Making a sale in today’s market requires saying the right thing, to the right person, at the right time. This is where advertising can play a key role. Here I will explain what advertising is, how to make your advertising effective, and how to best utilize your advertising dollars.
Advertising in its simplest definition, is paid promotion. Advertising is the delivery of a message to the consumer. This message consists of product (or service) information, a subjective viewpoint, and a call to action. How well the advertising message conveys these points depends on the advertising and marketing goals. The advertising objectives must mesh with the marketing goals to get the team effort required for successful business ventures.
Advertising Goals. What is it that you want to accomplish with your advertising? Keep your goals simple. Make them measurable. Focus on one idea. Focus on a definite market.
Target Market. Determine where your business is going to come from. Make the effort to understand who your consumers will be. What is it about your product or service that the consumer needs or wants? How does the consumer benefit from buying from you rather than buying from your competitor?
Target Support. Once you know who your target audience is, give them good reasons to buy from you rather than your competitor. Think about how you can best support your benefit claims.
Personality. Give your product or service a unique personality. Advertise an important attribute, not an obvious one.
Develop a campaign. A campaign consists of a series of related advertisements, all of which, support the same product or service. Campaigns should be similar in one of four ways: 1) visual, 2) verbal, 3) acoustic, or 4) attitude.
Visual similarity can be accomplished by using the same spokesperson in all of your advertisements.
Verbal similarity can be accomplished by using a “tag” line that makes the same statement at the end of each of your advertisements.
Acoustic similarity can be a unique song, voice, or sound that will always be associated with your product or service.
Attitudinal similarity or “positional” similarity can be expressed with visual, verbal, and acoustic methods. An example of positional similarity can be seen in the Avis car rental commercials. These commercials have always stated “Avis, we try harder.” Avis has always positioned themselves as the number two car rental company which works harder to earn and keep its customers.
The Media Plan. The media plan (or plan of action). You must have goals for your media plan that work with your advertising and marketing plans. Who are you trying to reach? When do you want to reach them? Where do you want to reach them? How do you want to reach them? How often do you want to reach them? Your media plan must address these questions.
Demographics tell you who people are. They describe people in terms of age, sex, education, family position, occupation, income, and buying habits. Write down as much about your target audience as you know. Psychographics tell you about people’s life-styles, attitudes, and behavior. They may tell you if your target audience is a two income family, votes republican, or attends the Opera.
When do you want to reach them? Is your product or service seasonal? Is it in more demand on the weekends? Deciding when to advertise is as important a decision as deciding what to advertise.
Where do your customers live? What media choices are available that will reach your market?
How do you want to reach them? Would your audience respond to an entertainment medium or a news medium? Do you want to instill emotion, action, or news? Different people respond to media in different ways. This is why it is so important to know your target market.How often to you want your audience to receive you message? People forget quickly. In order to get your message across, and have it remembered, you will have to repeat your message. How much repetition is required varies from person to person and from product to product. You must decide what is the right amount of repetition. There are three basic media tactics dealing with repetition. They are: 1) continuous, 2) flighting, and 3) pulsing.
If you had a large advertising budget, you could advertise every month of the year continuously.
If your budget is not a large one, you need to consider an alternate tactic. Flighting involves advertising in bursts. The example shown below shows advertising dollars being spent every other month while no advertising dollars are being spent in the in-between months. Pulsing is a low level of continuous advertising with periodic bursts. Additionally, these methods can be combined with a seasonal approach as well.
Media Terms. Some of the following terms may be useful in dealing with media sales people. Reach is the number of people who were exposed to your message. This is not to say that they paid any attention to it or understood it. Frequency is the average number of times an individual is exposed to your advertisement. Gross rating points (GRP) are determined by multiplying reach times frequency. Cost per thousand (CPM) is the cost to reach 1,000 houses, car owners, computer users, quiche eaters, etcetera. Circulation is the number of issues of a newspaper, newsletter, email message, RSS feed, or magazines that are distributed.
Make it Work
Creative aspects. Make your advertising do the work. Take time to produce good advertisements. It doesn’t do you any good to have a high reach or frequency if your advertising suffers from an inadequate message. The following guidelines should be instructive:
Present one key idea. A good advertisement is simple, clear, and direct. Do not try to sell more than one idea per ad.
Seize the audience’s attention. Present your message early. Say what you want to say in the headline of a print advertisement or in the first sentence of a television or radio commercial.
Let the picture tell the story. A good photograph can express a lot more than words can describe. Take advantage of good visual images that support your product or service.
Keep the message positive. People avoid negative images. Fear can motivate sales, but is is more likely to backfire in the long run.
Attack from all sides. Send your message to your target using as many different senses as possible. When consumers receive a message from more than one source, they are more likely to remember it.
Repeat what works. It is important to repeat advertisements (or their themes) that are successful. It is also important to keep a backup campaign in case the first one doesn’t live up to your expectations.
Advertising can help you reach your target market. Remember to review these guidelines often. Are you ready to advertise?