Understanding Advertising


A media buy requires a hard scientific look at your target audience. You must decide whom exactly it is you'd like to reach and then, based on research and ratings, how best to reach them. This is the scientific half of the equation. The artistic part is the creative message. Even if you're talking to the right people, you need to have a sound strategy that you bring to life with memorable creative. Don't be afraid to push your creative the edge of your comfort zone.


A consumer needs to know who you are before deciding whether your product or service is right for their needs.
This requires consistent messaging over time. Your advertising won't win over potential customers in one day.
You need to expose them to a consistent message over time and eventually they'll come to understand where
you fit into their lives.


You need to spend an amount that will enable you to advertise on a consistent basis, through your busy months as well as the slower ones. Of course, if your business is seasonal that will factor in.


Targeting Wrong Demographics - Defining your target audience is the first step for any communication. Make a mistake here and everything you do after will be less effective and less efficient. Your target audience can be a mirror of the customers you already have or you can put together a plan to conquest new groups of customers, but these must be customers you can realistically win over with your product or service. Think age, sex, ethnicity, income level and geographic area. Remember you may have different target audiences for different products or services you offer. It's also a good idea to reevaluate your target audience based upon the results of your marketing efforts and changing market conditions.

Weak Schedule - Make sure you give your marketing efforts a real chance to succeed. It will always be tempting to cut back on how much you are spending, but what you may actually be doing is cutting back on your positive results. Your message must reach a critical mass, and that is attained through the proper blend of reach and frequency, which can only be achieved with a strong schedule. You need your message to get noticed and have an impact on the consumer. A weak schedule just won't cut it.

Poor Creative - When you put a message out about your business it becomes a reflection of who you are. Quality production values and unique creative are a critical part of the branding equation. If your TV or radio commercial is of poor quality, it is a strike against you. And if your message is so boring that it fades into the background, it certainly won't be as effective as a creative message that gets noticed. It is best to decide upon one single point you need to communicate and then do so in a creative manner that will get noticed. Not everyone is creative, so don't be afraid to get the help of a professional writer or ask your station to help you in this area.

Mismanaged Expectations - Be realistic about what your advertising can achieve and how fast it will happen. If you are trying to build a brand, that's something done over a long period of time with consistent advertising. Don't expect miracles to happen overnight. And don't expect to put your marketing efforts on autopilot. You need to continue to work at it. Review the results, refine your target audience and test different creative messages to see which work best. Your business will grow, and so will your understanding of marketing. Realistic expectations will lead to real results