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For your advertising to work you need it to reach the right customer and to make it easy for them to remember your name or product. To do that, a potential customer needs to see and hear your message a number of times. The old “adage” says they need to hear an advertising message 8 or 9 times before they will even consider buying the product (aka “frequency”).  There are a lot of other prerequisites for advertising to work including the need for good branding & positioning, a consistent message, a memorable visual, a clear & unique selling proposition, a convincing call to action and many more things too numerous to mention here.

Advertising is one of those things that can look simple, but has a lot going on “behind the scenes”.  It has a lot of interdependent elements that only work when ALL those pieces are done and done right.  Naturally, each one of those “pieces” costs money to do (professionally) and as a result clients pick & choose which projects they want, to the exclusion of other items that are often critical to something else working.  No one can blame an advertiser for letting budget constraints drive his or her choices…of course not, but if you’re guilty of doing that, then you have to stop blaming your advertising consultant when your advertising doesn’t work!

Here’s what I’m talking about – let’s say you hire a pro to conduct a direct mail campaign for you and they create an intelligent post card that considers who the target market is and all the other essential factors needed for a good advertising piece. The mailing goes out and the call to action drives the consumer to your website to get more complete information and to begin the sales process.  BUT you lose the sale because your website sucks.  The site is old and doesn’t match the new campaign and oh yes, it was written by your son in law’s lawn boy who does weekend websites…and quite frankly it stinks (but you don’t really KNOW this because you really like your website….as a matter of fact you participated in making it and you think it’s just fine).  However, it still may suck because in advertising it does not matter if you like it or not, nor does it matter if your daughter likes it or your neighbor or all of your employees.  It ONLY matters if your customer likes it.  Or better yet, it only matters if it makes your customer decide to purchase your product.  NOTHING ELSE MATTERS…and if you have an advertising person who doesn’t get this then you need to get a new ad person.

It’s hard to find competent help and it’s even harder to let go and let other people do what they’re trained to do especially when it comes to advertising & marketing. BUT we’re not talking about FINE art here…we’re talking about finding a way to elicit a reaction out of your customer and to sell your products.  Save your likes and dislikes for something OTHER than your company’s advertising or marketing materials.  Find an intelligent marketing person who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth & then give them a budget and let then help you figure out what you CAN accomplish within those constraints.  Most of the time a client comes to us and already knows what they want to do, with very little consideration of whether or not that one project or ad piece will do anything all by itself.  Also, we’re usually damned if we do and damned if we don’t – because if we push too hard then the client gets mad at us for being too pushy; but if we let them have their way, then they blame us if the advertising doesn’t work.

Advertising & marketing is about building a set of consistent materials that are visually attractive & intelligently designed using the decades of knowledge & experience & data we have about what makes people buy thingsBe honest with yourself;  if you’ve been trained to do this type of work, then go ahead and manage your own advertising projects. But if not, stand aside and let an educated & experienced professional do it for you.  Trust them to write the content, trust them to art direct the design and trust them to pick which projects will be best for you.

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