Radio Advertising Costs: How Much Should I Spend?
“How much should I spend on radio advertising?” “How do I know I am getting the best radio advertising rates?” “What radio stations should I advertise on?” “What are good and bad radio advertising prices?” “How many spots should I air on a radio station?”
Honestly, there is so much confusion about radio advertising floating around – I can’t blame you for asking these questions. Why is advertising on the radio so mysterious? The answer is – radio advertising is not mysterious. It just helps to know how it works.
Effective radio advertising relies on two major components – the message (the radio commercial itself), and the media (that the radio spot airs on).
Let’s look first at the radio commercial itself. Before even thinking about which radio stations to air on, or how much to spend on radio advertising rates, you must think about what you are going to say in your radio ad. For this article, I am assuming that all call centers, fulfillment, websites, etc. lead generation, and sales closing processes have been put in place by you, the advertiser. Creating a radio commercial that helps drive traffic is extremely important to the advertising process.
The advertising industry is full of voice talents, radio personalities, DJ’s and others, all claiming to create radio commercials. Be careful here. When entering the arena of radio commercial production, look for a radio advertising agency that has experience and a track record of successful ad campaigns. Anyone can create a radio ad, but not everyone can create a radio ad that pulls traffic. Some radio stations provide free radio commercials if you advertise on their station. Most of these free commercials are never based on strategy and are just one of several dozen commercials that have to be created by an overworked radio production person in a five to fifteen minute window of time. Remember, you usually get what you pay for.
The most effective radio commercials are built on a solid, proven strategy. The copy is written using time tested formulas that maximize potential response. The talent is handpicked to best connect with the end user and the production is based upon clear, quality, and easy to absorb audio.
So…what does the radio commercial production process cost? The majority of radio commercials that work best usually fall into the $500 to $1000 price range. There are always exceptions to the rule (lots of revisions to copy or audio, additional voice talents, celebrity endorsements, etc.) but this figure generally covers development of a solid strategy, copy from experienced copywriters, performance by high caliber voice talents, and the highest quality production services.
For many with questions about radio advertising rates, and radio station prices, here is where the mystery begins. I will try to simplify the mystery of radio media buying as much as we can in this small amount of space.
A good radio advertising buy focuses on a few different things:
* Finding the best radio stations in a market that match your customer’s demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.) and psychographics (interests, beliefs, hobbies, personality traits, etc.).
* Finding the dayparts that best reach your target customer. Mornings? Middays? Afternoons?
* Selecting the top radio stations that most efficiently reach the highest potential customers, the right number of times (defined as frequency), for the least amount of money
Usually, when researching radio advertising costs, many potential radio advertisers have a pretty good idea of the first two points. However, when it comes down to finding the best station (or stations) at the best price, the radio advertising process becomes a little more challenging.
Here is how to basically determine how much to spend on radio advertising costs. Within the market you want to advertise in, find the radio stations that have the best potential to reach your target customer. This is based on the formats of the radio stations. Urban Hip-hop stations will target different demographics than a News/Talk, or Soft Rock station. After selecting a group of radio stations, contact those stations to let them know you are thinking about advertising on their radio station. Ask for specific data from the radio stations called “rankers”. This is ratings data that most radio stations can provide based on specific requirements requested. From this point, you can get a good idea which stations perform the best in your target demographics.
Once you have narrowed down the radio stations to just a few that will effectively reach our target customer, request a proposal based on certain criteria – dayparts, frequency goals, etc. From these proposals, see who reaches the target audience most efficiently – using tools like Cost Per Point (ratio of spot rate to ratings percentage), Cost Per Thousand (ratio of spot rate to audience category totals), etc. If a radio station is not competitive, ask the station to resubmit a more competitive proposal. Ask about added value. Yes…it is quite time consuming…and yes it is tough to know if all of the station’s radio advertising rates are too high. You really have to know the market and the going rates. (This is where having an experienced agency is extremely beneficial!) An agency can compare proposals against historical figures to determine if radio station prices are in line with market averages…then negotiate, and help execute the purchase.
Great…but what does this cost? It depends on the size of the market you wish to advertise in as determined by Arbitron (the radio ratings services). Radio advertising rates can be as high as $800 per 60 spots in a top market like New York City, or as low as $3 per 60 spots in Kerrville, TX. How will you know what to spend?
Here’s a valuable system we have used from our history of working with radio advertising rates. The system is based on a solid branding schedule that may run one spot per day in the morning drive, one per day at midday, and one per day in the afternoon drive – Monday through to Friday, and two spots on Saturday and Sunday. That’s nineteen spots a week at sticker price. This type of schedule is good for achieving a desired frequency level (meaning the average listener to a station will hear the radio commercial a certain number of times). Under these broad assumptions, you can use the following chart as a rough guide to budgeting your radio advertising campaign.*
Striving to persuade others to impact on their behavior and the way of thinking is shown one of the essential needs of human being to his social living improvement .The ways of encouraging and convincing the audience, as it comes later, has had a great influence on human beings’ minds throughout the history.
The tablets found by the archeologists among the ruins of Babel, tell us about the primitive advertisements. This tablets which is belong to 3,000 B.C are about a kind of ointment and also a compliment about a person who has been skillful in sewing shoes.( MirHosseini 2004) But regulated persuasive refers to some centuries before Christian Era, when it was common among the people called sophisticated. The World War 2 ended to more comprehensive and scientific studies. Along with vast spreading of the mass media, such as newspapers, radio and television, advertising became more significant. We cannot deny advertisements` effects on our decisions and on our every day lives.
From the advertisements point of view, it is a new version to exhibit a good or service, with emphasis on specialized debate which is presented by beneficiary individuals or groups. The aim of writing this article is to answer this essential question; how advertising without its economical essence would be represented in cyber space. It is possible to put vivid distinction between the persuasive ways in internet with other media, and if the answer is yes which benefits is provided for cyber users in this distinction, owing to the fact that we live in an interactive world in which the relation between the advertisers and the customers has completely changed. I’m trying to analyze these changes with emphasis on active audience of this universal media and with stress on the role of advertisements in this space; I want to set these effective parts to find a clear view of future.
Essence of advertisement
In the terms of Tankard and Severin there is an obvious distinction between persuasion and advertisement. They refer to Roger Brown who gives a definition about nature of advertisement. Advertisements are those kinds of persuasive attempt which are made only for sender interests; and even may run to loss of the receiver. (Tankard and Severin ,1992, p299) Lasswell in 1937 defined advertisement as an affective technique in human acts, which works with manipulating audible, discoursing and drawing signs. (Tankard and Severin ,1992, p148).
Opposing to some theorists who believe advertisement contains any kind of commercial content and matter which companies utilize it for giving more information to consumer. What we focus on it is the scientific way of persuasion each commercial aim is one of its aspects. We can say, consequently, that advertising is a regular process to produce reasonable information about specific subject which is used to make an intensive effect on audiences minds’ and acts’.
