Objectives & Strategy in Advertising

Things to know before embarking

First, we need to consider some considerations… then we’ll get to the objectives.

What is advertising?

Without looking in the dictionary, let’s cook up a definition. Here goes: “There’s this entity — the promoter. He, she, or it wants to communicate a message in order to achieve something. The word advertising covers this whole matter.”

Put everything through the wringer

You may have read, in this guide’s section titled, “History of past campaigns,” that when you’re pursuing sellable facts, you should disregard the small points. Forget that stupidity. Instead, leave no stone unturned. Consider the product from every angle. For example, fill in these blanks:

This product is a ____. Its purpose is to ____. The person who needs it is a ____. The product helps him by ____. It ends an ordeal with ____. The prospects should care because ____.

When you’re marketing a product, every part of it is “the potential Eureka,” because something you didn’t assess might jump out at you.

“Um… about those strict orders you gave me?”

You won’t lead your company to the goals by following every smart person’s advice. You’ll probably find their directives don’t match. Follow them all and you’ll only run around in circles, water down your ad, bark up the wrong tree, or some other metaphor. Rather, let their advices (new word) enhance and modify your judgment.

Scatter

If you try to take in the whole project in one sitting, it will be too overwhelming and you’ll avoid the assignment. So, take it a piece at a time. When you come up with a solution in one sub-area, it will help you in some of the others.

Getting to the objectives

What are the goals for this ad, anyway? Here are some questions that can help you find the answers.

Questions about you…

* Why are you advertising?
* What kind of results do you want?

Questions about the ad…

* What is this ad trying to do?
* What are the priorities for it?
* What is it trying to say?
* What kind of tree would it be?

Questions about the audience

* What are we asking the audience to believe?
* How do you want the audience to be changed after seeing the ad?
* What is the audience supposed to come away with?

Making notable progress over time

When asked to predict how well your campaign will perform, say this: “I know our organization wants a complete turnaround in a matter of weeks, but this is like an exercise program. We’re going to make notable progress over time. That’s a more realistic goal.”

Don’t have too many goals for an ad

You’ve already been given many objectives for one little ad. Like these:

* “Get lots of responses”
* “Say our product the most convenient”
* “Improve our company image”
* “Introduce a new feature”
* “Respond to a competitor’s bogus claim”

Coworker Cram Jammitz says, “You need to add another objective, and this is critical. We need to emphasize that ours is the most durable. Don’t you think it’s necessary to say this?”

That’s a trick question. The answer is: It’s time to reexamine what this ad is supposed to do, because it’s too full of objectives already. Some points need to go into other places, like the direct mail piece.

Satisfying the criteria

You come up with a superexcellent concept, and you fall in love with it immediately. For example, you write this headline: “Are your records stored in Uranus?” Then you realize it has a fatal shortcoming.

The mistake is to go forward with the flawed ad and hope nobody will notice or care. Most often, the defection will grow, and it will damage the campaign. The idea wasn’t worth all those troubles. Change “Uranus” to “Mars” now — before it becomes something you don’t want.

Face it: You’re selling!

One way or another, you have to sell to people. Enjoy it.

Don’t believe a successful copywriter who says, “I don’t know, I don’t try to sell anything. I lie in my garden and make little sketches of the gooseberries, and the words flow out.”

Correction: He is selling, because he is successful. It’s just that he knows how to slice the “Aw shucks” baloney and make it his self-package.

Watch the most “sincere” politicians and you’ll see the same mechanics in motion. The winners sell almost all the time. The top-top winners act as if they aren’t selling… when of course they are.

You don’t just create ads, you create responses

Here’s some cold water in the face: If you produce ads, you’re an expense. And expenses get cut. If you produce results, you’re a revenue source. And you don’t get cut. Hopefully.

Strategy

It’s it

Strategy is figuring out what you’re going to do. And as the copywriter, developing the right strategy is the most necessary work you’ll perform.

“Come on!” someone declares. “Choosing which direction to go is more important than creating content?”

Yes, because your copy is an implementation of your strategy. If your strategy is good but your creative is inferior, you’ll probably succeed. However, if your creative is good but your strategy is inferior, you’ll probably fail.

