There are several probable reasons that paid advertising could fail for your business and I’d bet that’s somewhat surprising to hear coming from a digital agency.

The story usually goes something like this.  You’re running ads on search and/or social but people are not coming through your door or making your phone ring.  There are only dollars going out.  There’s probably a very good reason for this.  You’re advertising, but did you do any marketing?

I know, what’s the difference.  Right?

Let’s first take a step back and acknowledge that, at some point, the lines between marketing and advertising got very blurry.  Much of that is probably the result of using terms like “Digital Marketing” and “Digital Advertising” without some real definition behind them and, at times, using them interchangeably.  I’ll blame us in the industry for that.

But marketing and advertising are not mutually exclusive and the strategies behind them can be quite different.  Yes, advertising can sometimes be marketing and marketing may sometimes include advertising, but neither are both.  This can especially be the case for a new business or when a business launches a new product or service or expands into a new market.

The point that we seem to have arrived at now finds it pretty common for business owners or marketing managers to think that just running paid ads will create customers and drive sales.  It’s almost created an “Easy Button” way of thinking that typically leads to disappointment, frustration and the feeling that money has been wasted.

Understanding the role marketing plays has largely been forgotten and digital advertising across search and social has become thought of as the replacement for good marketing.  In some cases, when digital advertising is used as part of a marketing mix to create awareness or consideration, the assumption is that it will create customers, generate leads and drive sales.  No, it’s creating awareness and consideration.  The problems arise when the point of marketing to create awareness and consideration and advertising to generate customers and sales become unclear.

Our good friends of MOZ created a great video explaining the vital role that MARKETING plays in support of customer acquisition and why marketing needs to come before advertising to drive sales.  Especially in the case described above when you’re a new business or an existing business launching a new product or expanding into a new market.



The #1 Reason Paid Ads (on search, social, and display) Fail – Whiteboard Friday_1