The voice on other end of phone was tense and impatient. It was a prospective client calling. After we introduced ourselves, he got right to point: "Our advertising isn't working and we need some help."
Who I was talking to doesn't matter very much because it could have been almost any of my prospects before they start working with me. That's because, statistically, most advertising doesn't work - if by "work" you mean, bring in new business. Think about your own ads. Even if they already generate leads or create sales for you, don't you have sneakin' suspicion they could be working a lot better?
Here are two reasons why most ads don't work at all - or if they work, why they deliver far less business than they could:
1. Most ads don't get attention of your prospects. This is pretty basic. It is physically impossible for prospects to contact you unless they know about you, and if you're counting on them to find out about you from your advertising, then step one is for your ad to get your prospects' attention. Unfortunately, some ads actually do get attention, but...
2. These ads get attention of your prospect in wrong way. For an ad to generate a qualified lead or create an immediate sale, it must start off on right foot. That "right foot" sets right tone and invites a qualified prospect to call you. I just saw an ad in Newsweek that still has me wondering what it's about and why someone spent tens of thousands of dollars on it. (Bet it wasn't their own money.)
The ad shows a boy on a bicycle flying through air, out in wilderness. The headline, in a semicircle, says, "They will always fall before they fly." Since I'm not a kid and I'm not a parent, it doesn't do much for me.
But wait - even if I were a parent or a kid, I still don't think this ad would sell me on anything that would make advertiser any money. If I were a kid, only thing this ad could sell me on is taking these kinds of risks to annoy my parents. And if I were a parent, only thing I can imagine this ad would sell me on is making sure my kid never rides his mountain bike in hilly terrain - since, obviously, kid in picture is on a collision course with certain death.