Why Most Advertising Doesn’t Do the Job

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We laugh when we see others do it. People do it without even realizing it—and chances are you do it, too. I’m talking about weak, inane ads that don’t do anything to sell your product or service. In fact, they do you a disservice making you blend in with everyone else.

Check Your Ads
Just look at any advertisement in the Yellow Pages, in mailbox circulars you receive, or in the local newspaper. They are all filled with meaningless platitudes—commonplace phrases and claims so overused that they become cliché, uninteresting, and meaningless to potential customers. When we open them up, here’s what we see: Affordable, largest inventory, lowest price, best quality, dependable, honest, fair price, meeting all your needs, fast, reliable, locally owned and operated, in business since…, serving the entire area, friendly, professional, etc.

Take a look at your own ads. Do any of them look like these? You may not use the exact words, but you are probably making the same kinds of ineffective and meaningless claims in your own advertising. If you are, it’s costing you missed sales and missed profits.

The Big Mistake
The reality is it’s almost impossible to find advertising that doesn’t make this mistake. What’s worse is that this particular mistake leads to another mistake—thinking that your customers only care about price. If you’re looking to capture all the business you’ve been missing, consider this: Your potential customers are interested in price only because you look just like all your competitors. Your customers can’t tell the difference between you and everyone else. So the only thing for them to do is discover who gives them what they want at the lowest price.

Knowing this puts you in the drivers seat for outsmarting your competitors. Now you can take advantage of the fact that everyone else has been making the same mistake you have and change your ads. Start by replacing platitudes with meaningful promises that capture attention and get potential customers interested in doing business with only you. If your offer in the marketplace stands above the rest, so will you as you reap the benefits of more customers coming to you.

—Kevin Herring

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