Traditional methods of advertisements had been constructed on the basis of imagery. The effectiveness of advertising was limited by this very need to reach and influence the widest possible audience. The manipulation of images was necessary because advertisements should have attractiveness for the passive accumulated viewers. As much as the advertisements became more global, it was more needed (of new methods of audience attraction) to utilize modern of new methods. But the methods of satisfying and exciting viewers which had been forecasting single and lawful results in the mass audience up to this time, abolished by entrance of virtual space .For internet was an interaction and informative base media; so users traverse an active stage, to find their desired websites. Because they want to reach definite information about a company, a service or a product. Any irrelevant images or tampered information would dissuade them from continuing their way.
Apart from professional design of a website, its agents should be interacting with their costumers. They should know the costumers’ needs and should answer them in a good manner and the most important thing is assembling the information which the costumers are in search of them. In view of the fact that they would lose their audience easily with decreasing or increasing the information .A propaganda would be effective when it could use all the facilities of cyber space to be able to assemble attractiveness, giving awareness, interaction experience. Levinson considers a website as an island which the advertisement is a bridge to reach it. He believes the aim of convincing people to buy or use the products cannot persist no longer; in case that in internet we are leading the viewer to watch the advertisement an our website.(Levinson 2004)
Osgoodby believes that advertisement in cyber space is like a party , until you didn’t invite others into it, nobody would come to see you. More over information you are demanded by your guests, would mean that they are more fond of your party .He also believes that advertisement methods in internet are the most attractive methods from the audience point of view.(Osgoodby, 2005) We should consider how and in which language the message is being packaged .In the other words , “we should be careful in using words because using incalculable of language can reveal advertisement in a treachery way”. (Mehdizade, 2001, pp 65-66)
Traditional advertisements have been inclined their affair to the creation of reading sense in the vast spectrum of the audience like the television extensive advertisement. But in virtual space you can base your activities on analysis of individual needs and definite needs of its viewers for reaching the product. As it was said before, in virtual space, the user is not a mass audience in front of a charming media that some global reliable websites would prohibit from more professional advertisement methods and have vast spectrum of global audience ,but if we believe in an audience as an analyst and critic individuals we should accept that he would use other opportunities which have then not always but sometimes he won’t be captured easily by direct advertisements. Of course, we should bear in mind that audience would enter to this space sometimes for fun. This audience would face to the advertisement messages with less critic view and his searching in virtual space is more for fun and satisfying his inquisitiveness. He would guide easily from one page to another page and he has no aim for this circulation. As a result he would be objected of these messages and he would be impressed by them. In a research which I have done to study the advertisements and the utilized technique in these advertisements, I have reached to an obvious image of such advertisements. The advertisement websites, which I have named them popular, had been used the least methods of scientific documentary evidence or intellectual well reasoned to code their convincing messages. In my opinion if we factorize from special form of such websites which would recognize from these contents, we would see that summarizing and more benefiting from images are inseparable from advertisements. The reason of this subject is in the hyperlink feature of virtual space. Whatever the message sender needs is to attract the attention of receiver. The audience should push the bottom of mouse on this message among other different subjects and then the message communicator would have enough time to give information to the audience and identify the existence of viewer who are considered as a message receiver.
Other points are hidden in accessibility of information. The audience can catch more information in less time about advertisement. This information could obtain from even conflicting resources. The most important distinction of advertisement in traditional media and cyber space could be defined as follows: in virtual space, the audience would always change his role from audience to producer and from producer to consumer. The possibility of using cyber space would be possible for all people. In such space, the user can show off her/his idea or product with using of convincing skills and depend on the way of presenting it could reach to success .In other word cyber space is on the contrary of the traditional media. There is no selling of idea or product; but they would sell viewing the site or advertisement. Now if we are capable to convince our superiority to the users, we would reach to success. The forms of traditional advertisement have many limitations in case of commercials form .Size and vast distributing; in a case that virtual space would assemble the possibility of showing any advertisement in various cyber pages and in a cheap expense. In other words, there is no real limit in volume and kind of advertisement presentation.( Jim Calloway and Don Murdock 1998)
How we can get more benefit from this space?
Today the world can not be imagined without advertisement .The audience and people would learn from advertisement what they should eat, how they can dress, which book they should read and how they can think about a special subject. In the age that is full of advertisement messages, there should be more attention to this science. Today the virtual space and the media channel would be discussed in our real lives as the main media in 21 century. By emphasizing vast and complex communications which are possible in this space we would understand that we have unique chance to effect on the unlimited spectrum of viewers, the chance which was not possible in dry previous media. from this point the importance of using advertisement messages would be declared .Our current era has been named the communication and advertisement age .Pratkanis believes that the messages construct our world .We are in thought of other satisfying in our social lives . There are many bulletin boards, subway and bus advertisements in streets.( Pratkenis , 1999).But whatever we are facing to as an advertisement in global media of the internet, has differences with such messages.
Effective and Successful cyber marketing means taking full advantages of the medium to offer all kind of customers an interesting, informative, interactive experience, a give and take of needs, wants, and information. Virtual space is not transient and temporary phenomenon. It is at the beginning way of its evolution. Today, the goal of much advertising is not to make the sale but to direct people to websites. It means we have to be really cautious about what we are presenting. Internet advertisement would not neither be a passing affair a phenomenon forked of the internet influences .Although today the internet advertisement is facing to problems and obstacles and we have no attention to using such an opportunity; but we should believe that in cultures, civilizations, belief, ancestors and all nations pillars which are forming identity are in confrontation with each other, prosperity is with a group which could use better form of convicting skills and methods.
Print advertisements, such as color flyers, continue to generate cash flow and develop new revenue streams for virtually every industry. Every business that has developed into an industry leader over the last several decades, did so by utilizing key concepts in advertising that have evolved from very humble beginnings. Not all advertising works, so it is extremely important to understand how ads work, why some succeed while others fail, and what your ads should consist of to generate the maximize ROI.
The Birth of Modern Advertising:
Although there were always market vendors from the early days of ‘civilization’ who would stand in the marketplace ‘crying’ their wares, it wasn’t until the advent of the printing press that printed advertising as we know it today came into being. In the very beginning, advertising was nothing more than a single line of copy in the newspaper that perhaps listed the product, the price and a very simple description. Among scholars, it is held that this form of printed advertising first appeared somewhere in the latter part of the 17th century. As time went on, and as the technology of printing progressed, color was added and at some point simple graphics evolved into photographic images.
