( Originally Published 1898 )
Some time ago one of the largest and most liberal advertisers in a leading Eastern city had a successful sale of a stock of goods obtained through the failure of a competitor. The man who failed had a large capital invested in his business. He carried a line of goods above the average for completeness and desirability. There seemed to be no reason for his failure, except one. His store was poorly advertised.
In one of the advertisements of the firm which bought the stock the statement was made: "The store was poorly advertised, so poorly, indeed,that few people knew of the existence of so great a business house anywhere east of Main street."
This transaction furnishes an object lesson that is most conclusive. The man who failed advertised, but he did not advertise right, or enough. His stock was sold out by the advertiser who did advertise properly and liberally.
Advertising is the most useful of all the tools of business, but it has a razor edge. The man who handles it carelessly is sure to wish he hadn't. The mere fact that a man advertises is by no means an insurance of business success. He must give constant, careful thought to the subject. It is the only part of his business which will never run itself. You can get any other department in the business down to such a system that it will require very little thought, but the successful advertiser must be always alert and must never take his hand off of the advertising rudder for an instant.
Every day people are gaining more and more confidence in advertising. More and more of them are turning to the advertising columns of the papers for information. There is no doubt about this.
The business men who fail to appreciate it are likely to find them-selves so far behind the times that they will never catch up. It is always better to advertise a little too much than not quite enough. It is better to use a little more time than is necessary in the consideration of advertising and the preparation of advertisements than it is to be ever so little careless about it.