Also, your strategizing never stops, even when you’re deciding how to arrange your final copy blocks. So, wherever you are in the process, understand that you can’t be a la-la copywriter who lets everyone else handle the strategy. You have to think… and think… all the way through.

Building the framework

The framework is at the core of your strategy. It’s a simple structure your whole team should agree to before going forward. It consists of five parts, and it forms the basic basicnesses of your campaign. Here they are:

Product: What you are advertising.
Prospect: The best person to attract.
Problem: The best dilemma you can solve for the prospect.
Competition: What you can’t say because competitors say it.
Appeal: “This product gets past the competition and helps this prospect solve this problem.”

We’ll learn about these parts starting in a few pages, but there’s some other stuff first. Afterwards, you’ll assemble a phenomenal framework.

No planning is wrong…

… and over-planning is wrong. It’s foolish to throw ads out there without putting lots of thought behind them. However, it’s also bad to waste valuable months erecting a giant plan that collapses under its own weight. You need to strike a balance. Immediately.

Out with the old

Some of the smart old methods have to be tossed away. For example, the old way is to put an ad through 15 revisions before putting it out there. Please reconsider doing this, because we’re in the digital communication world. It’s better to get the ad out there in 21 days, generate responses, and keep improving everything. Three points:

This is what your smartest competitors are doing.

Minor improvements probably won’t increase the response.

You can’t say, “I took the normal amount of time to create this ad,” when the feeling is, “We’re in the digital age. You can get a great ad done in a very short time.”

Be zippy

Here is the familiar (slow) game plan for resultful advertising:

The product gains awareness in the market…
… then the prospects begin thinking favorably about it…
… and the prospects respond.

This plan makes sense on paper, but it usually falls apart in the real world. It takes too long to get responses, and the advertiser runs out of money, time, and patience.

Here is the less familiar (speedy) way: Do everything at once. In one ad, tell prospects why they should be aware of the product, why they should use it, and why they should respond now. As a result, many prospects should reply now. A respondent will say afterwards, “I never heard of that product before. I still can’t remember the name. But I contacted them, and they’re sending me a sample.”

The point: You don’t have the funds or time to build awareness first. So, take the big leap and get responses now. The person who buys your product will be aware of you, and — given your circumstances — this is enough.

The vacuum

The vacuum is a place someone puts himself in when he can’t see the realities of the…

* Audience’s needs. “Vac, few people are going to accept this.”
* Competitive situation. “Vac, our product is getting killed out there!”
* Product’s limitations. “Vac, face it: Ours is slower.”

Vac needs to get out in the world and see that he is not the market’s dictator. He is another servant to it.

Product

Introduction to the product

Now we’re getting to the bottom of everything, because that’s where the product is. Most of what you’re going to do depends on the kind of product or service you have. For example, if you’re advertising for a jewelry store, don’t show jewelry thieves.

It’s impossible to know what product you have, so this guide spends little time in this vital area. Instead, let’s overdo it and say, “Wow, it’s necessary for you to know everything about the product.” And, “Boy, it’s invaluable to study the product.”

What is this product supposed to do?

You’re reading about the product. Ask yourself, “What is this product supposed to do?” Don’t settle on easy answers. Get creative.

Let’s say you’re advertising a bucket. “Yes, it holds water,” you think. “And water saves lives.” Now it’s more than a bucket. It’s something that saves lives.

Note: This kind of thinking is a basic fundamental foundation in advertising — and a core to it.

Are you convinced?

Would you buy your product? No copping out with, “Since the product isn’t meant for me, of course I wouldn’t.” You must answer. Would you buy your product?

If yes, why? Use your answer to help construct your ad message.

If no, what is holding you back? This could lead to soul searching about the value of the product.

Hopefully: Your product is developed to the point you can say, “Of course people will choose it, because it’s a lot better.”

Regarding price

We’re going to look at price two ways:

* Investing (details are coming right up): You are convincing the prospects they are getting a strong Return on Investment, so the product doesn’t cost them anything. It saves and earns them money.
* Paying (starts aways down in this text): You’re stating that the product does indeed cost money.

Investing

Demonstrate to the audience that they aren’t spending money to get your product. They are receiving a major solution to a major problem, and more solutions to other problems. Therefore, your product is saving them in dozens of ways. They even generate income from it.