For the next almost 200 years printed advertising remained pretty much the same. A single line of copy or perhaps a small block of text was all that consumers were likely to see in their local papers. That is until Thomas Barratt, who married into the family of the famous Pears Soap Empire, decided to launch an aggressive advertising campaign to promote their product to the rising middle class who finally had buying power. In the beginning, Pears Soap had been marketed to a small portion of the population, the elite who could afford an expensive, handcrafted scented soap that was suitable for their ivory complexions. Now that the working middle class was a viable market, and knowing that he had to ‘reach’ them in order to keep his family business afloat, Barratt set about formulating a marketing strategy that would reach the masses. They revamped their production lines in order to make Pears Soap affordable to the average consumer and set about developing an aggressive marketing campaign to reach that demographic. Thomas Barratt is famous for his cherubic children in the Pears Soap advertisements, many of which we still recognize to this very day. Because of his aggressive marketing strategies and innovative use of print, he is often considered to be the “Father of Modern Advertising.”
During WWI, to offset the rising costs of advertising, the philosophy of creating a need was introduced to the masses. Companies begain creating “perceived needs.” For the first time, all of the strategies which are now tried and tested advertising methodologies, were melded together and distributed to consumers. The rest is history.
The 3 key elements of print advertising are:
1. Reach the maximum amount of potential customers at the lowest cost possible
2. Design aesthetically pleasing or response-driving artwork
3. Create a need for your product/service while offering “irresistable” benefits to consumers
Today’s flyer printing and advertising still focuses on these key strategies, which have been proven to work using decades worth of statistics. Technologies, products, and services change over time, however, human needs and response criteria remain largely the same over time.
Let’s put history to work to visualize the success of the 3 Keys. For example, consider Burger King and McDonald’s. They dominate the fast-food market for their niche and they got there by reaching a huge market with advertising that was eye-catching and created a need. During the latter half of the 20th century commerce was booming and the average family was living life in the fast lane. Both corporations capitalized on this fast-paced environment by employing ads that were appealing to the eye, while also playing on the need that they were creating. The message is simple, “you are important.” In other words, “you deserve to do things for yourself and take time away from your busy lifestyle.”
McDonald’s still uses the ‘Golden Arches’ whicht symbolize a place where life is idyllic and a far cry from the hectic life that people are forced to endure to make ends meet. “You deserve a break today at McDonald’s. We do it all for you.” Their impressive advertising strategy planted a seed in the heads of consumers that they deserve to take a break and let someone take over at least one of their daily tasks – cooking.
The same hold’s true with the marketing strategy employed by Burger King. “Have it your way!” The message being, you answer to a boss, you answer to your family and you are bogged down with responsibilities, so now it is time to do what you want for a change. You deserve to have it ‘your way,’ and, of course, since you should be treated like a king/queen, there is a subliminal message in the famous BK crown.
All 3 Key strategies were employed by both mega-corporations early on, and as you can see, literally launched them to the very top of the fast-food market. They launched national advertising campaigns
(Key #1) with pleasing advertisement designs
(Key #2) to create a need
(Key #3) in the lives of mass consumers.
Avoid Common Misconceptions in Flyer Printing by Researching Demographics
One of the most common misconceptions that business owners have when creating flyers is to think that designing a flyer based on the ‘3 Keys to Success’ is all there is to it. There are actually other ‘steps’ that should be taken prior to creating your campaign. It is a huge mistake to believe that an ‘eye-catching’ flyer that reaches a ‘maximum number of people’ and creates a ‘need’ is all there is to it. One of the factors that should be considered is researching the demographics in a specific market area before launching your campaign or none of those three keys will fit the lock! In other words, targeted marketing is the “true” key to success.
Understand your market demographics to make the 3 keys work for you!
Look at this research which paid off for McDonald’s and Burger King – big time. At the time of their rise to fame, market analysis was simple and provided basic insight into the lifestyles of the consumers they were trying to reach. It is apparent that their advertising campaigns focused on the working middle class who were overwhelmed with work at relatively low wages. There were definite psychological tactics employed that wouldn’t have been effective if their ads didn’t reach the right people with the right message. You can’t create a need where there is no void to fill. It is as simple as that.
Take a good long look at the product or service you are selling, find a demographic that has a void that you can fill, and target them with amazing advertisements. Create and distribute your flyer printing campaign to reach as many targeted customers as possible, make it appealing so it catches their eye, and then set about filling the void you have discovered by creating or emphasizing a need. If you don’t have the resources to do the research in your market area, there is an age-old trick that enables you to ‘borrow’ research that has already proven to be effective. It’s so obvious that it is easy to miss, it’s called “analyzing what your competitors use.”
Take a look at the two burger empires to see just how effective it is to ‘borrow’ what is working for your competition! It doesn’t really matter which corporation did the actual market analysis first, the point is that one of them found a void, filled it by creating a need, and launched an all out advertising campaign that could fill that need/void. Then, as history has it, the war was on. Although the area of that ‘void’ those two corporations addressed were to some degree different, they both identified the void and created a need based on something missing in the lives of consumers. Remember, that was the time of the “Me Generation” so when consumers felt like they were losing control of their lives due to the need to care for others, both corporations pounced on that and ran with it. One company promised that consumers could have it their way while the other provided a break from the reality of losing the sense of self that was so vital at that time.
You can do the same thing in your market area by expanding on what is effectively working for your competitors. Obviously they have found a way to create a need in order to sell their products/services. Whatever they are utilizing is working because it is bringing in the business. Take the time to analyze their marketing strategies. Try to identify the demographics they are reaching out to. What forms of advertising are your competitors using and how are they distributing it? Competitive analysis is exactly what highly successful businesses like Burger King and McDonald’s do. They analyze the competition and then try to stay one step ahead of them. Once you have the concept of your advertising created, it’s time to get down to the practical aspect of printing and distribution.
It’s Time to Print Your Flyer – What are Your Options?
Now that you have your campaign all laid out it’s time to figure out what size and weight of paper will best accommodate your message. There are various sizes to choose from, depending on the amount of information you need to include. Here are the most popular flyer and brochure sizes:
• 5.5″ x 8.5″ (half sheet)
• 8.5″ x 11″ (full page)
• 8.5″ x 14″ (legal size)
• 11″ x 17″ (double full page size)
You can also choose the weight of the paper based on how you will be distributing your flyers. Paper weight used in commercial printing is different then from the stuff you buy at Staples or Office Depot. Never waste money at a small local printer or over-pay for your bulk printing of advertisements. Always choose a reputable and trusted flyer printing company that uses large printing presses and offers “commercial quality” results. Remember: You don’t want to spend as much on advertising as a mega-comapny, but you sure want to look as good as they do!
Options for Designing Your Flyer
Once you have done market research and have developed an advertising theme, it is time to put it all on paper. While some business owners hire professional graphic designers to layout their flyers, others choose to do their own designing at home, or using pre-designed templates online using various web-based design tools. It all depends on your design ability and the intricacy of the design you will need.
