Advertising, the right attitudes, mentality and strategy to adopt
Advertising and how to get results can be somewhat of a mystery to many business owners. However, I often hear many misguided attitudes around marketing generally, especially when it comes to the aspect of advertising. Almost as though people aren't thinking straight and look at the process of advertising in the guise of sales rather than influence, strategy, creativity and brand building. Let me explain!
The process of advertising any business, product or service is to adopt an understanding of what the market desires—understanding the demands and how you fit with that demand. Every company on the planet has something to market and sell. Every business needs to market their wares, educate their audience, and influence or nurture a need or desire. To create a process of successful campaigning, you have to figure out those critical market desires and fulfil that requirement. I use the word campaigning because this is one of the most significant mistakes businesses make when trying to build awareness to their audience—campaigning, meaning consistent approach. Placing one advert is not campaigning, or in reality, it rarely represents any form of successful advertising. The dynamics of consistency in advertising takes on many aspects, all of which create marginal gains, and ultimately the results you want; think Apple, what comes to mind? Fruit or computers first?
So, what should you consider before instructing your marketing team or creative agency?
Your advertising direction isn't just a process of creating a good-looking advert; it is a great deal more than that if you want to achieve the best results. The following seven steps are a prerequisite to advertising success. Anything else is just lips service and a waste of valuable funds.
1 - Market research and competitor analysis
Every business needs to understand how its offering fits into a marketplace. The company also needs to know why a prospective customer would likely choose them over the competition. To create that understanding, diligent research into the demands of the market is a must. Are you cheaper? Are your products and services better? Do you show the real value in what you are selling above your competitors? I have heard on many an occasion while coaching how specific products and services my clients offer are by far a better deal or option than their competitors, but the competitor sells more. Usually, this is down to the client not having demonstrated that value in their marketing or they aren't confident in doing so.
2 - Market demand and building value
Once you have done your research, it will start to highlight who are the market leaders or success stories in your specific marketplace. You can then begin to analyse why they lead the way. What makes them the leader, and why do your prospective customers choose them more often. You can explore their offering in comparison to yours. Is there something in that offering, or indeed, the final presentation that is more appealing than your own? Customer service, for instance.
Market research accompanied by an in-depth understanding of the demand is an incredibly important part of your journey towards marketing and indeed, advertising success.
3 - Audience location, timing and method
One of the biggest mistakes made by businesses is not understanding their audience, not recognising where, when and how you should market to your audience, it is tantamount to guaranteeing a disastrous advertising campaign. The critical element of studying your audience is how to communicate relating to time and location. A methodology which is frequently overlooked and a perfect example of this is B2B companies looking to advertise their services and products on a social media platform like Facebook, instead of the B2B social platform LinkedIn. Each of these platforms is unique. They aren't just incomparable because of the different style of the audience; they are unique because of how they fit into your target decision-makers life. It is critical to get this right and understand their habits and when they are going to make a decision.
Indeed, it is a documented phenomenon, and I would say pretty evident if you consider your habits. Most business people or decision-makers aren't likely to want to see adverts from a business trying to sell them business services whilst enjoying their leisure time. Maybe a bit of innovative software, but that is about it for B2B Facebook advertising.
Location is also relevant to where your prospects choose to reside, or indeed how best to contact them, what mediums to use, and unique methods that relate to products and services you sell. You may find that traditional direct mail is the best ROI for your spend. If your audience tends to be of an older generation, you may see they react better to something through the post, and not interested in a digital approach.
4 - Brand advocacy
Nowadays, there is far too much emphasis on leads rather than advocacy. Of course, we all want to receive leads but not to the detriment of missing out building a brand. Large companies look for the value in their products and services, relative to their brand. Ultimately, the building of a brand creates more outstanding advocacy. Reputation building and repeat custom is a long-term strategy that makes more significant sales revenue in the long run.
Whether a person is purchasing in a business or consumer situation, you can gain their loyalty by considering what they want as a prospective customer/client. Can you offer something that will create extended loyalty?
5 - Method and direction
Now you have deciphered your strategy and gained great insight into your audience, and what they are looking for from you, the next stage is to detail your methods and direction. Write down a detailed plan and brief of how you want to advertise and what that final media representation needs. Look at how you can build value over and above your competitors, how you can create a strategy for gaining long-term advocacy or loyalty to your offering and brand.
6 - Consistency
I mentioned consistency at the start. The biggest mistake made in this area is stopping before you start to see results. Marketing isn't a stop/start process; it is a budgetary investment that's meticulously strategised and planned annually. Every business, no matter how big or small, needs to commit to a marketing budget.
The other aspect of consistency is presentation. I remember someone saying to me that if you lined up print outs of all of your advertising, you should be able to hide the logo and still know precisely who the company is, or the consistency lies in the look and feel. Far too many companies miss the opportunity to build brand recognition because their media representation lacks consistency. Large companies spend millions creating brand guidelines, so all of the companies that design their media representation follow stringent guidelines and standards. They do this to ensure the consistent look and feel of their media representations.
7 - Creativity
The ultimate catalyst for gaining high-quality results is creativity. Bland and uninteresting marketing collateral rarely works or generates results. Confident, and sometimes if appropriate, disruptive content should be at the top of your agenda where creative output is concerned. If you utilise bland photography and typography, therefore producing a mediocre design for your advertisement, that will also restrict your opportunities and results.
Be brave, bold and importantly very confident in your creative direction.