This Business Marketing Institute posting causes me a twing of anxiety. Writer Eric Gagnon lays out the ground rules for truly effective print advertising, and makes clear that most of the ads he sees are a waste of money.
Yes, cutting back on advertising that generates measurable sales response (that’s sales leads), and that pays for itself over your sales cycle is a bad idea. However, most advertising doesn’t do this: Most advertising is a foolish, very expensive exercise in buying fairy dust called “branding,” which can’t be measured, and which usually has no impact on product sales.
Gagnon then shows how to design ads that should generate measurable, direct response. No touchy feel stuff here — except the “feel” that gets to the emotions enough for you to grab the advertising’s free or highly inducing offer attract real, live inquiries and orders.
I have to admit he is quite right about the lack of bottom-line reasoning in “buying fairy dust called ‘branding’.” Yes, there is some merit in building and maintaining your image, but this can be done a whole lot less expensively by really enhancing your client experience then with ads that might make you (and your advertising agency) feel good, without worrying about whether anyone calls, emails or visits your website as a result.
And, yeah, we do what we can to practice what we preach, even if I sometimes hope that most of our advertisers don’t try too hard to measure the effectiveness of their advertisements in our publications. We’re certainly encouraging our advertisers to make use of QR Codes, which can increase the response rate and effectiveness of print advertising, especially as smart phones become more important in the community.