If you own a business, it’s critically important that you know how advertising works.
Advertising is important because it helps to create awareness and increase sales. Advertising helps to create awareness and to increase sales. It’s necessary so your company can grow and succeed in the marketplace. There are many ways you can advertise your business, such as TV, radio, print ads, billboards, and social media.
Advertising is salesmanship mass produced. Unfortunately, If you don’t understand the sales process, then you won’t understand the advertising process.
Unfortunately, many people who don’t understand the sales process OR advertising start their own business. It it then that they find themselves in a position where they must manage both sales and advertising.
Photo by Jan Huber
How Advertising Works
Advertising is a form of marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. It is the act of drawing public attention to something through paid announcements.
There are many different types of advertising such as TV and radio ads, print ads, social media posts and billboards.
This process can be broken down into three main steps: research and analysis, strategy development, and campaign execution.
How the Advertising Process Works
The first step in the advertising process is research and analysis which includes understanding the market environment including demographics and psychographics as well as knowing your competitors’ strategies.
The second step in the process is strategy development which involves developing a campaign plan based on market research.
Finally there’s campaign execution which includes buying media time or space, designing the ad layout and copy, developing a budget and determining how to measure campaign performance.
Create an Effective Advertising Campaign
Advertising campaigns are a great way to promote your product or service. But before you start, you need to create a marketing campaign strategy.
The first step is to identify what the goal of your campaign is. For example, if the goal of your campaign is to increase sales, then you should have an offer that will give customers an incentive for buying from you.
If the goal of your campaign is to grow awareness about your brand on social media, then you should create content that will be engaging and shareable.
Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t have a plan for their advertising campaign. Instead, they allow media reps to “sell” them a campaign and to even create the content. Sometimes, this works out extremely well. It always did for my clients. However, most other advertising reps were only concerned with meeting their sales quota. They created content without any goals in mind. No goals meant no measurable results. This lead to many business owners complaining that advertising didn’t “work.”
Understanding the process
Most didn’t like advertising because they didn’t understand the process. They want advertising to work like a vending machine.
- create the ad
- pay their money
- the goal they want to achieve is dispensed.
In reality, advertising your small business a lot more like playing poker. Learning to how to play poker will increase your chance of winning. The more you learn and the more you play, the more often you’ll win. (But you’ll never win every hand every time.)
In sales, persistence is the key. The same is true in advertising. You can’t run a single ad in any channel and expect a crush of customers at your door.
I take that back. When I was a young account executive, my sales manager who had a “canned” response to the objection “advertising doesn’t work.” He would issue the following challenge.
“Here’s the deal. I’ll pay to run a small one time ad for your business to PROVE to you that our advertising works. The catch? You have to give a $20 bill to every person who walks in the door and asks for it.”
The business owner would invariably reply, “I can’t afford to do that! I could go broke!”
To which my sales manager would smile and reply, “But I thought you said advertising didn’t work?”
The point being that advertising your small business does work when you do it right. But how do you do it “right?”
Want to generate big response?
Giving away $20 to everyone that comes in may sound extreme, but that’s exactly what a local hearing aid center did. After the chain was acquired by an investment group, the first thing the new management did was to offer a $20 visa card to anyone who got a hearing test.
The response to this promotion was overwhelming. The staff was deluged by people who wanted $20. They were booked out for weeks for hearing aid appointments. Unfortunately, the majority were not people who had hearing problems. Even if the hearing test revealed that the person needed a hearing aid, they didn’t buy them. These people just wanted to collect a $20 gift card.
Instead of boosting sales, this promotion actually hurt sales. Potential hearing aid customers were competing with freebie seekers for hearing test appointments. Many potential customers chose to go elsewhere rather than wait for weeks for an appointment. As a result, the investment group abandoned this promotion relatively quickly.
Learn How Advertising Works
A BETTER strategy is to create an advertising campaign that tightly targets your target audience and directly speaks to their GDP (Goals, Desires and Problems). This campaign will let your tightly targeted audience know you have something to offer which is MORE VALUABLE than cash!
If you need help creating such a message, pick up a copy of the book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results.
Revised 7/5/2022 for content and clarity