Advertising can be an expensive marketing medium, but it is extremely effective for creating brand awareness, product/service education and eliciting response. Cost, industry, target audience and sales cycle are the main factors we weight at W-Squared Marketing for advertising planning. Here are 5 general tips to consider before taking the advertising leap…
- Set a Benchmark for the Campaign – If you don’t make a target, you can’t hit it! Before you spend any money set the expectations for the advertising campaign. “The campaign is a success if…” More hits or inquiries to the website can be a general awareness benchmark, it can be tied directly to a number of sales calls per month, clicks or impressions for digital ads, etc. We force clients to set desired results because an emotional rollercoaster lies ahead!
- Make sure it fits the Sales Model and Cycle – How and when you generate sales should determine the advertising plan. If your sales are seasonal, you need a staggered print and/or digital campaign. If a new product is being introduced, build in plenty of lead time for advertising before the launch. If your sales staff handles most calls at a certain time of day, place your ad dollars for online banners or paid search advertising (SEM) during the corresponding times.
- Message is Key – If your message does not hit home with the customer, they will not respond to the ad. We are constantly reminding clients that advertising should be customer-focused, let them know how you can help them. If you’re marketing a new product, how is it going to improve the customer’s life? If you’re advertising experience or expertise, how does that translate into improved sales for the customer? A carefully crafted message is crucial, you must differentiate yourself and provide solutions.
- Choose the proper Media Mix – The marketing budget and objectives should determine the media mix. Obviously broadcast ads on TV and radio are the most expensive, but they can be highly segmented by demographics – morning and evening rush hour is best for radio, prime time for TV, etc. If brand awareness is your main concern, print ads and online banners should top the list. If the budget is very limited, use social media as a main cog along with websites and publications that fit your niche. Google Adwords (paid search advertising) is the most flexible for budgets and instantaneous for results.
- Measure and Refine – Once the advertising campaign begins, it’s imperative you measure it and smart to refine it. Quantify your results on a weekly and monthly basis. If digital ads aren’t getting the number of hits you want, change the display page or time of day they run. If multiple websites and social media are being used, tweak the spend and frequency to emphasize the more productive spaces. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to pull it and allocate the budget somewhere else. Make sure everything ties back to the original benchmarks.
The tactics within each of the above will vary greatly, especially for Houston marketing that is so B2B driven with a plethora of choices. But these tips will point you in the right direction, they’re the foundation we live by at W-Squared!