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Advertising’s Why, What, Where and How

Published:
15/08/2017
Author:
Steve Indersmith

Too often we consult with clients that know they need to advertise but don’t know why.

NOT WHY advertise, we believe every business should advertise in one way or another, but WHY NOW?

Are we advertising as a reaction to a dip in sales, to defend against competitors, to build trust and goodwill, to inform or remind the pubic of a product or service? We really can’t move forward to the WHAT, WHERE and HOW until we address the WHY.

WHY Advertise

Sell - You need to shift product, meet sales targets or maximise profit. Your sale could be about moving stock for next seasons product range, it could be about countering cyclic trading periods or simply maximising profit.

Competition - You may be being proactive or defensive against a perceived or real competitor threat. Perhaps you are reinforcing your USP (unique selling point), or your community goodwill. Maybe you are defending against cheap operators, multi-nationals or e-commerce.

Brand - Building a brand is about trust, confidence and engagement, it’s about sustainability. People often say I can’t afford to brand, my response is generally “you can’t afford not to.” Building a brand is like the foundation to your house. Build it properly and your business is well positioned to chase profits and to weather storms. Build it poorly (or not at all) and you may be destined to compete on price and struggle against competition and economic downturns.

Database - A well groomed database is a powerful tool. You may be looking to create an email database to nurture clients through the buyers cycle or to market your products and services.

Announce - Here you may be launching a product or service, you may have opened another outlet or taken on a new sales rep or service provider. You might have won the local Business Awards or be celebrating a milestone such as 25 years in business.

WHAT do we want to achieve
How will you know whether your advertising campaign is successful? Are you chasing stock reduction, revenue, profit, web traffic, leads, email subscriptions, awareness? With the WHAT comes measurement. To know that our campaign objectives have been met we need to measure them. This is the really difficult part of the exercise and the subject of a future newsletter.

Needless to say you need to define objectives that are specific, measureable, realistic and within a time frame.

WHERE will I advertise?
There are many media channels to consider and usually we would advise you to be across several however for the purpose of this article I am going to focus on print.

This sounds like a pretty simple task however too often I encounter businesses that are spending their advertising dollar with print titles that are less than suitable.

Identify Your Target Market - You need to know the demographics of your market. Who buys, the gender, age, location and socioeconomic characteristics of your target audience. This will then allow you to determine the media title that best reaches this audience.

Maximise your Reach - Be careful here, you are not chasing reach for reaches sake. Reach is defined as “the total number of people, or households, exposed at least once by the media in a given time.” You need to ensure that the households or people you reach are your target market. Too often small business advertises in a national magazine believing somehow those eyeballs in Western Australia, Victoria or even Penrith will be of benefit. Make sure that the type and title of print media that you use is actually read by your market. No point in advertising kids fashion in a travel magazine. Your aim is to minimise wastage, it’s not about the total number of eyeballs but about the total number of your target audiences eyeballs!

Questions to ask; How many copies are delivered, where are they delivered to, how are they delivered and who reads the publication.

Halo effect - This term as related to advertising means the impression created for a product or service through the association with the print title. In short if you advertise your business in a publication that has goodwill and trust in the community, readers associate you with this brand and therefore view your business more favourably.

Longevity - How long do you need your communication to stay alive in the community? If your WHY was branding, awareness, announcing or building a database chances are the longer the better. Magazines are a great vehicle for this, they were built for branding due to the fact that their content stays relevant for longer and their production value (paper stock, size, cover, design) lends itself to being retained.

If you are driving a sale then shelf life may not be important. A sale for several weeks to a month would suit a magazine. A Saturday or weekend sale would best suit a newspaper.

Budget - I am big on advertising in multiple channels with the budget you have as long as you can do it well. If not reduce the number of channels you advertise in. Disaster awaits for those that try and spread their advertising dollar to thin. I believe it is about frequency, consistency and size. You need to strike a balance that enables you to run an advert size that will make a difference. Sometimes it may be better to reduce the advert size, or number of media channels so that you can maintain a consistent, frequent message.

HOW do I create an Effective Advert
The WHY, WHAT and WHERE now allow us to address the HOW will I advertise? This is really about the messaging and ties in strongly with WHY I am advertising in the first place.

Am I looking to do a Branding advert or a Sales advert. Am I looking to inform my audience or to engage them? Will I use long copy or short, Native or Display, a competition or an invitation?

There are lots of factors to consider. It sometimes comes down to the complexity of your business or proposition. If it is difficult to convey what you do then long copy or a Native style might work best. Often where the buyers cycle is a lengthy one consistent communication focusing on your USP might work best.

The elements of creating an effective advert are covered in future newsletter.

Take Away
So you are ready to advertise, that’s great. Now ask yourself; WHY do I want to advertise right now, WHAT is my objective and how will I measure success, WHERE will I invest to advertise and HOW do I create an effective advert. The answers to that will make up your ADVERTISING STRATEGY!

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