Above All Else, Always Remember the Strategy

Winston Churchill once said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Advertising strategy can be defined as a campaign developed by a business to encourage potential customers to purchase a good or service. An advertising strategy is tailored to a target audience perceived to be most likely to purchase the product. Advertising strategies can come in many different forms such as integrated marketing plans, positioning, messaging, direct response, lead generation, conversion, SEO/SEM, and social media.

At its core, an advertising strategy aims to reach the target market through multiple channels. In effect this means that aims must be clear, the environment must be understood, the means must be ranked, and choices must be made based on available resources. Effective product assessment, market definition, media analysis, and budgetary choices result in an optimum plan—never the perfect plan because resources are always limited.

When developing an effective marketing strategy, all plans have essentially the same four steps. Depending on the organization, these steps may be broken into smaller segments, but all lead you to the same result. These steps are determining your target consumer, defining your positioning statement, determining key messages, and choosing the best communication medium in which to distribute your message.

Target Consumer
The target consumer is a well-defined person, or group of people, that your agency or organization has chosen to pursue. But most of all, it includes the person who ultimately buys the product. It also includes those who, in certain circumstances, decide what product will be bought. And finally, it includes those who influence product purchases (children, spouse, and friends).

Positioning Statement
Determining a brands position is key to any advertising strategy. Positioning relates to strategy, in the specific or tactical development phases of carrying out an objective to achieve a business or organization’s goals, such as increasing sales volume, brand recognition, or reach in advertising. This leads to business developing a positioning statement. All advertising strategies are based on a positioning statement. Simply, a positioning statement explains what a company’s product or service is, what makes it different from competing products and services, and how it will reach the customer.

Key Messages
As with any marketing campaign, it is key that all messages be clear and succinct so that there is no fragmentation across mediums. Consumers today are bombarded by messages from all types of organizations, so it is more important than ever to maintain a consistent persona. Consistent messaging is the only way to ensure that this persona stays constant. The most important thing to remember is that consistency is king. Always portraying the same persona will help organizations stick out from the plethora of others that are all trying to reach the same target.

Communication Media
Once the product and its environment are understood and the target consumer has been specified; the routes of reaching the consumer must be addressed. These five channels are the most prevalent in media today:

Print
Audio
Video
Digital
Outdoor advertising

Each of the channels available has its advantages, disadvantages, and cost patterns. You want to choose the optimum means, given budgetary constraints, to reach the largest number of target consumers with the appropriately formulated message.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berkowitz, Ira. Vault Career Guide to Advertising. Vault, Inc., April 2004.

Gordon, Kim T. “Selecting the Best Media for Your Ad.” Entrepreneur. September 2003.

Ries, Al,and Laura Ries. The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. HarperCollins, May 2004.

Stafford, Marla R., and Ronald J. Faber. Advertising, Promotion, and New Media. M.E. Sharpe, October 2004.

United States Small Business Administration. Advertising Your Business, n.d.

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