U-Design is a popular do-it-yourself design tool and a beautifully laid out flyer is just a few mouse clicks away. The more information and graphics you need to include, the more difficult it becomes. If the do it yourself approach does not work, professional graphic designers can assist you with the layout for any advertising job, large or small. When you place a bulk print order online, a quality printing company will provide professional design services at discounted rates. So if the scope of your flyer is beyond your reach, and the online templates don’t meet your needs, let professionalsl do the designing for you.
Fold or No Fold?
The size of your flyer is the first consideration as to whether or not you will need to opt for a bi-fold or tri-fold flyer. There are times when your flyer needs to be folded, for instance if it is oversized such as the 8.5″ x 14″ or 11″ x 17″ sizes. And, of course, the size of your flyer is usually dependent on the amount of copy and graphics that need to be included. Newspaper inserts, for example, are often printed on 8.5″ by 11″ or 11″ x 17″ and then bi-folded before being stuffed. They fit nicely into the paper and can be opened, booklet style, to browse through specials and coupons. Many of the large pharmacy chains like Walgreen’s and Eckerd’s use a bi-fold type newspaper insert flyer for weekly promotions. Knowing when to fold and when not to fold is important because there are also times when folding your flyer would be a grave mistake. If the layout and graphic design would be obscured by the fold it would be better to keep it flat whenever possible. Consider the visibility of your offer and the ease-of-handling for your customers at all times.
Now that you have learned to ‘Walk the Walk’ it’s time to ‘Talk the Talk’ – Printing Terminology 101
When you communicate with your printer there are some basic terms that you should be aware of. These are everyday words in the vocabulary of a printer, so there might be times that they will forget that many of us don’t speak a ‘foreign printing language.’ And, this terminology is all the more important if you are going to try your hand at designing your own flyer. Many mistakes can be avoided if you have a basic understanding of a few printing terms that refer to the details of your project.
Bleed – This is extremely important if your design is a graphic that is meant to be borderless. A good rule of thumb is to increase your design by approximately 1/8″ beyond the cutting area because trimmers are not as precise as printing presses. In order to avoid that white border around an image, plan for a ‘bleed.’
No Bleed – Leave a small 1/4″ white border around the entire page. Graphics do not extend or cover the entire page when printing as “no bleed.”
C2S/C1S – This refers to whether the paper being printed is coated on one side or both. Obviously ‘C2S’ is shiny on both sides whereas ‘C1S’ is matte on one side and shiny on the face. C1S is typically used on postcard type flyers.
CPM – Cost per thousand. (For example $39.50 cpm is $395.00 for 10,000 copies.)
CMYK – The standard four colors that are used in printing. (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) While most colors can be produced by ‘layering’ these standard four colors, it is important to know that some shades might not be exact.
4/0 and 4/4 – 4/4 is four colors on both sides of double-sided printing and 4/1 refers to 4 colors on the face and no colors ont he back.
These are just a small sampling of some of the ciritical terms that might come up when discussing your flyer. Don’t be afraid to tell your printer that you don’t understand what they are referring to. It is your flyer after all, and your satisfaction is what keeps printers in business. Quality work, affordable pricing, and customer satisfaction have been the focus of printers for decades now.
The Power of Full Color Printing. There is No Substitute for Color!
There is no better way to say it, but, printing in black and white is just plain boring. The absolute best way to generate massive response is to use full color (glossy) flyer printing because it follows the rules of effective advertising. It identifies a void, creates a need, and presents an eye-catching/pleasing solution to that need which engenders a ‘call to action’ response.
For example, a restaurant specializes in scrumptious half-pound Black Angus burgers with all the trimmings. Their logo is a burger platter with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and red onions on an offset sesame bun, lying next to a side of seasoned fries. Imagine how important a color image is here. Obvious, right? By printing that logo in color the company will make sure the ad is:
1. eye-catching (full color image)
2. exposing a void (hunger)
3. creating an immediate need (mouth watering temptation)
4. suggesting a call-to-action (it’s time to eat – let’s get one of those!)
As you can see, a black and white picture of that platter would not meet the first one of those rules. It surely wouldn’t catch anyone’s eye so it couldn’t possibly address their hunger with a delicious looking burger. And of course, without temptation, in this case, there is no call to action. While it may seem that the extra expense (which in many cases is negligible) of printing in color might not be necessary, it definitely is. If your flyer doesn’t generate a call-to-action response you are wasting your money! The sole purpose of advertising is to generate business so it is important to utilize ‘every trick in the book,’ so to speak, to make that advertising work for you. If spending a few extra dollars now can generate thousands of dollars in business, it is well worth the expenditure.
‘Turnkey’ Printing & Marketing Solution Providers
The Smartest Financial Decision You Can Make in Advertising…
Quite often small business owners opt to design a flyer and take it to their local ‘Copy Shop’ to have them run off a few hundred flyers. Sometimes they even choose to print some at home or from their office. Usually it is a matter of cost. They are trying to save a few dollars because business hasn’t been good. As a matter of fact, that’s why they are printing flyers in the first place – to generate business and cash flow. That might be one of the poorest financial decisions that the business owner ever makes. The only guaranteed way to bring business in the door is with advertising that works! Always, always trust an experienced printing and distribution company (ie: direct mail service provider) when it comes to your advertiisng campaigns.
Turnkey printing and marketing solution providers, get excellent results by providing professional guidance at low rates. Their graphic designers and marketing consultants have access to the latest trends in marketing and distribution processes. In effect, you have everything under one roof. Professionals are on hand from the very ‘concept’ of your flyer right down to the final distribution. They are in touch with what is working in given market areas based on marketing research and statistical analysis that they have at their fingertips. Professionals know what works and, better yet, they know how to put that knowledge to work for you. Put your money to work for you, don’t throw it out the window! It is a much wiser financial decision to spend a little more now on effective advertising that actually generates business. That is something you can take to the bank.
Today, most advertising strategies focus on achieving three general goals, as the Small Business Administration indicated in Advertising Your Business:
1) promote awareness of a business and its product or services;
2) stimulate sales directly and “attract competitors’ customers”; and
3) establish or modify a business’ image. In other words, advertising seeks to inform, persuade, and remind the consumer. With these aims in mind, most businesses follow a general process which ties advertising into the other promotional efforts and overall marketing objectives of the business.
An advertising strategy is a campaign developed to communicate ideas about products and services to potential consumers in the hopes of convincing them to buy those products and services. This strategy, when built in a rational and intelligent manner, will reflect other business considerations (overall budget, brand recognition efforts) and objectives (public image enhancement, market share growth) as well. Even though a small business has limited capital and is unable to devote as much money to advertising as a large corporation, it can still develop a highly effective advertising campaign. The key is creative and flexible planning, based on an in-depth knowledge of the target consumer and the avenues that can be utilized to reach that consumer.
