You might have the greatest product or service in the world, but it won’t make money unless your customers actually know it exists!
So how do you persuade your customers to buy from you, rather than your competitors? For many companies, the answer is simple …Advertising!
Aren’t advertising and marketing the same thing?
OK … you’d be forgiven for assuming they’re one and the same. It’s a common misconception, but they’re really quite different.
The term Marketing is notoriously difficult to define. Not least because different companies often use different terminology or employ varied internal structures.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing provides a rather eloquent definition. ”The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”
In layman’s terms what this refers to is the strategic planning and controlled business activities that a company adopts to achieve its business objectives.
Advertising, refers to the ‘paid-for’ elements of your overall marketing communications mix.
This might be things such as print, broadcast and online advertising – as opposed to the other activities you may be involved in; such as PR, media relations and social media, that are perceived as being low-cost or ‘free’.
Where should I advertise?
Advertising has evolved into a vastly complex form of communication. There are literally thousands of different ways for you to get your message across to your customers.
Today’s advertiser has a huge array of choices at his or her disposal.
Billboards,printed flyers, radio, cinema and TV adverts.Web banners, social media ads, magazines, journals& newspapers.Bus stops, petrol pump handles … even the backs of event tickets and supermarket receipts.
The Internet alone provides many of these. Especially with the advent of branded viral videos, banners, advertorials, sponsored websites, branded chat rooms and so much more.
Any form of advertisement served on the Internet (World Wide Web), is classified as online advertising. There are a huge variety of streams that come under the online advertising banner including banner ads, pay per click, social networking ads, contextual ads that appear on search engine results pages and online classified advertising (such as Yell.com). Email marketing also comes under the online advertising umbrella.
A newer form of online advertising is Native Ads; these go in a website's news feed and are intended to improve user experience by being less intrusive, but this is highly debatable!
A relatively new form of advertising compared to the others, but one that's dominating the media mix, uses mobile phones, iPads, Kindles and other portable electronic devices with Internet connectivity. Current trends in mobile advertising involve major use of social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
Right now, mobile advertising is the toughest nut to crack. The likes of Facebook and Twitter have very tight rules on what is and isn’t considered ‘spam’ and often your ads will only be shown to a relatively small percentage of viewers. Over-use of this kind of advertising can become an annoyance to customers, leading them to switch off entirely. Having said that, if it’s done right and for short bursts only, mobile advertising is a highly cost effective way of attracting new business and retaining current clients.
Once a massive driver of sales, print is taking a back seat to the many digital forms of advertising now available to marketers. With more and more magazines and newspapers moving to an online format, one of the biggest misconceptions about the printed ad (commonly referred to as a display ad) is that it’s no longer relevant.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that:
• A printed advert conveys professionalism. Most magazines and newspapers aren’t free, so the ads that appear in these printed publications convey the importance of your products and services. Online ads don’t usually offer the same “respect” factor.
• Your print ad can be targeted to suit your needs. If you’re doing business in a small area, a newspaper might be the best place for your advertisement. Perhaps your company has a national reach, in which case an ad campaign in a magazine that hits shelves from coast to coast may be your best bet.
• The repetition of a print ad means, if you decide to display it more than once, your target audience will see it over and over again. In doing so, you’re generating brand awareness each time your advert runs.
• When used as a part of an integrated marketing campaign, print ads can drive business to your presence online. Including social shares (find us on Facebook and Twitter!) or QR codes to drive them to specific pages of your website, can greatly enhance your web marketing efforts.
Although some of these can be placed within the pages of newspapers and magazines, they are treated as a separate entity (usually because they have less chance of being seen).
From something that sits on a counter or customer service desk, to a glossy car brochure, this is a more intimate, and long-form, way of engaging the consumer. This format should be used when you have more information than you can cram into a printed display advertisement.
Either of the two print techniques mentioned above can be incorporated into direct mail. It simply means that your printed pieces are mailed direct to the consumer. This is a technique that has been, and continues to be, abused by inferior marketing agencies that have turned the craft into "junk mail." Done right, direct mail can be a fantastic way to engage the customer, if it is creative and intelligently conceived and executed – ask your local takeaway shops! Do not exclude it completely.
A mass-market form of communication including television and radio, broadcast advertising has, until recently, been the most dominant way to reach a large number of consumers.
Broadcast advertising has really taken a beating over the last few years, especially with the rise of the Sky Box, Digital Video Recorders, Amazon Firesticks etc. all complete with "ad skipping" technology. Even commercial TV channels now allow you to ‘skip the ads’ on catch up services (at a premium of course).
However, it is still a popular way to reach millions of people, if that’s what your product or service requires.
Also known as out-of-home (OOH) advertising, this is a broad term that describes any type of advertising that reaches the consumer when he or she is outside of the home. You will know it as billboards, bus shelter posters, sport stadium hoardings, roadside media, fly posters, and even those huge digital billboards in Piccadilly Circus & Leicester Square.
Product placement is the subtle promotion of branded goods and services within the context of a film, TV show or other media, rather than as an explicit advertisement.
For example, in the film Minority Report, Tom Cruise’s character John Anderton owns a phone with the Nokia logo clearly displayed in the top corner, and his watch is engraved with the Bulgari logo.
For the production companies, it's an easy way for their films and shows to capitalise on advertising revenue, as well as being a great way for advertisers to reach a targeted demographic.
This refers to any advertisement that is placed in a retail store. It includes placement of a product in visible locations, such as at the ends of aisles, near to the tills (also known as POP – point of purchase display) and advertisements in such places as shopping trolleys and in-store video displays.
