Written by Craig Haugo, Valhalla Community Magazines

At one time or another every advertiser experiences a dud advertising campaign – no calls, no leads, or no contacts. Usually, and rightfully so, the first thought that the advertiser has is “does advertising with this (newspaper, magazine, radio station, TV channel, direct marketer, etc) actually work”? This is a critical question and should constantly be asked by the advertiser and proven by the medium.

But, in order to find out the answer to the question, the advertiser has to answer a few questions first. A little deductive reasoning is in order. By the way, these are the same questions that the advertiser should be asking themselves before they start advertising.

* 1. Does this medium reach my target audience?

This question may seem obvious, but it is a mistake that many advertisers make. Many mediums are so broadly focused that the advertisers target audience is such a small percentage of the total reach that it reduces the value of the advertisement to unprofitable levels.

* 2. Is the segment that I want to market a large part of this audience?

Let’s say the advertiser is a pool remodeling company and they are looking for a medium to advertise their services. One of the segments could be homeowners with older pools, with the income or the desire to remodel their existing pool. This is a simple segmentation, but it would be the bare minimum in deciding where to put advertising dollars. Does the medium deliver this segment?

* 3. Is the vehicle actually being watched, read, seen, opened, and listened to?

There are a lot of places to spend advertising dollars, but the field can be reduced quickly by determining which medium does what they say they do. Unfortunately, there are many that do not do what they say they do, fortunately, they are easy to spot: how long the medium has has been around, quality of service and production, professionalism of the company and employees, and a little common sense – is the deal to good to be true (price or promises).

Simply put, if the advertiser answers “no” to any of these questions then it is the wrong vehicle. For advertisers, the tough part is when they answer is “yes” to the above questions. If they answer “yes” , then the correct conclusion is – either they are running the wrong type of ad or the ad is poor. In other words, if the ad is reaching the correct audience (segment) and is in a viable vehicle (does what it says it does), and the ad does not work, it is the fault of the ad.

“Just because your ad looks good is no insurance that it will get looked at. How many people do you know who are impeccably groomed . . . but dull?”

– William Bernbach, DDB Needham Worldwide.