Almost every business needs to promote itself in some way, reaching out to customers and potential customers. For businesses with large numbers of target customers in well-defined market segments, advertising is often a cost-effective way of communicating with them. This briefing covers: • • • • Setting your promotional objectives and deciding whether to advertise. Determining your promotional budget. Deciding where and when to advertise. Measuring the effectiveness of your advertising campaign. • • Building brand awareness for a product makes the product easier to sell. It also makes it easier to launch new products. Making consumers feel good about your company can boost sales.
1.2 You may need to convey a specific one-off message to your market. • For example, informing people of a special offer, or a particular benefit of your product.
1.3 You may need to prompt specific action, such as the customer visiting your premises. • If you are building up a database of leads, your objective might be to gather the contact details of potential customers.
1 Your objectives
Before deciding whether to use advertising, clarify what you are trying to achieve. Your ultimate objective is probably to increase sales. But your promotional activities may focus on intermediate objectives that make sales and other business objectives easier at the end of the day. Draw up a list of SMART objectives (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time-limited), against which you can measure the effectiveness of your campaigns (see 6). 1.1 You may need to create awareness of something, or change customer attitudes. • Creating a reputation as the market leader may allow you to increase your prices and win long-term contracts.
• If your product is suitable, your objective may be to create sales there and then. • • • Keeping up ‘front of mind’ awareness encourages customers to consider you first when they place their next orders. For example, consumers in the same geographical area or individuals from the same socio-economic background. Decide if you want to reach end-users or intermediaries. Be clear who makes the buying decision.
1.4 You may need to address your existing customers, rather than win new ones.
2.2 Which media will best reach your target market (see 4)? Advertising is only cost-effective if it reaches a readership or audience which significantly overlaps with your target audience. 2.3 Could advertising carry the right message? • • In general, advertisements work best when they carry a concise message. The form of the advertisement may physically limit what you can say. For example, banner advertisements on websites work best if your message can be boiled down to three or four words. Your advertisement, and the media in which you advertise, must suit your image. 2.4 Would advertising work within your timescales? • Preparing an advertisement for publishing or broadcasting can take time, depending on the media.
Be specific about who you are trying to communicate with.
2 In the mix
Consider whether advertising is the most costeffective way of achieving your objective, or whether other forms of promotion would be more effective. 2.1 Who are you trying to reach? • What common characteristics define your target market?
A As a rule of thumb, consider using an agency if you plan to spend more than £10,000 on advertising. Typically, agency fees will amount to around 15 per cent of your advertising budget. Agencies can usually negotiate discounts on advertising that will reduce the cost by 10 to 15 per cent.
2.5 Are there cost-effective alternatives? Depending on your target audience and advertising objectives, other forms of promotion may be a more effective use of your budget. For example: • Direct mail with a mailing list that more closely matches your target market....