Advertising Ignored Is Advertising Wasted

Just recently there was a piece by Steve McKee in BusinessWeek about why your business advertising might not be working so well. The article was prompted by the results of an AdweekMedia poll on social network site  LinkedIn where respondents were asked, “Of the ads you see in a typical day, how many engage your attention?”
Wanna guess what the answers were?
Two thirds of the respondents (I count myself as among their number) or 66%, answered “a small minority of them”; while another 25% answered “none of them”. Think about this for a second… 91% of the audience have managed to ignore the best efforts of advertising geniuses all across the web. Gripe about the limitations of Internet surveys all you want, even so these results cannot be ignored. Want even more proof of how good we all are at filtering ads? Consider your own experience… how many ads do you find truly memorable? Probably not that many.
In the poll, men were more apt not to be engaged by the ads they saw in a typical day. Another 29% from the all-important 18-24 year old demographic lived up to the reputation that young adults are an audience that gives advertisers trouble. Yet another problem area, a bit surprisingly perhaps, is business owners themselves, these busy souls are more likely to ignore ads they see each day.
The BusinessWeek piece goes on to give 7 reasons why your own advertising efforts might not be doing your business justice. As an advertising professional with more years in the business than I care to admit, all of these reasons, though seemingly obvious, have merit and can help you create advertising that stands out from the clutter.
Short and sweet, here are McKee’s suggestions:

  1. Ads must offer information, entertainment or engagement — without at least tow, your ad is in trouble.
  2. Ads are extensions of your brand (product or service) and should focus on giving not getting.
  3. Be different, do things that have never been done before, and be prepared that initially at least, people might not like it.
  4. Ads need to focus on one single, compelling idea or point, with flair.
  5. Give it time, it will take more than one exposure to get your message to sink in.
  6. Your ads are for your target market, not for you. You don’t have to “like” your ads in terms of color or style, but your audience does.
  7. Ads can’t take the place of faulty product design, outdated procedures, customer service letdowns and such.

If you’re struggling with your business advertising,  a trusted (and objective) colleague is a great source of feedback. You also might consider hiring professionals, either freelance or on staff, to help you get your advertising on track. Investing in advertising is hard, but well worth it in terms of crafting the right message and delivering it effectively.
When it comes to breaking through the advertising clutter, and getting remembered, the Advertising Specialties Impressions Study found that 84% of people remember the advertiser on a promotional product they receive. Sure beats the 1 in 100 respondents who said “most of them” in the LinkedIn poll. What’s more, this level of retention has also been shown to cost less per impression than magazine and newspaper ads, cable TV ads or radio spots — ideal for today’s tight budgets.
And in case you’re trying to decide what promotional product to choose… some of the most popular are everyday useful, quality items — pens are great and always appreciated. You might also consider other lasting, valued products like shirts, caps or bags. Seasonal essentials like lip balm or hand sanitizer — both sure to be appreciated as the cold and flu season bear down on us all — are also affordable, effective ways to get your business noticed, and remembered.
If nothing else, these items sure rise above the clutter of all those ads…