STAGES OF ADVERTISING STRATEGY
As a business begins, one of the major goals of advertising must be to generate awareness of the business and its products. Once the business’ reputation is established and its products are positioned within the market, the amount of resources used for advertising will decrease as the consumer develops a kind of loyalty to the product. Ideally, this established and ever-growing consumer base will eventually aid the company in its efforts to carry their advertising message out into the market, both through its purchasing actions and its testimonials on behalf of the product or service.
Essential to this rather abstract process is the development of a “positioning statement, a positioning statement explains how a company’s product (or service) is differentiated from those of key competitors. With this statement, the business owner turns intellectual objectives into concrete plans. In addition, this statement acts as the foundation for the development of a selling proposal, which is composed of the elements that will make up the advertising message’s “copy platform.” This platform delineates the images, copy, and art work that the business owner believes will sell the product.
With these concrete objectives, the following elements of the advertising strategy need to be considered: target audience, product concept, communication media, and advertising message. These elements are at the core of an advertising strategy, and are often referred to as the “creative mix.” Again, what most advertisers stress from the beginning is clear planning and flexibility. And key to these aims is creativity, and the ability to adapt to new market trends. A rigid advertising strategy often leads to a loss of market share. Therefore, the core elements of the advertising strategy need to mix in a way that allows the message to envelope the target consumer, providing ample opportunity for this consumer to become acquainted with the advertising message.
1. TARGET CONSUMER The target consumer is a complex combination of persons. It includes the person who ultimately buys the product, as well as those who decide what product will be bought (but don’t physically buy it), and those who influence product purchases, such as children, spouse, and friends. In order to identify the target consumer, and the forces acting upon any purchasing decision, it is important to define three general criteria in relation to that consumer, as discussed by the Small Business Administration:
1. Demographics-Age, gender, job, income, ethnicity, and hobbies.
2. Behaviors-When considering the consumers’ behavior an advertiser needs to examine the consumers’ awareness of the business and its competition, the type of vendors and services the consumer currently uses, and the types of appeals that are likely to convince the consumer to give the advertiser’s product or service a chance.
3. Needs and Desires-here an advertiser must determine the consumer needs-both in practical terms and in terms of self-image, etc.-and the kind of pitch/message that will convince the consumer that the advertiser’s services or products can fulfill those needs.
2. PRODUCT CONCEPT The product concept grows out of the guidelines established in the “positioning statement.” How the product is positioned within the market will dictate the kind of values the product represents, and thus how the target consumer will receive that product. Therefore, it is important to remember that no product is just itself, but, a “bundle of values” that the consumer needs to be able to identify with. Whether couched in presentations that emphasize sex, humor, romance, science, masculinity, or femininity, the consumer must be able to believe in the product’s representation.
Audio advertising is growing at a fast pace with more and more advertisers opting for audio classified ads. It’s no secret that a good sales headline makes all the difference in advertising and it’s no different when talking about great audio advertising. Professional voice talent and recognized studio engineers come together to create top quality audio advertising spots.
Interactive audio advertising is generating enormous interest within the advertising community.
At the turn of the 21st century, a number of websites including the search engine Google, started a change in online advertising by emphasizing contextually relevant, unobtrusive ads intended to help, rather than inundate, users.
Most Audio networks “crawl” websites in its list of publishers, prior to placing a single ad, to determine the content of Ad best suited to the visitor based on the page content they are seeing while the Ad is playing. For example, your audio ads are placed on websites that users can relate too, such as sports drink ads, sportswear and sports gear on a NFL information websites.
Audio advertisements have gained national media attention from national mass-market advertisers, the Wall Street Investment Community and discussed in the Wall Street Journal. Currently this new online audio advertising provides advertisers with a new procedure to promote.
Not just for major advertisers, but small niche advertisers like local business can use audio ads for local and regional advertising too. Ads for audio content, such as pod casts or Internet radio stations, often use a “reservation” model, where advertisers reserve spots in audio streams for confirmed fees.
It’s possible that this reservation model may not maximize revenue for audio publishers because many advertisers don’t have the wherewithal to negotiate agreements for ad spots and don’t compete for them.
However, imagine an Ad Network where advertisers and publishers can interact, and pay-per-action type advertising becomes a possibility. A publisher would set upon criteria for advertisers to match, and the system would determine which ads to play based upon relevancy and price. Now, forward-thinking advertisers are recognizing that if it works on radio, it can work on streaming audio.
Many advertisements are also designed to generate increased consumption of those products and services through the creation and reinforcement of brand image and brand loyalty.
In an effort to improve messaging, and gain audience attention, advertisers create branding moments that will resonate with target markets, and motivate audiences to purchase the advertised product or service, advertisers copy test their advertisements before releasing them to the public.
These short advertisements, allow the spoken words or most recognizable sounds to be presented to a visitor browsing the Internet. Another major advantage of radio advertising is that it is inexpensive to place and to produce, allowing small business owners to place advertisements on more than one station in a given market.
However a relatively new company has recently been written about in the Wall Street Journal. This is a company that provides five second ‘radio station’ style advertisements played automatically to people browsing the Web when they visit a participating website. The advertisements are played immediately to the listener based on their geographical location… not on the location of the website being viewed.
In a sense the network is just like a radio station. A radio station broadcasts commercials through the speakers of a radio to people in their local area. This company broadcasts commercials to people in any local area (or nationwide or worldwide) through computer speakers.
For example, as a real estate agent, you could broadcast your message to 500 people per day in the North Palm Beach, FL area at a certain time on certain days. Or a restaurant owner from The City of London, England could advertise today’s lunch time menu to people that live in The City, between 10 o’clock and midday.
The company has grown enough to gain the attention of candidates running for President of the United States (among many other political campaigns), and political ads are scheduled run on participating websites across the Internet.
These short advertisements, known as “Adlets”, are now available to listeners over 30 million times a day on websites large and small, worldwide. Participating websites are scattered across the Internet giving advertisers a wide range of demographic exposure. When any Internet visitor hits one of their participating ad sponsored websites, the audio commercial starts playing instantly.
However there is a big difference from radio…
The Advertiser can target…
The Advertiser can choose the time and frequency that your ads play…
The advertisement is played as soon as the visitor lands on the web site page, so the Advertiser has the undivided attention of the listener.
One of the best things about Internet audio advertising is that it doesn’t take up any of your website real estate.
With the massive reach established by their network of tens of millions of Website pages, online audio advertising is certain to become a staple in any advertising campaign, especially ones that target the ever-growing Internet population.
Is advertising the ultimate means to inform and help us in our everyday decision-making or is it just an excessively powerful form of mass deception used by companies to persuade their prospects and customers to buy products and services they do not need? Consumers in the global village are exposed to increasing number of advertisement messages and spending for advertisements is increasing accordingly.
