A recent thread on the Game Store Resource Forum (if you are not familiar with it, the GSRF is hosted by Brian Guenther of Diversified Games and is a forum for aspiring game store owners to ask questions of those already owning and/or managing game stores, hopefully to keep them from making mistakes already made multiple times) dealt with advertising, specifically what forms of advertising should he use?
Advertising is necessary for any business to succeed. Word of mouth is great and works extremely well to reach a limited target market. However, to get word out beyond that immediate group, you need some form of mass communication. A famous story, attributed to William J. Wrigley of the eponymous chewing gum company, tells of the time Wrigley flew back from a business meeting and was discussing his highly successful company with a companion. The conversation turned to advertising and the companion asked Wrigley, “Your company is one of the best known companies in the world. Wrigleys’ Spearmint and Doublemint gum sell at stores throughout the company. I can’t walk into a grocery store and not see Wrigley’s products, yet you spend millions of dollars a year advertising a product found in the pockets of every boy and girl in America. Why?”
Wrigley thought for a moment then pointed out the window. “For the same reason the pilot doesn’t turn off the engines once we are airborne. Advertising is the engine that propels our sales.”