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Demand Accountability from Your "Brand" Advertising

June 16, 2011

A famous quote from John Wannamaker, a 19th century pioneer in advertising is:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

A year or so ago I’m sitting in on a client meeting where a large business is doing their new year’s strategy session. Also in the meeting, is the publishing company our client is spending a sizable chunk of change with. Everyone is talking about “creatives” (ads), impressions (times people saw the ad), and other marketing buzz-words. We were tracking the results of these ads being run on their website, though and we asked, “So what kind of results are these getting?” Dead silence… We then pointed out, in the last year of tracking these ads
  • there wasn’t a single lead generated
  • 94% of the people never clicked through to see another page on the website.
  • the ads weren’t even sending people to a page on the website that talked about what the ad talked about. The visitor then had to click 2 more times (amongst a wide variety of choices) to get to the info that they originally clicked to read about
More silence… The head of marketing from the publishing company then said, “But this is brand advertising, so we’re not trying to get leads. We’re ‘branding’.” Hopefully their answer disturbs or even shocks you. Hopefully you never heard this from someone responsible for your marketing dollars. We and this publishing company weren’t wrestling for the same pot of marketing budget or even for control of the campaign so this wasn’t a case of sour grapes on our part. We were shocked companies think like this in the 21st century. The only companies who can should even consider blind brand advertising are those selling offline “commodity products” where there are so many variables, tracking the impact of advertising is difficult. We’re talking about Coca-Cola, Wrigley gum, etc. Even then they use coupons, dedicated websites, etc. to even get a sniff of which marketing is successful. Most B2B companies are not in this realm. Actually, I can’t think of a single B2B company which has exhausted their reach in market segments where they can directly track the results of their ads. In the case of the company in this meeting, leads for their product could be tracked entirely via the web or phone numbers. The problem was nobody sitting in on the meeting understood. The questions every business engaging in brand advertising should ask themselves
  • “Do my brand advertising and lead generation have to be mutually-exclusive events?”
  • “Is there no possible way to tie my marketing to results – and am I 100% sure of that?”
If the answer is “No” to any one of those questions, then consider letting WSI B2B Marketing do a quick and complimentary analysis of your online and offline marketing and see how you may benefit from accountability and a measurable marketing ROI.

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