Stop Making These 5 Advertising Mistakes

Eric Suliga, Creative Director

Good advertising is not an exact science--but it does require a fairly precise mix of creativity, judgement, risk and straight-up math to work. We doubt even one marketer would claim that making successful advertising decisions is easy 100% of the time. Between budget constraints, a shortage of fresh ideas and pressure to always exceed expectations, it’s inevitable to get snagged up now and then.

A few weeks back, we wrote about the top 10 things to consider before placing a digital media buy. Now, we’re extending that conversation to the 5 advertising mistakes every marketer should avoid. Dodge these and you’ll have a much easier time crafting advertising campaigns that are effective AND cost-efficient. Because that’s the dream, folks.

1. Not making data work for you. If there’s one thing this world has plenty of, it’s data. Still, the task of collecting it, analyzing it, interpreting it and turning it into action can feel like a drudge. We’re nodding off already… But with so much access, there’s really no reason why brands of all sizes can’t find easy ways to reap the benefits of data-driven marketing. Right now, the industry is full of data-rich partners that make it easy to punch up your campaign with insights. Try layering on a sophisticated targeting segment to ensure you’re reaching only qualified customers.

2. Not knowing if your campaign is working. The worst thing we can do as marketers is not take the time to understand what campaign “success” looks like. Are you gunning to increase sales? Generate buzz for a new promotion? Bring in new email sign-ups? Bump up brand awareness? Whatever it is, it’s for you to decide. And we highly recommend you do, because your creative team needs this information to craft a clear call-to-action the reflects the campaign’s primary goal. This also makes measurement a whole lot easier, and your boss will thank us for it.

3. Looking for your audience in the wrong place. Now more than ever, good marketing is a test in putting the consumer first. And that starts with a solid understanding of who you’re hoping to reach. How old are they? Do they skew male or female? What are their preferences? A good rule of thumb is to follow where they spend their time. Since people’s time and attention is typically spread across multiple platforms and devices, it’s key to align yourself with content that’s high in time spent. Music is an example of this...because who in the world listens to just one song?

4. Betting only on display and video. Putting it all on red is generally not a good gambling strategy--nor is it a good way to advertise. Consumers are dynamic beings, who engage with content and media in a variety of ways throughout the day. So if you’re only reaching them with a visual message, you’re likely missing out on some of their attention. Audio ads are unique in that they reach people even during multitasking activities. Who doesn’t scroll through Instagram while jamming out to music? So diversity your media plan. Consider an audio strategy.

5. Neglecting to optimize along the way. Good advertising isn’t a one-and-done kind of activity. Carefully monitoring and measuring a campaign can reveal telling insights about what’s working and what isn’t. Are you seeing the desired result? What call-to-action is most effective? Do you need to narrow or expand the targeting? This valuable information allows you to optimize the campaign mid-run, so you can rest assured that your media budget is spending wisely.

Let’s face it, mistakes do happen.

It’s an unfortunate reality of business operations--and the world we live in. If they do, we suggest taking some advice from Beyoncé, and turn those lemons into lemonade. Take the learnings you got with this campaign and use them to make the next one even better. (Hint, hint) That right there is the real secret to ongoing marketing success.

Interested in more advertising tips? Learn how to take the concept of “contextual advertising” one step further by aligning with core user intent. Download a free copy of our guide to achieving advertising resonance.