The Five Most Common Advertising Myths

It took me years and millions of dollars to disabuse myself from the following:

1. “The customer is interested in me, my product, or what I have to say.”

* The customer doesn’t care about you.

* The customer cares about himself.

* If you talk about anything other than the customer’s own concerns, you’ll lose his interest.

2. “My product will sell because it’s the best of its kind.”

* You may be wrong about how good your product is. Most people overestimate the quality of what they do or produce.

* Even if you are right, there is no reason to believe that your customer will believe your claim. Everyone else makes the same claim, so why should he believe you?

* Even if he does believe your product is the best, he may not want to buy it. People buy second-rate products all the time for very good reasons: Price, convenience, and familiarity are three of them.

3. “Since the market is huge and I want only a tiny percentage of it, it will be easy to succeed.”

* The size of the market has no logical relationship to the success of any individual marketing program.

* If it were easy (and profitable) to penetrate the market, someone else would have done it.

* You’ll always get — at best — half the response rate you expect to get and a tenth the rate you hope for.

4. “If I could only get a celebrity to endorse this product, it would sell.”

* Celebrity endorsements seldom work.

* The few that do work are so widely seen that they give the impression they all work.

* Even if such endorsements do have a marginally beneficial effect, the cost is usually greater than the benefit.

5. “You need to run space ads several times to see if they work.”

* This is one of the most common lies advertisers will tell you — but there are no data to support this view.

* Generally, ads that work well do so from the first insertion.

* It’s usually better to test a single ad before committing to a spate of them.