In today’s era of digital advertising, I believe that every business can get their message out effectively and efficiently to help shift the needle. But there are several considerations to make, regardless of your business, to ensure you achieve your overall objectives. First, let’s understand the reason for advertising. To put it another way, ask the question: Why advertise? In my very humble opinion, the answer is simple. We advertise to grow our business: Full stop. We do this by identifying and reaching new customers through awareness and engaging current customers to create brand loyalty through offers that help our businesses capture revenue. That’s why we all advertise and why advertising is a “bazillion-dollar business.” Today’s modern ad tech platforms can help you know and grow your audiences in order for your business to thrive. In addition to considering the platform options available to you, there are a myriad of other factors you should take into account. Here’s my go-to list, but first, let’s discuss No. 0. That’s right: No. 0. The first thing you should do is this:
0. Create a plan. What are your objectives? What are your success metrics? Are you focused on brand awareness or conversions to a purchase? How will you time your campaign? How long will it run? Will it be local or global? Will you target current customers, new ones, or both? What about formats and budget? My point is that without a plan, you may not achieve your business objectives. Before embarking on a campaign (marketing or advertising), I believe it is essential to map out all of the above and get buy-in from the business.
Now let’s get started on the key considerations for your new advertising campaign:
1. Determine where your audience is. To do this, first ask yourself these questions: Who is your audience? What are their patterns, behaviors, psychographics, and preferences? If you know the answers to those questions, you might actually be able to find out where they are. I remember when IBM TV ads of yesteryear were aired during golf tournaments that my dad watched. As a kid, I equated golf to IBM. But their decision makers and the audience they wanted to reach were likely watching those commercials. It makes sense to me now, but I was not their intended audience. In today’s digital world, your audience might be on LinkedIn or hanging out on Reddit, People, or Forbes. Ask yourself: Where is my potential audience? And keep in mind that your audience—and where they like to go—is ever-changing.
2. Understand your audience. I mean really understand them. What you think might be appealing to them may not be, especially when it comes to creative, copy, and delivery. Think about their reactions, and experiment to see what works.
3. Be authentic to your brand. As I mentioned in my last piece, “Don’t try to convey a message that is not in line with the brand, product, or consumer. Don’t be what you are not. It always gets a reaction from people: ‘Huh? That’s different for [name of the brand].’ Different isn’t always better.”
4. Fine-tune your message. I strongly believe the message is everything. If you miss the message, you miss the market and the audience. Will your message appeal to the audience you’re trying to reach?
5. Make sure creative and copy work together for your brand. The most clever and effective brand ads are sometimes the most subtle. They blend their message and the art together to present a holistic picture of a brand—sometimes focusing on the product and sometimes the ideal customer. You know this strategy when you see it. It is true to the brand, true to the product, and true to the potential customer. It truly is a piece of art.
6. People matter. Larger companies have the ability to work with creative and media agencies. Smaller companies may be able to create their own ad campaigns, or they can hire a small, independent agency. Regardless, the people you work with matter. They should listen and work side-by-side with you as a partner. One size does not fit all, and sometimes a combination of agency and DIY work is just fine.
7. Reach your audience where they are, not where they are not. What is your advertising mix? Do you use billboards, online display units, social media, or print? If you know where your potential audience is, can you determine the best format with which to reach them? Large agencies might know. For example, if you are an online gaming company, potential customers are probably playing their favorite online games already.
8. Measure. If it is a brand campaign, you will likely want to measure brand lift. My team once placed a digital billboard near the airport on the freeway. Roughly 1.4 million people drove by that billboard weekly. That’s as fine-grained as we got on measurement, but that provided brand awareness. On the other hand, you can measure performance ads with metrics like leads, conversions, clicks, and more. Always factor measurement into your plan so you can point to indications of success.
I’m sure my friends in advertising can offer more ideas, and it would be great to hear from others about what has worked so we can all learn and do even better.
If you missed Ingrid’s related blog post, “The Good in Advertising (and How to Channel It),” you can read it here. And for more on how to “Reach Audiences Easily and Effectively Across the Open Internet,” click here.