Advertising is one of the more popular facets of a comprehensive marketing campaign. It provides a direct line of communication to your customers regarding your product. Advertising does the following:
Makes customers aware of your product or service.
Convinces customers that your product or service is the best.
Points out the need and creates a desire for your product or service.
Announces new products or services.
Draws customers to your business.
When you plan an advertising campaign, you need to also consider certain issues, sometimes referred to as the “Ms of Advertising”:
Money: How much should you spend for a complete advertising program?
Message: What should you say?
Media: What advertising medium should you use?
Motion: How should you introduce the advertising?
Measurement: What results should you expect from the advertisement and how should you measure them?
Advertising is used mainly for three reasons:
To promote awareness of your business
To stimulate sales
To create your business’ market niche.
The words you use to deliver the message are critical to meeting these three objectives. The advertising message must play an integral part in the overall marketing plan. The message’s primary goal is to grab the public’s attention.
A creative message can change a company’s image, attracting consumers who might otherwise have never considered buying your product.
There are six basic characteristics all creative messages have:
They are simple and easily understood
They are truthful
They are informative
They are sincere
They are customer-orientated
They tell who, what, where, when, why and how.
What to advertise?
Once you understand the power of advertising and the outcomes it can achieve, part of developing your marketing strategy is to decide what exactly you should advertise. Choosing what to advertise can be difficult. You may be unsure of what angle to advertise, be it your cheap prices, service guarantee, second-to-none customer service or your unique products.
What you decide to advertise hinges on a number of issues. Firstly, it will depend on your chosen business image. If you have decided to build an image based on second-to-none service as your calling card then it should be this business aspect you advertise.
However, if you have decided to sell the affordable price in a bid to get the customers “in”, then you should focus on this as the basis of your advertising and promotional efforts. Once you have set-up your business, you may want to advertise a “service of the week” or some other special.
Knowing when to advertise
Knowing when to advertise will help you make the most of your marketing dollar. It will also play a part in helping you choose what to advertise. Most people are creatures of habit. If they are used to shopping for a certain item or service at a particular time of year, they are unlikely to change this.
As a result, sales can be seasonal and most businesses experience sales “highs” and “lows” at certain times of the year, such as Christmas. Make sure you take advantage of any “highs” to offset the slow months.
You will need to adjust your advertising strategies to coincide with your expected highs rather than the lows.
It is also important to monitor how effective your marketing and advertising efforts are. This will help you to justify the costs involved. It will also help you to identify where money is being wasted.
Where should you advertise?
Choosing the right medium is especially difficult for small businesses. Metropolitan television stations and newspapers are often too expensive for a business that services only a small area (although you can use community newspapers).
Magazines, unless local, usually cover too much territory for a small business to use them cost-efficiently, although some national publications do offer regional editions.
Metropolitan radio stations present the same problems as metropolitan TV stations and newspapers; in smaller markets, however, the local radio station and newspaper may sufficiently cover a small business’ audience.
That is why it is important to put together a media plan for your advertising campaign.
This plan should reflect how long you’ve been in business; a start-up business’ plan would look much different from that of a more established business. There are three basic steps in assembling a media plan.
Define the marketing or advertising problem: Do you know where your business is coming from and where the potential for increased business lies? Do you know which markets are most important and offer the greatest opportunity? Do you need to reach everybody or only a select group of consumers? How often do people use the product? How loyal are customers to the product?
Translate marketing requirements into attainable media objectives: If the marketing objective is to persuade all potential consumers to try the product, then it’s more important to reach many people once than it is to reach fewer people more frequently. If the product is something which people purchase on a regular, continuous basis, then it might be more appropriate to reach people more frequently.
Define a media solution by formulating media strategies: If reaching people is a primary objective, you should select affordable media which will reach more people than other media forms would. If you are trying to reach a specific demographic group, select a medium which will reach that specific group.
The advertising media generally used, depending on your advertising plan, include:
Magazines (Consumer and Trade)
Specialty advertising (items such as matchbooks, pencils, calendars, telephone pads, shopping bags)
Other media (catalogues, samples, handouts, brochures, etc.)
How to appraise the different mediums
In appraising prospective advertising media, you should consider the following factors:
Reach: Expressed as a percentage, reach is the number of individuals (or homes) you want to expose to your product through specific media scheduled over a given period of time.
Frequency in using specific media, how many times, on average, should the individuals in your target audience see your advertising message? It takes an average of at least three or more exposures to an advertising message before consumers take action – that is, buy your product.
Cost per thousand – How much will it cost to reach one thousand of your prospective customers using a given medium? Use this measure to compare different print media. To determine a publication’s cost per thousand (CPM), divide the cost of the advertising by the publication’s circulation in thousands.
Cost per point – One rating point equals one percent of your target audience. How much will it cost to reach one rating point of your target audience? Use this measure to compare the broadcast media. To determine a broadcast medium’s CPP, divide the cost of the schedule being considered by the number of rating points it delivers.
Impact – Does the medium in question offer full opportunities for appealing to the appropriate senses, such as sight and hearing, in presenting design, color or sound?
Selectivity – To what degree can you restrict the message to those people who you know are the most logical prospects?