Wishful Advertising Thinking — Kelford Labs Daily

Ads work once things are working.

Wishful Advertising Thinking — Kelford Labs Daily

Often, I’ll hear entrepreneurs casually mention that they’ll “just do some advertising” if business slows down, or if they need sales of their new product to pick up.

Advertising is mentioned as if it’s a last resort, and something that, once committed to, will certainly work.

But, the trouble is, advertising often doesn’t work.

If all you had to do was spend money, and you were guaranteed to make money back—like some sort of perpetual motion machine—no one would ever go out of business.

But, the fact is, most advertising doesn’t pay you back in returns. Most of it barely registers a dent, and barely recommends doing more.

More troubling, much of the advertising you see and hear and read is done by companies that aren’t making profit. The entire podcast industry is supported by ads for VC-backed potions and powders and get-healthy-quick schemes that are unprofitable and unsustainable.

This is not an attack on advertising—just a warning that it isn’t a silver bullet. There are no silver bullets, just as there are no werewolves. There’s only the reality of testing, experimentation, and slow and steady progress.

So, if we’re counting on advertising to work, we’ve got to put the work in, first.

We need something that’s already working. Advertising amplifies existing value, it doesn’t create its own.

So, we’ve got to have messages that we know perform based on testing and measuring. We’ve got to know exactly who our ideal audience is, and what they value most of all. And we’ve got to know what we’ll change and adjust if our ads struggle at first.

Don’t count on advertising to turn things around or solve major problems.

We’ve got to do that first, and then advertising will push us further and faster—once we’re already moving.

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