These days, when business owners or marketing professionals decide to promote a product, service, invention or idea, there are over 100 paths for them to choose from.  Choosing the wrong one can lead to negligible, or even disastrous, results.

For many, effectively gaining exposure (and ultimately, sales or customers) is the not-so-fine art of trial and effort, guesswork and a prayer for good luck.

Advertising pros too often fall all over themselves trying to create an award-winning ad for each new client. Sadly, they only sometimes use tools such as demographics, marketing surveys, test advertising and news releases in their attempts to conjure up a winning campaign.  Even worse, they often strive to create industry award-winning ads that may or may not bring a single customer into the place of business!

Often, both novices and pros alike choose gimmicky jingles and slogans, or potentially annoying cutesy advertising in an attempt to win sales and customers—usually not very successfully.  In fact, many such ads turn off potential customers.

A great marketing man, when asked how he succeeded in packing his clients’ stores with so many customers, once said, “It’s easy; once you find a compelling truth about your product or service and communicate it to the right people, you’re bound to have a success.” Truth in advertising, what a concept!

He once saved a major retail outlet by advertising that unless enough people came in to take advantage of a holiday sale, the store would be forced into bankruptcy!  The store was swamped with customers, and the business was saved. Heartfelt, compelling truth is a powerful marketing tool.

Although compelling truth may be a foreign concept to high-powered Madison Avenue hucksters, it is eagerly being sought by people all the way from skate-clad grudge crowd teens, to graying baby boomers and salt-of-the-earth seasoned citizens.  People everywhere are tired of being lied to and are eagerly seeking the almost spiritual power of truth.

I’m amazed at how much advertising is wasted saying absolutely nothing except, “We’re in business, we’re the best, so buy from us, PLEASE.”

When Pammy (my former now deceased wife) and I wrote and designed a direct mail package for the purpose of promoting Project Blue Bird, a national campaign to help Bluebird survival and population recovery, we kept asking each other, “What’s the compelling truth here?” And we used that truth in promoting the campaign.  As I mentioned earlier, our mailings brought a 55 percent response!  Phenomenal—just from telling the truth!

Another time, I used heartfelt, compelling truth to write a press release about a well-known local musician.  The resulting response from my friends in the media was more than phenomenal; slightly over 2,200 press credits resulted from that single release, in one day!

The value of using compelling truth in advertising, marketing and publicity, as in the examples above, is incalculable. People recognize truth when they hear it and will be drawn to do business with someone who is truthful with them.

Along with the truth, reliable old standby methods such as “sell the sizzle, and not the steak,” and “unique positioning is king” can still make cash registers jingle. Last but not least, it’s important to demand marketing and advertising that gets results.

Repetition, familiarity, consistency and your ability to stay in the game will greatly enhance one’s opportunity for success.

Look at sales this way: It’s the LIFEBLOOD of any business. So take care of business. Do a better than adequate job. Pay your salespeople well. Reach out to your public with high-quality pieces. If you don’t, they will never know about you.

We all live in a work-a-day world. How fortunate you are if your work time is spent doing what you enjoy and you get to add a few zeros to your paycheck at the end of each week. Remember: A business entity’s existence and quality of survival is proportionately related to the amount that it puts out. Put yourself out in big numbers and expect big numbers to return.

Finally, test market everything that leaves your office. Once you come up with a winner—and you will—roll it out. It takes persistence, practice, choice, thought, a little elbow grease and burning the midnight oil.

Like what you’ve read? Buy Jay’s book, Grow Yourself Rich, available for download now.