Does Advertising Work?

Apparently advertising works, but you cannot be sure about any particular ad.

One consultant has told me that half of the advertising money is wasted, but knowing that misses two points.  No one knows which half and it is not the same half all the time and in every market. The idea is to keep at it and look for a return on investment that works for you.

If you need $4.00 of new revenue for each advertising dollar spent, it really does not matter if half the advertising generates $8.00 per dollar spent and the other half generates nothing.  Good advertising is a numbers game and it works.

Good ads get inside your head and become truth.

  • We all know we should visit the dentist twice a year because in the 1950’s Ipana toothpaste ran catchy ads that said so.
  • We know breakfast is the most important meal of the day because Grape-Nut Flakes cereal told us so in a series of ads in 1944.
  • We have all heard of Santa Claus, derived from a character in literature,  because Coca-Cola used him as a character in ads during the 1930s and following.  Coke winter sales were slow and they needed a hook.  How many of us instinctively leave Santa cookies and Coke on Christmas Eve.
  • Ronald McDonald has not appeared for more than a decade yet people know who and what he is.

Advertising is more art than science but the fundamentals are clear.

  • No one will buy your product or service until they know it is available, so you must get your message out.
  • You cannot sell everyone or even get everyone to pay attention to you.  Everyone is very expensive.  To get everyone’s attention for 30 seconds, once a year, would cost millions.
  • You do not want to deal with everyone.  Every business has customers they would prefer to not have. Focus on the ones you do want.

Advertising professionals can help you sort out who is your correct market and how you can reach them.  What sort of message you need, and delivered when, are matters of interest.  So is the product versus image ad.

Expensive ads tend to be image ads. They sell the idea of the product.cokesanta

Watch the Super Bowl.  You won’t see any 800 numbers with two for one deals.  Cheap ads move product today.  Image ads are hard to value while for product ads you can count the number of orders within an hour of when the ad ran.  Most businesses use both.

Everyone in business can learn some rudimentary advertising techniques and benefit from them.  As I wrote that, the thought occurred that high school students looking for dates could benefit too.  Maybe parents could advertise to their children to keep their room clean.

Advertising relies on persuasion and learning persuasion skills will benefit anyone.

Advertising relies on all three planning parameters.  Strategy – what do I want and when.  Tactics – how do I go about getting what I want.  Logistics – implementing my tactics.  People have trouble dealing with all three at once and should seek help.

It is hard to avoid getting your money back with well-placed, interesting ads.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  don@moneyfyi.com  866-285-7772

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