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« The Worst Marketing Sin with some Caution | Main | $1.48 Billion of Marketing and Advertising Advice ... »

Advertising and Marketing that Sells

Last week I had a pretty heated discussion on advertising and marketing.  A friend was telling me why they needed to use ‘creative’ (artsy) advertising for their next marketing campaign. My opinion is that they’d be wasting thousands of dollars. Trying to be too creative with your advertising is a huge risk. Business people have an insatiable need to “do something different, just because!” Just because, is a very bad idea if you’re looking to produce advertising that brings a return on investment. Focus on advertising and promotions that get you results.

Everyone Wants to Be Like the Big Guys
Many companies want to emulate the ‘big guys.’ In 2007, Geico spent over half a BILLION dollars on advertising. Thus, they can advertise insurance with cavemen and lizards. $500+ Million allows almost any company saturate the market with their brand and message.

Most small businesses and events don’t have that kind of money to spend on advertising. Yet, small businesses and events want to emulate Geico and other big companies in their advertising. They try to be cute, clever, and funny - instead of focusing on selling something. It's a costly mistake. If you want to emulate a Geico advertisement, have a strong call to action in your advertising.

The Marketing Master - David Ogilvy

This week I’ll be focusing on the late great David Ogilvy. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest advertising and marketing professionals the world has ever seen. His book “Ogilvy on Advertising” is one of the top marketing books you should read at least twice! If you mention Ogilvy to any advertiser or marketing person, he’s acknowledged as advertising genius. Yet, for whatever reason, those same marketing and advertising people disregard Ogilvy’s most basic tenants. (shrug)

Ogilvy’s take on advertising was very straight forward:

I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.

(Ogilvy on Advertising, p. 7)

Ogilvy’s friend, Rosser Reeves (the guy who coined Unique Selling Proposition - USP), bluntly drives home the point:

WARNING: If you're easily offended, don't  read the next quote.

I’m not saying that charming, witty and warm copy won’t sell. I’m just saying that I’ve seen thousands of charming, witty campaigns that didn’t. Let’s say you are a manufacturer. Your advertising isn’t working and your sales are going down. And everything depends on it. Your future depends on it, your family’s future depends on it, other people’s families depend on it. And you walk in this office and talk to me, and you sit in that chair. Now, what do you want out of me? Fine writing? Do you want masterpieces? Do you want glowing things that can be framed by copywriters? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?

(Ogilvy on Advertising, p. 25)

Your best course of action is to treat your advertising and marketing as an investment.  If your advertising is an investment, then you should expect a return. Do you want to be known as the company with beautiful advertising? Or, the company with decent looking advertising that made tons of money?

Here is a little secret . . . If you really know what you're doing with your marketing and advertising, you can have highly effective advertising that actually looks great. You just have to build you advertising on the fundamentals of classic salesmanship.


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