Thursday, July 28, 2005

Is this advertising guaranteed?

If you're in advertising, have you ever had a client ask you to guarantee that a particular ad or campaign will work? If you've hired an advertising agency, have you ever asked your agency to guarantee that their advertising will achieve the desired result?

Let me first say that I believe measurement is important and can be done in many different forms. Did the advertising campaign increase awareness of a product or service? Did sales leads increase? Did it drive more traffic to the web site? There are lots of ways to measure the effectiveness of advertising and it's important to define the desired result up front and measure against that.

But a guarantee from an advertising agency is a little trickier because there are many factors involved that are outside the control of the agency, some of which are in the control of the client. I was thinking about this recently while trying to get something fixed. To find the appropriate technician, I turned to my local Yellow Pages. My eyes were immediately drawn to the only advertisement in the category, which was from a business that specialized in what I needed. I ignored the listings and placed a call.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

There was no answer and no answering machine. I called again to make sure I dialed the correct number and got the same outcome. Then, I looked at the listings and called the first one on the list. They picked up after the first ring and said if I dropped it off during my lunch break they'd have it done for me first thing in the morning.

There are two points from this little story.

  1. In this case the advertising did its job but the desired result was not achieved. I was drawn to the ad in the Yellow Pages and made the call. I was ready to purchase their product, but when no one answered I moved on to their competition and they lost a sale.
  2. Every contact point with your customers presents an opportunity to win or lose them. This is something we preach endlessly. The first company didn't answer their phone and didn't have an answering machine. The second company picked up right away and told me they could help me immediately. Is it any wonder I went with the second?

Finally, for the final word on guarantees, just listen to Tommy Boy. I guarantee you'll like it.

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