This is a question that I get asked all of the time normally from people who are skeptical about the benefits of advertising. I have to say unequivocally that yes, advertising does work, but it is not an exact science and more often than not, it is a matter of trial and error.
Now I know that this does not inspire a lot of confidence in the advertising process however, like all forms of marketing, the more information you have and the more time and energy that you put into your advertising, that is researching it, thinking about what you are going to advertise and so on, the greater the results will be.
From my own experience I see a lot of businesses dabble in the field of advertising. After running one advertisement in a newspaper that doesn’t produce the expected results they make sweeping statements like “newspaper advertising doesn’t work”. Of course, newspaper advertising does work but it depends on a number of factors. For example what is the advertisement like (as in is it really busy and cluttered or does it sell on simple and clear message), where is it placed in the newspaper, what is the product or service being advertised and what are the other outside influences that could affect the results?
More often than not, businesses don’t really have good monitoring systems in place to determine where new customers are coming from, making it virtually impossible to determine if advertising has worked or not.
Another common problem with advertising is that many business owners have unrealistic expectations on the return from their advertising. For a couple of hundred dollars they expect the advertising to return tens of thousands of dollars. This just doesn’t happen. If it was that easy every small business owner would be a multi millionaire.
I have been involved a lot of businesses that have started their advertising with some trepidation. I have watched them slowly build their businesses with smart and effective advertising to the point where they have grown into large corporations that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on advertising.
So in answering the question posed, does advertising really work, the answer is yes it most certainly does, but the key’s are how you advertise, where you advertise and what you say in your advertising.
I will be spending the next few weeks looking at various forms of advertising and what you can do to increase your chances of making advertising work for you.