Why Didn’t My Advertising Get the Response I Wanted?

August 27, 2009 at 3:22 PM Leave a comment

This came across my desk today, and I had to share.  I’m not sure who it came from, or I would source it.  Please let me know if you know who originally wrote this piece so I can give credit where it is due! I have added some of my thoughts and observations to the piece.

1. The ad is placed in the wrong media. Before placing your ad in any publication, examine the readership information in its media kit to determine whether it reaches your target audience with a reasonably small amount of waste. For example, if you want to reach a larger audience check the audience numbers carefully to find out who is getting the publication or watching the station.

In addition, you need to make sure the demographics of the audience of your media choices matches closely to the demographics of your station.  I’ve seen many a high-end furniture store or automotive manufacturer essentially waste their advertising dollars on stations whose average audience’s income is too low to actually ever purchase their product.  Many advertisers quickly jump on cheap rates without considering the quality of the advertising medium they are buying.  In advertising, as in life, you often get what you pay for.

2. The ad is run on the wrong day. Search corridor media are those people reach for when they’ve made a decision to buy. You’ve probably noticed how, on any given day, your favorite section of the daily newspaper becomes a search corridor for a particular type of product. All the local banks may run ads on Mondays in the Business section, for example, or all the ads for audio equipment may run on Fridays in the Weekend section.

If you place an ad for audio equipment on Thursday in Main News instead of on Friday in the Weekend section with the other stereo advertisers, you’ve removed your ad from the search corridor. Prospects looking for audio equipment simply will not be looking for your ad in Main News on Thursday.

3. There are barriers to sales. If it’s too hard for prospects to get information or make a purchase, then no ad, no matter how well-produced, can work for you. When people respond to your ad, do they get stuck in voice-mail jail? Can they speak with a real person who is knowledgeable about the offer in the ad? Do they get a busy signal? If so, many prospects will give up and buy from someone else.

Often, an otherwise excellent ad will fail solely because the advertiser didn’t provide a toll-free number or website. If you ask prospects to spend their own money to find out about your product or service, you’re placing a significant barrier to sales in their way.

4. The offer is too weak or just plain wrong. Before placing an offer in your ad, it’s important to determine how it stacks up next to competitors’ offers. To find out, clip their ads regularly. And consider this: It’s not always important to beat the competition on price. Instead, find a way to add value with additional services or products.

Once you’ve hit on what you believe is your best offer, you may have to test it to see if you’re offering something your prospects want to buy. When a good ad with what you think is a top-flight offer fails to pull, strengthen the offer. Once you find an offer that improves your ad-response rates, stick with it until it stops working for you.

5. You aren’t advertising frequently enough. Companies that advertise consistently, such as regional banks, build up “awareness” among their target audiences. So if your local bank offers in its weekly ad a new service, such as one-hour approval on auto loans, it will probably reap a significant response, even though it’s the first time that particular ad has appeared.

If you’re a new advertiser, however, you haven’t yet built up awareness among your target audience, so you’ll have to run your ad with some frequency before it begins to garner responses. The frequency required depends on what you’re marketing, the complexity of your message, and how well your target audience understands your type of product or service.


From your experience, are there other aspects you should be checking to figure out where good ads go wrong?


Entry filed under: Advertising Tips.

How much should I be spending on advertising? Newspapers Growing Audience: Proven Success

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