By Mark Combs, Cre8iveDept.com
I understand, running a business is tough. Tons to do. Even more to think about. But, have you thought about how you are wasting those precious few advertising dollars? We see money wasted everyday in advertising, here are some of the most common ways:
1) Inconsistency – Roller-coaster advertising is not as fun as it sounds. Roller-coaster advertising is when companies don’t stay in front of their customers. Business slows down so the company responds by doing some advertising. They soon get busy and the attention gets directed to serving the recent influx of business. Soon, that new business is starting to wane, and its time to ramp up the ad machine again. If you will consistently advertise to your perfect customer your roller-coaster will level out and you can ride that train to the bank.
2) “Me Too” Advertising – Do you remember the “Got Milk?” campaign? Of course you do. Its one of the best campaigns of the 90’s. Do you remember all the knockoff campaigns that it spawned. T-shirts, billboards, magazine ads everywhere had “Got _______?” in that nice narrow font. Do you remember any of the companies that did the knockoffs? I didn’t think so. “Me Too!” advertising is jumping on a band wagon of a concept or tactic that works. Unfortunately, the “me too”ers seldom see the same returns. Be original, set the bar and let everyone else say “Me Too!” to your advertising.
3) Shotgun Advertising – This spray and pray method of advertising to EVERYONE is costly and not very profitable. It gets expensive trying to flood the marketplace with your message in hopes of hitting the perfect customer. Every time your message lands on the wrong customer you waste money. You may wonder why “the big boys” use so much of the mass market advertising, its because they can afford to. But in recent years they are learning that targeting specific customers that are ideally compatible with their message is paying off more than hitting everyone with the same ad.
4) Wrong Vehicle – Using mass transit advertising to market a kitchen utensil to stay at home moms doesn’t sound like a good Idea, right? It’s not. Stay at home moms are called that for a reason. They stay at home. They don’t use mass transit very often. So why do companies use advertising vehicles that won’t reach their perfect customer? Choose the advertising vehicle that best fits the needs of that one customer that your product speaks directly to. Its kind of like using a tank to go water skiing, it might pull you but it won’t work that well.
5) Wrong Customer – Have you tried to sell tractors to a stock broker? It ain’t easy. Choosing the right customer is half of the battle in advertising. Many companies say our target market is the whole world. That is a bit of a contradiction. Take an inventory of what needs your product or service fills. Look at what customers have the demographic and psychographic qualities that fit your product offer. Then work to craft a message that speaks directly to them and their needs. They are the right customer, speak to them.
6) Too Big – Every year a few companies spend millions on a single 30 second spot during the super bowl. If you remember the DotCom boom the Super Bowl broadcast was filled with quirky sometimes weird ads that “promoted” a website. A few years later, 90% of those companies were no where to be found. Would that money been better used in a consistent, targeted, custom message to the right customer? Guaranteed. Would they still be in business today? No way to know. My advice, don’t spend advertising dollars on placement that is beyond your reach. Especially if your haven’t tested the message. Think Big, Work Small.
7) Too Small – Money is tight. I get it. But, try to push yourself to the next level when it comes to your ad budget. I know it sounds weird after the last point. But I said the “next” level not the next stratosphere. If you wish to reach your perfect customer, they have to know you exist. You must let them know what you offer and how it meets their needs. Test your message as cheaply as you can. When you find a message that works, go big. Take a few risks, step out of your comfort zone. To get something different, you must do something different.
8) Poor Brand – What is your brand? Your brand is your look, your message, your value, your overall marketing message. Do you have a strong brand? Can you convey your message in 2 sentences? Do you speak to your Perfect Customer with every market touch point? Do the answers to these questions evade you? That probably means your brand isn’t as strong as it should be. Branding is probably the most important part of advertising. Invest in your brand, it pays dividends.
If you can avoid these few mistakes, your advertising can be the life-blood of your business. If you fear making an advertising mistake, send us an email at [email protected] we be glad to help you through it.