How instant gratification syndrome has ruined advertising

5 ways to control the ROI conversation with advertisers

Instant Gratification Syndrome, or IGS, is a debilitating disease characterised by emotional servitude to the ‘now’. In my ad sales training workshops, IGS and ROI seem to be universal terms for ‘results’. But, what does the term ‘results’ really mean?

That is a question, that when answered, could be worth a million dollars. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we have let the advertisers and misinformed marketers control the narrative on this conversation. We let this happen. Sorry. We did. Let’s fix this, friends, and reclaim the conversation.

Can I be brutally honest for a moment?

Ryan Dohrn
Ryan Dohrn.

The reason that many marketers and agencies do not like traditional media is because they don’t receive a report to show their boss they are doing their job.

Yes, I said it!

I work with many smart marketers that buy digital and traditional media. They understand that marketing is a strategic process and not just an IGS feel-good show.

Consumers do not bend to the will of a marketer. Consumers buy when they are ready to buy, not when a company wants them to buy. Sure, if the advertiser’s offer is off-the-charts amazing, we can force buyers deep into the sales funnel, but how often does that really happen?

Wait. Ryan, do you hate digital marketing? NO! I love it.

In all of my media sales training classes, I preach my love for all marketing options. I just know that serious marketers use multi-channel or omni-channel marketing because it works.

The Association of Magazine Media tells us that as much as a 14 per cent lift in ad effectiveness comes when you combine media in marketing.

All-digital is not the answer, and we, as media salespeople, better start controlling the narrative.

Why? I predict that Generation Z, those born between 1996-2010, according to Forbes, will click less than our grandparents.

Why? Because they know that a click starts the tracking of them and they hate being tracked! So, Mr Marketer, if your plan is to get clicks, watch out.

So, how do we change the narrative? Here we go…

ACTION POINT #1: Marketing is a strategic process that truly cannot be managed like a day trader on the stock market looking for quick cash.

The simple fact we need to get across is that most of your advertisers’ potential customers are not ready to buy right now. Sad, but true.

According to Steve Richard of sales consulting firm Vorsight, at any given time:

  • only 3 per cent of your market is actively buying,
  • 56 per cent are not ready to buy,
  • 40 per cent are poised to begin, and
  • 1 per cent are indifferent.

This means that 56 per cent of your potential customer base is set to give you NO immediate ROI on your marketing efforts.

Another 40 per cent of your potential customer base is set to give you minimal ROI on your marketing efforts.

Only 3 per cent of your potential customer base is set to give you immediate ROI on your marketing efforts.

But, wait, I need ROI right here and right now! I cannot buy media that does not give me ROI. The real question ad salespeople need to be asking is what does ROI actually mean to that particular advertiser?

The definitions are varied and often hidden from us unless we dig. It is our duty and obligation to dig deep and ask for specifics. Managing advertiser expectations is critical in today’s media environment.

Talk to advertisers about this and control the narrative.

ACTION POINT #2: Consumers love content.

New findings from B2B research, ratings and review company Clutch reveal that 82 per cent of people admit to having purchased a product or service from a company as a result of consuming content.

They like content that is relevant and important to them. TV shows. Blogs. Magazines. Videos.

The 56 per cent of buyers that are NOT set to give you any immediate ROI are very critical to an advertiser’s revenue success. That 56 per cent will move to buyers at some point. The other ~40 per cent are pretty darn close to being a buyer too.

Yet, neither group is going to immediately engage with your advertiser, and so they will not see ROI on that marketing effort. It’s not that the marketing is not working. The marketing just has not worked yet.

When you marry your marketing message to quality content, you are engraining your brand into the potential buyer’s mind using frequency in a format that is not intrusive and does not require a click or ROI type of action.

When a potential buyer moves from that 56 per cent group to the 40 per cent group will they choose your advertiser or another company?

Marketing is a strategic process that truly cannot be managed like a day trader on the stock market looking for quick cash. In my ad sales training webinars, I consistently say: consumers buy when they are ready to buy, not when you are ready to sell. Period!

Talk to advertisers about this and control the narrative

ACTION POINT #3: Google gets credit for everything.

John Wanamaker, the founder of what would become Macy’s, is famous for his marketing quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Fast-forward 100 years and, in my opinion, we are still facing nearly the same dilemma because Google gets credit for almost all the marketing that occurs.

We run a quality ad campaign with print ads, e-newsletter marketing, retargeting and social. Then we start looking at reports. Wait, there is not a report from the magazine or newspaper. OMG! So, print advertising must not be working.

Not true!

But wait…advertisers say that everyone they “ask” says they found me on Google. Well, duh. That is because when customers see a print ad or hear a radio ad they immediately search on their phone for more information.

Talk to advertisers about this and control the narrative.

ACTION POINT #4: Be wary of non-direct response companies expecting immediate ROI.

Many advertisers are expecting immediate ROI on products that are not priced at $19.99.

But wait, there’s more.

Direct response marketing is all about making things happen now. It packages the value proposition and call to action all-in-one to take a prospect from consideration to decision faster.

If your advertiser is not selling a product or service that can be sold fast and by showcasing massive perceived value, they should not be expecting immediate ROI like running a late-night TV ad for a set of Ginsu knives.

Talk to advertisers about this and control the narrative.

ACTION POINT #5: Traditional media is not dead. Stop allowing the lie to spread.

BIA Advisory Services reports that traditional media had 60 per cent share of the overall local media spend in 2019 — $89.2 billion — with digital ad revenue at a 40 per cent share, with $59.5 billion.

The numbers are nearly the same for national ads, with traditional still at 51 per cent of the media buys, according to

Traditional media is not dead. The marketing mix has evolved and that is good for us all.

Most often when an advertiser says that no one reads the paper or watches local TV, they themselves do not engage with that exact media. Thus, they feel that no one else does either. This survey of one is deadly and, if left unchecked, spreads like wildfire.

I teach all my ad sales training clients to STOP the survey of one with this polite retort:

“May I ask you a question? Whatever you answer will not offend me in any way. Do you read magazines?”

He replies “no.”

You reply, “It is not surprising to me that you would say no one reads the magazine when you do not read it yourself. It’s ok. My job as an advertising salesperson is to show you that even though you do not read the magazine, I have 22,500 readers who are a perfect customer for your company. This conversation should not be about what you or I like or dislike. It should be about engaging with your customers in whatever media they consume and enjoy.”

Talk to advertisers about this and control the narrative.

I hope you love media as much as I love media. I absolutely love it. But, controlling the narrative means we need to be well trained and rehearsed on this issue.

Write down the three or four most common ROI objections you hear weekly. Make some flash cards. Rehearse your answers with different people. Get good at the debate, but always be respectful in your conversations.

Remember, if ad sales was an easy job, everyone would be doing it. And they are not. So, own it and love it.

Ryan Dohrn is the creator of the 360 Ad Sales training system and an internationally recognised media revenue consultant. Dohrn runs a popular You Tube channel and podcast.

Written by Ryan Dohrn, Founder, Brain Swell Media

Ryan Dohrn is the creator of the 360 Ad Sales Training system and is an internationally recognised media revenue consultant. Ryan actively sells print, digital, broadcast, event sponsorships, exhibit space and radio. He has trained and coached over 15,000 ad sales reps to date and speaks over 60 times per year. Ryan loves teaching ad sales reps his simple and effective way to achieve ad sales success. Ryan has media clients in Australia, Spain, UK, Holland and the USA.


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