How to waste money on advertising

It’s easily done

The adage “Fail to plan and you plan to fail” couldn’t be more true of advertising. But we’ve all done it. You know what happens – the friendly advertising rep from your favourite magazine rings you and tells you they can give you a half-page at a 75% discount, so you buy your bargain space and feel pleased with yourself. Great! Except you’ve broken just about every basic rule there is in marketing.

Picture - The front page of Computing - 7th Feb 2019


1. Audience

Opportunities to see, circulation, impressions – call it what you will. It matters not a jot how many people can see your advert. What matters is how many respond. So a huge audience is not in itself the RIGHT audience.

For example, if you sell dental software, is there any point to advertising in Computing with its 115,000 readers? Yes, it’s relevant to software. But how many dentists are included in that 115,000? On the other hand, if that same business were trying to recruit a software developer, would it make sense to advertise in a Professional Dentistry e-Bulletin? Choose the platform that suits your audience, not what suits you or your advertising sales rep.

Picture - Professional Dentistry e-Bulletin 1 - February 2019

Professional Dentistry

2. Message

What are you actually trying to achieve with your advert? It has a huge effect on where you advertise, but it also affects when you advertise and what your advertisement should say.

For example, if our software company were advertising its products in Professional Dentistry it should explain how its products will make your practice run more smoothly and maintain compliance with regulations. However, in a Computing recruitment advert, it should talk about the interesting work, employee benefits and culture.

Equally, in Professional Dentistry they should perhaps focus efforts around a new product launch, whereas their Computing adverts should obviously be placed when they need to recruit.

3. Presentation

Artwork. Sounds trivial, but how an advert looks is what gets people to read it. It has to be ‘eye-catching’. So spend time finding and briefing your designer or advertising agency. And give them time to develop their ideas properly. A last-minute brief will produce last-minute work.


Done right and done well, advertising is an investment every business and dental practice should make. Done wrong and you are not just making a poor investment; you are wasting your money.


For more information about the role advertising plays in an integrated marketing and PR campaign, please call Chris Webb on 07432 189149 or email

Chris has spent nearly 30 years managing in-house and agency PR teams creating highly successful communications campaigns. With a little help from friends, Chris created Precision PR in the spring of 2017. Chris has held senior communications roles at CODA, Hyperion, CSI, Qualys and Epson, and has worked in several mid-level and senior agency roles gaining a range of strategic and hands-on skills with clients and business partners that include; Alcatel-Lucent, Adaptsys, BHA Software, IBM, Microsoft, PeopleSoft, QAD, Qlik,, SAP, SDRC and Yokogawa. Our associates have worked with many others.

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