Why Advertising Doesn’t Work for Small Businesses

Most of us agree that the days of the “Mad Men”-style of advertising are long gone. But far fewer of us recognize that advertising in general is increasingly unsuccessful. For small businesses, it simply doesn’t work anymore.

From our online activity to daily comings and goings, advertising has saturated our experience so much that we hardly even notice it anymore. In any medium, this means that a small business advertising itself probably can’t get a word in edgewise. Even if they do get through to the consumer (through niched targeting or creative that goes viral), the result is almost never a purchase. The advertising is overlooked or received as entertainment.

Billboards are just clutter that we mostly ignore. Direct mail advertising often goes straight from our mailboxes to the recycle bin, unopened. TV ads are ignored, unless they are entertaining – but even if they are, we’re entertained, not ready to buy. And we pay extra to avoid advertising altogether with things like TiVo.

We’re “kicking advertising’s ass like never before,” as noted in this Cracked video (which I recommend checking out). “If an ad’s not delivering happiness, you skip it.”

When ads appear on websites or online videos we’re watching, we don’t pay attention because we’re staring at the part of the screen where we know the close button or “skip ad” button will appear. And then we click it.

So for small businesses, it’s a waste to put your Advertising & Promotion budget completely into paid advertising. It’s putting your eggs in one basket (which is always unadvisable), even if you split your ad dollars between Google Adwords, Facebook/Twitter advertising, etc. As the Cracked video mentioned, your “viewing audience keeps scurrying into tinier and tinier niches.” In order to reach them, you have to change tactics.

Throwing your entire budget into advertising isn’t going to help your business. But you can use advertising to support and progress other marketing efforts. For instance, incorporate 2-step advertising methods to use your ads to drive people to sign up for your email marketing list, so you have the opportunity to market to them over and over again.

Advertising in its old methods doesn’t work for small businesses, but small businesses can certainly incorporate advertising to give their other marketing and promotional efforts a boost!

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com

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