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Thursday, Jun. 7, 2007 at 11:50 am

Marketing’s Inconvenient Truth

By Bryan Eisenberg
June 7th, 2007

Speaking today at the Future of Online Advertising (FOOA) conference, Greg Stuart, co-author of What Sticks, claims that if advertising had a slogan it would be “half the money is wasted.” How fitting that the home of the conference, Manhattan’s ornate Gotham Hall, is inscribed with the words:

Waste neither time nor money, but use both for your own and your neighbor’s good.”

Stuart researched companies that had an aggregate $1 billion combined ad spend, and applied experimental design to advertising from some of these companies across different media. They were then able to isolate the value differential between showing the ad to those who “got it” versus those who didn’t. Of the $295 Billion of US ad spending, over $112 Billion of it is wasted.

What makes you think your isn’t?

Three things to get right with your ad spend:

1. Motivations – 36% didn’t connect with customer motivations.

2. Messaging – 31% failed on messaging. (People didn’t get it.)

3. Media – 83% of campaigns were suboptimal. (At some level, media works even if it’s poorly delivered or not the right choice for a given audience.)

The truth is that marketing is hard. With all of the variables involved in a campaign, what are the chances you’ll get it right based on your gut? Stuart claims that marketers have neither the rigor nor the predictability to lead businesses–and they’ve (understandably) lost confidence in us.

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

Make sure your motivations stick by:

  1. Knowing why consumers buy your brand
  2. Ensuring it’s a valuable (and valid) customer segment
  3. Eliminate ambiguity from your definition process

How bad is Online Creative? In a recent study, creative testing was done prior to launch for 5 major brands, and the results were shaky:

1 Brand’s ad required no adjustment

2 brands found 1/2 the ads were not effective (diluting the effectiveness of the campaign)

2 brands discarded ALL ads and started over (when they did, both developed ads that scored much better)

The 5 brands? P&G, J&L, Kraft, Nestle, and Target… Very big fish, all of whom have top marketers.

So, nothing else matters if creative is wrong. Stuart says online advertising must pass the “glance test.” You need persistent branding, and must show people the product early on while making it clear how the product relates to the brand.

Creative testing is cheap – Just do it!

  • Because not testing is REALLY expensive.
  • Split cell testing is best (experimental design)

Media timing influences success. Ads work best during certain parts of the day. And “mix matters.” Be sure to mix it up with your media spend. Don’t ignore one channel at the expense of another. In fact, oftentimes you can lower the overall budget by investing less in a given channel and still get better results. Those opportunities are the ones worth finding.

Maximization means applying classic innovation theory to marketing:

70% of your resources should go into stuff you know is working.

20% should be spent on innovating off of what you already know works.

10% should go into new, innovate, even wild ideas.

[Stay tuned to upcoming posts for more key notes from FOOA]

Add Your Comments

Comments (3)

  1. Great post, Bryan. I think Greg’s talk was one of THE most informative of the bunch at the conference. Too bad we didn’t get the chance to meet up there though! :)

  2. Pretty good, Bryan
    Internet Marketing can bring you very much money. But it isn’t easy to get a lot of money without working hard.

  3. I’m sure 50% is spam and not advertised goods

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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