Try not to talk about how the audience is parting with dollars, because that isn’t the whole story. Talk about ways your product saves them money. Tell them it can help them make more money. Show them the time and effort they will save translates into dollars for them.

Two side points:

Promoting investment doesn’t fit every situation. For example, it probably won’t sell a cup of coffee.

Often, you do need to talk cost. For example, “It’s 20% less price than our nearest competitor. And it’s an excellent investment.”

However, you should always consider shifting the message to saving/earning, partly because it could help your audience justify the purchase.

3XROI

Before you advertise, you must reach a three-time Return on Investment (3XROI) with your product. That is, if someone spends $10 to own your product, he gets at least $30 back. To accomplish this, list what your prospects receive in return for their money. Factor in the value from increased productivity, saved time, reduced effort, and improved multi-tasking. Following are some selling points you can give to the prospects:

* Time: You’ll save hours and days. You can invest that time more productively.
* Money earned: The product helps you make more money.
* Future spending: You’ll need to buy less — next week and next year.
* Appearance: This is one sharp product, and looks can make all the difference in your job, relationships, etc.
* Effort: The struggle is over. You’re no longer bogged down.

Once you’ve tallied a 3XROI from the product, go forth and advertise! You’ll have so much eye-opening stuff, you won’t be able to fit it all in.

Tying ROI to product features

ROI alone can’t form a convincing ad, because the prospects need to know what the product does for them. So, tie features and ROI together. For example: “It works instantly, and that saves you valuable time.” Works instantly is the feature, and saves valuable time is the ROI.

Also, ROI won’t turn the trick for some low-cost and negligible purchases. If you sell thumbtacks, don’t try to convince the prospects they will get an ROI from them. However, you should still think about the ROI, because it will lead you to consider new benefits.

Basic objective: Give people lots in return for the money they pay… and lots more than the competition offers.

Paying

Fess up

It’s wonderful to talk about investment, but don’t be evasive about price. Your prospects have been advertised to hundreds of thousands of times, and they want to know what the product costs.

Do you put the price into the ad? Here is a cop out answer: Advertisers in your industry segment have probably already made this decision, because — by tradition — they either talk price or they don’t. Think twice before breaking with long-held practices.

“It costs much less… when you see what you’re getting”

If your product costs more, turn the whole matter on its head. Show the audience how your product is the better value. For example: “We give you a five-year guarantee — something the competition is afraid to offer.” There should be good reasons your product is more expensive, and you should tell them.

Don’t push the general product

It’s a waste of time to tell the restaurant owner why he should buy seafood. Why should he buy your brand of seafood?

Prospect

Goodness gracious — all this effort for one person. (This odd statement will be cleared up later on in the text.)

Going step-by-step to get the prospect

We’re going to talk more about each of the following. Here is the order:

Scope
Choose
Reach
Grab
Pull

Scope

Defining the market

The market is everyone who might buy your product.

You want to know who the market is, and we’ll get to that later on in the text. Right now, we’ll talk about how many people there are in your market.

If a wise source says your total market comprises 100,000 people, the how many question is settled. Now, the question is: What percentage of the 100,000 makes up the active market? This requires a new subsection.

The active market

Most people in the total market (that 100,000) aren’t going to buy your product — at least not this year. So, the active market becomes key. This is everyone who might buy your product now or in the near future.

What percentage of the total market can be considered the active market? That depends on a lot, including the economy, season, and price.

For example, take price. Let’s say you’re selling an expensive product. In our case:

* The total market is 100,000 people.
* The active market is 1% of that total.
* So, there are 1,000 people in the active market.

The point: If you advertise in such a way that you reach all 100,000 people (you won’t be able to — this is an academic discussion), then 1,000 people will have an active interest in responding to your ad.

This doesn’t mean 1,000 people will respond to your ad. It does mean:

* You have to put out a wonderful ad — one that gets many of those 1,000 to reply.
* You want the ad to be so good that plenty of those 99,000 others…
* Wake up
* Instantly turn themselves into active prospects
* Respond to your ad

Getting back to the price issue, if it’s an inexpensive product, the active market might be 5% of the market (not 1%, as we saw with the expensive product).

