Keeping Your Advertising on the Right Track

Advertising has gotten a bad rap by the very folks who have profited the most from it. Many companies who experience success in advertising also lose their shirt in it. There are two pretty simple reasons for that. They’re called perspective and ego. Keeping both of them in check will take you a long ways towards success in advertising.

Advertising has two big problems, both of which are actually caused by companies, not by the marketing method. The first problem is overspending. Advertising generally works best on a frugal budget. The less you spend, the better. Guerrilla advertising works best, even on a large scale. Think like a guerrilla marketer, and you won’t lose your shirt with each campaign. Instead, you will make your money back faster than you can with nearly any other medium. A couple of converted sales will quickly put you in the black with your campaign.

What happens when a company has a great success in advertising? They often lose perspective and go bigger. They buy more expensive media, try to reach a larger audience or market, and switch from practical, effective marketing to wow marketing. This is usually fueled by investment in ego, but it’s misguided and generally leads to disappointment, wasted marketing funds, and low response rates. There is rarely a practical reason to go bigger with ad campaigns.

Keeping your campaigns small allows you to target better, keep your creative more relevant and focused, more easily track results, and adequately handle the response. Importantly, it also helps keep your campaigns more agile.

Poor creative is the other big problem in advertising. Most advertising today is focused on making people look. That’s called wow marketing, and it doesn’t work. Making people look doesn’t do anything for sales. They may talk about the ad, sure, but it doesn’t change the way they think about anything. Engaging people on a wow level generates wow talk, but it doesn’t drive sales.

Good creative changes the way people think. It provides suggestions and new pathways. Good creative stimulates thought and action. It surprises people and literally changes minds. Good creative is relevant and truthful. It instills trust and helps people make decisions. Good creative changes inner dialog, which effects buying choices.

Is your advertising generating wow or effecting people’s train of thought?

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

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