The advertising masterclass to make it last

Think - 11 Jul 2015

The fear of putting money into stuff where we can’t perceive direct gains is kind of scary, right? Well, that’s the advertising game - day in, day out. Looking at this particular conundrum is like staring blankly into a deep, dark pit of gloom. You can clearly picture yourself throwing your money into it, but what’s the return, what will you get back?

To this point, I don’t envy small business owners, the guys trying their best to kick off. When they started thinking about launching their world beating thingy, I bet they didn’t ever imagine the magnitude off stuff they had to deal with. And, in a highly integrated and connected economy, that stuff is only getting worse. 

Advertising is one of those misunderstood things. It’s that mysterious beast, only mastered by those select few folk wearing their fancy suits, and sporting their slick hair and ray ban sunglasses. Most folk have no idea, or even better, they have no interested in having an idea. Some people think advertising is about chucking your logo out to the world - as big and bright as possible. Some people, think by saying over and over how wonderful their shit is, then people will listen. And some idiots think that by listing 50 different ways to make contact is the way to make contact. Oh, and lets not forget the ones who use sexist images of barbie-like woman… Well, damn… only if it was that simple. 

The function of Advertising is actually pretty simple though. At its core, advertising is about connecting a message with a particular person. It’s that single minded message that speaks volumes.

So, why have we got so lost in our way, why do we see ads that more often that not make us want to punch brands in the face? You know, the ones that insult our intellect, the ads that don’t relate to us, the ones which piss us off…

Speaking with friends and contemporaries, i’m surprised by their perspective on advertising. Commonly I meet people who believe that a world without ads would be more peaceful, like we’d totally be less likely to consume products. And in some ways I see their point, but this is not how it should be. 

Recently, Advertising has gone down a dangerous road. Advertising folk are dancing with the devil, developing short-term strategies by being consumed with eco systems of highly-reactive behaviour. We see this everyday with marketers jumping on and flooding platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Ads are losing value, instead of being at the crux of where all brand value is derived, they’re now cheap - bandages, cover ups.

These are all functions of stuff we control though; time-constraints, budgets, management and clients. Not one single thing here is the problem, the collective mess of businesses adopting a numbers game focus, has given birth to our advertising ways.

If you’re in business then be scared of throwing your hard earned cash into advertising. Be scared of falling into the trap of just getting it done, doing the same as your competitors, making misguided judgements about ads because your “gut” or wife told you so. But being scared and not advertising won’t get you far either.

If your business is to have a fighting chance of growing, then take the time to think about your customer first and first and foremost. Understand their problems and their needs, and develop your brand’s positioning strategy.

Think; who is my customer and what is their problem? What is the one thing my business does to overcome their problem? These questions are the start of your advertising strategy. More of the wrong advertising won’t get you any closer to your business goals, but less of more focused ads might just give you that edge.  

Advertising is a gamble, it always will be. But, if you’re business is to have a chance, don’t trust yourself with advertising. Think before you start, then empower your advertising team to think again and again about your customer. Flashy brands don’t get far unless they’re coupled with thoughtful marketing. Now, go create, go and make a difference to your customers.