If all this sounds muddled and inexact, you get the idea. Now, let’s get more confusing and talk about who the market is. The reason: Smart advertising doesn’t speak to the whole market, but one person.

Who is this one person?

The prospect! See, you’re never addressing all the people in your audience. You’re only talking to one person: the prospect. The reason: All that matters is how your message is received, and that is done one person at a time. Case in point: You aren’t reading these words as a multi-headed being, but as an individual. All by yourself.

Side story

Agora Fobia is petrified, because she has never advertised to a million people before. She decides to formalize her style… write stiff copy… make it appropriate for all those people.

Agor should calm herself. If she had read the last section, Ag would know she is only talking to one person: the prospect. The multiplication of that number is inconsequential.

One-on-one communication

Be glad that ad communication is handled one-on-one, because you’re already wonderful at this kind of exchange. Friends always depend on you for help… you’ve given family members smart advice… and less than a month ago, your words improved the spirits of a coworker.

Don’t let a nonexistent thing called The Mass Audience keep you from using your mesmerizing powers of encouragement. In conversation, you can lead a friend to go the right way. Just do it the same way in your advertising.

Semi-relatedly, if the audience is full of VIPs, the informal style could work even better. Two reasons:

It projects confidence. You show you belong there.
It’s more daring. How could you communicate so casually with these powerful readers? You’re doing a high wire act. People innately recognize that, and they enjoy seeing it.

Putting all this another way (one that has been related by many): The prospect is no different from an e-mail companion who has a mess you can solve. You write to your friend in the style you determine, given who that person is — cousin, former manager, childhood friend, etc. You say that you…

* Understand her conundrum
* Have the right solution
* Know a special way to get that solution now (such as a sale)
* Encourage her to try the solution

And that’s about it!

Universalism

How can you select the one prospect? This requires a shift in thinking.

Since our society emphasizes the individual over the group, it’s easy to believe we’re all different. However, it ain’t so. There are enormous masses of people who are — for an advertiser’s purposes — the same. When you’re in a crowd, look around. Are those other people familiar? They’re you! They have the same basic things you do. And, since things are what advertisers sell, the issue is settled.

Advertisements are rife with irony here. You see ads with these messages: “You’re one of a kind! You go your own way.” Yet they’re selling, what — a million of these products? Advertisers speak to what an individual believes, and then they expand it to the masses.

Universalism leads to consistency

How can you see social consistency firsthand? Perhaps you have something that people always get wrong. They always pronounce your last name wrong. They think you’re the younger one, but you’re actually older. That is social consistency, and you can do wonders with it.

For example, if you send a message to 1,000 people and it delivers a 3% response, you can ramp up. Mail that same piece to 15,000 similar people and get, um, probably not a 3% response. It might be 2% or 1%, because things don’t operate that cleanly. However, it’s unlikely you’ll get a 0.01% response, and that’s key. You can score many successes with this range of consistency.

Overall thinking: If you understand the continuity in people, you’ll enjoy a wonderful career in advertising.

Collective consciousness

This is what a market communally feels. To shed more light on this, let’s make you a car dealer (though that will only be noteworthy near the end). You’re on your lunch break. You go into the quick shop, and you hear two people talking about a major rock concert that’s rolling into town. Then you stop at a fast food place and you hear someone else talking about the same concert. You surmise there is a collective consciousness of this concert. That is, a vigorous percentage of the community is talking about it and thinking about it. There is a buzz.

OK, you car dealer: You’re creating a radio commercial, and it starts running this Thursday. You toss out your traditional script and say this: “Everyone’s talking about the concert event of the year. That’s right. This Saturday, my brother Rich will play his electric guitar in our showroom. And we have free admission.”

In sum, you’re playing off the concert — something that has a collective consciousness. You’re redirecting some of the buzz to you.

Know your prospect’s personality

Study what it is and find your own insightful insights. For example, you might say this: “She’s a fickle person. But that means she’ll also be loyal, because she probably won’t find other solutions that satisfy her. We should invest more to get her as a customer, because she’ll stay with us longer.”

Mind of the market

With market behavior, nothing is simple. The prospect can act irrationally. Nostalgically. Territorially. Loyally. Emotionally. You’ll invest a career trying to understand what the prospect wants, and if you can gain more knowledge each year, you’re ahead.

