Heels Down Media | Hard Truths: Why Your Advertising Isn’t Working and What To Do About It
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Hard Truths: Why Your Advertising Isn’t Working and What To Do About It

If you’re wondering where you should spend your marketing dollars (or euros) to grow your business, please take some time to read this first.

“I put an ad in X magazine and didn’t really see any results. My friend’s business had success with Y website, I’m thinking of trying it…”.

Based on that testimonial, you would automatically assume X magazine isn’t a good media placement and that Y website is a much better choice, right?

Well, not necessarily. As a marketer, my first question would be: Can I see your ad and your friend’s ad? Beyond the choice of media channel, there are several reasons an advertising campaign can fail to meet expectations. Before you advertise, make sure your campaign doesn’t fall victim to these common mistakes.


1. Lack of compelling message:

As a consumer, how many ads do you see in one day? Thousands (the average daily brand exposure per person is 5,000+). How many grabbed your attention today? Probably less than a handful.

Most ads are bland and average and that’s one mistake you cannot make in today’s overloaded digital landscape. You have 15 seconds to grab the consumer’s attention with a powerful, remarkable message.

Average number of advertisement and brand exposures per day per person: 5,000+
Average number of “ads only” exposures per day: 362
Average number of “ads only” noted per day: 153
Average number of “ads only” that we have some awareness of per day: 86
Average number of “ads only” that made an impression (engagement): 12

Source: SJ Insights

Clear message, strong delivery

Clear message, strong delivery

2. Unclear purpose:


What are you trying to do with this ad? Position your brand? Gain a new market? Get a short-term sales boost? Increase the average purchase amount? Create customer loyalty? Your ad should have one specific purpose. Be very clear about the message. Don’t try to do too much because then the message gets diluted and the ad becomes ineffective.


3. Poor design


The image is unappealing, there’s too much text… if it’s boring, it doesn’t get noticed. The best ads are uncluttered, simple and visually stunning. Do this simple exercise: if you take away all the text, does the ad visually convey your message? Does it evoke emotion and tell a story?  Here are some examples.


4. Weak copy


Bland, cliché, boring…in most ads, the text seems to be almost an afterthought. How many times have you seen “top quality”,“choice of champions”? Surprise the audience with well-crafted, powerful copy that conveys your brand’s message. Here are examples of ads with strong copy.


5. Wrong audience


Who is your target? Know who you are speaking to and create the ad to appeal to that audience. If your target is millennials, you have to understand them and craft your ad in a manner that draws them in.

Nike understands its audience and knows how to talk to them.

Nike understands its audience and knows how to talk to them.


6. Stale ad


Your ad can be the most brilliant ad in the history of advertising but if you leave it on a website for months and months, no wonder you’re not getting results. Keep your ads fresh by changing them regularly.


7. Wrong expectations


Your brand is relatively unknown and you are launching a new product. You place an ad in a magazine or website during one month. It’s a fabulous ad so your sales should go up immediately, right? Well, not exactly. It’s important to have a clear understanding of how advertising works.


As a consumer, look at your last 3 purchases. How many of those were completely unfamiliar products from unfamiliar brands? I would bet none. You probably bought gas from the same gas station, same brand of toothpaste, had your favourite drink…


How many new products you had never heard of have you purchased in the last month? If any, it will be a handful.


If I ask in the last year… how many new unfamiliar products have you purchased? The number will be much higher.


Was the one ad placed one month in a magazine ineffective? Not necessarily.


Asking consumers to change their behaviour – to buy product X instead of Y – takes time and effort. The bigger the change in behaviour required, the more time and effort.


This blog post is getting long so I will refer you to this article that explains the A.I.D.A model taught to marketing students everywhere in consumer psychology classes. A.I.D.A. stands for “attention, interest, desire, action” and they are cognitive stages a person goes through in the buying process. Understanding it will help you craft an effective marketing plan.

Source: Smart Insights

Source: Smart Insights

8. Ad goes to a dead end


Your banner ad is fabulous, the prospect is intrigued, wants to learn more about your product, clicks on the ad and then lands on a website that looks like a maze. It’s uninviting information isn’t clear, there is no call to action… What is going to happen? They’re going to leave and you just lost a sale. You did everything right with your marketing but to convert a prospect into a sale, it’s essential to make the customer’s experience easy and smooth.

Ready to try advertising that works? Contact us today to coordinate an innovative campaign that will help you connect with your target audience: hello(at)heelsdownmedia.com.

Patricia Da Silva About the author

Publisher, marketer, brand builder. Selected as one of 25 of the most revolutionary leaders in the equestrian world by the Equestrian Trailblazers Summit.

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