This is not a pleasant post, so I’m just gonna get right to it.
I believe in risk. I’m a fan of swinging for the fences and going big. It’s for this reason I contracted Chamber Media to do a “viral ad” for A Sales Guy.
I was impressed with a few of their ads I had seen on Facebook. They were funny, engaging, and memorable. I thought by creating a similar ad we could separate ourselves from the competition, get to markets we weren’t currently in, and create a fun and entertaining video that would drive substantial revenue from our newly released online Gap Selling Training
Well, that was the plan anyway.
We didn’t make a single sale from the ad they created.
Instead, Chamber media wasted $50,000 dollars of our money and wanted more.
Before I go any further, let me be clear. I don’t expect any creative service provider to “guarantee their work.” I get it. When it comes to services, particularly creative services, they aren’t guaranteed. This situation was no different. We never expected Chamber Media to guarantee any results. But we did expect an experience and deliverable that could generate enough revenue to at least cover costs. We didn’t expect to spend 40k on a video with almost 10k in ad spend to generate less than one dollar in revenue. (Yes, you read that right, we didn’t make $1.00 from their ad.)
We were clear with Chamber Media, that as a company we didn’t have $50,000 dollars to flush down the toilet and that we needed complete and unconditional support in ensuring that the campaign would not “fail.” From the initial sale, all the way to the end of production, we continued to reiterate, this was a large expenditure for us and that we couldn’t afford to waste $50,000 on a failed ad campaign.
With that as a backdrop, and as a cautionary tale to others who are considering Chamber Media I’m going to share how Chamber Media wasted $50,000 dollars of our money. (Side note: We were unable to find negative reviews on Chamber Media when we did our research, and we found that odd. Therefore, we hope this helps others make a more informed decision in the future.)
The entire experience failed at almost every step and I will break them all down here:
The Sales Experience:
My team and I initially reached out to Chamber in the May timeframe of 2020. We were contacted by their salesperson, we’ll call her “Cat.”
Cat was your typical salesperson. She talked a lot about Chamber’s successes, how good they were, how they worked, etc. However, she asked very few questions and struggled to understand our business. She struggled so much, that we had to have several meetings AND we sent her a free copy of Gap Selling because we were so frustrated with her selling approach that we wanted to help her get better. The net result of Cat’s selling?
- She didn’t understand our business and kept sending us examples of Chamber’s work that had NOTHING to do with our product and price point.
- She was unwilling to do a deep discovery of our goals and objectives and kept telling us that would be done AFTER we signed a contract.
- Cat was insensitive to the fact that we’re not selling a transaction product and was not able to help us understand how they would approach our offering differently.
- She did not understand our business and struggled to see how it would/could affect the production process.
- After the first call, we had to send her this:
Thank you for this slide deck here, but this doesn’t really help me very much. As you may already know, this is one of the key elements of Gap Selling. A generalized “demo” or “solution” isn’t really very helpful to your customers. While this deck highlighted some of the key campaign elements or problems (slide 3), the examples throughout don’t really yield to our world at all. You have done a great job here proving you know your space in direct to consumer products. Nothing in this deck shows competency in our world. Even your key conversion metrics of an average order value of $16 to $22 clearly displays non-relevant data. Our cheapest option is $499.
The deck displays the 7 categories of ads (which I’m assuming also equates to the 7 videos we discussed?), but clearly we wouldn’t use unboxing and even lifestyle is questionable considering the product type.
My expectation here was to learn how your team would approach our specific and unique business needs, as it would be slightly new in your wheelhouse.
Please let me know if you need clarification or have further questions.
A second discovery is had and it yields very little additional results, but Cat does say this: “We (Chamber) have never had a campaign do less than 2x return on ad spend.” This piqued our interest and played a huge role in our decision. Boy, were we surprised to learn from Chamber’s ad team. THIS WAS NOT TRUE! The ad team was blown away to learn we were told that. Unfortunately, we hear this just before we were about to launch the ad. Ugh!
Needless to say, we took her word for it and trusted in Chamber’s assurances that they could deliver a compelling ad for us that would perform and not waste the 50k investment we were making.
We signed . . .
And the experience just got worse.
To be continued . . .
Next up: How Chamber Media kept saying “Trust us” as the creative process spirals into a shit show.