Chamber Blog

Marketing Message Not Working? How to Use Value to Create Effective Advertising Designed to Get Results!

June 27, 2018 | James Bahm with Summit Media Louisville

Whenever I create, or hear, an advertisement, my first thought is: how does this (or how will this) resonate in the consumer’s mind?

When I was in television, I used to hear many clients say they’d love to advertise and see themselves on TV! Many of my clients would tell me what they wanted to include in their message and most of what they wanted was useless.

Most business owners want their message to tell consumers about how wonderful the company is: they are locally owned and operated, with a friendly, knowledgeable sales staff, with five convenient locations, and all their techs are certified, and they have been serving the area since 1908 … none of these items should be in any commercial.

Here is my proven solution to create good advertisements, which then creates specific Value for every client with whom I work:


When designing a good advertising message, make sure you’re including items that are important to your customer … because good content has NOTHING to do with your company and EVERYTHING to do with the consumer!

I am a consumer. At any point in time I am in the market for some product/service that will help me solve a problem or fill a need. And so are you!  Answer this question from you target consumer’s perspective: What would make you choose your company over the competitor down the street?

Here’s what consumers want to know: Who you are, what you do (i.e. what problems you solve and needs you fill), and how to get in touch with you.


If you want to tout that you are locally-owned and operated, then create a commercial with one or two of your best customers who say, “When I have a problem, it feels good to know I can call the owner directly and get it resolved; it’s better than some 800-number to who knows where and waiting on hold!”

One of the most valuable things consumers own is their time.  Knowing it won’t be wasted on customer service issues matters tremendously!

And speaking of using language consumers understand… be sure to not use any industry-specific jargon and acronyms, as these will only confuse the average consumer!


I heard a commercial for a car dealer in Vegas that had a disclaimer that lasted for at least half the commercial, none of it I could understand. Disclaimers mean that everything you just heard, or are about to hear, isn’t really what it appears to be!

If you have to be a right-handed person over five-feet-eight and walk with a limp and come into the store on every odd Thursday before noon on Tuesday, then your sale should be a success! Don’t use gotchas, or anything else that will cause a potential customer to not trust you.

Imagine how successful this will be: “Every person who comes to our sale gets 25% off, no tricks, no gimmicks, just show up and let us earn your business. We’re located on the corner of Walk and Don’t Walk, and here’s our number if you get lost…”


I think I first heard Paul Weyland say that marketing is nothing more than practicing psychology without a license. And good marketing will get consumers to change their minds, change their behavior, and make a decision.

Make sure your advertising includes a clear call to action letting them know what you want them to do. Do you want them to call, visit your website, come to your store, donate to a charity? Consumers are not mind readers; in most cases, they need to know what to do next.

If you do not have a good call to action, and the consumers you’re targeting are left scratching their heads wondering what to do, how will you be able to evaluate the campaign’s effectiveness?

Having these elements will bring value to your target customers and help produce better advertising campaigns. However, they do not guarantee success.

When evaluating any campaign, you are just as responsible for its success as the person who creates the message!

No marketer can control what happens once consumers contact you. If consumers show up to your store and no one buys anything, if you are taking more phone calls, and your website is getting more page views, the campaign is successful; however, you might have a problem with your staff, what they are saying, their ability to sell, or a non-user-friendly website.  Honesty is essential when evaluating a campaign.

Bottom Line: Show consumers how much you value them by delivering an honest message entirely from their perspective.