While advertising is a key component in a marketing strategy, advertising alone is not marketing. It is important to develop a clear message before committing and spending advertising dollars. An effective advertising campaign can quickly provide a return on your investment, while a poorly planned advertising campaign may drain profits from your business.
The basic premise of an advertising plan requires analysis of four key questions before you make your advertising decisions:
The first step in developing your advertising strategy is to specify your advertising goals. Be precise. Your goals should include increasing awareness of your business, attracting customers away from the competition, increasing the likelihood of keeping your current customers, developing customer loyalty and increasing the immediate sales and leads.
While all of the above goals are important, you should prioritize your specific goals and focus on one or maybe two goals at a time.
Once you have determined your advertising goals, select the target audience for your message. Your market research should have already identified your customers and potential customers. Advertising that tries to reach everyone rarely succeeds. Picture the people you must reach to achieve your advertising goals. Use the following as a guide for targeting and evaluating your customers:
Once you know who your target audience is and what they are looking for, you can decide what your advertising will say. Communicate a message that will be important and speak clearly to your customers. It should explain the important benefits your products and services offer.
Many advertising media work well to reach a diverse range of target customers. No single medium is inherently good or bad. A good medium for one product may be a poor choice for another. Guide your advertising placement by a simple principle: go where your target audience will have the greatest likelihood of seeing and hearing your message. As you consider media choices, make your selection based upon which one(s) fits your advertising goal, reaches your target customer effectively and is within your advertising budget. The following is a brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages of some of the most commonly used advertising media:
Selecting the right advertising format or combination of formats is a crucial part of a successful marketing plan. Carefully consider how to best reach your target audience.