Why Advertising Doesn't Work

David Day

2 min read
I’ve worked in the advertising business for over 30 years. I’ve worked with clients and prospects in just about every category of business there is. During my tenure I’ve heard prospects say “advertising doesn’t work” more often than you might think, and it used to really bother me.

Not anymore.

Now it’s music to my ears. Here’s why:

After trying lots of advertising and seeing no results, a business owner may conclude “Advertising is not effective for me, and it does not help my business.” Lots of business owners feel that way. In their case-and maybe yours-I agree. If your advertising does not work, you should kill it, bury it, and never do it again.

When advertising doesn’t work, there is usually a good reason for it.  I’ve seen and been a part of helping companies grow into huge businesses who would not be successful at all without advertising. Why would very smart, rich, and profitable brands like Coke, Apple, Nike, McDonald’s, and many others advertise if it doesn’t work? The truth is advertising does work if you do it right. 

When I review a client or prospect’s advertising, I check on four things: Media, Market, Message, and Money. These four spokes connect on one end to the company hub: the BRAND (B). On the other, the outer rim, they connect to the marketplace. The idea is to get your brand wheel rolling through the marketplace, but if one or more of the spokes isn’t strong, the wheel goes flat, and so do your sales. 

Check the diagram below. The four spokes are Media (where you advertise), Market (To whom you advertise), Message (What you say to them), and Money (how much you invest). The chances are very good that if your advertising isn’t working, you have at least one weak spoke. 

But that’s not all. If you change one spoke, it affects the others. If you change your media spoke, you may need to change your budget. Or if you change your market (audience), you may need to change your message. When you shift one spoke, you should examine the other three to see if they will work with your new spoke. 

When advertising doesn’t work, it’s because we’re not strong on all four spokes. Check the spokes and make adjustments where needed. Once you get that brand wheel rolling, you’ll see how advertising can make a huge difference in building your brand, your sales, and your profits.

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