Advertising is sexy.

Brands and agencies attempt to cajole purchase decisions via the innate human mechanisms which respond to allure and appeal. Speaking at (yes, at) people’s unconscious whims has always been highly effective — something that the Madison Avenue crowd in New York City learned and perfected partway through the last century.

At that time, very little actionable thought was given to the metrics of advertising. After all, there were very few mass-media channels out there. And they had a profoundly near-absolute reach. Television, radio, and print all ruled as ultimate vehicles at get advertising messages to the masses.

Things have changed.

Advertising is still based on the sexy. After all, the basic neurological mechanisms which govern how people think, feel, and act haven’t changed. What has changed is the advertising industry’s ability to carry messages to the consuming public, en mass, through only a handful of media channels. The decline and impending demise of mass-media print is both a sign and a symptom of the rapid technological evolution of our society. This has caused the old advertising model substantial grief; and, it has also significantly eroded the influence of once-titan global publishing houses that simply didn’t invest in digital media platforms when the time was right.

(And many who did have failed, because they tried to apply the print model to digital media — but, that’s a conversation for another day)

The rules of the game have changed. And it routinely amazes me how few industry players have fully comprehended this truth.

Don’t blindly trust the outcome (your earnings statement) to the advertising guys. They work for you, not the other way around. If you want your business to grow and future success to be achievable and sustainable, copy down these rules and post them up in your war room. Make them obnoxiously visible, and encourage your team to read them. Preferably every day.

  1. Begin with the end in mind.
  2. Spending without planning is the best way to go bankrupt.
  3. Advertising without marketing is utterly useless.

Ask yourself (or your ad agency) this two-part question:

What’s the prize at the end of my advertising campaign? What will I get out of this initiative?

If the answer doesn’t include X number of new customers and Y number of new dollars in gross revenue plus  a rationale for arriving at this forecast, go back to the drawing board. With a new agency partner, if necessary.

The Don Drapers of the advertising industry are unlikely to approve of this article. And understandably so, because it challenges the foundation of the traditional ad agency model (buy media space and resell it at a hefty markup). These glitz and glamour folks will tell you that advertising is the hammer that drives the message home. Sometimes that’s true. But as a results-based marketer, that hammer is only one item among many in my toolbox.

And I pull it out to get the job done, not to show it off.

Want to chat more about results-based marketing? Drop us a line and mark your message with ‘I want RESULTS!’ We’ll know what you’re talking about.