You should expect your advertising to generate sales. If it doesn’t, it should at least build or reinforce your corporate brand image or create leads for your sales force to follow-up on. Preferably, ads = sales.
A common refrain you hear from advertising sales representatives, whether cable, TV, radio, or print distribution channels, is: “You have to give it time, or you need more frequency.” That’s a veiled excuse to capture more of your advertising budget on a media that is not likely to produce the results you desire.
So, what’s the secret to getting your advertising to work?
Planning and taking the time to think things through.
Let’s look at an example. A radio station claims it is the #1 station in its market, and is the place your company should be advertising. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Think about this for a few minutes.
First, what do you do when you’re in your vehicle and listening to the radio when a commercial comes on? Odds are you change the channel, like most people. If the majority of listeners does the same thing, what chances does your advertising message have of being heard … or acted on? You have to pay attention to consumer habits when it comes to your target audience being receptive to advertising messages.
The same concept applies to targeting a younger audience with a television or cable TV ad. Most of them record their favorite programs and play them back with the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) so they can fast forward through the commercials. Your 30-second spot now plays back in about 5 seconds, if it’s noticed at all.
Similar considerations are relevant to newspaper or magazine ads, although various market segments react differently to classified, display, and insert advertisements. And most consumers now go online to check out a company or product’s website before they make a call or head to a store, so relevant content is an issue with an online presence.
Everything seems so complicated, so what should you do? We recommend engaging a professional marketing consultant to help with getting the most out of your advertising budget, which is a portion of your overall marketing strategy. In lieu of an engagement that is proven to make you far more money than you will invest, you can take the time to look at establishing a budget and then thinking through where it is best to invest those funds.
It starts by clarifying who falls within your target market zone. If you claim “everyone” needs your product and/or service, you will waste your advertising dollars. Even if you determine it’s women vs. men, hang on to your wallet. The market segments most likely to purchase and use your product and/or service can be much more narrowly defined.
Once you’ve narrowed the field to your primary prospective audience, figure out what advertising medium is most likely to get those people to react favorably to what it is you offer. It may be your website or social media, signs, a billboard, or traditional media. Use that medium with the right attention-getting device and the correct call to action and you will greatly increase your odds of success.