Building A Better Ad – Marketing Program

‐ December 27, 2013


The purpose of advertising is to make a product or service known and to create a demand, increase sales and generate income. When running a business it is very easy when it comes to marketing to lose sight of the forest for all the trees.

Below is a marketing program you can use to simplify advertising and make what you do more effective.

Goal of this program: To help make developing effective advertising and promotion easy for you.

Purpose of this program: To improve the quality of your advertising so that it generates more response, sales and income for your business.

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Step 1: Narrow your focus. The first challenge of advertising and promotion is deciding on what to advertise. Most businesses have several products or services to sell. Business people have a tendency to want to put as many of these products and services as they can in an advertisement. The problem is that when you put more than one or two products (at the very most) in the same ad you are shotgun marketing. You are hoping you have something for everyone in the ad. Your ad ends up being crowded, difficult to read, confusing and means nothing to everyone.30482873

Now, list all the products and services you offer by category. A category is defined in the dictionary as a class, division or type of something.

For example in my business, printing, we have 1) marketing products (postcards, brochures, door hanger etc.), 2) office products (letterhead, business cards, envelopes, business forms etc.), 3) design services and 4) mailing services.

With both 1 and 2 above, our customers have totally different needs and wants for each product and sometimes totally different buyers. Mixing these two categories in the same ad would cause our ad to miss its mark. Using the above example for my business, a marketing director or executive would be interested in increasing business or generating more leads. An office manager would be the buyer of doing business materials such as letterhead, business cards or business forms. The office manager wants to save money, save time and wants a fast easy way to reorder materials. So you can see if you are trying to be all things to everyone in the same ad you will greatly reduce the effectiveness of the ad.

So, lets list out the product or service categories of your business. Another way to look at it is, what are the sources of income for your business? On a separate sheet of paper list them out.

Step 2: Viewpoint. Viewpoint means to look at the product or service in the same way as your customer will.

You need to clearly identify your buyer and the reasons they buy. The reason for this is that you want to create the ad from the viewpoint of the end user or consumer.

Now that you have your sources of income broken out and identified in step one lets look at who actually buys what and why.

This step is broken down into 2 steps:

a) Who is the buyer of each of your product or service categories? The more specific you can be the better because it will help with the next step of the program. The buyers could be women, men, office managers, homeowners, etc. List out next to each category who is the buyer/user for that particular product or service category.

b) Let’s look at the buying motives for buyer/user for each category. It is important that you look at this from the point of view of the buyer/user. Why do they buy it? What is the benefit gained to them of the product or service? How does it make life easier for them? Do they buy it to save time? To save money? To prevent loss?

At this phase of the program depending on your product or service it sometimes helps to do a little survey with your customers. Ask them what they find most useful about the product or service. What they like most about it. You will end up with a list of benefits and buying reasons.

TIP: seldom is a cheap price the real reason or benefit to owning a product. Pricing is a motivator to get them to buy now, not necessarily the motive of owning a product or service.

Each product or service you sell will have buying reasons and each category they fall in will have an overall buying reason.

List all the buying reasons/benefits for each product and service. Identify by survey what is the most important benefit to your customers. Simply show a few customers your list and ask them to rate in order of importance what is most important to them. After a few surveys you will begin to see a pattern of responses.

Step 3: Select a product or service to advertise. The selection should match buying patterns and seasonality. Example: You would not want to sell shoe shows in the middle of summer. What are people in need of now?

Step 4: Call to action. Why should they call you to buy now? Every effective ad has a call to action or a reason to buy now.bigstock-Fast-Business-43683622

Identify what is your purpose for the ad. Write down what you want the ad to accomplish. The purpose to generate phones calls, increase store traffic, introduce a new product, generate sales, create interest in a new market or to build a brand are a few purposes.

The reason this step is here is that you need to have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish with the ad. I have seen people run a purely image/branding type ad expecting people to beat their doors down.

TIP: If the purpose of your ad is to generate traffic and sales you will have less attention on branding in it. The ad message should support the brand/image but not be the message.

Branding is a marketing term that means creating an image or an identity that instantly identifies a company. It takes time to build a brand. An ad with the primary focus of building a brand does not necessarily mean it will generate traffic and sales, now.

A logo, color scheme, store appearance and display, service delivered and attitude of staff go a long way in building a brand.

Step 5: Call a professional to help you with the graphic design of the ad. Sure you could design it yourself and save money. But the money you save could mean the difference between an effective ad, which generates phone calls and sales, and a weak ad, which generates poor results. There is a technology to graphic design like eye trail, aesthetics, color balance and form that a good designer has been trained in, knows and is experienced in using. Besides, a graphic designer usually has the software to create the ad.

Wilson Printing has a team of graphic designers who can help bring your message to life on postcards, brochures, flyers and other marketing materials. Now that you have your product selected and end user identified with buying reasons and a strong call to action, it will make designing the ad easier and less expensive for you.

If we can help you in any way with your own marketing program, please feel free to give us a call at 727-536-4173.

Mark Hale


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