Why your Advertising is Failing


Why do companies advertise? It seems like a silly question but ask most people and you’ll find most won’t give a confident answer. They’ll probably give you the right answer, or a right answer, but it’ll be delivered with an element of self-doubt.

For many businesses, not thoroughly understanding why they are advertising is a major cause for the failure of their advertising strategy (in a roundabout way – I’ll get to that). Most just advertise because it’s just something that has always been done to teach potential customers about their company and attempt to convert them into paying customers.

If you are unsure of precisely why you are advertising and what you hope to achieve with a lot more nuance than simply “get new customers” you’ll never approach it correctly or fund it appropriately and ultimately your strategy will proffer substandard returns. You might even think you’re getting good returns but there’s every chance they could be even better.

Let’s jump ahead of the why and look at the how. There are so many ways to advertise your company and most of them use good quality written text (copy) and graphics (photography or illustrations). The most common problem is confusion over what is good. We all have our opinions over what’s good — for example, lots of people enjoy the music of Iggy Azalea while others would rather listen to cats in heat fight.

The reason we get to have that discussion is because experts in the music industry knew they could make some money out of her talent. We can disagree with them but let’s agree that they clearly know what they are doing. The same applies for your advertising. You are great at what you do and we’re great at what we do. Leave the advertising to the advertisers, the copy to the copywriters and the graphics to the designers. They wouldn’t dream of telling you how to do what you’re so clearly good at.

We can’t stress enough how important it is for you to get this part of advertising right. If you’re after an amateur looking brand, please, feel free to play wannabe-designer with Microsoft Word and stock images from the 90s made in paint for your graphics. Your potential customers will love to ridicule you online or fight over each other to line up on your competition’s doorstep.

Advertising is all about how your brand is perceived. We mentioned appropriate funding earlier because it’s not always about the total spend. You can have a huge budget but if you don’t understand what you specifically want to achieve or your ad looks like it was written by an amateur it’s going to fail. This is basic stuff yet it still surprises many business owners. When a potential customer walks past your brand, literally or figuratively, their minds will subconsciously judge the design. Usually, they don’t even realise why they ignore your advertising, but the human brain frequently filters out things that don’t look appealing. When your advertising and design are substandard it means lost customers.

Red Adair once famously quipped “If you think hiring a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur” — an amateur approach is to splurge the entire advertising budget on making one big splash – the expo table, sponsoring a sports team, that subscription box giveaway. The professionals here at Belgrin will tell you to follow through with the kind of dazzling display of professionalism that just oozes class. Whether that‘s presentation slides, customer engagement events, an accompanying brochure or an ad in the sponsorship magazine.

The sad truth is that doing it wrong sends your advertising dollars down the gurgler. You may even start to think advertising doesn’t work anymore.  Companies tend to cut back on costs after a big spend — or sometimes even mid-campaign — when just a little more effort in getting things right, would reap the true benefits of professional advertising. In short: the ripples after the initial splash are just as important — and further reaching.

To truly reap the rewards of what your advertising sows you must do it right. A few extra dollars towards design, copywriting, printing, gifts and so on or setting realistic expectations for your budget will help you achieve your ideal outcome.

Don’t set your advertising up for failure; get someone in who understands what needs to be done and let them do it.

Maria Bellissimo-Magrin

CEO at

Attitude isn’t everything. But it sure helps. Maria certainly wouldn’t have become a CEO of a full-service creative marketing agency without it. She started out in the industry 15 years ago and has done so well because she offers the perfect blend of design, PR and social media. Her aim? Her aim? To make marketing easy, so you can spend your time on more important stuff.