CYCLOPS: Merchants need to give us a reason to spend money

The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.

As most of you have heard, the newspaper industry has struggled due to a downturn in traditional advertising.  However, the print media is not the only one facing the challenge.  Radio advertising has succumbed too, and television advertising is not robust.  Less people watch television in “real time,” with local news and non-cable channels being especially hard hit.

Advertisers, of course, want to put their money where it does the most good.  Online advertising is the most current nymph waving the magic wand, but with the exception of classified advertising (, many merchants report poor results from their online expenditures.  If websites are so successful by themselves in selling clothing, why is my mailbox stuffed with printed catalogues urging me to search the website?

The media market is obviously fragmented.  Getting my attention takes a different approach than opening the eyes of a 24-year-old millennial.  Selling Coca-Cola to a 55-year-old woman is different than selling the beverage to a 17-year-old male.

However, I also believe advertisers – especially locally-owned businesses – miss the mark by having a “business is lousy” attitude.  Many years ago I wrote a column for a newsletter, noting monthly excuses for not marketing a product or service. 

JANUARY – After Christmas, nobody has any money left to spend.

FEBRUARY – Bad weather keeps everyone at home.

MARCH – Everyone is worrying about paying income tax.

APRIL – After finally posting their tax payment in the mail, no one has any money left.

MAY – Everyone has “spring fever” or saving up for high school graduation gifts.

JUNE – Everyone is saving their money for vacation.

JULY – Everyone is on vacation.

AUGUST – It’s too hot to go out and shop.

SEPTEMBER – Everyone’s money goes for school tuition, supplies, and school clothes, leaving nothing left for other items.

OCTOBER – The World Series and football keeps people home.

NOVEMBER – The weather can turn nasty, and everyone is pre-occupied with Thanksgiving plans and the coming Christmas season.

DECEMBER – Duh, it’s Christmas.  After buying needed gifts, no one has any money left!

See, there you have it.  There isn’t a single month of the year that doesn’t include some excuse for not marketing.  Since there is no perfect time, merchants need to market their products and services year-round.  They must hustle 12 months of the year and employ various forms of advertising to different media outlets to reach the largest audience.

Like most of my readers, I have the money.  Merchants must give us a reason to spend it, and it doesn’t work just to open up their doors and hope we walk in. 


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