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Many believe that when it comes to advertising, it's a necessary evil.
At least that's how some businesses approach it. Some view it as simply a tool to showcase price and product while others see it as a way to counter their competitor's ads. Know what? They're all wrong.
Here's what you should be thinking about when putting together an advertising campaign:
1) Who am I trying to reach?
2) What medium will be the most effective to reach them?
3) How much is it going to cost?
4) What will my message be?
Hard to believe: Some of my client's advertising approach prior to working with them was basically, "I have this amount of money to spend so how much can I buy with it?" This was usually followed by a call to their favorite radio station, or to a television station carrying their favorite program and asking for rates.
Granted there are many, many choices when contemplating where to place your ad dollars and it can be very confusing given all the choices that are out there. Especially for example, when you call radio stations and every account executive tells you that their station is number one. That's why it helps to have experienced people on your side who can help you choose the best media mix for your ad dollars. Of course it make sense at this point to put in a plug for my agency, but if you want to get a better understanding of what is involved, refer to the four questions above. For example, "Who am I trying to reach?" means who is your target customer? Every retail or service oriented business has a target customer base and once you've established yours it will help in narrowing the list of possible media choices.
Many businesses put off advertising until they feel they need it. The truth is, if you have a business that sells products or services you need to advertise all the time, not just when you have excess inventory or sales are down.
I'm sure you've seen and heard many auto dealers advertising "red tag" or "tent sales". This approach is a quick hit type of campaign designed to move inventory but the end result is usually just a waste of ad dollars. Instead piling on these price driven ads and doing battle with every other dealer advertising in a similar way, these auto dealers would be smarter to concentrate on building their brand through consistent advertising and separating themselves from their competition with solid points that answer questions on consumer's minds like, "What will you do for me that the others won't?" "Why should I shop at your dealership?" "What makes your dealership different?" along with coming up with a clever branding image that makes them easy to remember when the consumer is in the market for a car if not now, down the road.
Yes, money talks. But if everyone is shouting the same thing like, "We'll save you money!" the consumer has no incentive to visit one dealer over the other.
Last but certainly not least is the importance of the message itself. Time and time again I'll hear or see a campaign where it's obvious the media buy was well executed but the message is muddled or confusing or worse, boring. If you're going to go through all the trouble and expense of putting together an ad campaign, make sure the message cuts through the clutter in a clever, creative way because that is what branding (getting people to remember your business) is all about.
So how do you make advertising work? Remember that establishing a budget, determining who your target customers are, careful planning, consistency, and a clever message will put you on the road to success.
Like what you've read? Want to read more? Visit The Eisenberg Agency web site at: http://www.eisenbergagency.com
Hal Eisenberg is an award winning copywriter, creative director, and owner of The Eisenberg Agency, an ad agency specializing in cut-through-the-clutter ads that get results.
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