Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How to Plan your Advertising

I wish I wrote this, but instead I'll just share this bit of wisdom collected from Roy Williams:

What Exactly is a Marketing Plan?

Roy-Flip.jpgBy Roy H. Williams (Article edited from original)

Put simply, your marketing plan tells you how you plan to attract customers. But businesses with a five-year business plan will often have only a 30-day marketing plan. This is probably because banks don't ever ask to see your marketing plan. But a marketing plan is required if you want your business to become a household name.

The creation of a marketing plan begins with two pieces of information and one question.

The first piece of information required is the annual ad budget. How much can you afford to invest in advertising, even if it doesn't immediately seem to be working?

The second piece of information required is your brand essence.
a. Why would anyone choose to do business with you?
b. What unmet need do you fill?
c. What is your message to the customer?

The remaining question to be answered, then, is this:
What is the highest and best use of your ad dollars?

Tragically, most advertisers think, "I'll just experiment until something starts working, and then I'll just keep doing that until it quits working." This is why most business owners wander the desert of frustration thinking, "Advertising is a rip-off."

The simple truth is that the type of ad that pays off immediately will work less and less well the longer you keep running it. And the ad that will make customers think of you immediately when they need what you sell (true branding) usually doesn't begin showing any encouraging results for at least 13 weeks. These are the ads that will work better and better the longer you keep running them. But most advertisers will cancel these ads after only eight or nine weeks.

The thing to remember when developing your marketing plan is that you're not looking for what works. Every type of advertising "works" to one degree or another. What you're looking for is the best long-term use of your ad budget.

Then you have to develop an advertising message within your marketing plan. The questions you're trying to answer are these:

  1. What do you need to say to the customer.
  2. How often do you need to say it?
  3. Which media will give us the most efficient long-term access to the same customers over and over?"

Your goal is to reach the largest number of people with the greatest amount of repetition that your budget will allow.

So plan your marketing and stick to your plan. It's the secret to making your business plan work.

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