Advertising with Technology – A Big Win or A Big Loss?

Just because it’s a new tactic,
doesn’t mean it will deliver results

The digital revolution has created an overwhelming number of unproven advertising tactics. Business owners and decision makers are faced with so many new options which often have very little track record. Adding fuel to this fire is that fact that most visionary business owners I work with are also suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS). Watch this video for a short, tongue-in-cheek explanation of SOS.

Do You Have Shiny Object Syndrome?

So here is the dirty little secret that new technology doesn’t want you to know…

Just because it is a new tactic,
doesn’t mean it is effective.


AND, just because it is old,
doesn’t mean it is ineffective

How can a decision maker choose wisely among a multitude of advertising tactics? Let’s look at some winners and losers.

New Tech Winner

In 2012, the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) rolled out a mobile app to 30 Councils (about 40,000 GSA troops) Girl Scoutsthat would allow members to accept credit/debit card payments for cookie purchases. An attachment to a mobile device together with the app facilitated this ability. The end result was that the troops sold four times as many cookies.

Some business owners will read that the end result was a four times increase in sales and say, “I need a mobile app!” That would be a mistake. The mobile app did not increase sales. It was the functionality at the point of purchase to accept credit cards that drove the increase. It’s proven that with the use of credit cards, people will spend 15-20% more than with cash. Add in the fact that cookies are an impulse buy and Girls Scouts are cute, friendly and probably your neighbor, I can see how they got the 4x increase. When technology makes your strategy more effective, it can have powerful results. See more about the GSA story.

New Tech Loser

QR CodeThis is a painful story because it is mine. Last year, I spoke to an audience of 150 business people. At the end of the presentation, I promoted the Hot Marketing Tips email and

recommended to attendees to scan the QR code on the back of my business card which was conveniently placed at everyone’s table. The end result…ZERO new subscribers. Honestly, this took a little wind out of my sails since I’m usually a pretty good promoter. I was disappointed with the result and didn’t understand why.

Old Tech Winner

Fast forward a year later and I am speaking to the same business association, but on a different topic. On the advice of Michael Davis from Speaking CPR, I passed out two clipboards during my presentation with a subscriber sign-up sheet on each. Honestly, I thought the idea was a bit archaic given that my business cards were on the table with the subscription QR. When I collected up the sheets, there were 72 new Hot Marketing Tips subscribers which covered 46% of the audience.

Why It Worked

Passing the clipboard sign-up sheet was an effective tool because it forced a decision. As the clipboard is passed around the table, it eventually is physically handed to you. At that point, you must make a decision to sign up or pass it on. Room dynamics also plays a part…if you like what you are seeing during my presentation you are more likely to sign up. Even more powerful than that is the concept of exclusivity…You see others signing up and wonder what you might be missing out on. All this occurred because the old, archaic clipboard forced a decision. The QR code on the back of my business card sits on the table and is easily ignored. No decision is made, it’s just ignored.

When you are experiencing SOS, remember Marketing Accelerator Principle #16 – Just because it is new, doesn’t mean it’s effective. AND, just because it is old, doesn’t mean it is ineffective!
I love Thin Mints…You?

Thin Mints

I love Thin Mints… You?

Tell me in the comments section below…

  1. What tactic (old or new tech) that you have used recently that worked great or failed miserably.
  2. What’s your favorite GS cookie…I’m a sucker for Thin Mints.

When you are approached about investing into an advertising tactic, choose the one that makes your strategy even stronger. It doesn’t matter if it is new technology or one that has been around for 25 years.

If it makes your strategy stronger,
it is a worthy investment.

Now if you don’t have a strategy, that is a serious problem and you’re throwing marketing mud against the wall. This video will give you a better understanding of the problem. After watching the video,schedule a complimentary strategy session with me.


Posted in hmt
2 comments on “Advertising with Technology – A Big Win or A Big Loss?
  1. Jim Kummer says:


    About 9 years ago I heard a lady from PG speak and she said that a consumer had to see your message at least 6 times before they would act. It seems that this would make the impact of a specific marketing tactic hard to measure as far as building your brand. I think this would make an interesting topic for you to address.
    Ex: I run a weekly ad in the west side Community papers that shows me and my mom in the ad. I get a lot of comments from people that see the picture. However am I getting my money’s worth out of the ad? We have never had anyone say I am calling because I saw your ad in the community press. We usually ask. Thanks Drew.

    • JIM – The concept of 6 times before someone responds has been updated since digital has become dominant. Repetition has its place but has lost some of its power. What is more powerful is a compelling message or powerful unique selling proposition (USP) that is delivered in the ad. If the USP is strong enough and the prospect has a need, then the prospect won’t wait, they will respond much sooner. I am in the process of putting together a USP workshop. You’ll hear more about that in a few months.

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