Chris Cardell – Dan Kennedy

By: Chris Cardell on: June 15th, 2010 37 Comments

Chris Cardell & Robert DeniroWhen I, Chris Cardell, do seminars for business owners who are new to my work, we’ll often have 500 entrepreneurs in the room. When I ask them to raise their hands if they currently advertise (in newspapers, magazines etc) we’ll normally see 450 hands go up.

I then ask the audience to keep their hands up if they’re certain that their advertising is working.

About 100 hands stay in the air.

Unbelievable. But true. Around 80% of business owners have no idea whether or not their advertising is working.

So why do they do it?

Ask them – and you’ll get the same answer again and again. “I advertise in publication X because all my competitors advertise there.”

These honest, hard working Entrepreneurs are the victims of the biggest scam in business history. It’s a scam perpetuated by an advertising industry that makes a fortune by convincing business owners to engage in advertising that will never work. When their highly trained telesales staff call you, they get the money out of you in two ways:

  1. By telling you that you need to be in the publication because your competitors are there.
  2. By offering huge discounts on their ratecard.

Here are the two flaws in their argument

  1. The presupposition is that your competitors are advertising in the publication because their ad is working. I assure you, it’s probably not. They’re advertising there because THEY’VE been convinced to do it because all their competitors are there.
  2. Ratecards are fantasies. A 50% saving on a fantasy is another fantasy. If someone sells you a pill to cure any disease and it turns out to be an ineffective water pill, it really doesn’t matter whether you paid the full $1000 price, or the hugely discounted price of just $500. It still didn’t work!

None of the above means there’s anything fundamentally wrong with advertising. Done properly, it’s a remarkable ongoing source of new customers – and armed with resources from the like of myself, Bill Glazer and Dan Kennedy, you increase your chances of success by hundreds of percent.

But you should be advertising because you’ve decided it’s a smart strategy to test, not because of pressure from peers or the advertising industry. Above all, make it clear to any ad rep that you have no interest in their ratecard. You will only ever pay for results – and that’s what will determine your advertising spend.


Chris Cardell is Europe’s leading authority on Internet Marketing and Entrepreneurial success. A past guest speaker at Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer’s Info Marketing Summit, he also has the distinction of being the only person in the world to get Dan Kennedy to leave the USA for a speaking engagement TWICE – at Chris Cardell’s UK Entrepreneur Summit and the UK Renegade Millionaire Retreat. Get Chris Cardell’s FREE 6 CD Set – Essential Profit Strategies, here

37 Responses

  1. Charles Ra says:

    tracking and measuring your advertising.
    how important keypoint. and usually underused by most entrepreneurs outside planet Dan.
    great post Chris.

  2. Brian says:

    Very cool post Chris. I was lucky enough to find GKIC before I started I’ve never made this mistake. :)

  3. Jim Rowe says:

    I would bet 99% of small business owners don’t track advertising or any other marketing campaign. They don’t test small and get discouraged when they don’t see results and then get lured back in with a special rate. I will not be part of this group and enjoy being in the 1%

  4. it’s all about the cost per qualified lead… the prices on the ads themselves got nothing to do with it!

    great post, Chris.

  5. Rob Anspach says:

    Successful marketers know that every ad needs to be trackable,accountable and verifible. If you won’t track your ad you will never know what ad is producing and where your money is being spent in a cost effective way to attract clients.

  6. manish soni says:

    This is really important information for me regarding advertising as have just started my MBA studies…

  7. Gladys Sutcliffe says:

    Hi Chris

    I run a Theatre School and we generate our own media advertising, free of charge, by submitting press releases of students’ successes, therefore proof of quality training. It seems to work for us.

  8. stugod says:

    Great post i did do some with a company called flagship media when they sent me the bill for there services i pointed out that i was in fact sending traffic to them.
    They were pretty pissed at this anyway i paid them for there efforts as i just saw it as another link albeit not one of quality. Never pay for advertising unless based on results, unless you are genuinely a lunatic ..from the head lunatic

  9. I tried on two occasions a couple of years ago with a local radio station and the local TV when thay came pushing their amazing wares to say that I would only pay for results. IE if I get work they get paid a commission. needless to say they didn’t go for it! Says lots about their confidence eh!

  10. I couldn’t agree more with your comments. However, I have a follow-up question. I started a communications business (sole proprietor) a little over a year ago offering project management for web- and print-based projects, writing, editing, and web site development/maintenance. So far all advertising has been done via word of mouth or Chamber of Commerce networking events due to a very limited budget. What type of advertising would you suggest to be most effective with restricted funds? I welcome any and all comments.

  11. Mei says:

    Chris gives wise advices. Often he is darn right.

  12. Great stuff as always Chris. You are consistent, crystal clear and spot on. In addition, I feel that MOBILE is offering the next frontier and needs to be looked at too, by many types of businesses. Prospects or customers, pre-qualify and opt themselves in for many types of MOBILE campaigns. Hence, high, unheard of response rates are consistently being achieved. It certainly works for our clients.

  13. I advertise only on Google ad words, leaflets locally, and monthly in local paper I have my web sites and touch wood at the moment it is working reasonable well, Intesting to hear all your ideas and comments I may try them.
    I enjoy Chris and what he has to say I listen and heed.

  14. lauren says:

    Yep, a large amount of people are sheep.They will keep doing what every one else is doing .they like to be an ostrich also, so they can bury their heads in the sand and not bother themselves to find out if the method works.This is now the information age.Wake up people and save yourselves.

  15. paul clapham says:

    This madness of advertising because competitors do reaches its apogee in Yellow Pages. Businesses take YP’s expensive space, regardless of whether people start to buy their goods or service with a phone call. They then compound the waste by appearing under several different headings. They never seem to ask themselves “why am I spending money to appear next to the ads placed by my 20/40/80 geographically closest competitors”.Ad spend in YP is dead right for some sectors, but dead wrong for most.

  16. Leah says:

    Good advice. I fell into that idea that if my competitors were advertising there, than I also should when I started my first business.

  17. Lana khoury says:

    That is totally true. Not to say that big pictures and big letters will not grab the ‘lead’s’ attention but not everything that is out there targets the right people at the right time. For it to work, you are probably paying alot more than the price you could for another channel reaching more pertinent people.

  18. REDDY says:

    great article. poses some serious questions to our attitude to advertising. you often get drwan to this whirlwind of discounts /advertising etc. specially in times of recession people are wary of not losing any opportunity and risking to try any thing different.

  19. Peter Fry says:

    The beauty of mobile phone advertising is its quantifyable

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