A prospective client called me last week, complaining that his latest radio and TV advertising campaign wasn’t working. He wanted my opinion about why, and some recommendations to turn the campaign around. When I talked with him further and checked out the creative, I was reminded about the 10 reasons why most campaigns fail.

  1. Looking for instant results. The ad that creates enough urgency to cause people to respond immediately is the ad most likely to be forgotten immediately once the offer expires. Such ads are of little use in establishing the advertiser’s identity in the mind of the prospective customer.
  2. Not buying enough frequency. Research shows that it takes 6 or 7 times for an ad to motivate a prospective customer to pick up the phone, visit a store or make a purchase online. For a media mix to be effective, each element in the mix must have enough repetition to establish retention in the mind of the prospect. Too often, however, the result of a media mix is too many people reached without enough repetition. Years of experience have taught me over and over that advertising is a game of repetition.
  3. Assuming the owner knows best. Most business owners are quite unqualified to see their company or product objectively. Too much product knowledge often leads them to talk about features that prospective customers don’t really care about, or answer questions no one is asking.