Why Advertising Fails

Every CEO, business owner and manager has a view on advertising and its effectiveness. The reality is advertising is only one component of the Marketing plan along with other channel strategies and the overall strategy of your organisation’s brand.  Expecting advertising to fix all of your customer acquisition and sales objectives is like trying to fix your car with only a hammer.

Successful advertising is a result of good strategy and planning and a clear understanding of the objective it needs to achieve. Here are some points to consider;

1.Strategy must come first

Without a clear identification of your proposition (i.e. what you offer and why its good) and target audience you run the risk of not getting your message across, using the wrong channels and reducing the return on your advertising investment.

2.Sometimes clever is not very clever

We all love a clever piece of creative, but without the core message about your organisation service or brand all you are doing is just entertaining and not generating an action or outcome.

3.If it’s too good to be true it’s probably not worth it

Today more than ever media availability for radio, press, TV is very competitively priced. Partly because social media and online is providing a cost effective and a DIY option to market your brand and partly because people are becoming more savvy about evaluating options.

Many businesses still make the mistake of buying media like they buy other commodities i.e. how many spots can I get for so many dollars. Successful media buying is not only a combination of volume but targeting brand alignment and evaluating if a certain advertising channel is right for your brand full stop.


Like any other part of your business advertising requires a commitment. It would be great to say that the minute your message appears in the newspaper the phones start to ring red hot. Sometimes it happens but not always the truth is that regular consistent advertising across more than one channel is best. It takes time for messages to sink in and your audience start remembering your messages.

5.Fulfillment failure

So, your advertising is launched, what happens if it is successful? Stupid question you say we just sit back and watch the sales role in! But what if the volume of responses overloads your contact centre, you run out of stock, your deliveries take too long, a customer walks into your store and can’t find what you are promoting or your sales team is not aware of the promotion you are running. Be prepared.

6.To many cooks spoil the creative

Design by committee is the best way to kill a piece of advertising everyone will have a point of view within your organisation. Stick to the strategy (that’s point number 1) always ask if the work is meeting your key messages if it is funny and clever great ask a stranger what does this creative asking me to do if they tell you the right answer you may not win to many awards but you increased your chance of having effective advertising.

Mike Kotlyar FCIM is a Director of @Consult a Marketing strategy, brand development and channel tactics consultancy.  Mike is one of a few New Zealand Marketers to be accepted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketers. With over 25 years Marketing and business development experience, he is also a tutor of the Multi – Channel Direct Marketing Course run by the Marketing Association of which he is a member.