Stop Wasting That Money on Advertising

Customer Experience

I was recently looking around to buying a new car. As I started making enquires and visiting showrooms something became clear to me. Most of the humungous amounts of money being ploughed into advertising was literally going down the drain. The reason – abysmal dealer experience.

Having spent the better part of my life in advertising, this got me thinking. If this was the case with a high involvement product like a car, the situation in other product categories was bound to be far worse.

Haven’t you had the same experience whether it was a laptop, a washing machine or that expensive jacket you were buying? And doesn’t the experience get a zillion times worse when trying to make a complaint or wanting something repaired?

What am I driving at?

Some simple marketing truths. Discovered from this experience:

  1. There’s no way advertising can compensate for poor customer experience.
  2. Better to plug the leak of advertising monies totally till you can ensure the customer experience is absolutely exhilarating.
  3. Make sure every consumer touch point; be it her phone call being answered, the website she’s browsing, the sales person she’s dealing with, the showroom ambience she’s immersed in, is superlative. Even at the cost of curtailing the advertising budget and pumping it into the experiential arena (and when an advertising guy says this, its just got to carry weight.).
  4. Considering the extremely high cost of generating each enquiry today, much more needs to be spent on giving the customer an experience they’d look forward to & tom-tom about all over town.

360 degrees What this really means in simple terms is; as human beings we still   believe what a friend rather than what advertising tells us. So make sure that friend has a good thing to say about your restaurant or store. No amount of killer advertising can salvage a poor experience. Advertising is never ever going to be a substitute for how you were made to feel at the ‘moment of truth’.

In an ideal world there will be superlative product, backed by superlative customer experience, brought alive by superlative advertising. Advertising alone is of little help. And remember, that’s an advertising guy telling you this.



  1. Excellent piece. ! it’s like a tuition teacher suggesting his student to build his inner motivation and opt for self study ;)well i think…it not only comes from an advertising guy who is way above & much beyond advertising. kudos!

  2. Excellent piece. ! it’s like a tuition teacher suggesting his student to build his inner motivation and opt for self study ;)well i think…it can only come from an advertising guy who is way above & much beyond advertising. kudos!

  3. Not all advertising is superlative just as not all products are. Advertising is also done for public service and for asking for well deserved donations; for people affected by natural calamities. Product advertising creating awareness and sharing product benefits help customers make right decisions ie house building loans so on & so forth.What is important is to build a culture of Ethical Advertising & weed out false claims that mislead prospective consumers.Strict regulations must be in place. Plugging advertising is like suggesting stopping all from watching TV altogether because some unwanted programmes run on it. Those programmes should be stopped NOT the use of TV.

  4. Basic and yet…. wonder what will it take for brand custodians to understand things as simple as this… Its so stupid… pay high costs to acquire him only to piss him off… Lo and behold… you have high cost negative asset spewing venom against you in the market… Come here my magician you… let me put you back to school…

    nice read Chief…

  5. Nice article and most of it is correctly said. I recently wanted to buy a laptop and I didn’t worry about the ads but with my previous laptop experience, I remained loyal to the company and bought a new one from the same company, though I purchased it from the different place, I retained the brand I bought. Same for the other purchases. Some times, those who shout more, don’t deliver and that is the key thing.

  6. The question is, Brands have reached a stage where they are in the process of introducing a new “Bettered” product every other day. They would prefer spending on creating a brand awareness about their new set of products instead of spending of customer experience(which they promise to do through the very same advertising). To sum it up, advertising is necessary as long companies keep on innovating and improvising their product even if they don’t work on the basic “happy ~ is ~ customer~ is ~ King” promises because selling is more important than fulfilling.
    Like I always maintained, you write well. You are a genius, less appreciated.

  7. agree. especially in a socially networked world where bad news spread fast. Advertising is not a silver bullet and cannot compensate for poor CE. A brand which raises the hype by advertising has to be more sure that it can deliver to the raised expectations. There have been epic fails like the Vodafone and McD campaigns on social – big brands that got the basics wrong.

  8. What you’ve said in your post is so true. Buying a product should be a fantastic experience in itself and post sale service too. No point in spending humungous amounts on advertising if you cannot keep your customers happy on the ground.

    Brands need to get the basics right, first. That is, the customer should be satisfied. All these “Out-of-the-box” campaign ideas go down the drain if your customer is not happy with your product or services.

  9. Thanks Sanjayda for sharing the article with me. I absolutely agree with what you said. Companies should focus more on delivering best products, services and customer satisfaction than spending so much on advertisements. Actually advertisements used to work until the world got connected and started talking to each other through Social Media. Because before that, any company could fool common people to buy some shitty products/services through an attractive advertisement campaign. And people couldn’t have done much than cursing and being furious. But now a days, if what a brand shows in its advertisements doesn’t match with what it delivers, next day it is going to be trolled on Social Media sites. Opposite is also true. A brand, who didn’t even advertise, if serve customers really well, brand advocates will do the advertisements for the brand for free on Social Media sites.

    There are many more points of think about. Most of the celebrities in advertisements, doesn’t care much about the product or service, rather the contract offer is of prime interest for them. Being an insider you know it better. Also think about it, with every changing campaign, countless banners and billboards are discarded to place the new ones. How much environment friendly is this process?

    That’s why I prefer and advocate, alternate ideas to traditional advertising, like Network Marketing and Social Media Marketing, which are based on word-of-mouth and educating consumers through valuable contents, not on manipulative marketing techniques. Best is to combine the two. It seems really sensible to me to focus most of the budgets on creating best product/service experience and customer satisfaction, then encourage consumers to share to others if they liked it, compensate them for their contribution. Consumers are learning about the brand from the people they know and trust, consumers are getting paid for their word-of-mouth brand advocacy, and also it’s causing minimal harm to the environment.

  10. Consumer are always more interested in the better customer service. This is one of the reason that even though Indian and Chinese mobile brands are having nice smartphones at cheaper price, people tend to avoid them as they are not sure what kind of service they will receive… Advertisement is just the first step and the rest of the steps are even more important.

  11. Nice article Chief. Truly emphasizes the necessity of new age marketing concepts of brand & perception management, and experiential marketing.. Is it the fall of advertising?

  12. Cannot agree more on the customer service bit. However good advertising is, it may drive us to go to the store/ restaurant once .. but the repeat value is only on our experience

  13. Bang on Sajayjee. I see a striking similiarity in perspective (more pronounced rather..) with the service industry that i am a part of. Something as basic as this cuts across industries… Kudos..

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