Physical profile

Many like the idea of naming the prospect and writing up a description. For example: “Our prospect is Rhonda, a 38-year-old accountant who lives in a St. Louis suburb. She worries about her five-year-old collie, because… ” This write-up is effective if coworker Nocon Trol is feeling flighty. It helps prevent him from saying, “Let’s advertise to interplanetary beings. There’s an untapped audience.”

Otherwise, whether you need to write a profile depends on what you’re selling. For example, if men and women use your product equally, it doesn’t help to say the prospect is a man. In most cases, your prospect can be The Prospect, a person who could have this or that title, and might be employed in this or that department.

Only one thing is really necessary: Everyone must share the same problem.

When the prospect isn’t just self

Your prospect might act on behalf of someone else. For example, the man becomes sick. His wife does everything she can to resolve his condition. You might advertise to his wife.

Jaded

Few will admit it, but the prospect relies on advertising more than any other source for product knowledge. (Now, that’s power.) However, learning what is out there is wearisome for him. He has to sift through piles of BS, and this has made him as jaded as you are. Maybe more.

So, you have a choice: You can either give him more of the same crud he’ll brush off, or give him something innovative and helpful.

Choose

Journey to the center of the world

Bert says, “Our prospect knows he’s insignificant. He sees himself as the little guy. Let’s begin from there.”

And Bert can end there, too. Because every person is a center, and the world revolves around him or her. Take you, for example. While you put family, friends, and workplace before yourself, on a minute-by-minute basis your life belongs to you — you’re number one. Advertising catches you in those minutes, and smart advertisers direct their messages to you — the center of the universe.

Question: Does your ad put your prospect first, eighth, or 3,792,453,327th?

Get into the prospect’s life

Contemplate everything related to your prospect. What are her likes and dislikes, and hopes and fears? You’re going to find some things that put you in hot pursuit of a concept.

For example, you think: “Our prospect is the kind of lady who puts a holiday wreath on the front grill of her car. Hmm. What can I do with that?”

2-d to 3-d

Some advertisers have superficial views of their potential customers. They say their customers…

* “Drink beer all day”
* “Only care about their golf games”
* “Are single minded. It’s all music at that age”

All this misses the boat. Rather than putting up cardboard cutouts of people, discover the three-dimensional world inside them. Then you’ll connect with them.

A preachy moment

The advertiser should fade from the process if he would not want to have…

* The prospect as a friend
* Dinner in the prospect’s neighborhood

Reasons:

* The advertiser can’t make genuine appeals to the prospect.
* The prospect deserves advertising from someone who respects her. Advertising con artists need to be identified and banished to remote islands.

How hip is your prospect?

That is going to determine how much lingo, humor and irony you can use.

The powerful have less time

If you sat in an airport all day and watched travelers read publications, how many people would tear out ads, or call a phone number in an ad? Probably zero. It shows how hard your ad has to work.

The more decision-making power the prospect has, the less time she has. She is busy with other matters, so don’t tell her everything you want to. Instead, give your choicest points, relate them to solutions she needs, and make a powerful limited-time offer. That’s it! That’s really it.

Seeing how people see

Without looking like a creep, glance at the way other people read magazines. Comm Uter scans the ads with little concern. If the visual or headline doesn’t get him, he moves on to the next page.

However, if an ad does catch his attention, he’ll give it 10 more seconds of his time. Will he continue to be drawn in? It mostly depends on whether the ad’s worker creator tried to make that happen.

The observer

As an advertising person, you should have to have an overwhelming, lifelong interest in what people are doing — what they are carrying, holding, eating, etc. Also, you should want to know what kinds of people they are in relation to what they are doing.

Reach

The Jump-In method

Amazing but true: Inside you is almost everything you need to sell the prospect. This is best shown with the Jump-In method. Here, you keep your own mind, and you hop into the body of your prospect.

For example: Our hopper-inner is Bob. He is advertising lifesaving climbing equipment. Bob thinks, “As a mountain climber, I’d be worried about getting paralyzed. But I wouldn’t be worried about falling and dying, even though that’s what I’m supposed to be addressing. I think I’ll talk about preventing paralysis in the next ad.”

