Ad-hoc one-off advertising seldom bears fruit
Advertising in isolation is unlikely to lead to results
Putting all of your advertising budget into a single campaign on one platform is a lot like playing the stock market. If you put everything into a single stock, there’s a chance that it will boom and you’ll have huge returns. But there’s a larger chance that you’ll have small gains or even losses. Instead, most financial experts suggest diversifying and putting smaller amounts of money into several places or choosing a stable mutual fund.
Advertising works in the same way. There are tons of places you can put your ad these days. You can put it on Google and target a specific audience. You can sponsor a social media post for better exposure. You can buy a short spot on the radio. Make a video ad on YouTube. Reserve a small column in a newspaper. Take a page in a local magazine. You can even have a large billboard with your company name on the side of a building or on the wall of a gym. But no matter the case, one-off advertising rarely works. With so many options, how do you know where to invest your limited budget to maximise you return?
I tried ______ advertising once; it didn’t work
Ads have a lot of power, especially when done right. They’re the reason we buy diamond engagement rings, use mouthwash, and shower every day, sometimes more than once. And the campaigns that made these cultural norms weren’t just one and done; they were hammered down far and wide until people accepted them as normal and expected.
Because of this, you can’t measure the effectiveness of advertising from a single one-off experiment. “I tried a radio ad once. I spent $300 and got nothing back.” It’s something that we hear a lot. And we don’t disagree that your experience is true. But there are a lot of variables that could have made it ineffective, such as:
- Does your target audience typically listen to the radio?
- And if they do, are they listening at the times your ad ran?
- What about the specific station?
- Did you run your ad by people outside of your company before it went live?
- Was there an offer or promotion included?
- Did you make it clear how your product would benefit the listener?
- And if they do, are they listening at the times your ad ran?
There are a lot more factors that could explain why the ad could have failed. And that’s just for radio ads. What about all the other mediums out there?
Exposure is a key element for effective marketing
A recent study by Nielsen suggests that it takes a person 5-9 exposures to a brand to resonate. At this point, most people become aware of your brand and what you offer. An ad campaign that launches on multiple platforms is more effective, but be careful—Too much exposure is bad too and can make people sick to death of hearing about you and swear off doing business with you for good.
A strategic, targeted approach is best
So, if one-off advertising is likely to fail, how do you succeed? Choosing the right platforms for your ad campaign is crucial, as well as appropriate distribution of your budget. But which platforms specifically?
The hard truth is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. Just like your business is unique, you advertising should be customised just for you as well. Maybe your audience doesn’t listen to the radio because you sell shoes to teenagers who prefer a music subscription service, people who think AM somehow stands for breakfast. Or maybe Snapchat is ineffective because you offer mould inspections to homeowners. Focusing on the right platforms is much more efficient than the shotgun approach where you try to hit everything with a small piece of spending.
What if I don’t know my market for sure?
When you have a specialised product—something like men’s fireproof overalls—you already know who your market is; men who at risk of being on fire often (so most men). But knowing your target audience isn’t always so straightforward. Your target market and your target audience may not even be the same. Sometimes, who you think buys your products and services and who actually uses them aren’t the same group. And focusing on the wrong group might mean you’re missing out on a good amount of potential revenue.
Failure to find the right audience is a major reason why a lot of new, smaller businesses fail. Connected to that, Investopedia and many other financial outlets agree that not investigating the market is the number one reason why businesses fail. But that doesn’t mean going into a competitive industry means you’re destined for failure, not when you have something special that the competition doesn’t. Letting people know that you have something different and better is the hard part. And how can you do that? Through proper advertising.
Proper advertising can make all the difference
If you’re thinking of concentrating all of your advertising money into a single channel or have tried it before and think it’s pointless, you may want to reconsider. Especially if you have local competition, the difference between success and failure can come down to simply letting them know you exist and have something good to offer.
Proper advertising is a lot more complicated than talking into a microphone for a few minutes and sending the slightly edited product to the local radio station to put on when they please. And it’s possible even with a small budget. It’s about having your money work smarter and harder, like building a website to be a productive employee instead of napping half the day away.
What makes an effective ad campaign then? Know who your audience is and how they make purchase decisions. Focus on the right part of The Buyer’s Journey. Create relevant ads that provide useful information—and discounts don’t hurt either!
What if I don’t have time for all this advertising?
If you’re a business owner, you probably don’t have much time for sleep, let alone taking the time to learn about the right way to advertise on all of the different platforms that can help you. If that’s the case, we’re happy to help.
We believe that even small businesses should have the opportunity to do big marketing and can take over your advertising efforts to maximise your budget usage. That way, you can focus on what your business—what you do best—while we do what we do best, helping businesses like yours grow and expand.