- August
Posted By : Badri
What is the point of advertising if …

Ask any businessman or a sales person for his/her top priority and the answer invariably will be “to increase the business”. They would even justify it on the grounds that they have just advertised heavily but if we just observe their follow-up (or the absence of it), it will be clear that business is the last thing in their minds.

Unable to believe? Consider the following situations.

a. There was an ad campaign some time back with a very attractive special offer, except that the owner did not think it will work. The ad lists just one phone number that is always busy. Imagine the lost business which could have been easily avoided by just adding a few more numbers. Perhaps the owner thinks that only the persistent deserve the special offer!!

b. A telecom company that I patronized, announced in center-spread ad in some of the prominent dailies, that they will replace their existing faulty instrument with a more stylish looking one. But when I visited their showroom, their staff did not even know about the offer, let alone exchange the instrument!!

c. When I saw a very impressive ad about the special benefits on Fixed Deposits (FD) for Senior Citizens from a very reputed private bank, I approached the local branch to open a FD in my mother’s name. Strangely enough, the sales person was very reluctant to even give me a form but my persistence won. And when I submitted the form duly filled with all necessary documents, he said that he must meet the depositor in person and offered to call the next day to fix a suitable time. I realized the power of the saying “Tomorrow never comes” because it has been more than a month since our interaction and i am yet to hear from him. Going by his inaction, I think he is not adequately compensated on sales on that particular product. But the fact remains that the bank did not convert on that enquiry and perhaps is even blissfully unaware. In the meanwhile, I have already parked the money in a FD with another bank, even though the terms weren’t as good.

d. This one takes the cake! A cousin of mine was asking about some flats in a suburb of Chennai and I recalled that one good friend of mine had recently started a project there and had done a series of ads on print and TV. Glad that I could be of service to both, I called up my friend who gave the contact number of his employee on that project which i duly passed on to my cousin. That employee did not have any details about the project and worse still, he did not call my cousin in a day or two as promised. While we can even understand that as the case of an un-empowered employee, I could not fathom that my friend, the promoter, did not contact me once asking about my cousin’s reaction and even when i sent an sms about the goof-up of his employee, he did not respond!! And the sad part is he is still lamenting about ‘unsold inventory’ in that project!

I had assumed that the intent behind advertising was to generate a ton of inquiries convert a large portion of that. It appears that I am only half right. You would notice that in all the above 4 instances, I, as a customer made the contact but was turned down by the sales person or the business.

Who are the winners in all these episodes? The ad agencies that designed and executed the ads and the media that ran the ads (assuming they got paid!!!)

And the award for the Losers is jointly shared by the businesses that advertise but don’t convert and customers who are impressed by the ad but unable to get the benefit.

So how can you as an entrepreneur avoid these situations where you have spent lots of money, time and efforts in generating awareness about your product or service but is unable to convert them to real orders?

Engage with us on ExSell, where we work with you in building the right foundation for your business so that your investment in brand building really pays off in actual business.

What are you waiting for?  Write to us today to know more about how you can quickly and consistently add customers.


  • This is precisely the sad feature of how business is approached and got done in this part of the world by most Entrepreneurs !

    Thus Spake the New Age Sage !

  • Very profound Badri………. I was reminiscing such experiences I have had in the past and tried to think as to what went wrong. My two cents are

    1. The follow up and service readiness is completely a different and as important process as communicating. Once you communicate regarding a product or services we need a robust back end process to respond back to the prospects who reach out based on the communication. This should be akin to a war room. One of the primary considerations the communicator should always have is that only those who have a special connect to the message will respond back and hence he should be treated with kids gloves and provide him with all support to fulfill his need. Miss him there, one will miss him for life.

    2. Whenever , cops release a public notice regarding any suspects in any criminal acts, they do a complete briefing to the control room. All the personnel are given training on taking calls, reading mails, internal communication and lead follow up. This is where commercial organisations fail. While the advertising will come from the marketing department, the follow up has to come from the Sales department and both of them oftentimes do not work as team. This disconnect could prove costly.
    3. In this social age, communication spreads very fast and the response time is very limited. Customer interest will short lived and his tolerance levels are extremely low. Only nimble organisations that anticipate this makes proper plan to handle this kind of situations. In recent times the one instance where I remember such near flawless action was a IT company based out of Bangalore during Chennai floods. On realizing that Chennai is completely affected they had a 24/7 call center operating in Bangalore run by their regular employees, tried to reach out as many of their colleagues as possible and tried to extend any help that was possible and could be done by them. No wonder they have one of the lowest attrition in the industry.

    4. Companies to day use IVR systems to handle their customer calls which irate the customers more and act as a deterrent for prospects to reach the company. When I was working in Mumbai as a fresher in 88 , my boss an advertising veteran would always tell us to pick up the calls within three rings . That was followed so seriously, our telephone operator was tested only on that count.

    5. There is a general belief that if you use a very sophisticated CRM programme you need not do anything else. How wrong…..

    Thank God in this age of Hyper competition customers has many alternatives hence need not live in frustration for long with an unfulfilled need.

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