The 4th Biggest Lie In Advertising

advertising salespersonHave you ever received a cold call or been approached by a sales person who sells advertising products? Isn’t it odd that no matter what business you are in, their media is perfect for your business?

There is no doubt that advertising can be very effective if the media is right for your business. And if the messaging is tailored to resonate with your target audience. There are some real advertising pros out there who truly understand marketing. They know how their advertising product fits with your business. On the other hand, there are a number of people who are just trying to sell space whether it’s print, online or the airwaves.

How do you tell the difference between the “space sellers” and the true advertising pros?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. First, you need to understand who your ideal client is and what they read, watch or listen to.
  2. Ask the advertising rep who the target audience of their media is. If they say “everyone” or don’t give you a clear and concise answer stop the conversation. Run away as far and fast as you can. You are dealing with a “space seller.”
  3. Every media knows who the audience of their product is. The advertising rep either hasn’t been trained properly or doesn’t want to say the wrong thing and lose the sale. In either case this is a sign that you are dealing with a “space seller.”
  4. I sometimes have fun with advertising sales people. When they say their product “is the perfect media for my business” I usually respond with, “Great, so who is my ideal customer?” In my thirty years in business I have never had one advertising rep be able to tell me who my ideal customer is. So how do they know their product is right for my business? They don’t. They’re selling space, not marketing.

Finding the right advertising media

A true marketing pro will take the time to ask you about your business, what market are you trying to serve and who your ideal customer is. If they truly have the right product for your business, they will be able to back it up with numbers and research. If they can’t back up their claims then save your money.

I sometimes offer different media “pay for performance” plans where I would pay them a lucrative commission for every sale their product generates. I even show them how they will make much more money than their standard fixed fee if their media is truly as effective as they claim. This is sometimes done in the Direct Response marketing fields but most media will not do it. I wonder why?

Measure advertising results

If you ask, “how can I measure the results” and the rep says, “It’s hard to measure results. It’s about getting your name out there”, you have a potential “space seller”. Unless you have a very large company with deep pockets it is unlikely that advertising just to “get your name out there“ is feasible. This is a sign that the rep is trying to avoid accountability for the performance of their product. If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.

Companies lose enormous amounts of money on ineffective marketing. We are never going to be 100% accurate with our marketing decisions but if you ask some of the questions above and are firm in your expectations you will invest your marketing dollars much more effectively.

Tony Malyk

Tony Malyk is a Certified Professional Business Coach and Business Value Accelerator specializing in improving profitability and increasing business value in the manufacturing, distribution, trades and technology sectors.