5 Ways to Waste Your Marketing Spend

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Did you know that 80% of ads aren’t noticed and correctly connected to the brand that produces them[1]? This misattribution means $12 billion[2] of marketing dollars are being spent in Australia each year on ads that aren’t going to be remembered. But how do you create such a monumental waste?

Don’t say who you are

You’d be surprised at how many brands create beautiful, attention grabbing ads but don’t verbalise their name. This means that many of the people they’re reaching with their TVC, who also happen to be distracted on their phones, won’t ever attribute the ad to the brand. It’s something so simple and perhaps this is why it gets overlooks so often. But it’s just part of a bigger problem which includes things such as not showing the product or only displaying the logo right at the end for two seconds, creating the common phrase, “I saw this great ad but can’t remember who it was for”. In a multi-screen, low attention world, a great ad is one that both gets attention AND creates strong memory structures linking to the brand.

Use brand assets that are similar to your competitors

The two key parts of a distinctive brand asset actually being distinctive are how famous it is and how ownable it is. Whilst the best brand assets do both, to do the job of instantly linking a brand to a piece of communication, the latter is vital in making sure your investment isn’t misattributed to your competitor, particularly if your competitor is the category leader.

Change your packaging

When shopping, ‘the mind meets the shelf’[3] where customers scan the aisles for products that match the repertoire of brands in their head created by exposure to advertising and use. However, if the packaging suddenly changes, the customer can become blind to the new look as it no longer fits in their mind, and they’ll fall back on other brands they’re familiar with. Although you can advertise to educate about pack changes, it still undoes the years of marketing spend invested in the previous pack design.

Don’t get emotional

Although the mere exposure effect means that any advertising can have a small impact, it’s shown that ads that tap into emotion have a much greater impact than those that don’t. Our brains are drawn to information that comes attached to a human emotion, irrespective of whether the emotion is good, bad or funny, making the ad both more noticeable and more memorable.

Never do the same thing twice

In the quest to be different, consistency can be forgotten by marketers and agencies. But ideally, brands should be consistent AND fresh to make the most of the investment in their brands. Part of the memory maintenance of a brand is to regularly refresh established memory structures and be consistent in the use of brand assets to overcome memory decay. Ultimately, in the memory game, it’s all about refreshing a brand not reinventing it.

Of course, if it’s wastage that you’re after please ignore this.

[1] How Brands Grow, Byron Sharp

[2] Zenith Advertising Expenditure Forecast 2018 (80% of $16 billion forecast total advertising spend for 2018)

[3] Building Distinctive Assets, Jenni Romaniuk

Alex Davidson