Why Your Ads Don’t Work


Money spent on an ad that no one sees or hears is money wasted. An obvious observation, I know. If this simple truth is evident, why is it that I constantly speak with confused small business owners complaining about the fact that their respective audience pays no attention to them or their marketing? The answer is simple; there’s a vast difference between identifying a problem and actually solving it.

For today’s piece, I’d like to outline five things that may help you zero in on possible solutions for nearly-invisible marketing efforts:

Speaking To the Wrong Audience

I recently spoke with a business owner that was being offered a phenomenal deal on advertising with a particular radio station.  The station rep told the business owner that they’d reach thousands and thousands of listeners. The problem? This station caters to teens and twenty-somethings rather than a mature, seasoned audience – the very core of this particular small business. Don’t become enamored with large audiences.  Instead, be focused on groups that will impact your bottom-line.

You Are The Focus In Your Messages?

Marketing is a lot like dating or courting; if these experiences are filled with self absorbed diatribes, the relationship stands very little chance of surviving. As you advertise, speak less about your awards, years in business and the like. Spend more time discussing issues that are relevant to the customer.  You can never go wrong when seeing your business from the consumer’s vantage point

No Problem-Solving Skills

Many people scoff at infomercials.  True, they can come across as cheesy, contrived or worse.  But there is something they do that many marketers can learn from; they do a tremendous job at showing the problem and the inevitable solution. I’m not necessarily saying that you need to be on late night TV selling widgets, however, I am saying that you’re ads should clearly depict the consumer’s problem and your solution.

You’re Not In Touch With Feelings

You’ve seen this story a thousand times: a middle-aged man goes out to purchase a two-door sports car over the much-needed minivan. What’s the rationale behind decisions like these? The answer is there is none – which goes to the point I’m attempting to make.  You may gain an advantage by centering your ads about how your audience feels rather than what they think. It is my belief that things such as fear, elation, pride tend to supersede concepts such as value, warranties and specifications.

No Momentum

Have you ever experienced that awkward moment when you simply cannot recall the name of someone you just met? Nothing will solve that problem faster than hearing their name and seeing them again and again.  The same is true regarding your marketing; the more you advertise the more momentum you will gain with your audience. Hence, it is important to create an ad budget that will allow you to connect with your target audience on a consistent basis.

Walter Dailey is a marketing consultant and executive producer for Dailey Sound Vector, a creative services organization that specializes in radio ads and jinglesfor small to medium size businesses throughout the US and Canada.  Ask Walter your questions at walter@dsvmedia.com