The Biggest Mistake In BADvertising

We live in the over communicated society. Experts estimate that the average consumer is bombarded by over 5,000 marketing messages every single day. But now with the explosion of marketing through the Internet, social networking and mobile platforms, that number of commercial messages the average consumer is exposed has increased so dramatically, a reliable estimate is difficult to find.

You don’t have to be a research expert to judge for yourself, how do you feel when your favorite TV show is interrupted over and over with commercials? Oh you don’t mind you say? You have a DVR? That’s precisely the point. You have taken steps to avoid the onslaught of marketing directed at you.

Why then are there so many marketing messages out there? The number of marketing and advertising messages keeps growing and growing because advertising works. Advertising brings buyers and sellers together. Advertising lets people know about your business. Advertising can tell people who you are, where you are and what you can do for them.

If advertising is so effective, why then is advertising such a frustrating subject for the local small business owner?

Quite frankly, there is a lot of marketing malpractice going on. An advertising sales person commits marketing malpractice when they take an order from a client knowing full well that the plan is ill-conceived and by all known standards, will not produce the results the small business owner is looking for. The sales person is so excited about getting the sale, they don’t have the courage to step up and use their training to explain to the small business owner how they should modify the plan to make it more effective.

An advertising sales person commits marketing malpractice when they feel pressured to make a quick sale to cover a looming car payment or to meet a quota and consequently targets a small business owner’s emotional hot spot and makes a proposal with a lot of sizzle but little meat.

Marketing malpractice is the selling of advertising solely for the commission and not for the long term mutual benefit of both the client and the salesperson.

If you want to avoid the pitfalls of badvertising then you need to learn what satisfied advertisers have known for years. That’s why the small business owner needs to learn how to avoid the Three Biggest Pitfalls of BADvertising. In order to so, you must take some time to learn about the research behind the Four Keys to Advertising Success; Consistency, Reach, Frequency and Compelling Engaging Commercials.

The Four Keys to Branding Success is based on hundreds of interviews with local business owners.

During the interview process, the business owners were separated into two different groups based on their answer to one simple question, “Are you satisfied with your advertising efforts?”

Once the two groups of interviews were completed, the goal was to determine just what the satisfied advertisers were doing that the unsatisfied advertisers were not doing. While there were many factors that lead to the success of the satisfied business owners, the research was able to identify four key factors that were present in every single marketing campaign.

Once we identified these four key factors, we started to teach the unsatisfied business owners what they were and why they were important. In almost every case, within three to four months, the unsatisfied business owner began to see a difference and eventually began to feel more satisfied with their efforts.

Over the years I have taught thousands of unsatisfied advertisers about the Four Keys to Advertising Success. It is exciting and rewarding to hear from many that they are seeing better results from their advertising. But what is remarkable is the number of clients that say they are also saving money.

The First Key to Branding Success is CONSISTENCY.  Without a doubt, the major difference between satisfied and unsatisfied advertisers is the consistency of the advertising efforts.

The biggest mistake small business owners make is succumbing to the desire for instant gratification from their advertising. They want results now. So they bounce around from one advertising idea to the next hoping for instant results. When you become a student of the psychology of consumer behavior and the physiology of the human brain, when you learn what’s going through the consumers mind, you’ll become a better advertiser.

When we bring up the concept of being consistent with your advertising, many business owners begin to back up because they think we’re talking about spending a lot of money. They usually say something like “I’ll give you a try for a few weeks and if it works I’ll be happy to sign up for something more long term.”

Consistency is not about how much you spend on advertising. It is about how long you spend what you’re comfortable spending month after month.

The satisfied advertisers in the research were actually spending very modest amounts of money every month but that’s the point, they were spending it every month and had been for a long time. Not just for many weeks, not just for many months, but for many years.

The research revealed that many of the unsatisfied advertisers in the study actually spent much more money on advertising than the satisfied advertisers did. Their inconsistent pattern of bouncing around from one idea to the next prevented any single plan from taking root.

In parallel mind share studies, consistent advertisers with modest budgets scored much higher in mind share than inconsistent advertisers did regardless of how much money they spent. This clearly indicates that success is much more about a consistent plan than about how much money you spend.

But there is much more than empirical data to support the need to be consistent in your advertising efforts. Let’s look at the science that supports the need to pick something and stick with it for the long run.

Psychologists have identified the difficult early stages of learning a new subject matter as the learning curve, a graphical representation of the difficulty and speed of learning a new subject matter. It takes both time and effort in the beginning stages learning to wrap our minds around the new subject matter until we master it. It takes time to get up to speed in other words.

People learn about the various buying options in their lives from the advertising messages they are exposed to as they go about their daily activities. The key word is that people learn about the products and services they need in life through advertising. Initial advertising efforts face an uphill learning curve when introduced to a new audience. This learning curve is especially steep when the subject matter is complicated, the price is high or the market is crowded with competitors as many product categories are today.

The need to conquer the learning curve when you begin advertising your business is overwhelming evidence that you must make a commitment to be consistent with your advertising efforts. According to Chilton Research, consumers take months to make a purchase decision across a wide range of product categories. Twenty seven percent of the respondents said that if the purchase required $1,000 or more, they would take 12 months or longer to make a final purchase decision.

Scientific research about the learning curve dictates that you begin an advertising program with a commitment to be consistent. The same research that identified the challenges of the learning curve also discovered the inverse, the forgetting curve. The scientific research about the forgetting curve provides you with compelling evidence that you must maintain your consistent advertising program over the long haul. Essentially, you need to advertise from now until forever.

The forgetting curve illustrates the decline of memory retention in time. A related concept is the strength of memory that refers to the durability that memory traces in the brain. The stronger the memory, the longer period of time that a person is able to recall it.

Unlike the learning curve where the curve takes time and effort to conquer, the forgetting curve, the speed at which consumers forget about your marketing message when you cut back on advertising, is a slippery slope. The forgetting curve can be very steep and quick when you take your message off of the market. Without consistent repetition, the human brain simple gives up that information as no longer essential.

A typical graph of the forgetting curve shows that humans tend to halve their memory of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless they consciously review the learned material.

The key to a successful advertising effort is to find an affordable way to keep your message out there on a consistent basis so when the consumer has a triggering event; they already know who to call. Research of consumer preferences tells us that eighty six percent of the consumers said they were likely or very likely to call the first name they could recall when they had the triggering event.  In other words, they gotta know you before they need you. When they know you before they need you, they know what you stand for and what you can do for them before price ever becomes the issue.

You have to be consistent because you can’t predict when the consumers will have a triggering event. You don’t know how long it will take them to make a purchase. Research shows that most triggering events take longer that we would like to believe to bubble up within the consumer. Advertising does not cause the consumer to have a triggering event. It happens on the consumer’s timetable, not yours.

The best course of action is to find something with the right balance of reach and frequency for your budget and then stick with it.

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