So, with the Jump-In method, you apply your own sensibilities to the prospect’s situation, and you advertise accordingly.

Kant Dewit says, “But my prospect is a 76-year-old grandmother, and I’m not.” So what? You and she have lots in common. Imagine how you’d feel in her position, and you’ll gain access to her mind and world. And this is where you need to be.

Also, you’ll eliminate inconsequentialities in your advertising. Reason: If you wouldn’t care about it, you wouldn’t ask your prospect to care about it. This consolidates your copy — power-packs it.

A happy statement: Use the Jump-In method, and you and the prospect will enjoy from a long and trusting relationship.

Get in line with the prospect’s thinking

If you can say what the prospect is thinking, you’re close to getting a response from him. Because… how can he resist? You’re on his wavelength. You’ve hit the nail on the head. You and he are partners in a single thought.

Tracking with the prospect means you’re not behind him, ahead of him, too far to the left or right, or on his bad side. You’re with him.

Unfortunately, some advertisers cannot act as the prospect does. They want to bring the prospect around to the company’s way of thinking. And this will likely fail.

Who is trying to reach you?

In the last week, did any advertisers really try to reach you, or were they taking comfort saying to themselves, “We’re out here, and we look as good as the other ads.” Don’t take this attitude in your advertising. Reach the prospect.

Insights over benefits

What is commonly known: Smart advertising talks about benefits more than features. What is less known: Smarter advertising talk about insights more than benefits. For examples:

* Good… show a feature: “This car is solidly built.”
* Smart… provide a benefit: “This car saves you from repairs.”
* Smarter… give an insight: “Tired of wasting money on repairs? This car is the answer.”

Insights put you where you need to be:

* Reading the prospect’s mind
* Striking a chord
* Making a connection

When you’re connecting, the prospect trusts you enough (not much, but enough) that you can lead him through the advertisement and to the response zone.

Side note: When you’re on track, you can take the prospect to extreme places. For instance, you say, “That could take a week, and in your business, that’s an eternity.” The prospect thinks, “You can say that again.”

Front and back of mind

If people only did what the fronts of their minds told them to, there would be no donut shops. Therefore, the back of the mind is active. Advertise to it.

Driven by reason or emotion?

That is a key question, because those two choices (reason and emotion) take you in different directions.

The Fundamentals of Direct Response Radio Advertising

Direct response radio advertising, at its core, works in the same way regardless of what type of business you are in. Whether you own a direct-to-consumer model business, a retail business, a web business, or some combination thereof, direct response radio advertising can help you grow. And grow profitably. The fundamentals of direct response radio, then, must start with a discussion of how radio advertising works within the context of a basic business model. The purpose of this article is to convey the fundamentals of direct response radio advertising that apply across businesses.

First, Two Important Concepts

Throw out all you think you know about advertising, radio advertising, and especially direct response advertising. It’s best to begin with a clean slate, a blank whiteboard so-to-speak. There are two important concepts I want to introduce before moving forward.

Concept One: Radio as A Highway From Your Business to Your Potential Customers

Think of radio advertising as a 5,000 lane highway from your business to groups (station audiences) of your potential customers. The many lanes on this highway are the many different radio stations and radio networks that are available for you air your radio advertisement. It is on these “lanes” that you send your message to your customers.

The lanes are clustered in such a way that they reach groups collections of customers who have similar tastes and demographic profiles. Therefore, some of these lanes lead to groups that have a high concentration of people who match your target customer profile. As a result, advertising on those lanes (stations) is more profitable than others with a lower concentration of your target customer profile. These groupings are the radio formats, which are used in radio advertising to enhance the efficiency of, or return on, advertising efforts. For more about radio formats, see our summary at http://www.strategicmediainc.com/radio-advertising.php.

Concept Two: Radio Advertising is a Profit-Driver, Not a Cost Center

At this juncture, the one thing many business people can’t seem to put out of their mind is the one of “how much does it cost” to advertise on radio. We’ve written extensively about this question because it is one of the most common that we get. The problem is that embedded in this question is the presupposition that radio advertising is a cost. The concept that one needs to fully grasp is that radio advertising is not a cost center. That is, it does not stand alone without any relation to revenue or profit. It is detrimental to think of direct response radio advertising as a cost because that leads to managing as though it’s a cost, which means minimizing or eliminating it. Contrast this with managing it like it’s an investment, and maximizing the return you realize on it.

