Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When Bad Advertising Hurts Your Business

Is this a positive message?
Today I’d like to share with you a personal reflexion, maybe some of you will agree and others not that much, but I feel I must deliver my contribution during a time in which negativism, uncertainty, and many other things we are all aware of are prevailing.

I saw the advertisement you see above (which translates to something like "Help. We need to sell our furnishings to cover payroll") fitted to the storefront windows of a furnishings store, and couldn’t help but be surprised, but not in the way the store’s owner had wanted: The ad didn’t convince me to go into the store and buy some furnishings on sale to help them put together the money to cover the payroll.

Instead I felt really bad indeed about how desperate the situation was for the company (at least that’s what I learned from reading that sign) that pushed them into selling their products at the lowest possible price to get the money to make for payroll, but unfortunately that's not my problem as a consumer.

My problem continues to be  buying a product that satisfies a desire, solves a problem, has a price that I can afford and it’s of good quality.

When your advertising delivers the wrong message.

This advertisement reminded me of those salesmen that try to close the deal using  arguments like: "Hey, I haven’t sold anything this month and if you don’t buy from me today, my children won’t have food to eat", and so on.

Back at the times of Adam and Eve, when men still hadn’t got so used to lying outright, perhaps such an argument would be valid and would touch the heart of the person you were talking with, who would kindly respond, "I hear you, my dear friend, how much money do you need to feed your family?".

But in our times, when sales people use every possible reasoning to close a sale, to convince prospective customers and get the money out of their pockets; in these times, strategies like these will not work, or at least, wouldn’t be that easy

Going back to the advertisement I shared above: What a poor image it has created for the company and the people who manage it, not to mention the actual products they sell in the store!

Why do I think this way? As every other time I have shared with you my thoughts, here you’ve my reasoning:

  • At what point the administration of your business got out of your hands, so much as to force you to go out and ask your clients for "help" so that you can cover your companies’ duties with employees? Shouldn’t you be asking for “business” instead of “help”?
  • Crises never occur overnight, or just fall out of the blue. Why didn’t you first try out other promotional mechanisms to advertise your business in a more appropriate and less pitiful way?
  • Why didn’t you just organize an "inventory sale" or "going out of business and we are selling out everything" kind of campaign?
  • On top of everything, why do your employees have to suffer for your bad situation and wait for your to sell your furnishings so that they can get paid what is due to them? The next step could be something like offering your furnishings as payment to your employees. Can you imagine the situation: "Hey, Manny, I can’t pay you this month. Why don’t you take that sofa in the corner and we're even, okay? "
  • A company that appears to be in such a desperate situation, is probably going to go out of business any time soon. If that happens, who would be responsible for the products sold?, Who honors warranties?

And in the same line of ideas, we could keep coming up with multiple thoughts inspired by such an advertisement, but I think with those five you already have enough to understand what I meant.

I am positive you now clearly understand why making the wrong choice on your promotional messages can definitely hurt your business and its image.

Advertising should be aimed toward satisfying your customer’s needs, not your company’s.

A message like the one on the ad, which cries out for help, generates an immediate response which is, "And what are you telling me? What does this have to do with me?"

Necessarily an advertising message must offer customers benefits, opportunities. You should talk about how great it would be to buy the products you sell in your store, because they will allow customers satisfy their innermost desires in a unique way, inviting them to buy today, because tomorrow they won’t enjoy the same offer, and things like that.

Please, don’t build advertising messages like the one shown above, in which all you’re saying is that you simply need your customer’s money to solve your problems, which by the way, are simply yours and not theirs.

Don’t you think?

Related Post:
Sales Strategies: Your Client Is Not A Fool! Neither Should You.
Corporate reputation and sales reps’ responsibility.

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