It will not be exaggerated if we conclude that we are ‘soaked in this cultural rain of marketing communications’ through TV, press, cinema, Internet, etc. (Hackley and Kitchen, 1999). But if thirty years ago the marketing communication tools were used mainly as a product-centered tactical means, now the promotional mix, and in particular the advertising is focused on signs and semiotics. Some argue that the marketers’ efforts eventually are “turning the economy into symbol so that it means something to the consumer” (Williamson, cited in Anonymous, Marketing Communications, 2006: 569). One critical consequence is that many of the contemporary advertisements “are selling us ourselves” (ibid.)
The abovementioned process is influenced by the commoditisation of products and blurring of consumer’s own perceptions of the companies’ offering. In order to differentiate and position their products and/or services today’s businesses employ advertising which is sometimes considered not only of bad taste, but also as deliberately intrusive and manipulative. The issue of bad advertising is topical to such extent that organisations like Adbusters have embraced the tactics of subvertising – revealing the real intend behind the modern advertising. The Adbusters magazine editor-in-chief Kalle Lason commented on the corporate image building communication activities of the big companies: “We know that oil companies aren’t really friendly to nature, and tobacco companies don’t really care about ethics” (Arnold, 2001). On the other hand, the “ethics and social responsibility are important determinants of such long-term gains as survival, long-term profitability, and competitiveness of the organization” (Singhapakdi, 1999). Without communications strategy that revolves around ethics and social responsibility the concepts of total quality and customer relationships building become elusive. However, there could be no easy clear-cut ethics formula of marketing communications.
ADVERTISING – PRESCIOUS INFORMATION OR VICIOUS MANIPULATION?
In order to get insights into the consumer perception about the role of advertising we have reviewed a number of articles and conducted four in-depth interviews. A number of research papers reach opposed conclusions. These vary from the ones stating that “the ethicality of a firm’s behavior is an important consideration during the purchase decision” and that consumers “will reward ethical behavior by a willingness to pay higher prices for that firm’s product” (Creyer and Ross Jr., 1997) to others stressing that “although consumers may express a desire to support ethical companies, and punish unethical companies, their actual purchase behaviour often remains unaffected by ethical concerns” and that “price, quality and value outweigh ethical criteria in consumer purchase behaviour” (Carrigan and Attalla, 2001). Focusing on the advertising as the most prominent marketing communication tool we have constructed and conducted an interview consisting of four themes and nine questions. The conceptual frame of this paper is built on these four themes.
THEME I. The Ethics in Advertising
The first theme comprises two introductory questions about the ethics in advertising in general.
I.A. How would you define the ethics in advertising?
The term ethics in business involves “morality, organisational ethics and professional deontology” (Isaac, cited in Bergadaa’, 2007). Every industry has its own guidelines for the ethical requirements. However, the principal four requirements for marketing communications are to be legal, decent, honest and truthful. Unfortunately, in a society where the course of action of the companies is determined by profit targets the use of marketing communications messages “may constitute a form of social pollution through the potentially damaging and unintended effects it may have on consumer decision making” (Hackley and Kitchen, 1999).
One of the interviewed respondents stated that “the most successful companies do no need ethics in their activities because they have built empires.” Another view is that “sooner or later whoever is not ethical will face the negative consequences.”
I.B. What is your perception of the importance of ethics in advertising?
The second question is about the importance of being moral when communicating with/to your target audiences and the way consumers/customers view it. In different research papers we have found quite opposing conclusions. Ethics of business seems to be evaluated either as very important in the decision making process or as not really a serious factor in this process. An example of rather extreme stance is that “disaster awaits any brand that acts cynically” (Odell, 2007).
It may seem obvious that the responsibility should be carried by the advertiser because “his is the key responsibility in keeping advertising clean and decent” (Bernstein, 1951). On the other hand the companies’ actions are defined by the “the canons of social responsibility and good taste” (ibid.). One of the interviewees said:
“The only responsible for giving decent advertising is the one who profits at the end. Company’s profits should not be at the expense of society.”
Another one stated that “our culture and the level of societal awareness determine the good and bad in advertising”.
The increased importance of marketing communications ethics is underscored by the need of applying more dialogical, two-way communications approaches. The “demassification technologies have the potential to facilitate dialogue”, but the “monologic” attitude is still the predominant one (Botan, 1997). Arnold (2001) points out the cases of Monsanto and Esso which had to pay “a price for its [theirs] one-way communications strategy”. In this train of thought we may review ethics in advertisements from two different perspectives as suggested by our respondents and different points of view in the reviewed papers. The first one is that it is imperative to have one common code of ethics imposed by the law. The other affirms the independence and responsibility of every industry for setting its own standards.
THEME II. Which type of regulation should be the leading one in the field of advertising?
The next theme directs the attention towards the regulation system which should be the primary one. Widely accepted opinion is that both self regulation and legal controls should work in synergy. In other words the codes of practice are meant to complement the laws. However, in certain countries there are stronger legal controls over the advertising, e.g. in Scandinavia. On the other hand the industry’s self regulation is preferred in the Anglo-Saxon world. Still, not everyone agrees with the laissez-faire concept.
One of our respondents said:
“I believe governments should impose stricter legal frame and harsher punishment for companies which do not comply with the law.”
Needless to say, the social acceptability varies from one culture/country to another. At the end of the day “good taste or bad is largely a matter of the time, the place, and the individual” (Bernstein, 1951). It would be also probably impossible to set clear-cut detailed rules in the era of Internet and interactive TV. Therefore, both types of regulation should be applied with the ultimate aim of reaching balance between the sacred right of freedom of choice and information and minimizing possible widespread offence. Put differently, the goal is synchronising the “different ethical frameworks” of marketers and “others in society” in order to fill the “ethics gap” (Hunt and Vitell, 2006).
THEME III. Content of Advertisements.
Probably the most controversial issue in the field of marketing communications is the content of advertisements. Nwachukwu et al. (1997) distinguish three areas of interest in terms of ethical judgment of ads: “individual autonomy, consumer sovereignty, and the nature of the product”. The individual autonomy is concerned with advertising to children. Consumer sovereignty deals with the level of knowledge and sophistication of the target audience whereas the ads for harmful products are in the centre of public opinion for a long time. We have added two more perspectives to arrive at five questions in the conducted interviews. The first one concerns the advertisement that imply sense of guilt and praise affluence that in the most cases cannot be achieved and the second one is about advertisements stimulating desire and satisfaction through acquisition of material goods.
III.A. What is your attitude towards the advertisement of harmful products?
