Money wasters masquerading as effective marketing strategies

Posted by Daryn Smith on 11 November 2013 | Comments

       

Marketing can be expensive. However, because effective marketing is so important to making a success of your business, it’s a necessary and justified expense.

Unfortunately, some marketing media that brands buy into turns out to be a huge waste of money. The companies selling these strategies and media spaces typically have excellent, go-getter sales teams that rope these brands into signing big deals that promise effective marketing campaigns. Once the campaigns have been run, however, these brands often don’t see any return.

Watch out for these notorious money wasters:

1. Badly conceptualised Google AdWords

We reckon that this is one of the top money wasters out there. Google AdWords only show up when someone searches for what is being offered in the ad, and you only pay if someone clicks on your ad. Sounds like a highly targeted and cost effective system, right? Not necessarily.

In the Google AdWords marketplace there is a tool that suggests what search phrases you should choose for your ad to come up for. Most people, assuming that Google knows best, go ahead and select all of the suggested search phrases. They also don’t activate the ‘exact match’ function. This results in your campaign being only semi-targeted, because your ad will now be coming up for a host of search phrases that are only slightly related to your original category.

Keep in mind that Google makes money every time someone clicks on your ad. Similarly, the agency selling you the AdWords most likely gets a cut too. This means that the more people that click through, the better it is for Google and your agency. It doesn’t necessarily make it better for you, however, as a lot of these click-throughs – which you are paying for, remember – aren’t actually interested in what you’re offering and won’t become leads.

Another reason why AdWords won’t necessarily bring you leads is because users who click on your ad are usually linked to your homepage or a particular product page. This is useless; every single Google AdWord you run should have a custom landing page with a custom message, otherwise there is no direct correlation between what the user searched for, what they clicked on and what you are offering. When this happens, the user is likely to simply do some research and then leave your website without converting into a lead. This is not effective marketing, and if this is what your AdWords strategy looks like, you need to urgently make adjustments.

2. Mobile advertising

There is a monster PR machine around mobile marketing at the moment; every marketing or technology website is shouting about mobile being the next big thing. Of course, there is some truth in it. Mobile is massive and more and more people are using their phones to browse the web. In South Africa, however, there is so little quality space for mobile ads to be displayed that your ads end up being displayed on second and third rate sites and apps. For instance, a huge amount of ads are displayed in mobile games – but only children and teens will see these ads. Are they really an economically viable target market?

The click through ratios on mobile ads are very small. When you consider how easy it is to accidentally click something on a small, super-sensitive touch screen – especially something like a big ad – you can imagine that a big chunk of those click throughs are accidental. Mobile ads are hardly ever an effective marketing strategy in South Africa.

This isn’t to say that mobile isn’t important. It is important and you should certainly consider mobile in all of your marketing strategies. The trick is to understand how people use mobile and how best to effectively target them. For instance, people are constantly whipping out their phones mid-conversation to search anything from where the nearest Thai restaurant is to Neil Diamond’s age. This means that you need to be targeting these people by creating relevant, original content optimised for mobile.

3. Ads that don’t have clear brand connections 

I saw an amazing ad on TV last night. It’s the one that starts with the little girl with wings strapped to her back standing on a cliff, wishing she could fly. The ad is all about dreams coming true and believing in yourself. It’s a beautiful and inspirational clip and it’s stuck in my head.

The problem is that the feel good factor of the ad is the only thing that’s stuck in my head. It’s hard to remember who the ad is even for, because there is absolutely no connection between the content of the ad and the brand it’s supposed to be promoting. Even if I do remember that the ad was for Cell C, it doesn’t tell me anything about them or why I should choose them over their competitors.

This is a prime example of an extremely expensive piece of advertising that doesn’t constitute effective marketing; Cell C is essentially just broadcasting free entertainment without making viewers any more likely to become customers.

Some ads do work, of course. The key here is to test your creative concepts and ads on focus groups before going live or putting them on the air. If your tests with focus groups tell you that an ad doesn’t work, scrap it and start again from scratch if you need to, this could work out expensive, but will be well worth it.

4. Magazine and newspaper inserts

Magazine and newspaper inserts invariably go straight from the magazine and into the bin. People see inserts in the same way that they see flyers and don’t associate them with the magazine or newspaper they come with, so they don’t give the inserts the same kind of attention. Marketing media companies peddling inserts have notoriously pushy sales people – don’t be sucked in.

Cell C - Believe (Advertisement)

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Author: Daryn Smith

Image Credit: HD Wallpapers bank

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