Direct response radio advertising – by its very definition – is a profit-driver. If it’s not driving a profit, it would not exist – or at the very least it would not be called direct response radio advertising but instead “brand” or “awareness” advertising. Profitability is a fundamental aspect of direct response radio advertising.

On To the Fundamentals

Now that we’ve cleared our minds and allowed for two basic concepts about how to think about radio advertising, let’s move on to the meat of the fundamentals of direct response radio advertising.

The Basic Formula

We’ll begin with the basic formula involved in all direct response advertising:

You buy placement in radio media to air your radio ad, which gets your message broadcast to a certain number of people. This results in a cost per person reached with your message. In advertising this is known as CPM, or cost per thousand impressions of your ad.

Some percentage of those people will respond (call, visit your web site, visit your store), giving you a response rate.

Of those who respond (otherwise known as leads), a percentage will be converted into customers (orders), and by that conversion rate generate profit and revenue.

From this formula, you will derive your media “CPO”, or “cost per order”, which is found by dividing media spend by the number of orders achieved with that spend (media spend in the numerator/number of orders in the denominator). This is the amount it costs you in radio advertising to acquire one new customer, which is why it is also called “cost per acquisition” (“CPA”).

The important question at this point is this: Is the lifetime value (“LTV”) of each of your customers, on average, greater than this CPO? This fundamental question applies whether your business is a direct response advertising business (which includes radio advertising, print advertising, DRTV, catalog, or internet) or a traditional retailer. Every business pays to acquire a customer, and every business has a certain propensity to retain that customer over a period of time in a relationship consisting of subsequent purchases and therefore profit streams. Regardless of whether your business uses direct response radio to acquire new customers, or it uses one of the other approaches to customer acquisition, your success will be fundamentally based on whether your business model facilitates a strongly positive lifetime value. If it does not, there is little that radio advertising, or any other form of advertising, can do to change this.

If your LTV is not greater that your CPO, your business isn’t profitable and you’ll want to stop advertising so you can make the changes to both the advertising and the business model that will result in profitability. Even if LTV is greater than CPO, you will want to increase that amount to maximize your profitability. To do this, you’ll need to increase LTV and/or decrease CPO. This process is called business (or campaign) profitability optimization, and it is absolutely essential to the long term success of any direct responses radio advertising effort.

Improving Lifetime Value

There are a number of ways to increase the LTV of each customer. Let’s look at three of the main ways:

1. Increase price without increasing cost. One way to do this is by increasing the percentage of orders that include high-margin upsells. Retailers do this all the time. They put super high margin items right at the checkout. Direct response advertisers can learn a lot from this. Identify widely appealing, complementary items and ensure they are offered as part of the sales process.

2. Increase repeat purchase. You have paid to acquire that customer, now develop a relationship and continue to meet their needs to drive repeat purchase. If they only buy once from you, you don’t have a very viable business unless that first purchase is incredibly high margin.

3. Reduce your cost structure. Take advantage of your increased volume to negotiate better product costs, shipping costs, etc.

Improving Cost Per Order

Just as there are a number of ways to increase LTV, there are also many ways to decrease the CPO.

1. Reduce the media cost per person reached. Also known as CPM, this is a standard metric used in advertising. It reflects the cost to reach 1000 people. (remember that CPM stands for “cost per thousand” impressions of your message). This is a constant focus of any good direct response radio agency, and the element in direct response radio advertising that has received the most attention. This is why every dollar of media in direct response radio is remnant advertising. But that’s not all that should be considered when looking to reduce CPM. Leveraging database technology and using scientific testing methodology, it is possible to identify the optimum schedule to use in placing the media. Thus optimizing the media schedule can meaningfully reduce CPM.

2. Increase response rate. Again, media scheduling will play a role here. In addition, use of radio formats to effectively target the right customers is vital to optimizing response rate. But perhaps the greatest impact on response rate in direct response radio advertising is the messaging in the radio ad itself. Great direct response radio ads significantly enhance the responsiveness of the media dollars spent. Your radio agency’s ability to create radio ads that elicit response from your potential customers is a crucial element in direct response radio advertising success.

