Why advertising doesn't work or stop throwing money away

Advertising campaigns fail.

This happens so often that success stories are more likely to be an exception than rules, if we are not talking about the largest brands, but in general about the situation on the shop floor.

Advertisers are disappointed, cut budgets for advertising, but continue to order it, because they do not see another way to promote their product. At the same time, for some reason it is extremely rare to find a serious analysis of the reasons for the failure of the campaign and a truly thoughtful approach to the next. And here the responsibility lies with both advertisers and advertisers.

The latter can be - no, not justified, but at least understood - someone just "not-very-specialist" and does not know how to do it right, and someone is no longer able to prove to the customer that he is right and agrees to any compromises, so as not to lose earnings. It’s more difficult for advertisers to understand: they invest a lot of money, spend even more precious time, in the end, to get a mechanism that does not work!

Let's figure out what is going wrong and what needs to be done so that the desired result is achieved.

0. Axiom

Before starting the debriefing, we invoke common sense and recognize that advertising, in order to work, must clearly articulate a thought (message) and attract attention.

The first literally means that when you see your ad, a person will understand what you want to tell him and understand it correctly. The second implies that a person will generally see your advertisement and pay attention to it, which is the minimum necessary for the perception of the message. Generally speaking, this is even more important, because if the announcement is not noticed, then everything is in vain. If you noticed him, but did not pay attention - also in vain, because the message will not be read and accepted for consideration.

Most of the advertising campaigns fail precisely because of the non-fulfillment of the second condition, so we will start with why the ads are not seen or not noticed.

1. Old tricks do not work

In general, you need to burn this rule with fire and keep it in front of your eyes if you really decide to make yourself known.

Times are changing, society is changing very quickly. Take a look around: 15 years ago, many of the things that surround us today either did not exist in nature, or they were dinosaur ancestors of modern objects. Household appliances, electronics, computers. Especially computers.

Lyrical digression
Those same 15 years ago, in our homes, humming monsters with 14-15 inch picture tubes and Pentium II on board, advertised by men in purple suits, began to appear  . Then the advertisement was screaming about the new processor frequencies, and today the possibilities are already coming as arguments. The advent of mobile computers has made another revolution. Today I am writing this text from the now old “new” iPad, a device that even the most daring Hollywood filmmakers did not dare to imagine in the  90s . And you probably read it from a similar device.

Computer technology - they changed society.

Customers continue to write in their briefs that their target audience is successful people 25–40 years old and advertise on TV. Come to your senses! Many of these people have been using TV for a long time mainly to watch Blue-Ray and video games, and they find news, movies and TV shows on thematic sites on the Internet. And every day there are more such people. The television, of course, is still watched by a huge audience, but in order to stand out there, advertising must have exceptional properties, since over 20 years of advertising on Russian TV, viewers have learned to filter such “information noise”. Moreover, commercial breaks are most often used as breaks in a program or film to escape to the toilet or to the kitchen.

If you want your commercial to really be seen, make or entrust the specialists to make it so vivid, unusual and memorable that it wanders from wall to wall with enthusiastic comments on social and corporate networks, like “Did you see this ?!” With this attitude, you can safely count on loyalty and celebrate the success of the advertising campaign. If, reading this paragraph, you think “well, this is not for me, we don’t need this”, you shouldn’t give video advertising at all - today there are other, much cheaper ways to simply talk about your services, news and promotions.

If your customers can be grouped by interests, find sites and places that accumulate people of certain professions or hobbies, and place your ad there. Arrange with fitness clubs or cafe-restaurants serving business lunch from 12 to 15, if you are sure that the representatives of your audience prevail among their visitors.

Social networks have already been mentioned. The number of people registered in them and at least once a week visiting their page is enormous. They are fueled by countless communities, ranging from various “joint procurements” to large professional interest groups. Look, it's hard to find at least one foreign company that does not have its own Facebook page. They are friends through it with their audience, communicate with her, report on updates and promotions. Create your organization’s page there, attract subscribers - they will learn all about your news from their feed.

Not sure how to attract followers? Organize an advertising campaign on the social network itself - all the mechanisms for this are already in place, and the cost of the campaign can be directly proportional to group visits; make the action "we are playing the iPhone" among subscribers who reposted a message on their wall - that’s the audience. At the same time, you spent only on the iPhone and the necessary costs.

Another “wonderful” advertising mechanism is flyers and flyers. If these pieces of paper do not allow you to get a discount or do not represent any other value for a person (put a calendar there or print a pizza recipe), how long will they stay with a person from the moment of delivery? Right, until the first ballot box. Almost all the money that was spent on printing them, on work to distribute to people, goes to the trash. And many take them out of politeness and throw them out without even reading.

Why not invest the same money in mechanisms that are at least more likely to work? Self-deception, like, “Well, we did something,” will not be of any use to the cause, because this “something” actually means “nothing.” Make a cool bright announcement with the same message on the bus, transforming it beyond recognition - you will receive your advertising contacts and save a couple of trees.

