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With the growth of digital marketing options, many advertisers want to know if traditional advertising methods still work. Our answer is yes, traditional advertising is just powerful as it ever was, provided you do it correctly. There are, however, 12 mistakes that will cause a campaign to generate lackluster results. Avoiding these 12 common mistakes in traditional marketing will mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to your campaign.

Traditional advertising is defined as classic marketing strategies that have stood the test of time - things like radio, television, magazine, and newspaper. These methods, sometimes discounted in the surging popularity of digital advertising, are solid and proven tactics. We see them work successfully over and over again. Our faith in them as successful tools in any marketing toolbelt has never wavered. Like any other medium though, there are mistakes to avoid. Here are 12 common mistakes that we see repeatedly in traditional advertising that will undermine a campaign's success.

1. Inconsistent Scheduling

By far, the number one mistake that we often see when it comes to traditional advertising has to do with inconsistent scheduling. We talk with business owners who only advertise at certain times of the year or test different radio or tv stations by jumping from one to the other. Advertising, especially branding campaigns, achieve success by maintaining a constant and consistent presence of marketing messages over the long term. Despite what you might think, It doesn't require a lot of money. Start with what you can afford and expand your placement as your budget grows. But whatever you do, don't stop.

2. Not Running Enough Ads

Another mistake not running enough ads to get the job done. Advertisers are tempted to buy a few ads during a peak listening or viewing period. If this is your approach, you're ultimately just throwing money away. There are far better ways to do this in a much more efficient, cost-effective manner. Traditional media is effective because of frequency and repetition. Too few ads isolated to too few dayparts will undermine your overall campaign success. 

3. Using Too Many Platforms

There is a temptation to try and want to reach “everybody” by doing a little on lots of different radio or tv stations. The end result is that you spread yourself too thin and end up with a weak, ineffective schedule.  Additionally, it becomes nearly impossible to know what is working and what isn't. You’re better off staying on one station until you “own” that audience, then expand your reach to additional stations as your business and budget grow. 

4. Lack of a Compelling Offer


Action-based campaigns require an offer that will motivate your target audience to take action immediately. Too often, brands have weak offers that people just aren't interested in and response is lackluster. 

5. No Consistent Branding

When you look across all your advertising, everything should be on brand: from the logo, color, voice, offer, music, images, etc. If they are disjointed, you may be advertising, but you aren’t building a brand. What you’re really doing is confusing your audience and diluting your effectiveness to the point where nothing works. There’s no sense of brand and people won’t trust what isn’t familiar.

6. Poor Production Quality

Each media company you may be working with is willing to produce your ad for free... but is that really the best idea? You'll wind up with different voices, different styles of writing, different graphics, different music beds…and a disjointed campaign that lacks the consistency you need to build trust and authority.

7. No Key Differentiator

What truly differentiates your business from your competitors? Identify and hone in on your key differentiator and tell that story over and over again. Failure to identify and capture that in your ad means your campaign will look and sound like everyone else’s who claims to have the “best service” or the “highest quality.” Consumers will turn to price for a lack of a differentiating factor, building their sense of value over who has the lowest one.  

8. No Storytelling

It’s one thing to say you have the best service. It’s another thing entirely to tell the stories about how you have demonstrated quality service over the years. Effective storytelling builds a brand image better than any other tactic. Avoid ads that look and sound like everyone else. Share stories of the real value that you've brought to customers over the years. The better your storytelling, the better your brand’s image in the marketplace.

9. Expecting People to Come In and Tell You They Heard Your Ad

Think for a moment about the last time you went into a store and told a business owner that you heard their ad on the radio. It's probably never happened, right? Then why would you expect someone to do the same for you? There are far more effective ways to track ROI and ensure you're getting the most value out of your marketing budget. 


10. Not Setting Goals

Everything you do in your marketing campaign should be purpose-driven - to accomplish a specific goal. Set actionable, realistic goals for your campaign and share them with your marketing partner. That way, both parties know what the measurements are and can work towards the same objective, designing your campaign to accomplish those goals. 

11. Not Tracking Results

Never forget that "response" does not equal "results." Someone hearing your ad or seeing your post is one thing…but what you are after is something different - sales, conversions, store traffic, etc. Know how to correctly measure ROI with your particular advertising and track them religiously. 

12. No Clear Target Consumer

The chances of reaching your target consumer are slim if you haven't defined whom you are trying to reach. Even Walmart has a target demographic. They carefully choose whom to talk to and then find the medium that delivers that audience the most effectively and efficiently. It’s not necessarily the stations you like best personally that deliver the best results. It’s about what your target consumer likes and where you can most effectively reach them. 

Traditional Advertising Works

Traditional advertising methods provide a powerful addition to your marketing strategy. Businesses of all sizes have used and are continuing to use classic radio, magazine, and television advertising strategies with tremendous success. Avoid these 12 mistakes, and you can too. 


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