Highly Confidential Report: What Advertising Agencies Don't Want You to Know

The other day a business associate emailed me a revealing report, 'What advertising agencies don't want you to know.'

To be candidly honest, I read a lot of academic reports, industry-specific white papers, case studies and other data-driven material because there is a lot of stuff about business I really don't know even though I am very successful.

Ideas grow stale fast, especially when you deal with the same people in the same industry for years and years. Everybody reads the same stuff, markets the same way, has the same sales literature, etc. But every now and then when I come across those 'golden nuggets' I hold on to them, just like the advertising gurus who rely on those invaluable 'swipe files' when they are at a loss for words.

With that in mind, allow me to introduce...

5 shocking yet 'golden nuggets' direct from my personal vault

When it comes to advertising, most people THROW THEIR MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN. The sad part is they don't even realize they are operating from a pre-conditioned response they acquired in the past. Even worse, they unconsciously rely on a shotgun approach to advertising. This way of thinking can put people out of business - FAST. The first, and perhaps most important step, is for people to realize what they are doing and then admit to it.
I personally know people who have sabotaged their own success because of the unconscious decisions they were making. For example, a lot of people run radio spot ads during the morning and afternoon rush hour. Some agencies tell their clients it is an advertising must. For some it works, but for most it doesn't. So-called business professionals continue to throw their hard-earned money at these radio ads without considering more viable options or the facts.

America is the No. 1 consumer of coffee in the world. As such, there are a lot of caffeine-induced people driving around with short-attention spans. I don't know about you, but I haven't paid attention to a radio ad since 1987 - and I don't need coffee to function. From the remote control to TiVo to Google, everything these days is built to appease our extremely short attention spans.

Every day on my commute to work I pass a series of billboards on I-95. I never look at billboards, although they are in my peripheral. One day I decided to actually pay attention to those $3,000 ads. There was a billboard for a local news station (news is too sensationalized), a billboard for a swimsuit company (not interested), pest control (no bugs), the circus (no children) and so on. Yes, billboards receive tremendous amounts of impressions - and happen to cost the least per impression of any advertising medium available. But that doesn't mean the people who are looking at them need what is being sold.
Is the competition advertising on television? If they are, is it a large multinational or a local brick and mortar? Local programming can set a business back thousands of dollars; prime time is six figures. Do you watch T.V. just for the ads? The only time of the year people go out of their way to watch T.V. ads is during the Super Bowl.
Do you know which media category generates sales upwards of $19 billion annually, making it the HIGHEST GROSSING ADVERTISING CATEGORY known to man? The answer is promotional products.

Let me put that into perspective. Sally, our guinea pig, barely has time to watch the morning news while preparing breakfast and a snack for lunch. Before she leaves the house she pours some coffee into a branded promotional tumbler. Oops...she was in such a rush she forgot her iPod, which she listens to religiously every morning to work. Sally puts on the radio and quickly rediscovers why she hasn't turned it on since she graduated college. She decides some low background noise is better than none as she takes another sip from that branded tumbler.

During the 20-minute commute to work she passes numerous billboards, none of which cause her to pick up the phone. By the time she pulls into her space she must have looked at the company name branded right smack on the front of that tastefully done tumbler about 18 times. Figuring Sally works five days a week, she must carry around that branded promo product 260 days out of the year. That means the company, which sells a nutritional supplement she likes, registered 4,680 impressions. Assuming Sally cleans her tumbler, feel free to add to that number.

P.S. Most people don't consider promotional items as a viable choice in any advertising campaign, much less consider it one of the most powerful ways you can promote your business. If you are not offering branded promotional items to your current customer base either as giveaways or along with your other advertising streams I'll let you in on a little secret: your competition already does!