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Marketing Roulette: The Fastest Way to Waste $4 Million Dollars

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I can’t imagine a marketing situation where I’d be willing to invest 10% of my annual media budget on just one event.  Stupid.

Yet, this is precisely what many corporate executives did when they made the decision to advertise during the Super Bowl, spending a record $3.5 million for a thirty second spot!

Yes, the Super Bowl has a LOT of viewers and many people are sticking around to watch the ads, but there’s a problem.

  1. Super Bowl viewers are looking to the commercials for entertainment (they don’t care what you’re selling!)
  2. They’re distracted (they’re enjoying time with friends, having a few brews and stuffing their faces with nachos and chicken wings) and,
  3. Without repetition of your advertisement, they are likely to forget all about you.

These foolish executives sit in their stuffy offices working with overpriced advertising agencies trying to come up with the funniest and most creative advertisement in the hopes of winning some prestigious advertising award for no other reason than it will satisfy their egos and give them something to brag about on the golf course.

USA Today, among others, is currently running a competition to determine who has the best ad based on entertainment value, humor and creativity.

But who’s running a competition of which ad got the most leads, buyers or profit?

Yup, I ain’t heard of one.

This is the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard of!

Look folks, it shouldn’t take little-ole’ me to open your eyes to this fact, but creativity means bullocks in the grand scheme of things – it’s the NUMBERS that matter!  Our Insider’s Club Members know this all too well (and that’s why they’re building a competitive advantage that will allow them to dominate their competitors!).

Judging the success of a Super Bowl Advertisement on its entertainment value is like basing Tom Brady’s performance by the way his hair looked before stepping foot on the field.

Jerry Maguire had it right:

“Show me the money!”

If you’re spending $3.5 million for a 30 second spot, you better hope for a return of $5.25 million or greater (my rule of thumb is that “good” advertising should produce a 50% return or greater).

But there’s a problem. In the very creative ad featuring Clint Eastwood (for example), how would they know if the $3.5 million TV ad was effective?  After all, there was no call to action, no incentive to buy now and there was no tracking metric built into their advertising (such as a unique phone number, web address, coupon/promotion code, offer, etc.)

They also took out a full 4 page ad in USA Today (and I’m sure there’s more) – so, which one worked?

That’s a lot of money to be throwing around with no accountability.

Heck, based on a preliminary conversation with a few entrepreneurs who watched the game and Clint’s ad, they said: “That ad made me want to buy American-made vehicles, but it gave me no preference to Chrysler.” (BTW, how many of you knew that Chrysler and their family of cars were the sponsor?)

Advertising isn’t about being witty, entertaining or winning an award for being the most creative – it’s all about selling.

According to a Feb 4th, 2011 article in Adweek, in the year 2000, there were seven dot com companies that invested over $2 million for Super Bowl ads that were supposed to yield positive results but only contributed to them going out of business before the next Super Bowl. In 2010, the popular Flo TV’s hysterically funny commercial (ranked 2010’s 10 best), was out of business by October and Budweiser’s unparalleled 70 Super Bowl commercials in the past 10 years has done nothing for their market share, which has slid from 25% to less than 10% in 2011.

So, what could these companies do to improve their advertising?

Here are six key attributes for more effective advertising in generating a higher return on investment and more sales.  They are:

  1. Provide the Viewer with a Reason for Advertising: Rather than advertising to simply get more sales, provide your viewers with a reason (i.e. Holiday, special event, new or improved product, unique payment plans / financing, discounts or sales, special reports, comment on recent news, etc.)
  2. Grab Their Attention within the First 5 Seconds: There’s a LOT of noise and clutter surrounding your advertising, so be sure to give people a reason to pay attention and be specific as to WHO should be paying attention.
  3. Make Them an Offer:  Now that they have a reason for your advertising and they’re paying attention, what is the offer that you’re going to give them that will motivate them to inquire for more information or make a purchase from you?  The stronger your offer, the better the response.
  4. Give Them a Deadline and a Reason to Act Now:  People are inherently procrastinators and have a tendency to forget your advertisement.  Giving them a reason to act quickly will not only boost immediate response it will also increase long-term profits.
  5. Provide them with a Clear ‘Call to Action’:  Let them know how to take advantage of the offer by exactly where to go or who to call.  Make sure the instructions are crystal clear.
  6. Track the Response: Be sure to include a unique phone number, promo code or some other identifier to be able to track and measure the success of your advertisement.  As W. Edwards Demming says: “If it can’t be measured, it can’t be improved upon.”

You have as much as 30 seconds to grab the person’s attention and make such a compelling offer that they go to your website, visit your store or call your phone number to inquire for more information or make the sale.

We must not forget, it’s about making money … not being funny.

Okay, my rant is over (well, for now anyway).

P.S.  What do you think of the Super Bowl advertising?

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