Why Isn't Your Advertising Working?

7th May, 2009

I've just been reading Dave Trott's blog on Brand Republic which got me thinking that I should pen to paper (or keystrokes to screen).

When people say that advertising doesn't work they seem unswayed by the plethora of success stories that are out there or even by our own case studies (one of our clients saw a 1000% increase in sales on the back of a campaign we produced!).

Sometimes a campaign doesn't have the desired effect which could be for all sorts of outside factors or unforseen cicumstance but sometimes advertising doesn't work because of the client. There I've said it. "Go on, blame the client for agency failings" I hear you cry but I can say - hand on heart - that sometimes it's the client that stops advertising working and here are a few examples:

  • Clients Don't Take Advice - if you go to the effort and expense of getting an agency to professionally create, design and implement your advertising then trust them. Let them do the job you asked them to do, they can be impartial and look at the campaign with your target audience's eyes rather than from the inside looking out.
  • Death by Committee - I've harped on about this before but the truth is that if you ask lots of people for their opinion then they are going to give it. "Don't hire a master to paint you a masterpiece and then assign a roomful of schoolboy-artists to look over his shoulder and suggest improvements" (Dave Trott).
  • I Don't Like It - Youdon't have to like the image, the colour or even the message - as long as your customers do! Your agency should be advising what is best for your customers and not what will please you.
  • We've Always Done It This Way - You have to be prepared to change your approach to market and embrace different media, tone and style if appropriate. The most successful brands are those that continually develop and re-establish themselves and this should come across in your advertising. So if you have been running the same radio advert for 2 years or the same line-and-price in the local newspaper then let your agency off the leash.
  • Indecision - Dithering can be costly if you miss the best time to advertise so clients should be decisve and either approve or reject the idea - don't sit on the fence.

If you can see a little bit of yourself in any of the above you may want to reconsider the effectiveness of your advertising and give your agency a chance to do what you pay them for.

Jason Edge

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