TRUTH: 5 Reasons Why Your Advertising is Failing


So, you have started an advertising campaign and it’s not working. Why? What can you do about it now, since you have already started? Can you “jump ship?” Should you? Let’s examine the Top 5 Reasons Why Your Advertising Could be Failing!

1.) Targeting the wrong people, or too general of an audience

Before you started your campaign, did you really sit down and decide who to target your message to? Did you dive in deep enough to really narrow it down? Let’s look at an example: If you are a new car dealership targeting Business-to-Consumer (B2C) customers, you can narrow your target market by age, income, current car make and model, home ownership, home value, home location, hobbies and special interests, just to name a few! You must weed out those consumers who are not-as-likely-to-buy because you SIMPLY can’t afford to talk to “everyone who drives a car!” Use your current customers as a starting point to develop your Ideal Customer Profile!

McDonald’s, the leading Quick Service Restaurant in the world, narrows their target audience down by menu item! Does your company have more than one target market, based on your products and services?


2.) Your media schedule is spread too thin

Perhaps you aren’t putting enough “weight” behind your advertising campaign. Simply put…Don’t be cheap! Unless you have enough money to invest in a solid marketing program that will penetrate your target audience with enough Reach and Frequency, don’t do it! Listen to your media sales reps when they tell you “this schedule isn’t really heavy enough to work.” They aren’t just trying to sell you more (probably). They truly do care about your business!

My #1 pet peeve is working with clients who want to “test the waters” and “try” out a new medium. That is the worst idea you could have, because you won’t break through the clutter and make an impression on your target audience. You are better off taking your advertising investment and buying a scratch-off lottery ticket at the gas station! At least then you have some odds of seeing a return on your investment!


3.) Bad Creative

Sometimes you are targeting the right audience AND have invested the right amount of money in an ad campaign, and it is STILL not working. Maybe you’re not telling your customers the right thing! Do you have a strong Call to Action in your message? Are you talking your customers’ language, or are you using words that they don’t connect with? It’s time to examine your ad creative and see what can be changed!

To give you an extreme example of making sure you are “speaking your customers’ language,” an American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” (el Papa), the shirts read “I saw the potato” (la papa). Ha! Just a good reminder to double and triple check that you are advertising what you WANT to advertise!


4.) Internal weakness within your business – Signage, location, sales-force, product, service, etc.

One reason why companies fail miserably with their advertising campaigns is because they are terrible about following up on leads when they come in, or aren’t properly tracking where the leads are coming from! Every organization has a little of this going on, but now is the time to take a look at your internal procedures and make sure you are testing, measuring and tracking your leads properly and following up on each and every customer inquiry! This will ensure that you will only invest in advertising that gives you a good ROI in the future.

If you are tracking your conversion rate from a lead to a paying customer, you might also uncover some other weaknesses in your business. Perhaps your location is hard to find, or not clearly identifiable, or your product or customer service does not meet consumer expectations.

All of these things can make you believe your advertising is failing, when in fact…the advertising is working just fine – you just need to fine tune your processes!


5.) Your expectations aren’t realistic

Are you expecting a 1000% return on your investment? Do you think that if you drop a direct mail campaign that your phone will be ringing off the hook for months? Well, probably not. If you haven’t already done so, take a look at national response rate statistics for the mediums in which you are advertising. There are websites from organizations for every possible advertising medium. A simple Google search can help you find them, and they are chocked full of statistics to ensure you have realistic expectations for your advertising!

Did you know that the average national response rate for direct mail is 1%? So, if you mail 2,500 postcards, 25 people will respond. Now, depending on your conversion rate (national average is around 30%) that will be 7.5 new customers! Great job. Just make sure those 7.5 customers have a high enough average ticket sale and profit margin to give you a good return on your direct mail investment.

So, there you have it. Have you found the missing link to why your advertising is failing? If not, we can help! Call TRIO today at 515-259-0577 or email at We can help analyze your current marketing program and recommend ways for you to become more efficient in your approach to earning more customers!



Renee Schneider
Trio Marketing
p. 515.259.0577
c. 316.644.7029

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A little more about us:
TRIO is a full-service marketing communications company providing a wide array of integrated marketing services to meet all of your business and marketing needs.  At TRIO, we understand that each client is unique; therefore we provide customized solutions based on your goals and growth objectives. All of our recommendations are made specifically for you and your business. TRIO Marketing, Branding and Advertising delivers an effective blend of creative talent and strategic thinking, delivering results that increase the bottom line of our client partners. We utilize our network of local experts in the community to execute the campaigns on the basis of design, printing and mailing.

Our Services include:

  • Marketing, Branding, Public Relations and Advertising Consulting
  • Strategic Annual Marketing Plan Development
  • Integrated and Interactive Marketing Services including E-mail and SMS Marketing
  • Promotional Products
  • Media Negotiation, Placement & Spot Traffic Management Print Design & Production
  • Web Development & Search Engine Optimization
  • Direct Mail Services
  • One-on-One Sales Team Development

At TRIO, we work hard to combine marketing talent and technology with outstanding customer service to build long-term partnerships with you and your business. Our strategies are delivered on time and in a cost-effective manner to achieve maximum response and grow your business.

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