Join Jane Barratt for an in-depth discussion in this video The ad cycle, part of Advertising Foundations.
- There have been a lot of useful and well-known marketing models over the years. Like the 4Ps of product, place, price and promotion. These help with the positioning of your company and message. And while they're great at strategically positioning your Go-To-Market strategy, they don't usually talk to the specific steps of how to get your message to the right people, at the right time, for the lowest possible cost and for the highest possible return. I want to share with you the basic steps that a company needs to follow to get their advertising message to market.
First, the word advertising means different things to different people. I'm using it in the context of any communication you have with prospecitve customers and current customers. The simplest way to think about the process is a series of decisions that you need to make. The most basic are, who are you talking to, what are you saying, where are you saying it, and how are you measuring it. First, define who's your audience. Who are you talking to? For the purpose of creating advertising, you need both quantitative data, for example, how many people and where are they, and qualitative data, for example, what do they like to watch, or to read.
The more specific the profile of your audience, the better you can craft your advertising. Next, what do you want to do? This stage is about setting objectives. Again, specific is better. The two biggest objectives are sales objectives and brand objectives. The first is about selling your product or service and the second is about making people more aware of who you are and what you stand for. Great communication can have both but more often than not one objective will override the other.
Your objectives need to follow the SMART philosphy. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realisitc, and Timely. Another important thing to consider is how can you connect with them. This next step of creating your strategy is often a step that's missed, especially by small businesses. An advertising strategy is one that you can express simply, that encapsulates both the customer experience, the placement and the messaging strategy.
Producing a customer experience map at this stage can be helpful. Now, you need to decide what you want to say. Crafting your message is not something that's left to the creative people of the world. Having clarity about what you need to say comes from your objectives. If you need to sell 100,000 widgets before the end of Q2, you're going to have to have a highly targeted, heavily promotional, sales message. If you have a competitor that's stealing customers from you, you may need to reinforce your brand, or differentiate the benefits of your product in your advertising.
So, how do you bring the message to life? With the rise of digital media, advertising can be produced faster and cheaper than ever before. But remember the adage, you can never have fast, cheap and good, you have to choose two of those. One thing to consider, the cost of media will almost always outweigh the cost of production. And if you cut corners to put something in the marketplace that looks bad, it doesn't matter what you're saying, what your customers see is something bad.
Finally, you need to think about how you go to market. The placement of your ad can be the most expensive piece of going to market. The cost of media is one element to consider, but right along side the cost, you must consider the potential effectiveness. Putting a tiny or short ad into a popular publication, or site, may actually be more effective than a large format ad in a less popular medium. Now it's important to note that this is not a linear process but a circular one.
If you're not measuring what your doing, you'll never know if what you're doing is working or not. An important idea to bring into the process is the addition of Test Learn Optimize. If you begin an advertising campaign with the idea of Test Learn Optimize top of mind, you're more likely to succeed. Especially because every single stage of the process can be tested, measured and optimized. All of these elements should be covered in a brief, a short document that reflects both the cycle of creation and actionable steps for the partners you need to bring a campaign to life.
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- Defining your audience
- Crafting your message
- Placing your ad
- Establishing a digital, competitive, and editorial presence
- Working with advertising partners
- Working with an ad agency