All advertising should get a return on investment. Most businesses do advertise, so why not do it better? Learn, read, research and hire consultants to help you. Don’t assume you know everything at your organization. Believe me, more often not, people use bad ads for their business. Most marketing people have less than five years of experience. Many advertisers are more interested in what their peers think than selling product and improving GNP.
David Ogilvy is often quoted when people talk about advertising that get results. I saw a piece in 1999 that is just as true today that had some tips for how to look at advertising, endorsements and other important advertising considerations (see it here http://bit.ly/28EuiU). Read Ogilvy’s book “Ogilvy on Advertising.” There is a reason that he built one of the largest advertising agencies. One main reason is that he tested everything.
Let’s back up for second and talk about the traditional advertising stages. The Advertising process looks something like this for most products or services:
In the age of social media and SEO split page testing, people often test which ads perform best in ONLY the last two phases: Persuasion and Sale.
However, in my experience, some of the greatest marketing feats happen because people improve upon awareness. It is number #1 for a reason. An article in the October 2009 Quirk’s Marketing Research Review suggests that a 10% increase awareness yields a 1% increase in market share. In a new market or where you have lower awareness, awareness may be more directly related to market share – like one to one - a 1% increase in awareness yields a 1% increase in market share. And let’s not forget, for many organizations a 1% increase in market share is millions of dollars.
Part of the reason that awareness is so important is that people can move from awareness to purchase much faster than they used to. With a good web site, organizations are able to move potential customers from stage 2-6 (above) without even talking to them. Once people are customers, a good website can sell the customers on launch after launch or product upgrade after upgrade just by drawing the customer back to the web site when new things come out. Does your advertising direct people to your website. A thirty second advertisement can get a customer to your website for 20 minutes or more.
It’s interesting that organizations often market big and then test big, with big budgets and big advertising spending and big research.
But, it is also possible to test some ideas, themes and copy test to see what should work, and then roll it out small. Then, once you’ve got proof it works, roll it out large and fine tune as you scale it out. This avoids the big spend and expensive realization that your advertising isn’t making sales. And, although bosses and CEOs don’t want to believe it, there are ads that are not tested that actually decrease sales of product because they lessen people’s interest in a company, product or service.
It’s funny that newspapers often don’t utilize editorial advertisements even though they are the experts at editorial ads and editorial advertisements work. Some people suggest that 80% of advertisements are not read as soon as people can tell that it is an advertisement.
If you are in marketing, you may not be like most of the world, so you have to test. A celebrity endorsement loses power as soon as people recognize the celebrity is just a sales tool.
The key to advertising is to have the value to the customer come screaming through. Not the value to you as an analytical researcher or “text book” savvy marketing exec, but the value to the customer that get’s them to buy. If you are a small organization, it may be a complete waste of your advertising dollars to be doing “branding” when what you really need is advertising that makes sales. It is the value that comes through to the customer – both stated and unstated – that makes them buy. This goes for city governments as well. Pollsters will identify what is important to people is ”the fire department.” What they miss is that people will always find the Fire Department important, that does not mean they want to spend any more on the Fire Department. The value of the bond measure for Fire Department improvements will not pass until voters (City’s customers) see the value of the bond passing.
For many potential customers, the fact you are trying to sell ANYTHING is a turn off, therefore just being identifiable as an ad is bad. You better test your approach if you want an ROI.