POS advertising is a well skilled discipline that requires the marketer to have good knowledge of a particular target audience. A business’ point of sale advertising display is only as good as the ad itself so it’s important to spend time carefully determining what potential customers actually want to see.
Still images, like billboards, should be image-heavy and contain only the necessary information; digital video ads need to be engaging, memorable and professionally produced.
Advertising that is printed on small tangible items such as coffee mugs, T-shirts, pens, bags, and such are known as promotional giveaways. Some printers specialise in printing novelty items, which can then be distributed directly by the advertiser, for example at trade shows, or items may be distributed as part of a cross promotion, such as ads on fast food cartons.
Also known as ambient media, guerrilla advertising (or marketing) has become prominent over the last 20 years. It is a broadly used term for anything unconventional and usually invites the consumer to participate or interact with the piece in some way.
The main point of guerrilla marketing is that the activities are done exclusively on the streets or other public places, such as shopping centres, parks or beaches with maximum people access so as to attract a bigger audience. Location is important, as is timing.
The driving forces behind guerrilla advertising or marketing are creative ideas and innovation, not a large budget. Quite often, you will ask for forgiveness rather than permission with these campaigns, and they will often spread via word of mouth and/or social media.
This type of advertising focuses on using celebrity power, fame, money or popularity to gain recognition for their products and promote specific stores or products; for example, when celebrities share their favourite products or wear clothes by specific brands or designers.
The use of celebrities to endorse a brand can pay dividends, especially for lesser known companies, but it can have its downsides; one mistake by a celebrity can be significantly detrimental to the public perception of a brand, creating a mass of negative PR.
So, how much should I be spending on advertising?
This is a question so many business owners ask themselves on a regular basis. Yet it’s a difficult one to answer since every business model is different.
Far too many companies think of marketing and advertising as a luxury, rather than a necessity. Yet it pays to think about it less as a cost and more of an investment into securing future business.
Money helps of course! But if your budgets are limited you’ll have limited options.
As a ballpark figure, what should my advertising budget be?
The marketing gurus at FrogDog recommend that if you want to:
Maintainyour current levels of awareness and visibility you should invest 5% of your total turnover,
Grow and gain market share, that figure rises to 10% of your total revenue.
Of course, when considering the company’s overall marketing strategy, this level of investment often exceeds the financial capabilities of the very small business owner. But that’s no excuse for doing nothing at all!
*according to a report released by The Advertising Association in 2014 using econometric analysis by Deloitte.
Weighing up the options
Weighing up the different options before investing in any form of advertising, is a really smart move!
Firstly decide what outcomes you want to achieve. What do you want the return on investment (ROI) to be and how might be the best way to achieve it.
Then assess the benefits of any advertising channel you think might help you towards your goals. Make a list of the costs along the way.
You should then be able to predict how much income each will generate in the short and medium term. This should make your decision of which options to proceed with that bit easier.
What are the absolute essentials for my business?
Regardless of which industry or sector, every business should be active in most, if not all of these channels:
Clearly you need a website, but depending on the size of your company, this can be anything from an interactive "brochure" with a few clear calls to action to a fully integrated social hub. To optimise your chance of being found in a search engine, such as Google, you will need to keep your content fresh and relevant and visitors should get a clear sense of what you do in the first 3 seconds they land on your home page / landing page.
Though it's always been considered important to keep your website up to date, showing your customers that you’re still there – and you still care is crucial. So your content strategy is becoming absolutely vital for online success. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, but one thing that appears to remain constant in the field of search engine optimisation, is the absolute necessity for well worded, relevant and keyword rich content. Page titles, meta-tagging and all that other "behind-the-scenes" magic is nowhere near as useful as it once was.
Yes, people do still do these and if created and used sparingly can be really effective. Just make sure you are creating something useful that people will want to keep for some reason. Maybe it is sharing information about something your company/organisation knows a lot about ... then the fact that it also has your branding and is a reminder of where they got this great tool is just a bonus.
A strategic email campaign schedule can take you far, as long as you are thoughtful about the information you are sharing and are not just sending out information for information sake; there's nothing worse than "junk mail". Once or twice a month maximum, keeps people engaged and not annoyed with the amount of emails they are receiving from you. Also, your message should be kept short, sweet and more about them, rather than just broadcasting your latest good news. Give them something they will want to share with the people they know. As in all marketing, 80% of what you send should be sharing information for the greater good. The other 20% can be broadcasting why you are great.
These two platforms are more about awareness than anything else. Posting fresh content with attached images 3 or 4 times per week, plus liking and commenting on other people's posts, will keep you engaged in your community and also give you the social credibility you want. That being said, posting too often can hurt, so think about what you are sharing and why as well as how others are engaging with your posts. It may seem obvious, but if a lot of people are liking and sharing something, you are on the right track, if it is always just the same people, rethink what might be more successful. Asking questions and again make it about them.
Great for sharing articles, artwork and information with your community. Keep in mind this is something that takes constant engagement on your part. You are unlikely to build a following if you are not spending at least 30 minutes a day / 5 days per week reading, re-tweeting and posting.
Choosing one of these as a channel you focus on can be great if you generate a lot of photos and/or short video clips on a regular basis. Posting images at least three times per week from your latest function, fundraiser, meeting, or just pictures from around the office, with a quick caption can go far in communicating your brand and getting people interested in following you.
Who doesn't love a good video clip? It's a fascinating fact that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is purely visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. Plus, advertisements containing videos or moving images attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. Can you really afford to ignore these statistics?!
Pretty simple huh?
Call us on 07873 684858 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we might be able to help you get the best out of your advertising budget.