You can give other examples, but it all comes down to a simple truth: for an advertising message to be seen, it needs to be placed where it is more convenient for your audience, and not where it is more familiar to your advertising department. The world is changing, it is in constant motion - you need to monitor these changes, learn to feel trends, at least to understand how best to communicate with your audience now, and ideally have an idea of ​​what this dialogue will be like tomorrow .

2. “Not Ice”

There is such a word, I don’t like it because of the cutting sound, but it accurately describes what modern advertising often lacks: the “wow factor”.

So, they saw your ad - then what?

Imagine a bulletin board with 50 flyers of about the same size. The board itself is standing in the stairwell, you are waiting for the elevator and look at these ads simply because there is nowhere to look. You see them all. But so far not a single message has been read - this is a fundamental difference. What 3, 4, 5 pieces of paper do you read before the lift arrives? These will be the ones that are different. Moreover, they differ precisely from those around them at the moment: color, letter size, sheet shape. The meaning of the written, the beauty of the syllable, the benefit for you personally - yes, that's fine, but if the piece of paper on which it is all is unremarkable, then it will remain unread, lost in the gray mass.

So today there is a lot of advertising. Inside any type of promotional product, there is a huge mass of units that are initially equally uninteresting to the consumer. Remember: competition does not begin between goods or services (this is the second stage) - competition begins with the struggle between advertising messages for the right to attract attention. Let your product be a thousand times better than that of a competitor. But if his sign attracts more attention, if his image is more consistent with the ideas of the target audience, first the buyer will go to him.

Therefore, in order to attract attention, an advertising message should provoke an emotional reaction of the viewer, reader, listener - surprise, tear it out of everyday life, shock - walk on sites dedicated to world advertising - they contain huge collections of the brightest examples of advertising campaigns that cause genuine interest to the presented products. This one works. And it’s not necessary to say that some of these videos or posters were made not for real campaigns, but for festivals - this fact, together with the success of the advertising product, only proves the short-sightedness of the people responsible for making decisions.

Are you afraid that they will not "understand" you? Regions or who else is there? ..

Better ask yourself, will your message be noticed at all, before you try to understand it? To distinguish oneself, to stand out, to draw attention to oneself is the primary task of an advertising product. This is not to say that it is much more important than delivering a message, but if it is not resolved, then the rest is pointless.

Trying to stand out, you should always remember three things: a board with pieces of paper (if all the other pieces of paper around you also become similar, then it's time to look for some new shape); that old tricks do not work (people get used to them and what used to be surprising, becomes ordinary, and sometimes it makes you bored - it's like a joke told in the fifth round); and about social responsibility (immoral advertising offends the viewer and society, causing moral harm to all of us - it’s better to try to find a solution in a positive, broad sense of the word).

3. Quality

Any advertiser always talks about the quality of their products and services. Show at least one brief where this word is not mentioned. It is logical to assume that the advertiser knows firsthand about quality, about what it costs, but very often this knowledge does not leave the scope of its own subject area and is not extrapolated to other industries.

Advertising should be of high quality. Is always. Today we see a lot of high-quality (at least technically) cinema, equipped with first-class sound and accompanied by excellent posters. There are many examples on the net and on television that are amazing in the quality of performance of videos, screensavers and presentations. All this is in a single information field. Ask a question: if your advertising products will seriously lose to the standards, who will believe that you have a solid company, and not another Sharashkin office?

This is not a call to spend more - it is a call to spend wisely. Yes, quality is expensive. Always expensive. Therefore, it is better to do it once well than to redo it many times; it’s better to make fewer posters, but make them cool, one video instead of five, but which will not be embarrassing to review in five years.

Of course, the quality of an advertising product is not only external execution, but also an idea that we talked about in the previous section, but any idea can easily be killed by poor execution. No need to console yourself with the fact that poor performance is the fault of the performer. This is primarily the customer’s fault - you could not formulate the task, you did not provide the conditions for its implementation. The contractor is dependent on your decisions, terms and budgets: extended with the decision - it means the work will be done later and in a different way (for example, full-scale summer shooting was supposed, which became impossible due to the winter), cut the budget by 10, and even by 5% - the performer was not able to use technologies that would provide the best result, reduced the time - there was no time left to polish the work to a shine.

Find yourself a good design studio, radio station, video production team, advertising agency whose opinion you will trust - and trust them in their work. They made as many videos, posters and conducted as many promotions as you can never order for the entire duration of your business, which means you will never know this business better than they do. They have experience, they know how to work correctly, just like you know everything about your business.

4. Fears

Everyone always has fears. In business, fears can generally be divided into two types, which, closely intertwined, encourage each other. If this is not controlled, then the results are completely ineffective solutions.

The first type of fear is the fear of loss. This type of fears a person develops in himself. In the vast majority of cases, it is expressed in the fear of losing precisely money.

