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Advertising – Why doesn’t mine work?

Advertising – Why doesn’t mine work?

  • Posted by David Gregory

Every year millions of dollars are spent on advertising yet quite frequently the message misses the market it is trying to address.

This is why many clients I mentor in small business initially say that they view advertising as a big waste of money – sadly with good reason in many cases!

To help develop a more positive approach, I tell them that a good analogy is to view advertising rather like a gun. It is NOT the tool that is bad – it is how it is used that determines the good or bad outcome!

Advertising that gets results!

So if we can accept that advertising is a just a promotional means that can be used appropriately or not – the question then is; how can we advertise in a way that brings us results?

Before putting words or pictures to paper you must undertake extensive research to first find out:

  • What is important to your customers
  • What they want
  • When they want it so you can understand why they buy.

This knowledge is invaluable as it provides you with the precise data you need to prioritize your advertising copy and communicate with customers in ways that are meaningful to them.

Many large marketers spend millions of dollars on research before creating their advertising campaigns as they realise it is money down the drain without this knowledge.

They also do it on a regular basis with each advertising campaign, because the dynamics may be subject to change with variables such as economic ups and downs or better offerings from competitors.

The knowledge needed if your advertising is to work!

As advertisers you must learn:

  • Why people buy products or services,
  • What is important to customers
  • What customers like and dislike
  • What customers believe
  • Most importantly, the issues and problems they are looking to solve as a result of buying a particular product or service. 

You then apply this knowledge to the appropriate media whether trade, general, rural, car signs, letterbox drop or whatever.

For example, smart marketers know that every prospective customer tunes into radio station WIIFM (acronym for “What’s In It For Me”) when its listeners are making a decision to purchase!

Using the knowledge gleaned from research, a campaign can then be devised to solve what these potential consumers are thinking – thoughts such as “ Can you or your product/service help me overcome the problem or issue I am attempting to fix?” Let the ad provide the answer.

Talk about what is important to the customer!

Unless extremely relevant, do not focus on yourself!

Your advertising/promotional materials should speak to potential clients and customers in terms of what is most important to them (the benefits or how you can help them) rather than simply stating who you are or, what you would like them to know about yourself or company.

For example, someone with chronic headache & back pain is not likely to be particularly interested in who you are, what qualifications you hold or what health modalities you have been trained in.

They are most interested in finding out first if you understand their pain and then whether you have both the expertise and experience to help ease this.

Compare these two simple ads. Both use the same words and sell the same service but which one has more impact or appeal?

“Mary Smith, Massage Therapist. Get relief from back pain & headache. Call on 1234 567”


 “Get relief from Headache & back pain. Call Mary Smith, Massage Therapist on 1234 5678”

You will notice that the same words are used but in a very different way with emphasis on the customers NEEDS in the latter copy.


Remember, your role as a business person is to HELP your customers buy solutions to THEIR issues and needs.

So do your research diligently and talk to potential clients about the sort of products and services they would be most interested in.

With successfully undertaken research, you can address these basic essentials in your advertising campaign and maximise positive customer responses with the result that dollars spent on space will not go down the drain and yes, your advertising will work!

Download Free PDF – Advertising – Why doesn’t mine work


Anthony M Turner – Small Business Mentor/Coach