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What Can You Learn From a $400,000.00 Advertising Disaster? | Marketing Wizard's Alliance

What Can You Learn From a $400,000.00 Advertising Disaster?

By Jim Ackerman · Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

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I was recently a participant in what can only be described as perhaps the biggest advertising disaster of my entire career. Pretty Embarrassing for a renowned Marketing Speaker and Marketing Coach, let alone founder of the Marketing Wizards Alliance.

First lesson to learn is that if you’re going to fail big, fail big on somebody else’s dime (or $400,000.00) as the case may be, and unfortunately is.

Second lesson is to carefully consider what you’re offering, who you’re offering it to, and how you’re reaching those people. The best ads in the world can fail miserably, if they’re not targeted to the right people with the right offer.

Case in point, check out these two ads… (You’ll have to click on each one separately to see it in its entirety. Don’t know why that is. Probably my lack of skill with WordPress, but that’s the way it is for now at least. After clicking on the ad, hit the back button to get back to the post.)

I guess my ego won’t let me acknowledge that the ads could be at fault. After all, the headlines and subheads are quite compelling, I think. (Of course, I could be wrong and in the interest of education for all I NEED YOUR COMMENTS. I mean, are they bad headlines?)

All the rules of proper layout are followed and the copy is generally in good benefit language. (Again, please tell me if I’m wrong.)

The ads are long, but will people make the decision to spend $247 and 10 hours of their time without this much copy? Really, I need to know. I need your comments on these topics. When you comment, I’ll compile the comments and report the findings in an up-coming post.

So, if the ads are good — and I do admit they may not be — where else did this effort go wrong?

Maybe it’s print advertising? Are people reading the papers at all anymore? Especially small business owners who are the target market for this event? Maybe not.

After all, the newspaper management company who ran these ads said they spent the equivalent of $400,000.00 on these full-page ads, if they had been bought a full rate-care prices. (I suspect their actual out of pocket was about 5% of that, but even at $20,000.00, that’s a lot of jack for almost no return. No wonder they cancelled the event.)

One other possibility… The offer. Could it be that people simply aren’t investing in their own education anymore? I’ve paid up to $5,000.00 to attend a 3-day bootcamp before, but maybe people won’t give up a whole day — especially a 10-hour day — to discover things that could revolutionize their businesses and their lives. Remember, the newspapers were offering them a print ad worth over $900.00, so they were actually being paid to attend. But NOBODY signed up, to speak of.

Frankly we were all amazed. I wonder what would have happened if we sold a half-day event and up-sold them to the 2nd half day once we got them on the line for the first half-day?

Again, I’d love your feedback on my speculations and your full analysis of what went wrong.

For the record, here is the post of my YouTube, GoodBadnUglyAds post about this event…

Once again, this is a great learning experience for all of us, IF WE WILL WORK TOGETHER.

Perhaps more than any other time, your comments, critique, suggestions, opinions are vitally important as we try to unravel this marketing mystery. The more specific feedback you provide, the more comment threads we can initiate with this case history, the greater the odds we figure out what to avoid in the future and what to actually do in the future, for greater success. And I don’t mean just for me. The lessons we can all potentially learn here can be profound and absolutely applicable to all of our enterprises.

Please comment here, and also subscribe to my 2 YouTube channels, and .

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Sheldon Townsend on April 20th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

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When I see an ad in the newspaper or a magazine that appears to be trying to look like a newspaper story or magazine story (which, your intention or not, that’s how the ads appear to me, especially the first one), I immediately dismiss it because I think, “They are trying to scam me into thinking their ad is a legitimate story so what else are they going to scam me about?” My opinion: make your ad look like a obvious ad.

 

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