It is characteristic for both customers and performers. At the same time, for some reason, both of them and others are much less likely to be afraid of losing time or reputation. Indeed, the loss of time for both means missed opportunities, and the loss of reputation can further aggravate this effect: the performer is rude to the customer, throws him and seriously expects that no one will know about his “quality of work”? Does the customer work on the principle “I am the boss, you are a fool”, clamps down the deadlines and cuts off financing (if you do not withdraw money), and really thinks that this information will not be distributed in professional circles? Losing money is unpleasant, very noticeable at the time of loss. But often in the end it’s not as scary as the loss of reputation and time. This is not so noticeable. Exactly until others suddenly stop working with you.

The second type of fear is fear of responsibility. He comes from outside. Performers are predominantly afraid of an answer to the customer in the event of a dispute, which leads either to bulky paper fraud with seals at each step, or to inexorably shaky nerves. It is difficult to argue with the fact that thoughts like, “what to do if you mess up” rarely contribute to productive work. Against the background of this fear, such a real one, constantly floating in the air, other fears of the same nature - such as social responsibility ("and if children see it"), administrative (advertising compliance with the law) - often go by the wayside, which may ultimately go sideways all participants of this event.

For the customer, this fear has a slightly different form. The prevailing problem is: “What if I look bad, what if they think something about me, will they consider it an upstart?” Here, with the same wording, fear looms and try something new and non-standard. Although one should focus on the problem of the quality of manufactured goods and services - if they are unsatisfactory, then they will think about it.

They will think badly if you sell shit in a beautiful wrapper and coolly advertise it. And if your product is good, no advertising will spoil it. This absurd desire to seem better than you are will not impress anyone. Today, sincerity and ease of communication work - do not miss the opportunity to be yourself, talk to people in a simple language and demonstrate a sense of humor (naturally, within reasonable limits).

Have you noticed these posters in the departments of well-known companies, where beautiful smiling girls in uniform inform that they are happy and obliged to do their job well? And what is the reality? And how are the sensations as a result? That's it.

Fears adversely affect the outcome. The stronger they are, the less productively the work is built, the worse the result will be. However, most of the fears can be dispelled by the parties themselves - even if the temporary collective “executor - customer” will be a team, and not a camp of internecine wars. You are doing one thing - help each other do it well, because all participants are interested in this, no matter what they think.

5. Priorities and the vicious cycle

It remains to add a few more words to the above. As soon as you think about conducting an advertising campaign, start by prioritizing. This is important, it will save time, often leaving for meaningless "discussions", will allow you to correctly set tasks and generally decide what needs to be done.

The most important thing is to determine what goal you want to achieve with your campaign. If you just decided to “make a video and watch it on TV”, then think about what you are achieving? This action may be aimed at creating a certain image, or a story about a service. Think about the audience - who will watch it, to whom you want to show your message. Once you decide on this, it will immediately become clear how to set the task and according to what criteria to evaluate the work of specialists - to ensure that the advertising product clearly and interestingly conveys the message, and not to the presence of a mole on the model, without which you personally would like it more. Track what's really important, delegate the rest to the appropriate professionals.

Why is it important? Incorrectly set priorities, an attempt to get into the work of specialists, showing that you are the smartest and know everything (which is impossible in principle for any person), incorrectly formulated tasks and requirements lead to the creation of a product that does not work as expected. If you want a car, and ask the performer to arrange a “four-wheel drive vehicle” for you, allocating only a third of the cost of the cheapest car, don’t be surprised at the wooden carriage with an old nag - the task is solved, the costs are minimized, you can only kick yourself for incorrect wording.

This phenomenon has another negative consequence, reflected in the advertising market, and therefore in all its participants: disappointment. As already mentioned at the very beginning, if advertising does not work, its budgets are cut. We saw that often advertising does not work not by itself, but because of incorrect decisions. However, if this is not recognized, it is considered that advertising does not work at all. Further budget cuts only exacerbate the effect: fewer messages, lower quality, worse effect.

This is the same vicious circle in which you must try not to get into. And in order to try to figure out how to avoid this, where to look for the roots of problems and ways to solve them, this article was written.

6. Instead of summing up

The above can be reduced to simple thoughts: keep up with the times, do not be afraid of changes, because they will happen anyway - you will either continue on board or stay overboard; think through everything carefully and prioritize correctly; trust the opinion of specialists; do not save on quality, as the avaricious pays twice; collaborate with colleagues, customers and performers, and demonstrate your superiority to competitors with the results of your work; re-evaluate the situation every time so as not to aggravate it by repeating past mistakes.

Everything said in this article is not a revelation at all. One way or another, such thoughts can be gleaned both from books and from conversations with any specialist in the field of advertising and business promotion. Many things are generally built on worldly logic. But at the same time for some reason they are constantly forgotten. The purpose of this article was precisely the desire to remind, re-illuminate some aspects of the advertising.

The article was written on the basis of personal experience and, of course, does not claim to be the ultimate truth. This is the point of view that it is proposed to supplement, revise, rethink, so that one fine day not individual units, but the vast majority of advertising products and campaigns become effective and responsible tools for promoting the product, for which we would no longer be ashamed.

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