You’ll Waste Money on Advertising Unless You Read This First!

I recently saw an advertisement for a new marketing resource being trialed in Britain. The headline provocatively shouted ‘BIG BRAND ADVERTISING ON A SMALL BUSINESS BUDGET’ – good headline, bound to get a lot of attention. It certainly got my attention. Upon reading further, part of the text said this;

“Advertising, whilst necessary for any small business to target key audiences, can often be low on the priority list. But there is a way to get targeted advertising at a cheaper price which cuts out the extra design and production costs that go hand-in-hand with outdoor media”

The ‘offer’ was an automated  ‘ad creator’ whereby companies would enter their post-code, select the distance around which they’d like to advertise, and then a search engine would pinpoint poster sites available and formats to create your own ad. The text continued;

“With over 2m images, big brand poster template styles and the ability to upload your own logo, it’s an effortless first step into outdoor advertising”

insanely clever marketing

What the advertisement doesn’t say, is that unless you understand marketing communications and develop an advertisement that resonates with your desired target audience, you will be wasting your money. This service is about offering the best poster sites, bus shelters and buses at a price that is affordable to small business. Nothing wrong with that. But is also appears to claim huge savings over big business advertising budgets. Because you’ll be saving $$$ on design and production costs.

Insanely Clever Marketing

However, the true value to any business of a competent marketing communication plan is not design or production , it’s the ideas that come from a truly professional marketing communications company. If you are a small business and don’t have the resources to engage a professional advertising agency or marketing communications company, then use these simple tips to ensure you don’t waste money ‘advertising’.

insanely clever marketing

1. Do some market research. Just because you have a message to promote doesn’t mean its the message your target audience wants to hear. Find 15-20 people – customers and non-customers who fit your customer demographic. Ask them some questions about your product or service. What’s important to them about it? Would they recommend it to others? Why/Why not? What’s the best thing about it/your business?

Don’t ask more than 5 or 6 questions. Question the questions and come up with 5 or 6 that will provide you with some really good information.

If the person you are asking hasn’t used your product or service, ask the question about a product or service LIKE yours. The aim is to find information that will help you tell a story or create marketing messages that will resonate with your target audience – this is the basis of your marketing efforts.

For example, if enough people say to you “It’s the best we’ve ever used” you could say “Nine out of ten people say it’s the best they have ever used”

Or, if people say it’s important to them that the product or service is available on-line, say “Available On-line!” Repeat to new customers what current customers are saying.

You'll Waste Money on Advertising Unless You Read This First!

2. Find advertisements you really like and analyse them. What attracted you to this ad? Why do you like it? Is it colour? Is it simplicity? Is it layout?

Consider why you like it and figure out if you can use some of these ideas in your own advertising.

3. Be Bold! Be Different! The reason why agencies get paid the big bucks is that they are actually being paid to come up with really brilliant ideas. Even a simple idea can be brilliant. Good ideas don’t have to be fancy, they have to be compelling, memorable and relevant.

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4. Read advertising books. Peruse your bookstore or library and read a book or two by very successful advertising people, like David Ogilvy. Understand what makes a good ad and formulate something for your business. DON’T use templates! DON’T pay for ad space just because it’s cheap. DON’T spend less than you can afford.

Good advertising placed in the right spot for the right audience promoting the right message WILL be money well spent.

Your advertising is saying something about YOU and the quality of YOUR business. Make sure it sends the RIGHT message.

insanely clever marketing

Do you struggle to find the right balance of advertising and budget? Have you had an epic advertising fail? What advertising option work best for you? How do you decide on your marketing messages? Do you research customers for clues?

I’d love you to join me on Twitter @insanelyclever and Facebook /InsanelyCleverMarketing for more great advice, free business tips and insanely clever marketing inspiration.

3 Responses to “You’ll Waste Money on Advertising Unless You Read This First!”
  1. Great article and all very valid points. Love the “Don’t spend less than you can afford”.


    • Thanks Chris, it’s great to get feedback from people who visit my site. So glad you found the article valuable; really appreciate you taking the tme to read and comment. Have a great week. Cheers, Penelope


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