The Wise Entrepreneur

7 Reasons Why Your Product & Service Advertisements (Ads) May Not Work

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Our focus today is on marketing – and specifically advertisements (ads in short form). I would like to give some tips on marketing and promoting products and services. I think it is obvious that enterprises have to promote their products and services, first of all for people to know them and even tell others about it, and secondly for people to buy. Ads are used by businesses globally through marketing communication to promote and sell products, services, ideas, causes, organizations, people etc.  Some enterprises spend zillions of money on ads, but you don’t need to break the bank to advertise. Ok? Simply do what makes sense for your business.

My blog at this moment relates to why ads may not work. I mean, your business may spend lots of money on ads and you hardly see the impact. If you are not careful you might start blaming yourself for being unlucky or daft. You might easily vent your anger on those poor marketing folks around you. Yes – sometimes the marketing folks are part of the reason (though oftentimes they will hardly accept this responsibility), but you need to properly understand why the ads are not working. In this article I outline a few critical points why ads may not work.   Some of the below could be the culprits you need to arrest and lock-up, for you to succeed.

  1. Your products, services, ideas etc. The starting point for you to achieve effective ads is your products, services, ideas etc. that you are marketing. I mean quality, packaging, other attributes etc. If you have terrible (I mean terrible literally) products and services that get people disgusted, your ads can only work for a short while but when people’s eyes are opened, they will run away from you like they are running away from a plague. Do you get what I’m saying? You need to get this basic fact right otherwise you will burn your money for nothing. People like good things (and I belief you are currently reading a good blog too), and don’t deceive yourself that pouring much ad money on bad products and services will push you far.
  1. The message. If your ad message is poorly crafted for example, or is contextually irrelevant, your ads may not work. Lack of dynamism and message optimization in your message is another element here. Choice of the wrong words or phrases could also destroy you. If the word nincompoop means providing satisfaction in your language and you carry this anyhow into another territory, you could pay a high price for your careless ad message. Lack of understanding of the customers or the market you are communicating to, could make you have a wrong message. An ad message to the youth may offend the old folks. Don’t you agree with me? Can you just try promoting your hippie-like products and low-cut trousers (I mean the type the youth use for ‘balancing’) to elderly men? You could easily earn for yourself a very bad look, or some lecture about life generally. You can’t speak the same thing to everyone regardless of who they are and what their needs and wants are. It’s extremely rare for the entire market to need the same thing – even if this thing is salt that is consumed literally by every normal home-sapient.
  1. The people reached by your advert. If you reach the wrong people, people not in the market for what you are promoting, people who will not tell others about your products or services, etc., your ads will fail. If you do not monitor changes in buying habits of the people reached by your ads, you will not be successful. Never be insensitive to change my dear entrepreneur, if you like to be successful in business generally, far beyond the ads that we are talking about today. Ok? If you went marketing your iPods to people who spend the greater parts of their days keeping cattle in the wilderness, you only have yourself to blame. It’s just like marketing TV sets to people in parts of the world yet to receive electricity. It’s useless to advertise to everyone and anyone.
  1. Your choice and use of the media. Come on, my dear entrepreneur! Do you know that the choice and use of media may make your ads fail? You are not going to be opaque enough to place daily newspaper ads for products and services that don’t appeal to common readers of daily newspapers. The media you will use to advertise Mercedes Benz cars for example is not the common ones we see around. Mass TV marketing is relevant for markets with mass TV’s and a people that use those products and services. You can’t promote an hotel room in a resort that charges $7,500 per day through mass TV. You would be damn crazy. In any case, consumers of today choose who they want to listen to.  
  1. The timing of your ads. Forget about all those ideas of carrying out repetitive ads until your drop or run out of money. The timing of your ads are critical to success, otherwise it’s another reason why your product and service ads may not work. For example, an ad that comes too soon and disappears before the idea can spread is a common cause for ad failures. If your ads don’t grab the attention of people at the right time, the ad is useless. I don’t even care whether it’s a very well-crafted message, targeting the right people and market with the right media, and moreover selling good products and services. Do you understand me? I don’t even care whether you have invested your arm and leg in that ad. Timing is vital. Period! Sometimes I feel pity for big global companies that spend a fortune running TV ads during certain hours in parts of the world where 90% of the people are sleeping (deep in the night) for example. What a bad timing and waste of hard-earned money!  
  1. Inability to attract attention amidst the noise and endless options and other post-ad services. Another main reason why your product and service ads may not work is your inability to address the noise and endless options people have. Candidly, the entire world today has too much noise. I hope you get what I’m meaning here. You might be in a quiet and serene place and you think I’m going nuts talking about too much noise everywhere blah blah blah! I’m talking about the countless TV channels around, the internet you are accessing every minute in that location, the social media messages bombarding you every single minute, the mobile phone you can’t avoid holding and sometimes you even sleep with it in your hands or at the bedside. There is simply plenty of noise around. So, Mr. Entrepreneur, if your ads cannot surpass the noise and endless options and choices modern man has, you are wasting your time. You might not like this fact, but its reality! What about other post-ad issues. Imagine you have captured someone’s attention with your ad and then people can’t reach you or can’t buy your products and services. That is another terrible thing.   
  1. Your business image, practices and mode of operation. Now, closely connected to the point about your products, services, ideas etc. that I started with above, is the aspect of your business image and practices. Another reason why your ads may not work is your business image. Ok? If you are one of those businesses people see as untrustworthy, full of deception and lies, practicing child labor in this modern world, hurting the environment etc., your investment in ads might not pay back as you would expect. Why? Your image, business practices and mode of operation can drive people away from your services and products even with the best ads. Globally, people are becoming a bit smarter and some products have suffered bans in parts of the world because of reasons such as those above.  

In conclusion, be smart Mr. Entrepreneur! If you must advertise, be smart. Take care of the above reasons why your ads may not work. Ok? The above are good clues to make your ads work. Just look at the other side of the coin. However, if you choose to be unwise and proceed anyhow, you cannot come back and blame me or anybody. Do you understand? You can continue feeding the ad world with lots of money even if you don’t get results, if you ignore useful tips. So, haven’t we had a great time sharing business tips? We surely have!

With every good wish,

The Wise Entrepreneur

Picture of Clayton W. L. Mwaka

Clayton W. L. Mwaka

Clayton W. L. Mwaka, a Ugandan chartered accountant and motivational speaker with 24 years of diverse experience, specializes in business administration, international consultancy, and lecturing. He advocates for personal empowerment through balanced living, qualitative leadership, and paradigm shifts, aiming to unlock individual potential globally.

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