What CMOs Must Know: 5 Reasons Ads and Marketing Programs Fail
By Emil Walcek, President, EJW Associates Inc.
Have you heard this before? “We tried advertising. It didn’t work.” Or, even further out there: “Advertising doesn’t work in our industry.” As most CMOs know, dismissing advertising or any lead generation tool based on limited experience is foolhardy. However, considering the alternatives, (including word of mouth: slow; and personal sales calls: expensive and slow) good advertising can pay BIG dividends.
There is an art and a science to advertising that invites strong opinions, and everybody has at least one. Everybody may be an armchair art director, but think before you place your campaign’s success in “everybody’s” hands.
First, media choices today make it easier for sellers and buyers to pass each other like ships in the night. A single bad call during campaign planning, development and implementation can cause the best-intentioned ad to crash and burn. Do marketing right, and a lowered cost of sales will allow you to capture more market share with fewer dollars. Do it wrong, and costs rise as sales frustration builds with each sales lead NOT received, and your competitors gain control.
Tools may change, but human nature hasn’t. Sellers must still connect with buyers, and most of the time … buyers must want what’s being sold. Good marketing starts with the tenets of a good ad. Popularized by the venerable industrial marketing “Copy Chasers” of yesteryear, these ad secrets still apply to the successful design of virtually all sales vehicles (posted http://www.ejwassoc.com/tenets.php).
That said, ads fail for five reasons—all of them worth noting or passing along to your boss, client or CMO to help guide future discussions about what works in marketing in genral, what doesn’t and why:
1. Wrong message. A poor ad in the right media can cause the right prospects to whiz right by. Creative must attract, hold and inspire your target market. It must be designed to cause a reaction based on what you want the ad to accomplish.
2. In the wrong place. Prospects didn’t see the ad when and where they were looking. Which of your buying influencers use what media to find what they need? Should you be targeting mobile? Are you matching buyer demographics to your media buy? A less creative ad in the right place wins over the best ad in the wrong media. In direct marketing, it’s called the “three most important things”—namely: 1) the list, 2) the list, 3) the list. If more than the boss’s hunch has verified a good media decision, check ad positioning, timing.
3. Customers don’t need it (today). Odds are stacked against a one-hit ad wonder. Ads need to run more than once. It’s frequency, frequency, frequency. Every potential customer is not reading every publication, every page, every issue. It’s easy for even the right buyers to blow right past an ad when they’re not looking for a solution (yet!).
4. You had them, but lost them. This is otherwise known as poor conversion processing and tracking. How do you know your ad didn’t work? It’s easier than ever for buyers to remain anonymous right up until decision-making time. When do you need the one-two punch of an ad and landing page to inspire a response? Follow-up analysis is essential before writing off any aspect of a lead generation effort.
5. Mismatched expectations. Your marketing department may be pleased as punch with sheer volume of response, but the ad is not working if sales doesn’t receive qualified leads. Advertising goals must include both branding and sales deliverables in terms of qualified leads. Ad managers are shooting themselves in the foot if they expect high volume ad inquiry qualification to happen at the sales level.
Emil Walcek is founder and president of EJW Associates, Inc., a full service B to B marketing communications agency that plans, designs, and produces creative advertising, websites, PR, direct marketing, brochures, including commerce website design, development and hosting, SEM (search engine marketing), search engine optimizing (SEO), website visitor and site sales conversion analytics. Contact: 770-664-9322, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: September 21, 2011 By: