Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising – #7 Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

The series thus far has shown some of the common and unfortunately all too often repeated mistakes and hiccups that too many advertisers have taken too long to learn.I hope that this information provided has made you aware of the importance of some simple, basic, but powerful things you can do to make your advertising stronger.Craft it to be more memorable, and be more efficient for you. It is, quite simply, an easier way to do business when you know how your ads are performing and where you need to fix things.

One of the challenges that many advertisers face is money.  Some may say, …Well I’ve got a big budget, I can buy anything. So what does it matter? Well maybe you do and that’s great. But if you’ve got a lot of money, I want you to be able to keep more of it. If you don’t have as much as you’d like, I want to help you earn some more. Enjoy some more through your product sales. However, I also want to make sure that you spend what you have smartly and efficiently.  Mistake Number Seven, that I want to focus on for today is the practice of spreading yourself too thin and not doing a good job anywhere. 

Do you like toast and peanut butter?  You get a nice curl of peanut butter on the knife, or a dollop on the spoon and spread it generously on two slices of toast. Perfect.Now, take that same quantity of peanut butter and spread it on the 20 or so slices in an average loaf of bread.  Not quite as generous a serving per slice is there? What happens too frequently is that an advertiser has bet the ranch on the next untested campaign. They know this one’s going to be fantastic, and they’ll pull out all the stops. Putting all the marketing muscle that they have behind it. Unfortunately without sufficient testing they didn’t know how well it was going to perform, and all they hear is the deathly sound of crickets.

Unless your pockets are very, very deep, please, please, please, don’t try to be everywhere, especially when you’re starting out. Chances are pretty good that you don’t have the luxury of a sizeable budget to fall back on, or a sizeable budget that can sustain you through the course of the year. You need to pick your spots. We’ve touched on that earlier. But what I want to make sure of, when you do go into the marketplace, ultimately I want you to be at the point of utilizing three and four and five and six and a dozen different media pillars to keep your company’s foundation and reputation strong. You probably won’t get there overnight, and that’s okay. Many of the profitable and large companies you see you out there today have spent years and years building the foundation that gives them the status they enjoy today, but they didn’t start out like that.

An integrated 360 degree media strategy offers the best results with response rates increasing 50% for each tactic added. Three tactics deliver optimal results. More than 4 can be a waste of money.

That’s where too many advertisers, large and small, I think make the mistake of feeling they have to compete in the big leagues, right out of the gate.That can be a death knell for many companies because they don’t have the resources to compete at that level. Part of the challenge is you end up spreading yourself too thin, and being memorable to no one. You’ll dilute your own brand by having a lacklustre presence in everything rather than a robust strong presence in maybe one or two media to start. 

You simply have to have a solid foundation and put creative, and the right message, and a call to action in every one of your ads to get your target group to say …’ oh hey I saw these guys last week online.I was doing something and on one of the websites I saw where they had a great little leaderboard ad,…. yeah that was good because they were also in the newspaper they ran a front page banner ad that really caught my attention and for about two weeks I was pretty sure I heard them on the radio, sponsoring a news report or something like that…

That’s the kind of dialogue, the awareness that you want to have happening with your prospects. They should ultimately get to know you as part of their day to day routine. You want to become integral, and, forgive the grammar, unmissable, in their daily routine. You want to have as many touch points as possible without breaking the bank.

How do you do that? 

Well you start by one media at a time. You build up some awareness, some profile, some credibility. When you start achieving some sales, then you put more money back into that which you started, to keep that going. Now maybe you try adding a little bit more. Maybe some magazine ads for three months. You‘ve picked three or four of the best magazines that specifically cater to your industry. You try two and three different creatives amongst the magazines, rotating them and seeing what kind of response you get. Be careful of ad wastage in your planning and the 50% waste rule.

“I spent 50% of my money on alcohol, women, and gambling. The other half I wasted.” – W.C. Fields 

Some of the analytics/metrics to consider are

a) See how many people visit your website. 

b) See how many people pick up the phone and say Dennis I’ve got to talk to you.

c) See how many people actually go out of their way and say this is the product for me. 

d) Here’s my credit card. How soon can you get it to me?

You want to make sure that you have a solid foundation in any one media before you start branching off into other players. Too weak a media foundation for any campaign, and none of them are going to perform well enough if they are all underserviced, under purchased, and underplanned. You want to make sure that your foundation is solid. That’s where the help of a strong marketing team and a good media person can help you utilize whatever resources you have to deliver something efficient, and effective and realistic.Because you can spend as much or as little as you want for as long or short a period as, as you want. But you need to spend it smartly. Because the campaign will cost you the same amount of money whether it works or not. 

So please take the time to do a good job. And if it means you only start with one media that’s fine. You are building for the future and you are building on a solid strength, on a proven foundation.Then when it comes time to layer in more media, you know you’ve got a baseplate that you can rely on because it’s already proven itself worthwhile.When you’re building your media platform, do them one at a time. And, importantly as I mentioned, if they work, that’s fabulous, and you can repeat that success, because now you know what to do. But if they tank remember, you haven’t lost everything. You haven’t bet the ranch on a campaign that fizzled after three weeks. 

Spend small to start, and don’t spread your media budget too thin. And with that I shall bow out for today.

About the Author: Dennis Kelly is an advertising expert with 30 years of wisdom to share for Office Today readers and is the author of two books “Nine Secrets To Improve Your Advertising” and “57 Media Spikes”. CLICK HERE to learn more. Office Today Readers receive a FREE 30 Minute consultation with Dennis to discuss what your next media moves should be. Send an e-mail with OFFICE TODAY CONSULTATION in subject line and the best times to chat. Emaildennis@firstimpressionsmedia.ca