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Are Your Advertising Expectations Aligned with Reality?

Steve Indersmith

You've been advertising for a long time, right? You have tried lots of media and sat through many sales presentations, yet you're still confused and more often than not, you're disappointed. Here's the thing - are your expectations aligned with reality?

Is it reasonable to expect a certain level of results from your advertising? Studies have shown that in some cases, more than 30 per cent of businesses do not recommit to a campaign because they feel that they did not get value. Is this you?

The question is, what were you expecting? Was it realistic and were you measuring it?

We will deal with the question of measurement in a later newsletter. For now, we’ll tackle the topic of realistic expectations.

Here's a few questions you should ask yourself or, better still, discuss with your sales consultant.

1. What are your needs and over what timeframe?
Are you looking for a direct response, engagement, awareness, web traffic or exposure? Do you expect this to happen immediately or over time?

2. What is your measure of success?
If you were to look back on this campaign, what would you like to say you have achieved? Be specific - if you can measure success then quantify your goals. For example, “I expect sales to increase by … I will obtain at least five qualified leads from my advert. My web traffic will increase by …..”

3. How and when will you know whether your needs are being met?
Establish review points and have someone responsible for analysing and measuring. Make sure results are recorded not just left to memory. My advice is to allocate the role of measurement to one of your staff. If it is dependent on the business owner it will probably, over time, drop down the priority list.

4. Is the response you are after realistic?
Too often, a business owner will demand crazy outcomes from their advertising campaign. A quick reality check is provided by asking, “So when in your 20 years of doing business have you achieved results like what you are expecting?” If you haven't achieved it anywhere else, then it's probably not realistic.

5. Is the offer in your advert strong enough?
If you want buyers pouring through the door, you’d better do something to earn it. In most cases, this expectation will only be met via heavy discounting. You need to ensure your offer is in line with your competitors and your customers see it as great value. The days of 10% off attracting buyers in droves is long gone.

Good reality check - would you respond to your advert?

6. What is the likely reaction from your advert?
You may have an expectation that the consumer will ring or come to the store. Maybe this is true, but in many cases their first reaction will be to go online and do their research. If they do this, how will you know? Can you measure web traffic, set up a landing page or capture their details?

7. How long is the customer’s journey to your door?
Is it immediate, impulsive, could it take a week, a month, a year? Typically, a consumer needs a number of touch points before they buy from you. In some industries, consumers might need interaction 10 or more times and the buyer cycle could be 6 to 12 months. The more significant the outlay, the more personal the product or service, the more touch points required. Your expectations need to be tempered in line with the buyer’s cycle.

Challenge yourself to ask these questions. You don’t want to be one of the 30% that felt their expectations weren’t met only to find out their expectations were far from realistic. Once your expectations are aligned with what's possible, everything else falls in to place - the advert design, the offer, the media, the campaign and, importantly, the measurement systems.

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