Advertising. Do I include it in my marketing plan?

There are a lot of pros to including advertising as part of your overall marketing strategy, but, over and above the anticipated image building advertising can achieve, it also gets your company noticed and generates leads. (It can also rattle your competition, but that’s not really a reason for including it……..is it?!)

There are some who would ask whether advertising spreads the marketing message net too thin.

There are others who question whether people who “buy” in the professional services arena would be looking at advertisements at exactly the right time to see your ad and buy from you. However, advertising can be a very good response generator and that is where your focus must be.

Using advertising as an out-an-out brand builder can become a costly exercise. It can also be hard to monitor, but a well thought out media plan for a well-executed advertising campaign can underpin your entire marketing strategy as well as ease the path for other elements of the marketing mix.

To elaborate. What advertising does primarily is create curiosity. This can smooth the way for a prospecting phone call or a direct response e shot. We tempt with the advert and follow up with something else.

For example, we have a client who is in the retail sector. Being in retail inevitably means promotions are run periodically and these promotions require marketing. Our first port of call is advertising. The campaigns we design state the facts – what is happening, where and at what price. We also create a dedicated page on the website for “more information” and then e shot the database, use PR and social media to raise awareness of the promotion.

We feel that advertising shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re considering your marketing. However, to get the best from it as a marketing tool, be sensible. Plan what you want to do. Build a relationship with the media and allocate a budget.

 p.s. Advertising can also demonstrate a proof of commitment to the marketing initiative and raises morale internally as employees see their company in print and will know that the people in charge are investing in the future of the company!

Bath Marketing Consultancy plans, negotiates, designs and delivers effective advertising across Bath, Bristol, Somerset as well as nationally.

What to do when planning advertising

Theories about advertising come and go, but the basic starting point for designing an advertising campaign is the USP. As a minimum, there must be a USP – Unique Selling Point – compromising a benefit which is uniquely yours and which attracts. Then you must gain attention from the reader.

Creating a print ad with both these elements is a skill which, in my opinion, demands the hiring of professionals. A good idea drawn on a napkin during a business lunch is not normally a good way to plan an advertising campaign!Nor should you be using the publisher to design your advert. Many publishers offer “free design” as a part of their sales pitch and you must resist the temptation to take them up on their offer! They do not know your business or what your aims are so may well miss the point altogether. In my opinion, there must be no economising at all with advertising and no DIY.

Many designers will relish the chance to display their talents in print and there are many companies to choose from, but set a clear budget and give a clear brief or the design could end up costing a lot more than you thought. If you do make your advertising professional you will stand out from the crowd and this is a worthwhile investment.

At the risk of repeating myself from other posts, please don’t forget to have some sort of response mechanism in your advert. After all, a key aim should be to sell a meeting so give your target market the chance to identify themselves! Some companies display the name and details of a senior person within the organisation to encourage a response.

When purchasing advertising space there is one key word – negotiate! Very few companies will pay “rate card” so nor should you. Explore a special offer or an introductory offer if you are a new advertiser. I would suggest you avoid advertising in supplements as these are generally a vehicle for the media to generate additional revenue and you will quite often find yourself surrounded by your competition which will reduce your potential impact.

Fight to get a colour spot if there is a difference in cost between colour and mono advertising space. Try for a full page for the cost of a half and try for a repeat ad at no additional cost. Some agencies (like Bath Marketing Consultancy) have very good links with the media and can negotiate an advertising package on your behalf which may well include a press release or a news snippet in the magazine or paper. However, most agencies will take a commission from the media so beware of costs (BMC do not).

And then there is the internet……………..

Media buying – how to play the game.

Negotiate hard.

For any publishers that are reading this, I would like to apologise in advance as I am going to go through how to get the best deals when buying advertising space!

When purchasing space either in print or online, there is one key word – negotiate! Very few people pay quoted rates or “ratecard.” Always go for the special offer or the “late space deal.” This may mean waiting until the last moment, but it will be given. In print media, my suggestion is to avoid the special supplement or feature unless there is exclusivity as all these initiatives are are just vehicles for the publisher to make more money and 99 times out of 100 you will be surrounded by all your competitors meaning your impact will be reduced now matter how good your ad.

Always fight to get to get colour inclusive; to get a full page for the price of a half; maybe even demand a repeat for a tiny extra price! You need to be run of the page on the right, in with the news and out on your won not will the rest of the ads on the left. Remember the telesales person will go on and on about their circulation and how their magazine is the best, but ultimately, you hold the cards and can dictate price, position and frequency!

If you need help with constructing a media plan, please get in touch with me. I recently saved a client £35 per ad in a well known magazine as well as £50 per ad on the actual design – and he now gets quality response!