• Martian Man

    We all understand the concept of profit margin: push revenue up; suppress offsetting expenses; the wider the difference, the more money you get to keep. That money isn’t unused money; in fact, to us, it might be the most important money—because we can spend it more freely to pursue our personal goals.

    We understand the concept of margin in time management: organize your time; extricate wasted minutes or hours to be added to important commitments; the more time we find, the more we get to keep. It isn’t unused time; in fact, to us, it might be the most important time—free time—because we can spend it more freely to pursue our personal goals.

    Margin concentrates our attention, maximizes our energy, and builds our priorities. It allows us to do more with less. It is the Wizard-of-Oz magic that makes the most of what we already have.

    So, if we believe so strongly in the practical benefit of margin, why is it so difficult to apply it to our advertising? I’ve heard the answers: “We don’t have money in the budget for white space,” and “Too much information is better than too little,” and “We don’t want them calling us for information they can read for themselves.”

    Ad ComparisonHere are three samples of ads for the same [fictional] real estate auction. “A” shows a typical auctioneer’s ad. It’s pretty exhaustive but powers visual overload into the reader’s psyche. The small type is difficult to read (especially in newsprint); it looks like a lot to read.

    “B” cuts many of the details—needful only to those interested in attending the auction and/or purchasing—and gives the acquired space to the emphasis of the more important information.

    “C” strips the ad down to visual impact and easy-to-find direction to the next step. The reader is not given any information they don’t need yet. The advertiser lets the images—the property itself—sell the auction.

    To which ad do you gravitate? Which one is easiest to read? In which one does the property look most valuable? Which ad would positively stand out from your competition’s ads?

    The one with more margin. It’s not unused space; it’s space used to expand your brand.

    Your property may not be as easily sold with sparseness as a mountain retreat, but the pursuit of margin will almost always make your ads—and, thus, properties—more attractive to buyers. Motivated buyers will go to your web site or call; your job is to generate that motivation in the first interaction with your auction. That may mean the outside of a brochure, a sign on the property, or a print or online ad. But the idea’s the same: less is more.

    We use margin on our roads to build safety into our lives. We use margin in our homes so that we don’t have to crawl over furniture from the door to the fridge. We use margin in our clothing to keep us from ending up on a makeover show.

    It’s time we use margin to build our brands and push our competitors to consider a makeover.

    Taking it Personally

    The Bible asks us to build margin into our lives in many ways: time, money, relationships. It even asks us to build a margin from temptation. The farther we stay from the environments that always flip the wrong switch, the less likely we’ll—accidentally or intentionally—bump it to “ON.”

    That margin looks different to different people, as we each bear a unique set of Achilles heels. As we learn to extend grace to others with differing buffer zones, we are more able to imbibe God’s grace. The more grace we cognitively ingest, the more faith grows in us—and the stronger we grow to help others who share our struggles.

    Stock image(s) used by permission through purchase from iStockPhoto.com ©2008
    This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 at 11:00 pm and is filed under Adverpreneur, Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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