Chapter 33

Avoiding Dreadful Marketing Ideas

Barbara Findlay Schenck

The following marketing landmines masquerade as quick fixes. When the business chips are down, each of these worst ideas pops up to look like a good solution. Don't be fooled. Make sure every new idea soars above every single idea on this list.

Fight Bad Business with Good Advertising

Here's the scenario: Business is down, so the owner points fingers at the economy and the competition, and decides to run ads to overcome the problem. But the economy and the competition likely aren't the culprits. Business is down because customers have defected—and new prospects haven't been converted—because the company's product or service is lacking.

Running ads before improving the offering will only put a spotlight on the problem. In the words of advertising legend Bill Bernbach, “Nothing kills a bad product like a good ad.” Instead, fix the product, polish the service, then run the ad.

Run Kitchen Sink Ads

A kitchen sink ad is like a kitchen sink argument in that every point—every feature, every idea, every department's viewpoint—is tossed into the mix in an effort to get more bang for the buck (a truly awful phrase that deserves its own place on the list of worst ideas). The result is a jam-packed ad featuring a long list of product bells and whistles but no clear focus and no attention-grabbing consumer benefit to seize and hold the prospect's mind.

Take aim instead: Know your best prospect and what need that person seeks ...

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