Advertising for Small Business Pt1: The Three Initiatives

The Three Initiatives: The Lead, The Delayed Offer and the Simultaneous Offer

In Miyamoto Musashi’s famous “Book of Five Rings”, he outline the rules of engagement on the battlefield of feudal Japan as being made up of three initiatives. He stated that all fighting is made up of the “lead”, the “delayed counter” and “simultaneous counter”. What does this have to do with advertising though?

Well as it turns out, thanks to Musashi we now have a great understanding of what “rules of engagement” are. And what is the one thing that advertising is built upon? Engagement!

So, while Musashi was really only talking about samurai sword fighting, it turns out that the three initiatives can be perfectly translated to Advertising. Almost all advertising can be separated into these same three initiatives. To avoid confusion, we’re going to replace “counter” with “offer” as advertising comes back to an offering of a product or a service.

The Lead

Firstly, almost all businesses will at some point utilise a lead. For the record, we are not talking about a sales lead (which is happens as a product of advertising), but a lead advertisement. A lead advertisement is an advertisement which does not mention a product, and is not designed to generate direct sales. A Lead advertisement is designed to build brand awareness, and may not directly reference a product or a service. A lead advertisement can be anything from a sporting sponsorship to a meme. The lead is designed to generate interest, and to build some engagement from your audience.

The Delayed Offer

The next initiative in advertising can be considered the most divisive. The delayed offer is an advertisement that makes reference to a “coming soon”, or “in cinemas this summer”. The delayed offer is used to build hype in a product or service. The divisive nature of a delayed offer stems from the fact that “hype” is risky, and it can backfire spectacularly.

The Simultaneous Offer

Lastly, the simultaneous offer is an advertisement that discusses the features and benefits of a product or service. Generally, the simultaneous offer refers to the advertisement that is concerned a particular product or service. The simultaneous offer is most often use to directly generate sales, and can be a great finisher to get a customer across the line.

In the next few parts to this series, we will explore how a small business can use these advertisements to their advantage.

Written by David Jackson, Founder and CEO of FundX