A typical example is the advertisement of cigarettes. Nowadays we cannot see slogans like “Camel Agrees with Your Throat” (Chickenhead, accessed 25th September 2007) or “Chesterfield – Packs More Pleasure – Because It’s More Perfectly Packed!” (Chickenhead, accessed 25th September 2007). The general advertisement, sponsorship and other marketing communications means are already prohibited to be used by cigarette producers. Surprisingly, most of the answers of the respondents were not against the cigarettes advertisement. One of the respondents said:
“People are well informed about the consequences of smoking so it is a matter of personal choice.”
As with many other contemporary products the shift in communications messages for cigarettes is oriented towards symbol and image building. The same can be said for the alcohol ads. A well-known example of emotional advertising is the Absolut Vodka campaign. From Absolut Nectar, through Absolut Fantasy to Absolut World the Swedish drink actually aims to be Absolut… Everything.
Advertising of hazardous products is even more harshly criticised when it is aimed at audiences with low individual autonomy, i.e. children. Two main issues in this respect are the manipulation of cigarettes and alcohol as “the rite of passage into adulthood” and the fact that “sales of health-hazardous products (alcohol, cigarettes) develop freely without much disapproval” (Bergadaa, 2007).
III.B. What is your attitude towards the advertisement to children?
Children are not only customers, but also consumers, influencers and users in the family Decision-Making Unit (DMU). Additional difficulty is that they are too impressionable to be deciders in the DMU. At the same time it is not a secret that marketers apply “the same basic strategy of trying to sell the parent through the child’s insistence on the purchase” (Bernstein, 1951). It is not a surprise then that “spending on advertising for children has increased five-fold in the last ten years and two thirds of commercials during child television programs are for food products” (Bergadaa 2007). In the US alone children represent a direct purchases market of $24 billion worth (McNeal cited in Bergadaa, 2007) which certainly is on the top of the agendas of many companies. While exploiting children’s decision-making immaturity advertisers often go too far in dematerialising their products and “teleporting children out of the tangible and into the virtual world of brand names” (Bergadaa 2007). Teenage virtual worlds like Habbo where snack food brands run advertising campaigns are already a fact of life (Goldie, 2007). The imaginative worlds are popular not only online. Hugely successful for creating a fantasy world is Mc Donald’s. The company tops the European list of kids’ advertisers while more than half of the children’s adverts are for junk food.
In some countries there are harsher restrictions to the children advertising.
• “Sweden and Norway do not permit any television advertising to be directed towards children under 12 and no adverts at all are allowed during children’s programmes.
• Australia does not allow advertisements during programmes for pre-school children.
• Austria does not permit advertising during children’s programmes, and in the Flemish region of Belgium no advertising is permitted 5 minutes before or after programmes for children.
• Sponsorship of children’s programmes is not permitted in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden while in Germany and the Netherlands, although it is allowed, it is not used in practice.” (McSpotlight, accessed 20th September 2007).
According to a research by Roberts and Pettigrew (2007) the most frequent themes in children advertising are “grazing, the denigration of core foods, exaggerated health claims, and the implied ability of certain foods to enhance popularity, performance and mood.” But the junk food is not the only reason for parents’ preoccupation. According to a study of Kaiser Family Foundation (Dolliver, 2007) parents are concerned about the amount of advertising of the following products (in order of importance): toys, video games, clothing, alcohol/beer, movies, etc.
The interviewed respondents were unanimous: “The advertising to children should be strictly monitored.” Similar results were obtained in surveys by Rasmussen Reports and Kaiser Family Foundation. Nevertheless, the legal means are just one part of the children’s protection. The other part involves “the decision-making responsibility of parents and teachers” which is “to assist their children in developing a skeptical attitude to the information in advertising” (Bergadaa 2007). The marketers themselves should also be involved in shaping the moral system of our future and “each brand should have its own deontology – a code of practice regarding children – rather than rely on industry codes” (Horgan, 2007).
III.C. Do you think there are many misleading, exaggerating and confusing advertisements. Are many ads promising things that are not possible to achieve?
It will not be exaggerated to state that advertising is in a sense “salesmanship addressed to masses of potential buyers rather than to one buyer at a time” (Bernstein, 1951). Since “salesmanship itself is persuasion” (ibid.) we cannot merely blame advertisers for pursuing their sales goals. However, in the last twenty years or so advertisers have increasingly applied semiotics in their messages and as a consequence ads have begun to function more and more as symbols. One extreme case in this stream of advertising is the creation of idealised image of a person who uses the advertised product. Bishop (2000) draws our attention to two “typical representatives of self-identity image ads” which entice consumers to project the respective images to themselves through use of the products:
– “The Beautiful Woman”;
– “The Sexy Teenagers.
Through setting of such stereotypes advertisers not only mislead the public and exaggerate the effects of products but also provoke low self-esteem in consumers. At the same time they promise results that in most cases are simply impossible to achieve. Instead of promoting “‘glamorous’ anorexic body images” communication messages should use “varied body types” and should drop the idea of the “impossible physical body images” (Bishop, 2000).
To question III.C one of the respondents commented:
“The customers of these products [the ones advertised through thin models] are mostly people who do not have the same physical characteristic. For me, this type of advertising is deliberately aimed at people to make them feel not complete, far from attractive social outsiders.”
However, another interviewed stated that: “every person has his own way of evaluating what is believable and what is misleading. Consumers are enough sophisticated to know what is exaggerated.”
Similarly, Bishop (2000) concludes that “image ads are not false or misleading”, and “whether or not they advocate false values is a matter for subjective reflection.” The author argues that image ads do not interfere with our internal autonomy and if people are misled, it is because they want it. It is all about our free choice of behaviour and no advertisement can modify our desires. Perhaps, the truth lies somewhere in-between the two extreme positions.
III.D. What is your attitude towards advertisement that imply sense of guilt, and praise affluence that in the most cases cannot be achieved?
A more specific case of controversial advertising is the one used to “promote not so much self indulgence as self doubt”; the one that “seeks to create needs, not to fulfill them: to generate new anxieties instead of allaying old ones” (Hackley and Kitchen, 1999). A response of our interviewee reads:
“It is not only a matter of advertising. It has to do with the social inequality and the desire to possess what you can not.”
Hackley and Kitchen (1999) refer to this discrepancy as to “when reality does not match the image of affluence and the result is a subjective feeling of dissonance”. The issue could be elaborated further through the next question.
III.E. Are advertisements stimulating desire and satisfaction through acquisition of material goods moral?
We live in a society which is more or less marked by materialism. Advertisements are often blamed to fuel consumption which is allegedly leading to happiness. The role of promoting satisfaction through acquisition of material goods has become so important that currently the “media products are characterised by relativism, irony, self referentiality and hedonism” (Hackley and Kitchen, 1999). Is the popular saying “those who die with most toys win” really a motivator in consumers’ behavior and could consumption be the cure of emotional dissonance? This seems to be the case provided a brand succeeds to enter in the evoked set of consumer choices. This new “kind of materialism” goes hand in hand with “the emergence of individualism via sheer hedonism along with narcissism and selfishness” (Bergadaa 2007).
