The more I tracked advertising performance, the more I saw that what I learned in college about how to advertise was grounded more in tradition than in knowledge. So was the work most ad agencies did. Including the one our company used. (I was a client in those days.)
But then, so was the work of our competitors’ agencies. This spelled opportunity! We could be the first in our market to get it right. We could grab more market share and increase profits before the competition knew what hit them. This was exciting!
My employer and our agency didn’t share my enthusiasm.
They wanted the kind of advertising that everyone else had. (A desire, I have since observed, often espoused most strongly by the same people who want advertising that makes them “stand out.”) As for the evidence I presented? Dismissed.
(Now you know, in part, why I opened my own shop.)
I am no longer surprised when people prefer not to entertain the possibility that their advertising could be more effective. Denial is a wonderful tool. It is humanity’s time-honored mechanism for coping with cognitive dissonance. Heaven forbid we should change how we think, or how we do things.
But if results matter more to you than comfort zones, I urge you to dig into direct response marketing. The incredibly valuable information you will discover isn’t secret. It just might as well be.