Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Advertising Checklist

The questions I have outlined in this strategy for selecting the right media mix for your advertising plan are not earth shattering, or even surprising,  individually, but as a whole they represent the kind of information you need to make  good advertising decisions.  The questions are relatively easy to answer …you just have to find the time to answer them honestly and take a few minutes to do a little research if you are not sure.  

Unusually, all the answers will fit on a single page. Once you have accumulated the answers, let it sit for a day or two and then come back to it. With a fresh set of eyes you will begin to see a picture emerge about your customers, your products & services and your relationship with them. You will begin to connect the dots between the information on the page and designing an effective advertising program.


  1. Does the industry you work in use leading edge technology? If the answer is yes than often an industry’s exposure to technology will predispose it to the use of new technology in its communication.
  2.  Is the industry vertical you work in broad or narrow? This will help determine the “reach” of media you may wish to employ in advertising, i.e., the size of audience you are talking to will dictate a great deal.
  3. Does your industry have strong recognition in popular culture? This helps determine media as well – using references to popular culture and a reaching out to boarder audience can help drive traffics, create awareness and increase sales even in a very narrow industry vertical.
  4. What is your industry’s “cool” factor? If the answer is no you may want to leverage new media to improve its image or develop a message in your marketing that will underscore this.
  5. What is the perceived “importance “of your industry in society? This will help you understand if the message and medium are taken seriously and trusted by your audience.

  1. What is the size of your audience -“small” or “large”? This helps you understand if you should use public forms of media such as TV, radio or magazines.
  2. Is the Audience well educated? This understanding will help define the creative e message and the choice of medium based on an educated audience’s preferences over those of a less sophisticated audience?
  3. What is the age and gender of the decision maker buying your products? This will help decide creative approach to your message and the medium as well as men/woman old/young seek information from different sources based on these factors.
  4. What kind of hobbies does your audience engage in, NASCAR or yachting? Using hobby or enthusiast media to reach your audience ads trust to your message.
  5. Is your audience technology savvy? Today technology drivers many new mediums and your customers ability to be comfortable using that technology will help you define the mix of media.

  1.  Is your product a repeat, volume product or a one-off purchase? The medium you select i.e., TV, radio, internet etc. may be better suited to public consumption if you have a one a volume product but the message you select may have just as much to do with it if you are selling a onetime purchase – always seek to sell products on an emotional and trust worthy level. 
  2.  Is your product extremely expensive ort extremely inexpensive? This will dictate the medium you advertise in. For example, those who have yachts do not read the same magazine’s as those who bowl.
  3. What is the USF of your product? If the unique selling feature is its technology, then using technology as a media channel makes sense since your audience made need more time than15 or thirty seconds (i.e. radio or TV) to understand the technology’s benefits.
  4. Is your product seasonal or is there a predictable buying cycle? When you advertise your product can be one of the most important influencing factors. Make sure you create the greatest opportunity to buy when your customers are most likely to buy.
  5. Are there pipeline opportunities for your product? Changing your product incrementally or adding new variations of your product to the product line is an effective strategy. Many products have become indispensable based on their “new and improved “advertising strategy. Laundry soap’s new and improved strategy has worked over the past 5 decades yet the soap you buy today is not much different than the soap you bought in the sixties.
  1. What is the size of your budget? The size of your budget directly affects advertising results regardless of any other factors. Remember longevity is the most important factor – rather than one big splashy ad try repeated versions of a smaller ad but make sure you stick with it or all will be lost.
  2. Trying to advertise without a budget is folly. Having no budget probably means you are trying to do it all yourself to save money. If you are going to be successful you have to invest in yourself.
  3. Budgets can come for partnerships. I often recommend working out a partnership to buy bulk advertising at a reduced rate which is then shared among the group of lie minded businesses.
  4. Longevity is the key. Advertise over many years not just over months or even a year. You have to make the decision to be in business over the long haul – your clients certainly appreciate that and make some buying decisions based on reliability.
  5. Internal vs. external budget. Make sure you have the proper expertise inside if you are going to create your own plan and supporting budget. If you chose an external resource make sure that the knowledge gained is transferred back to you.

  1. Great creative is the next most important influencing factor after budget. Most people think they are creative and can develop their own, more often than not they fall prey to poor execution and lack of appeal to the emotion of the buyer.
  2. Mistaking features for creativity. Most companies left to their own devices provide descriptions of product and do not understand the emotional appeal – resist the temptation.
  3. A good creative can change the fortunes of a company overnight. Never underestimate the power of humor and creating a relationship between your product and the buyer.
  4. Great creative comes in many sizes. Good creative needs only a few words or a unique image to create a resonance in the mind of your audience. This is true for all media including the web.
  5. Great creative takes time. Don’t rush the creative process. Good creative ideas are hard to come by and take a lot of thought - a thorough understanding of the audience, product and industry, time and a good creative mind can create a memorable media advertising campaign.
Now I am sure I missed a thousand influencing factors in helping you create a great advertising plan  but give me a break … I trying to do this  in blog. I would be happy to share any comments  and additional thoughts you might have. 



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