THEME IV. Is the quantity of advertisements justified?
IV.A. Do you think there is too much advertising?
An audit of food advertising aimed at children in Australia by Roberts and Pettigrew (2007) revealed that “28.5 hours of children’s television programming sampled contained 950 advertisements.” Actually, we all are being bombarded by ads on TV, Internet, print media, etc. The amount and content of marketing communications messages puts the consumer’s information processing capacity to a test. The exposure to marketing data overload often leads to diluted consumer’s selective perception. Whether our responses are circumscribed by “confusion, existential despair, and loss of moral identity” or we “adapt constructively to the [communications] Leviathan and become intelligent, cynical, streetwise” (Hackley and Kitchen, 1999) is a question open to debate.
Two opposite streams of attitudes were produced in our research. One stance is concerned with the undue quantity of advertisement. The other stream proclaims that “If there is an advertisement, so it is justified by a need.” We agree that the communications overload may indeed have “pervasive effect on the social ecology of the developed world” (Hackley and Kitchen, 1999). If the increasing communication pollution is not managed properly by both legal and industry points of view yet again the advertising will manage “to hoist its foot to its own mouth and kick out a couple of its own front teeth” (Bernstein, 1951).
In preparation of this paper we have used qualitative depth interviews in order to get insights for what actual customers opine. We have also substantiated our presentation with references to a number of influential articles in the field of ethics in marketing communications. Generally, our respondents as well as various authors have taken two opposing stances. The first one affirms that ethics in marketing communications matters considerably, whereas the other one downsizes the importance of ethics, thereby stressing the role of other factors in consumer decision-making, i.e. price, brand loyalty, convenience, etc.
Marketers should understand their “responsibility for the emerging portrait of future society” (Bergadaa 2007). Not only there is a need of legal ethical frame but also professional ethical benchmarks and deontology should be in place. One of the main challenges is to avoid creating “a happy customer in the short term”, because “in the long run both consumer and society may suffer as a direct result of the marketer’s actions in ‘satisfying’ the consumer” (Carrigan and Attalla, 2001).
The strength of the advertisement influence exerted on consumers is only one part of the equation. On the other hand we may affirm that consumers are not morally subservient and according to the information process models there is a natural cognitive defense. The communications tools “offer us a theatre of our own imagination” (Hackley and Kitchen, 1999). Consequently, we accept the reality in terms of our own experiences. In this sense marketers do not create reality – they are simply a mirror of the society. We may argue that unfortunately this is not always the case.
Advertisements are all around us. Whether we’re watching television, driving down the freeway, flipping through a magazine, or listening to the radio, we are bombarded on every side by messages trying to get us to buy a product or service. And although there have been countless debates over whether or not advertising is effective and whether it really does influence people to purchase products, the fact is many companies will spend billions of dollars on a single advertisement in the hopes that it will increase their profits.
Good advertisements have the power to make people stop and take notice. You have to have been living under a rock not to notice the success of Geico’s caveman series or the iPod’s silhouette series of commercials and advertisements. And as a result of those advertisements, sales went up significantly for those two companies.
Advertising creates awareness of the product and can convey messages, attitudes, and emotions to entice and intrigue audiences. At least those are the desired effects of an advertisement. Needless to say, some advertisements fail miserably in their purpose.
So, what makes the difference between a successful advertisement and an unsuccessful one? It’s all in the design. Typically, larger organizations produce more effective advertisements, while newer and smaller companies are the ones that produce the duds. This is largely because bigger organizations have the money to hire professionals while smaller companies do not.
The advantage of hiring an in-house advertising developer or hiring an advertising agency is that you get the skills of people who have been trained in creating effective advertisements. Many have spent years and years going to school, studying past effective advertisements, looking at elements of design, and learning how to create their own effective advertising campaigns.
Learning how to create effective advertisements does not happen overnight, but there are a few simple rules that many workers for professional advertising agencies follow to create effective advertisements that will appeal to audiences and hopefully increase the company’s revenue. The following paragraphs list a few advertising principles that companies and advertisers follow when creating their own advertising campaigns.
Perhaps the most important quality of an advertisement is its uniqueness. In a world where people often see hundreds of advertisements a day, an advertisement must be unique and different in order to capture audiences’ attention. Going back to the iPod example, the single block of color with an image of a black silhouette was extremely effective at the time because it was unlike anything else around it. The simplicity of the advertisement stood out against posters and billboards that had busier images and much more text. Also, the use of bright, bold colors made people stop and look at the image. Even though the advertisement had little text on it, people got the message that this product was new, fun, and bold.
Of course, there are a variety of ways to make your advertisement stand out. Look around your area and write down descriptions of advertisements you see. What are the trends? Are they text heavy? Do they use similar colors? What kinds of images are on the advertisements? Once you start noticing trends, try to think of ways your advertisement can go against those trends and be something different–something that will make people stop and look.
One word of caution: Once you’ve made people stop and look at your advertisement, they need to be able to understand what you’re selling. You may have the most eye-catching image on your advertisement, but if it is completely unrelated to your product or service, then viewers won’t understand what you want them to buy. So, be sure that when you are selecting your images and text for your advertisement, people will understand what you’re trying to sell.
A well-designed advertisement will also communicate well to audiences. In order to figure out how to make your advertisement effective, you need to identify your audience. Who are you trying to target? Teenagers? The Elderly? Business people? Parents? There are a variety of different audiences, and the more specifically you can identify the audience for your product, the better chance you have of designing an ad that will effectively influence your audience.
For instance, if your audience consists of young teenage girls, you might choose to use bright and bold colors, but for business people you may want to create an advertisement that uses more professional blues and blacks (but don’t be afraid to be a little bolder if you’re trying to stand out).
The key is to think of the general traits of your specific audience and try to reflect those traits in your advertisement. What do they value? What do they fear? What motivates them? Once you’ve answered those questions, it should be easier to come up with a few solid ideas for an advertising campaign.
Once you’ve developed some ideas for an eye-catching advertisement and identified how you want to communicate with your specific audience, some good, solid design principles need to come into play. The advertisement needs to be legible. Viewers shouldn’t have to work to get what you’re trying to say. The advertisement needs balance. One side shouldn’t feel heavier than the other. The advertisement should also make good use of contrast, repetition, color, and pattern. When these design elements are implemented well into an advertisement, the result is a fabulous ad that will appeal aesthetically to viewers.
The above is just a brief overview of what advertisers have to think about when designing an ad. You can see why many people find it helpful to hire an advertising agency to help them develop ideas and create effective advertisements. And whether you’re looking for a Seattle or a Miami advertising agency, you shouldn’t have a problem finding an organization in your area to help you create the perfect advertisement campaign for your company.