Unlock the mystery of advertising and promotions
I know, all you want to do is put your marketing dollars in the right place so you get the best return on your investment and of course grow your sales.
Social media, advertising, marketing, promotions, branding… aughhh you might say, it’s so confusing. Let’s take the mystery out of what it all means.
Depending on the researcher, you are exposed to as many as 3,000 advertisements daily. If you are one of those people who switches off when exposed to an advertisement, then chances are your potential customers are doing the exact same thing.
When you have an understanding of what advertising is, then you are more likely to spend your marketing dollars more wisely.
Advertising made simple
Marketing and advertising are not the same, advertising and promotions are a subset of marketing and should form part of your overarching marketing strategy.
Advertising is the use of paid announcements in the media to promote your company, your brand, image, products, services or even a special event. It takes the place of one on one selling to entice a potential customer to do something; go to your website, call you, visit your place of business or even buy your products or services.
Advertising works by helping to build your brand and bring about brand awareness. Your brand consists of your company name and image along with the products or services you sell. Brand equity is how well-known your brand is to the consumer. Just as you build equity in a property, the more well known your brand is, the more equity you have built into your brand.
Advertising also helps to build and maintain market share. Market share is the percentage of consumers who buy from you and not your competitors. If there were two players in the market and they had an equal percentage of the business, their market share would be 50% each. However, let’s say one did much more business than the other, the market share might be 75% to 25%.
Advertising works by helping consumers become aware they have a choice of brand, products, services or company, and to be able to make a choice on who they want to do business with according to their individual needs, likes and dislikes. Advertising is most effective when it reaches the right target audience for the products or services you offer.
An advertising strategy should be designed to influence consumer behavior take some kind of action that eventually leads to a sale; call you, visit your place of work, go to your website or take some other kind of action. Your advertising strategy is more important than the creative aspect, as having the wrong strategy might mean you are targeting the wrong market segment therefore failing to achieve your marketing goals.
Advertising channels made simple
Traditionally we think of advertising as something that appears in the newspaper, on the radio or on television. Yes, these are common channels where businesses advertise however they aren’t the only channels you can use.
Some examples of mass media advertising channels are:
- Magazines and catalogs
- Radio and television broadcasts
- Paid advertising on digital media
- Digital media such as Facebook and Twitter
- Billboards and human billboards
- Posters and fliers
- Back of tickets and supermarket receipts
- Buses, trains and taxi cabs
- Subway platforms and bus stops
- SMS and email marketing
- Sponsorship and corporate clothing
Deciding which channel to use for what purpose is a critical element of your overarching marketing strategy. When you get it right, you can reap the rewards of reaching potential customers and retaining your existing customers. When you get it wrong, you could spend a lot time and money trying to persuade customers and chase a market that is not there.
Creating buyer personas as part of your market research helps to target the right market using the right marketing channel so you get it right more often.
The difference between advertising and a promotion
A promotion is a temporary incentive used to entice people to buy your products or services. For example, a restaurant, gift basket company or florist would promote special events such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Halloween or any other themed or promotional event. A promotional event usually has a beginning and an end to the promotion.
A promotional event, service or product needs to be “Advertised.”
Advertising your own corporate brand name
Every business should develop corporate advertising of their brand, that is to advertise what you and your business stand for and the products and services you offer. It keeps your brand top-of-mind in the consumer’s mind.
Your business card, letterhead, physical place of business, signage including vehicle signage, corporate uniforms are all examples of advertising your corporate brand.
Corporate advertising needs to express elements of the following:
The Corporate Identity
- Who are you?
- What is the name of your company?
- Where are you located?
- What is your name, address, website URL and telephone details?
- What is it you do? Retail, manufacturing, provide a service?
The Corporate Image
- What is your logo?
- What are your corporate colors?
- What do you stand for?
- What is it about your company that is unique?
When you first set up your business, you need to get your (“brand”) company name out to the consumer as frequently as possible. This segment of the marketing mix is called building your brand. You want the consumer to think of your brand and company name first when they think of doing business in your niche.
Advertising business to business
Your advertising mix in this instance is targeted towards other businesses and is designed with the intention of developing sales with the maximum amount of exposure without making personal calls. Advertising and direct mail is a means of offsetting the high cost of making personal sales calls. It also gives you the ability to reach a greater segment of your target market.
In order for business to business advertising to be effective, you need to choose your advertising channel carefully to ensure you reach that segment of your target market.
Advertising in retail
You need to generate foot traffic and walk in sales when located in a retail location. With retail, your advertising mix is targeted towards projecting your brand name and location to your target market. Retail advertising also includes merchandising displays and signage in their marketing and advertising mix.
Direct marketing involves a marketing mix that does not include selling directly from your place of business. Many home based businesses rely heavily on direct marketing techniques. This advertising and marketing mix can include, brochures, catalogs, telemarketing, door to door selling, mail outs, letterbox drops, radio and TV or any other media that encourages the consumer to buy over the phone or fill in an order form.
Direct marketing often includes the use of toll free telephone numbers and utilizes credit cards sales.
Newspapers and Magazines
Newspapers and magazines sell advertising spots in return for space on their pages. Costs can vary depending on the readership and distribution of their newspaper or magazine. Prices can also vary depending on the size of the advertising and its placements within the publications. The size of the advert is usually based on column width and length. You would normally ask the newspaper or magazine for a “rate card” which outlines their advertising rates. The rates do not include any production costs such as the creative production of the advertisement itself.
Classified adverts are usually low cost small messages grouped together under a listing by content name. For example; cars for sale, services for sale, houses to let. Generally, they are less expensive and located towards the back of a publication.
Radio and Television
Radio and television sell advertising spots for time on air. Like newspapers and magazines, they will generally have a rate card listing costs depending on radio listeners, television viewers, time of day and length of advertisement. These costs do not include production of the advertisement.
On-line advertising sells products and services on websites through banner adverts, contextual adverts and email marketing. The cost of the advertisement depends on the traffic passing through the site and again production costs are not included.
Facebook advertising is an example of on-line advertising. Facebook allows you to segment your market by country, region, interests, age, gender and other demographics relevant to your business and industry.
In-store advertising appears beside a product display and near check-out lines to catch the shoppers by encouraging them to make an impulse purchase.
Billboard advertising is outdoor advertising on large signs that can be seen at a distance. Billboards are not suitable for long advertising messages.
Copy is the text in a print advert or words spoken in a radio or television advert.
Copywriting is the creating or arrangement of words used in an advertisement.
Artwork includes the photographs, illustrations, drawings, paintings, graphs or any other non-text artistic work to be used in an advertisement.
An advertising layout is a draft or rough sketch that shows the general layout or appearance of the advertisement before it is finalized.
Advertorial style makes your ad look like a news story, which will give it credibility. Advertorials have compelling headlines, lots of informative, interesting text, quotes and graphics. People are tired of in-your-face ads and prefer this soft sell today.
On a final note
When you understand more about advertising and promotions, you can leverage that knowledge by getting a greater return on your advertising dollar.
In a Nutshell
- Advertising and marketing are not the same
- Advertising and promotions are a sub-set of marketing
- Advertising uses a paid announcement in the media for promotional purposes
- A promotional event usually has a beginning and an end
- A promotional event, service or product needs to be advertised.
- Corporate advertising needs to express your corporate identify and corporate image
- An advertorial is a paid promotion that has the look and feel of a news story