There is little doubt we’ve evolved into a nation of well rounded demanders. We want more for less and we don’t want it to impact on us. We want bigger houses, smaller interest rates and if we don’t get what we want we whine. It’s human nature in the 21st century, let’s face it, we’re a spoiled lot.

In marketing terms things are much the same, just more complex, you see while we have wild expectations we sometimes – maybe too often, lose our sense of perspective. For 50 plus years our profession has been hearing the same cry from clients worldwide. It’s a global choir singing from the hymn book of misunderstanding and harmonising with each other in an anthem of misrepresentation. The song, most aptly titled, “My Advertising doesn’t Work!” is part of an international small business mantra. For four and a half decades I’ve been hearing this wistful tune and its frequency intrigues me.

It is of course all to do with truth and our inability to be absolutely honest. What all clients want is instant gratification, immediate results. To them if it doesn’t beef up the bottom line in 24 hours it’s a total failure, and we in the industry have contributed to the fairytale by over promising on results.

Sadly advertising isn’t quite the remedy we make it out to be. Yes on the odd occasion, when a product or service has a great offer, they’ll roll in like a Boxing Day crowd at David Jones; but without the offer of a free block of flats in Bondi, or a quick $3,000 off that new TV, consumers rarely respond instantly. Now you’re probably asking, “So why advertise at all?”

Advertising is not the issue, the real culprit is ‘expectation’ and ‘time’. Out there in consumer land we’re bombarded by messages, buy this, buy the other, a mishmash, challenging the senses to decide how we’ll spend our expendable dollar. I’m certain that, like myself we have a built-in sieve. We sift out what we don’t need instantly, store want we may want in the future and act on what we need first.
If clients can understand this, we can all operate more succesfully. We need to understand, some of our target audience will dismiss us immediately, although if we’re good enough they’ll at least remember us (branding); those who think they may need us in the future will store the information and the rest, depending on the strength of their need, may act if they don’t think there are others who can satisfy that need as well as you.

Advertising is not a heat seeking device, it doesn’t know for sure if it will hit the hot target, it can only be there to hit it if the need is white hot. As a consequence you have to be there recently, frequently and potently. Even then there’s no guarantee you’ll hit the target.

If you want advertising to work and you don’t want to donate your margins as a sacrificial offering for the sake of volume, here’s a formulae for success: Be patient, advertise your brand consistently, position yourselves well, garner the support of your front-line people, do it today and tomorrow and do not expect miracles, because there is no such thing in advertising.