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What should you expect from your commercial or ad?

“More Profits!”

Well, okay, if you have everything priced to make a profit after your expenses. That’s really in your court, not the ad agency’s or the writer/producer’s.

“More Sales?”

That sounds more reasonable. But really the commercial’s job is to get people to your door. (“Your door” nowadays includes your website, your Twitter Account, your Text Club, etc.) That’s when your own sales force, either in person or through the offer on the Social Media outlet, is supposed to step in. Hopefully, the commercial has presold them a bit, but perhaps your salesperson turns them off with a too forceful approach, or tries to get them to buy a different product with more profit built in for you or more commission for him.

“More Traffic?” (Or “More Hits/ More Tweets?”)

Well, if your whole campaign is built around, say, a personal appearance from Lady Gaga or Colin Powell, the people may come for the show, but may not stay for the sales pitch. And sometimes even the best advertising equivalent of building a better mouse trap still won’t make the world beat a path to your door.  When I was freelancing for a Chicago agency, writing ads and commercials for major real estate developers in Chicagoland, they understood that there was no use trying to bring people out for an open house on a Sunday when the Bears were playing. (That was when the Bears were consistently good, so­—long time ago.) If you drive them to the website, and the website drives them away (check the time spent on the website), then you know you have more work to do.

I’ll close with a couple of oldies but goodies:

A. “Advertising is an art, not a science.”
All the HUT levels, Gross Rating Points, and website hits can’t change that. Advertising professionals use those tools, combined with an intuitive sense that’s been honed and reinforced through years of practical experience.

B. There is a legendary, probably apocryphal, story of the major advertiser who said, “I’m firmly convinced that half of my advertising budget is wasted; I just can’t tell which half!”

Advertising is just one (but an extremely important one) component found in the five Ps of Marketing:

  • Product
  • Pricing
  • Promotion (Aha, but you’ll find some elements of advertising in the other Ps, e.g., branding also goes into the “Product” category.)
  • Place (Distribution)
  • People (Again, nowadays, Social Media is part of that, and your marketing, ad and PR folks should be all over that.)

Perhaps all you can expect is positive feedback from your professionally written, produced, and placed commercial or ad is: more traffic at your door, either real or virtual; or a “halo effect” for your company, its products, and services that will translate into increased sales and profits down the road. And, I hate to use this term, but “in today’s economy,” maybe all you can hope for is to retain your share of a smaller pie.

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