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Clydesdales, Musicians, Comedians, Football and... Your Business?

The Super Bowl has been a cultural touchstone since the mid 80s, and the outlandish commercials came shortly after. Each year, advertisers spend millions upon millions of dollars to air just a 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl. Many companies will actually empty out a majority of their marketing budget on buying time and creating the commercial. But is it worth it?

According to iSpot.TV, advertisers paid roughly $27-$100 per lead when airing a spot during the Super Bowl. In other words, it cost them a minimum of $30 to get just one Super Bowl viewer to spend money on them after seeing their Super Bowl commercial.

On the low end of the spectrum that’s not bad. But ask yourself this: what if you had to spend $30 for every customer that entered your store and bought something? If you’re Ford Motor Company, each product you sell costs in excess of $30,000; but if you’re a restaurant you might be looking at breaking even at a minimum.

CNBC spoke with Rick Burton, a sports management professor who pays special attention to sports marketing and ad revenue. For him, it comes down to a simple question:

Do you value return on investment more, or return on objectives?

The purpose of marketing is to inform potential clients about who you are, what you do, and how to reach you. In a best case, this will directly result in a potential client or customer becoming an actual client or customer, spending money on your business.

This best-case scenario creates a very clear return on investment. You spent X dollars on advertising and earned Y in revenue as a result. For established brands, like say, McDonald’s, they might be advertising during the Super Bowl for that one-to-one type result.

But for a smaller company, say a tech start-up, they might not be interested in making a specific sale. Instead, they would advertise during the Super Bowl to introduce people to their brand altogether. This business might provide a product or service that people don’t always need or might only use once.

For these products, the goal of their advertising isn’t to net a specific number of new customers or increased revenue, it would be to accomplish the objective of telling people who they are.

Another example might be a company that just experienced a PR crisis. Their goal for advertising might be to change the narrative around their brand. A company that was recently involved in a scandal might want to promote their social responsibility.

Advertising during the Super Bowl won’t be so they can earn more money, it would be to get people to like their brand again.

So, in your small business, consider what your objectives might be & ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you need more people to learn about your business?

  • Are people confused about a service that you provide?

  • Are you trying to reach a new area?

When choosing to spend money on advertising, consider objectives you might be looking to accomplish and whether you were able to reach those goals with your marketing before judging a particular plan’s success or failure based entirely on revenue.

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