Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Who Needs to Advertise?

I've been seeing a TV commercial lately for Non-24 -- a sleep disorder for blind people.  They call it a "chronic circadian rhythm disorder."  I never thought about it much, but it totally makes sense to me that if you are blind that your sleep could easily get messed up.

What's weird to me is that there are enough people with this problem that it is worth the cost of an ad on morning TV on a major network (I see it during The Today Show, natch).  When I see advertising like this that I KNOW is super-expensive, it ends up making me question why they are putting so much money into advertising to what is a comparatively small market of end users. 

NOTE:  A google search says A 30 second commercial during Sunday night football is $550,000.

Weirdly the naysayer/pessimist in me thinks things like this are SO unusual that I think they must have been forced to advertise by a class-action law suit or something.  But of course, it's their money to spend when its a for-profit company and if their shareholders and board members don't care, why am I sticking my nose in it?

There is another thing I'm questioning lately -- I've been receiving lots of mailings from non-profits that seem a little unusual too.  Monthly and bi-monthly cards telling me about their agencies and what they do. 

I believe that I am receiving them because of where I live -- the mailings seem to be going to a purchased list -- as I have no personal connection to these groups.

A mailing costs a lot of money and buying a list is also expensive. 

NOTE about ROI for non-profit mailings:  Just so you know, non-profit statistics say that mailing to a purchased list will result in less than a 1% return. 

So why are these charitable groups spending their donated funds this way?

I have no idea.
  • Maybe they had a donor who believes in advertising who gave them the money and designated it for this purpose.
  • Maybe their board thought it would help them get the word out and help fundraising down the road.
  • Maybe the charity is desperate -- for donors, for clients, for something we don't know about.
Now, I'm not saying that all mailings and advertising are bad -- I am the first one to scream with joy when one of our corporate donors let's us have the use of one of their billboards for free.  I also believe in mail -- we work hard at Community Partners of Dallas to make sure that everything we send you has meaning and purpose and (of course) looks cute and is appealing.

But we don't buy lists.

If you are kind enough to give us some of your hard-earned money, you can be sure that it will be spent helping the abused and neglected children of Dallas County, not on paying for a survey to (maybe) tell us if you know who we are, paying for a mailing list, nor for commericals nor billboards. 

We know who our friends are and we're not asking you without permission.


  1. Well said Paige, I am right there with you. Just like the phone solicitations we receive, when I donate my time or money I like to see those in need receiving the benefit.

  2. Thanks, Traci -- I appreciate your reading and comment!