When I, Chris Cardell, do seminars for business owners who are new to my work, we’ll often have 500 entrepreneurs in the room. When I ask them to raise their hands if they currently advertise (in newspapers, magazines etc) we’ll normally see 450 hands go up.
I then ask the audience to keep their hands up if they’re certain that their advertising is working.
About 100 hands stay in the air.
Unbelievable. But true. Around 80% of business owners have no idea whether or not their advertising is working.
So why do they do it?
Ask them – and you’ll get the same answer again and again. “I advertise in publication X because all my competitors advertise there.”
These honest, hard working Entrepreneurs are the victims of the biggest scam in business history. It’s a scam perpetuated by an advertising industry that makes a fortune by convincing business owners to engage in advertising that will never work. When their highly trained telesales staff call you, they get the money out of you in two ways:
- By telling you that you need to be in the publication because your competitors are there.
- By offering huge discounts on their ratecard.
Here are the two flaws in their argument
- The presupposition is that your competitors are advertising in the publication because their ad is working. I assure you, it’s probably not. They’re advertising there because THEY’VE been convinced to do it because all their competitors are there.
- Ratecards are fantasies. A 50% saving on a fantasy is another fantasy. If someone sells you a pill to cure any disease and it turns out to be an ineffective water pill, it really doesn’t matter whether you paid the full $1000 price, or the hugely discounted price of just $500. It still didn’t work!
None of the above means there’s anything fundamentally wrong with advertising. Done properly, it’s a remarkable ongoing source of new customers – and armed with resources from the like of myself, Bill Glazer and Dan Kennedy, you increase your chances of success by hundreds of percent.
But you should be advertising because you’ve decided it’s a smart strategy to test, not because of pressure from peers or the advertising industry. Above all, make it clear to any ad rep that you have no interest in their ratecard. You will only ever pay for results – and that’s what will determine your advertising spend.