1. Advertising doesn’t work
After spending ten years in the field of advertising, I’ve carefully noted the difference between an effective ad campaign and a dismal failure, so a blanket statement like this one irks me because it closes off any useful examination of why an ad is or isn’t working.
If advertising “didn’t work”, would so many smart, savvy business people annually throw away billions of dollars? Of course they wouldn’t. People who run a profitable business use advertising effectively when it is appropriate.
I realize my arguments may come across as self serving. After all, I am an advertising representative. If that’s the case, the next myth I list will surprise you!
2. Advertising does works
“What?” I hear you complaining. “How can you state the exact opposite of the first myth as the second myth?” If you’re still with me, let me explain...
Advertising can’t manipulate people to buy something they don’t want to buy. Neither can an exceptional salesperson. Such a person would never be selling ‘igloos to Eskimos’ or other such nonsense phrases that supposedly describe a quality sales process.
Realize that, roughly speaking, thirty-two percent of the population will never ever want what you are providing, thirty-two percent haven’t yet considered it, another thirty-two percent might be interested and want more information, and the final four percent want what you have right now. So who should you be focusing your advertising on?
3. Cutting back on advertising saves you money
So does firing your sales people or turning off your electricity. It’s a short term solution for a larger problem. Take time to work out what you can reasonably afford on a continuing basis and think of your advertising bill the same way you think of your electric bill. No one likes to pay bills, but that’s the price for doing business.
I don’t mean resign yourself to paying a bill needlessly if you know your advertising isn’t effective – which leads me to the next prolific myth.
4. Advertising should be left to the experts
No one knows the workings of your company and your industry like you do, unless you’re just starting out, in which case you have done your research. Advertising reps come with different levels of expertise.
Here are three things to review before you choose to work with an ad rep:
- Does the ad rep have any testimonials? Take the time to confirm at least one of them.
- Call several companies that are currently advertising with the advertising representative’s product and ask them if they are satisfied with their service.
- You want to reach as many of your potential customers as possible for a reasonable price, so find out what the reach (distribution) of the ad representative’s product has and then confirm it.
5. I can decide what to say after I start advertising.
I always advise clients to spend a good deal of time deciding what their ads will say and to plan an unbroken chain of actions and incentives that builds a relationship with your customer and your business. Only then will they decide to spend money with you.
Effective advertising is all about the message. An effective message that reaches your audience on an emotional level will be effective, no matter where you decide to place it. With the right message, all you need to do is make sure the advertising medium you choose reaches the right audience for a fair price.
Mathieu Powell has spent a decade studying the art of advertising. His specialty is communicating effectively with older adults about things of concern for them. Contact him if you want a lively conversation about your advertising.