10 Advertising Blunders to Avoid
any company, $1 million is a lot to lose. Companies with $100 million
in revenue may spend as much as $10 million on advertising, so they
need to spend it wisely. Advertising can be the biggest expenditure
after salaries and benefits, as much as 5% -10% of the budget. Even if yours isn’t a $100 million company, you don’t want to waste
your hard-earned advertising dollars. Nor do you want to put out the
wrong message because you’ve failed to craft an ad that most appeals
to potential customers.
When you watch out for these ten common advertising gaffes, you’ll get
the most marketing bang for your buck.
#1: Not understanding your
target audience. When determining an advertising plan, consider everyone who might purchase the product. A product for kids might
focus on parents and grandparents, as well as children; they all have
an influence on the purchase decision.
When you’ve decided
you’re targeting, consider how:
what will best motivate a consumer to respond to your ads? Research
services like Nielsen for television and Arbitron for radio can help
you unearth this type of information. Competitive Media Reports can
also allow you to see where your competitors are advertising.
#2: Delivering the wrong
message. You can usually best appeal to your target market by clearly
stating the benefits of the product and making sure those benefits are
relevant to that target audience’s needs or “hot buttons”.
Certain types of ads, such as for weight loss, hair restoration, and
skin care products, demand “Before” and “After” shots to give
the product credibility, show results, and deliver a positive message
about the company’s belief in its product and what it can do for the
#3: Not running ads often
enough. You’ll generally need three exposures to build awareness and
motivate someone to respond to an ad. By spreading your advertising
over too many different types of media, your intended audience might
not get those three exposures.
Based on your budget, focus on the highest-performing media for your type
of product; this will allow your target audience to see the ad enough
times to build awareness. Research services like MRI research can help
you with this. They survey 26,000 consumers every year. You give them
information, and they give you research tailored to your needs, such
as the television networks and shows your target audience watches with
the highest frequency.
#4: Utilizing the wrong
media to reach your target prospects. Seniors still don’t use the
Internet as much as younger people do. So if you have a senior
product, focusing your marketing efforts on the Internet might not be
a good idea. If you’re trying to reach a niche audience, TV or radio
might not be the best fit, since they reach a mass audience. Consider
a specialty print publication like a trade journal or a local interest
publication to more effectively reach potential customers.
#5: Choosing award-winning
over results-getting. Creative people in some ad agencies can be more
concerned about an ad’s concept or look than they are with whether
it will actually sell. Be careful of a creative team who try to sell
you on advertising that doesn’t feel right to you. An ad can be cool
or “artsy,” look beautiful or be hilarious, but if it doesn’t
generate results, it’s of
no benefit to you.
#6: Not focusing on the consumer’s needs. It should go without saying that an ad must
convince consumers that the product or service will meet their needs.
Some companies still try to dictate what they feel their ads
need to communicate, often, because they are too close to the product
If you feel too involved in the production of the ad, you can take the ad
to a focus group. Even when you know who
might buy your product, you may not know how
to get them to buy it. Outsiders’ opinions can be invaluable,
especially those of experts who understand how to communicate more
effectively with that consumer.
#7: Not developing a
complete advertising campaign. One ad probably won’t thoroughly
inform your prospects. A single ad may work for a while but stops
being effective as the consumer stops paying attention. You may need
to develop a campaign to
communicate a complete message. Also, another ad or a series can help
you capture people’s attention you weren’t able to get with a
single ad. Usually a campaign consists of several ads over the course
of the year to appeal to people through different strategies.
#8: Not understanding the
seasonality of various products and services. Consider the peak times
of year for your product or services when you’re developing an
advertising campaign. Products or services that change consumers’
lives or images will benefit from advertising the first of the year,
as people make (and try to keep) resolutions.
TV viewing itself is seasonal. When the weather is bad, people watch more
TV and response to advertisements tends to be better, whereas when the
weather is better, people watch less TV. In April, we all have to pay
taxes, so people generally spend less money on consumer goods. Even
products that sell well all year long may do better at some times than
others, so you should cut back a little when it’s slower and beef up
advertising during peak times.
#9: Not incorporating your
website into your advertising program. An increasingly large
percentage of consumers are going to websites to make their purchases,
so you must have a strong website and include its address in all your
advertising. One advertiser who had a website for a high-end product
hesitated to promote the site for a year, thinking their telemarketing
program was superior. When they finally advertised the site, sales
increased 15% virtually overnight!
#10: Copying a
competitor’s advertising approach. Strive to be original, and it
will pay off. By copying a competitor’s ad, you may just be building
further awareness for your competitor. You need to be innovative in
your advertising approach to differentiate your business from theirs
if you want to gain the advantage. The AFLAC duck and the GEICO gecko
are examples of ways companies were able to gain top of mind awareness
with the effective use of humor. If another company were to use a
goose or lizard in their ads, consumers would still likely think of
Million Bucks, Not a Million Mistakes: Lots
of careful research, planning, and hard work go into developing
successful advertising. Your ads must be smart, creative, and
well-placed to reach your desired market and make them want what you
sell. By avoiding these ten common advertising errors, you can use
your ad dollars more effectively, get more response to your ads, and
rake in greater revenue.
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