Advertising says nothing

Why Advertising Doesn’t Work

How many times have you been contacted by an enthusiastic (even a not-so-enthusiastic) advertising sales exec pitching a completely random online or printed medium to you at a rock bottom ‘buy it now’ price?

They might even tell you that they saw your advert somewhere and you’re thinking ‘The only response I’ve had to that is other sales people ringing me to buy more advertising!’

So, what happens, you might take this ‘cheap’ advert and tell them to repeat that one they saw, and then you forget about it until the bill comes in, by which time you can’t even remember what it was for. And so the cycle continues.

In the meantime you have no idea whether any of your advertising is working effectively and assume that it probably isn’t. So does this mean that advertising doesn’t work? What it does mean is that the way you’re doing it isn’t.

As a buyer and former seller of media space, here are 12 useful tips on how to ensure that advertising gets a fair shot and maximises your value on spend.

1. Select your advertising vehicle in accordance with your target audience – are they looking in local papers, national magazines, in specialist areas, or seeking things out online etc?

2. Challenge that media, especially if they call you. Ask them to qualify why they feel you would benefit (that shouldn’t result in them listing their attributes, but how they are of direct benefit to your specific business). Ask for circulation, distribution or visitor details and how those are verified – it’s all about £££s per viewer.

3. Ask them to show/send you an example, especially if it’s a publication. They might pressure you with a last minute sell, but that’s their fault not yours, they should have contacted you earlier. It might sound good on the phone and be completely wrong in reality.

4. Decide what you want your adverts to achieve; yes we know it’s more sales, but is that through footflow to your premises, to your website, to your telephone….?

5. Make your advert visual, with good quality images and professional design – a picture paints 1000 words remember.

6. State your message loudly at the top, solve a consumer problem with it – what is the USP that your audience will buy into at that time? Keep it simple, people graze before they gaze at adverts. The days of subtle subliminal messaging is gone, it needs to be direct to grab their attention.

7.  Make sure your advert tells them what to do; Come in, go to your website, call up to book …. and ensure that contact info is clearly there. Regardless, a web address is always good to promote as people often look there to see a bigger picture of what you offer. Of course how that site is presented could determine whether they bother to come and see you.

8. Be consistent with your identity and your presence. Remember, Repetition Builds Recognition Builds Reputation. Don’t be a fly-by-night one hit wonder and expect miracles – would you keep taking your road sign or website up and down?

9. Monitor your advertising – with codes, offers specific to that media, even by asking enquiries how they found you but remember sometimes ‘I saw your website‘ sometimes means, ‘I saw an advert and looked on your website‘. Consult your website data too.

10. Don’t knee jerk your budget away with cheap deals, have a forward plan of where, when, why and how, then keep a bit in hand for the odd flutter. Befriend your chosen media so they can advise of their best features, timings, positions etc

11. Negotiate your rates – forward booking will help, and ask for added value eg editorial, extra online add-ons etc

12. Keep track of your advertising history; What you did, where you did it, how much is cost … and then think about what business would have been like without it.

In Marketing, PR says ‘Like us‘, general marketing says ‘We’re over here’, and Advertising says ‘Buy this now‘… and when you get it right it really does work.

Minx Media Ltd trains and coaches on Marketing and Selling techniques and practices. Look on and follow our Twitter and Facebook.

3 thoughts on “Why Advertising Doesn’t Work

  1. Thanks for the advertising tips! Personally I like free marketing strategies but you still have to follow a lot of the rules you mentioned or you’ll just waste your time spinning your wheels. Thanks again!

    -Eric Out-

    1. Hi Eric
      Advertising is just one element of Marketing and of course there are so many platforms out there. I’m always interested to hear when people comment of ‘FREE’ marketing, as just because something may cost little hard cash, the investment of time, energy, resources and creativity is never really free. As long as the activity brings quantifiable returns any marketing, financial or otherwise,that’s what counts. Keep on Marketing 🙂

      1. Absolutely! Everything costs something… Time, Energy, Money ect… That’s why the tips you mentioned are so important no matter the strategy.

        -I’m Out- 😉

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