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Tis the season – for advertising planning!

abimaster | December 11, 2012

The planning season is upon us – who are we kidding; we actually begin planning for next year in October or even earlier! However, as we inch closer to the new year, there are still a great number of opportunities for businesses to get ready and tackle their goals with a strategic advertising plan.

First things first, an advertising plan is only part of a business’ larger strategic marketing plan. The marketing plan should outline the organization’s goals, objectives, stakeholders, key messages and tactics – one of which could be advertising.  The marketing plan is essential for businesses to keep on target as they work toward accomplishing goals, and lays the groundwork for the supporting tactics (like advertising) to be effective and measured for success.

Effective advertising comes from good planning and research, proper budgeting, utilizing key messages, including a strong call to action, and of course, commitment. Here are some tips to think about when planning your advertising strategy for 2013.

1. Know your brand – What makes you unique? How are you, your products or services different than the competition?  Review your brand when thinking about your advertising focus for the year.

2. Identify your focus – Will it be branding, highlighting a product or service, or developing a promotional offer? How and why are you planning to focus your advertising on this messaging? How is what you are promoting, different than the competition?

3. Set your goals – A step that goes right along with identifying the focus, establishing realistic and measurable goals is essential to an advertising plan. Is the focus of the advertising in line with your overall business goals? If not, why is it the focus? Don’t advertise for the sake of advertising if your messaging isn’t going to support your business’ goals.

4. Set your budget – Seemingly simple, but truly one of the most important to focus on. Don’t simply say, “let’s do what we did last year.” Work with your agency and take the time to review and analyze your advertising budget and what your goals for the coming year include. Is the amount dedicated to advertising right to support your goals?

5. Identify the appropriate medium – Considering your goals, focus and target audience, work with your advertising agency to identify the proper media mix.

6. Look at the calendar – Is any part of your advertising focus seasonal? Plan your advertising calendar along with your business cycle. Take advantage of down times to brand yourself.

7. Monitor the impact – Keeping tabs on the results is important, but you should also remember that advertising takes commitment. Don’t pull the plug because you didn’t get a call in the first week. Some marketing statistics say a person needs to hear an ad three times before retaining the information, while others say seven and so on. Plus, a person may not need (or think they need) what you’re offering right at that moment. The key is that they think of you when they do realize they have a need.

8. Make changes and learn from the results – This can be done over the course of the campaign, or year. Is your current campaign getting the results you intended and impacting your marketing goals? Maybe there needs to be a change in the key message, product or offer? Or, how can the current messaging be altered to breathe new life into the campaign and build off its success?

Looking for more help? Working with a professional is a small investment that can lead to big results. Call us to see how we can help you get started.

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