RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Why People Hate to Advertise

The game is called Word Association. I will give you two words. Are you ready? "Advertising." Here's the second word: "Sales." Quickly, what is the first word or set of words that come to mind? I'll wait.

Sadly, for most people, the first words that come to mind are not positive. They are words of negativity, distrust and disdain.

I spent the last 30+ years of my career selling — but worse, selling advertising. I've conducted thousands of seminars for advertisers. One of the first things we ask participants to do is, "Raise your hand if you love to advertise." Generally, not a single hand goes up. Then we say, "Raise your hand if you HATE to advertise." Every hand goes up. With a perplexed look, we ask them, "You hate to advertise? You know this is a seminar about advertising, right?" That gets a chuckle... but here's what is going on. Passionate people, people very good at building widgets, or providing a service, have no clue about how to market and advertise their products or services. Worse, there are people supposedly servicing these advertisers, running around, being paid a commission for what they sell and claiming they know what they are doing. Their life expectancy in the business, however, is less than two years. No wonder clients need to attend seminars.

When people tell us why they hate advertising, it usually boils down to these four things:

They don't know how to do it.

When they do it, they don't know how to measure it.

They've tried it before, and it didn't seem to work.

They don't have the patience to let it work.

The truth is, it isn't advertising that we sell — it's cars, boats, banking services, kitchen remodeling, steaks at a great restaurant, etc. Claude Hopkins writes in his 1923 book about advertising: "Advertising is multiplied salesmanship." We are helping our clients make more sales calls. More sales calls = more sales. Fairfax Cone, of Foote, Cone and Belding said it this way: "Advertising is what you do when you can't go see someone. That's all it is."

Advertising and sales are not dirty words. They are the driving forces of economic growth and prosperity in our world today. Without advertising, sales are sporadic and left to chance. Without sales, businesses fail, and people lose their jobs. Advertising is the glue that puts buyers and sellers together and keeps the economy running.

Happy Friday!

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB