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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Is this the biggest advertising lie?

Nobody knows or cares more about your business than you.

But sometimes an outsider sees what you don't.

That is why some clients pay me to take their copy and comment or edit it.

Adrian Teale of Oceanvillas is running 10 reports for people who sell property, one of which I revised this morning. You might find it interesting, so here it is.

Don't fall for this advertising lie

Does this story ring any alarm bells with you? Because it should.

A salesman for a magazine, newspaper or billboard calls and gives you the hard sell. He tells you how many fantastic prospects their ad will bring you and how you only need to sell one property to pay for your investment.

The sales guy’s promises are so good that even if it generates just 1% of what he tells you, you’ll still make money.

So you pull out your cheque book and write a cheque for a 6 month contract which costs around 10,000 USD. The salesman goes away and in no time at all sends you a great looking advert.

This guy is on the ball!

Six months later you're still sitting in your office wondering where your first property buyer is coming from.

So what went wrong?

All your competitors use these types of advertising and it must work – otherwise why do they do it?. The ad looked great and the slogan was really clever. But still you have no buyers.

So you call the salesman you wrote the cheque for and tell him you’ve had no response. He suggests some arty alterations and explains that you haven’t got your message across yet. So he asks you for another six months contract.

That makes sense so you pull out your cheque book and write him another fat cheque and sit in your office for another six months.

Still few people come and nobody buys.

Now you are twelve months down the line and you’re still struggling for sales despite spending thousands and thousands of dollars.

The advertising guy calls you up again and you tell him it’s a waste of your time and your money and it’s simply not working - just as you told him six months ago.

Then he tells you the biggest lie in advertising:

"This type of advertising cannot be measured. You can't just count how many leads come in and calculate your return on investment. That would be very misleading. You need a campaign. You have to build “awareness”. Look at what the big advertisers do. They repeat their ads. You need your name out there so people have heard of you and recognise your brand."

He goes on to tell you, “Your ad has to be seen between 6 and 12 times before it starts to be effective”.

The truth about advertising

If your ad doesn’t work once it will never work no matter how many times you run it.

People who measure their results know that the first time an ad runs it attracts the keenest prospects. If it doesn’t work then, it never will.

The truth is, most companies who sell advertising will actively avoid doing anything that allows you to measure their results.

So when you see an ad or billboard with a great picture and a clever slogan declaring how xyz property will transform your lifestyle and make you the envy of your friends - don't be fooled. Chances are that the people who run it have no more idea than you if it worked.

Brand and awareness are terms often used by ad agencies and magazine and newspaper sales reps to make excuses for not measuring the results of their work.

Many advertising companies have used this method for decades to keep their customers in the dark about how effective their work really is.

The plain, unpleasant truth is that most advertisers have no idea whether their advertising works at all or they’re just wasting their money.

But if you rely on sales you can’t afford this.

This deception will continue to be used forever until business people wake up and see that results can be effectively measured and marketing money can be targeted to where it does most good.

Advertising a global consumer product versus a property development

Am I saying that Coca Cola, Nokia and Adidas are run by a bunch of dim-wits who are pouring their advertising money down the drain?

No; I am not.

Their sales process is not the same as yours. They are selling through retail in a global consumer market where image rules. Their ads are designed to stick in the mind and make people choose them when they reach the shop.

And their margins and numbers are so colossal that they can afford to throw millions at advertising. You can’t. You build and sell property. You necd a return on your investment - and pretty quickly.

So the next time your advertising salesman asks you for a big cheque think twice and ask him some simple questions, like:

“Really? Show me the sales results.”

And, “Can I talk to a few of the people who are getting sales through you?”

And, “Please explain to me why and how that ad you’re suggesting will work?”

Or even: “How about I pay you on the results? The replies can go to you and I’ll pay you so much a lead.”

You’ll soon find out where you stand.

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