy

@Luke - thanks for the reply,  am please you found some value.

I appreciate you will not be able to save everyone £1,000, that’s not the point.  You still get the lead and I used £1,000 as an example.  Perhaps not the best...perhaps an iPad would be better or a trip to Paris for two. 

The guarantee will pull more response and will cost £1,000 or the cost of the prize.  Keep in mind that a typical client will be worth tens of thousands to you over the lifetime of the relationship.  So, even if you have a few responses and only sign one client up it would be money well spent.  By the way, this could be your 2010 Tax Challenge so you could run it for three months or even all year to leverage the cost of the prize.

Remember that the 2010 Sage Pulse report made it clear that clients want more tax planning and you should know that many clients are not getting a full tax planning service from their current accountant.  It's a fact that most accountants do not offer advice of Tax Credits and very few are offering advanced tax planning.  Do you?

You do have a brand; personal and business and for you they may be one and the same.  Building your brand will enable you to maximise what you get from your time in terms of recovery rates and job satisfaction.  It’s OK to say you only want enough business to be busy full-time because you are just starting but what does that mean in terms of profit? 

I'm working with sole-traders and small firms making £125 an hour on sub £1,000 fees and I'v seen others not be able to afford to be in business because they messed up with their strategy. 

Even if you are successful in terms of earning what the average accountant earns (£75k a year) this could/should be £ take a minute and ask yourself what would £25,000 year for the number of years you will be in practice add up to?  What will that mean for you and how would that make you feel?

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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11th Jun 2010 11:11

Think of it this way...

If you were to go into the post office (assuming that anyone does nowadays) and were to see an advert for a solicitor would you remember that advert when you needed a solicitor. Assuming you had a photographic memory and remembered the name and number would you call that solicitor?

Why would you use them rather than someone who was recommended by a friend/colleague/workmate.

Now remember that you as a businessman and decision maker have seen that advert. How many people of a similar standing will see your advert and why should they go to you, assuming that they actually remember/write down your phone number.

The numbers quoted by salesmen are impressive if you take them at face value. However if you analyse them then it becomes almost impossible for a decision maker to need your services and to see your advert at the right time in a position where they can write down your name and number.

Tried this a few years ago and got nothing. Also tried cards in Tesco (got one client who did not pay his bill) and the local library - no callers.

You should decide on an advertsing strategy and then use your £ wisely to follow it. If the system that has been pitched to you is so good why are they cold calling you?

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11th Jun 2010 14:34

Cliff Jenner

I did this sort of deal with Jewsons (or a media company dealing with them).

Luckily I arranged payments by instalments. After several visits and seeing the TV screen blank I stopped the standing order.

Media company got very excited, threatened all sorts of things but that came to nothing.

Don't do it!



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