3. Increase conversion rates. Increasing the percentage of inquiries that become customers can have an enormous impact on campaign profitability. The factors that will most impact conversion rate are your sales scripting, web copy, product offers, pricing, and your guarantee or return policy. As much as any other variable, these factors need to be tested and continuously refined.

Implications and Conclusions

Now that you understand the fundamentals of direct response radio advertising, let’s look at the implications and conclusions that these fundamentals illuminate:

1. The role of database technology and analysis

By now it is clear that optimizing both lifetime value and cost per order maximizes your business profitability. But doing these things also requires capturing and analyzing an enormous quantity of data. To do this in a way that allows for distilling insights requires a robust database specifically tuned for direct response radio, along with well-refined analysis approaches. Fortunately, database technology and robust analysis are a part of the services your radio agency will provide for you.

2. The importance of ongoing testing

Any discussion of the fundamentals of direct response radio advertising (or any type of direct response advertising) would be incomplete without addressing the topic of testing. When you look at the above approaches to maximizing campaign profitability, you see the key metrics that must be impacted. But how do you actually impact them? How do you know whether offer A is better than offer B? or C? How do you know whether copy D drives a better response rate than the control? How do you know whether the sales scripting or the pricing structure could be improved by certain changes? The only way to know these things is to test. As a result, testing is a never-ending element in direct response radio advertising efforts. If you are not testing, you are slowly going out of business.

3. Success in direct response radio advertising is about more than costs

As we’ve mentioned, one of the biggest questions we get is “how much does it cost to advertise on the radio?”. Done correctly, direct response radio advertising is not a cost center, it’s a profit center. It’s a very efficient way to acquire new customers at a low CPO. To learn more on the topic of radio advertising costs and how to budget for radio advertising, see our article at http://www.strategicmediainc.com/radio-advertising-articles/.

4. Nearly any business can grow profitably with direct response radio advertising

It is difficult for me to think of businesses that cannot benefit from the kind of radio advertising that we are involved in. Direct response radio advertising is different from other forms of advertising because it is accountable for results, and the only way it can be accountable is to leverage a set of technological and human systems and processes to accurately capture, analyze and interpret results of the advertising. Once you have that in place, you have established a continuous improvement loop. Therefore, provided you have a profitable business model and a good product that delivers on a unique and relevant promise, your business can profitably acquire new customers with direct response radio advertising. That’s the ultimate promise of direct response radio: the ability to grow your business profitably at the rate you want to grow it. Once you establish profitability, you need only increase your media spend to drive higher revenues and profits.

The Fundamentals in Perspective

Direct response radio advertising does not stand alone in creating a business. It works in combination with your business model to acquire new customers at a low, and therefore profitable, CPO. What makes direct response radio advertising so attractive is its efficiency and flexibility, which results in comparatively low CPO’s relative to other mediums.

This article explains the fundamental elements involved in how nearly any business can use direct response radio advertising to acquire new customers and grow both profitably and rapidly. Once you understand the fundamentals of radio advertising, you’re ready to embark on the process of building a direct response radio advertising campaign. That process involves developing a radio advertising strategy, creating radio ads that drive response, and implementing a radio media plan that delivers your message to the right people for the right cost.

The Top Five Secrets To Advertising Strategies – Starting With Your First Ad

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.

3. COMMUNICATION MEDIA The communication media is the means by which the advertising message is transmitted to the consumer. In addition to marketing objectives and budgetary restraints, the characteristics of the target consumer need to be considered as an advertiser decides what media to use. The types of media categories from which advertisers can choose include the following:

o Print-primarily newspapers (both weekly and daily) and magazines.

o Audio-FM and AM radio.

o Video-Promotional videos, infomercials.

o World Wide Web.

o Direct mail.

o Outdoor advertising-Billboards, advertisements on public transportation (cabs, buses).

After deciding on the medium that is 1) financially in reach, and 2) most likely to reach the target audience, an advertiser needs to schedule the broadcasting of that advertising. The media schedule, as defined by Hills, is “the combination of specific times (for example, by day, week, and month) when advertisements are inserted into media vehicles and delivered to target audiences.”

4. ADVERTISING MESSAGE An advertising message is guided by the “advertising or copy platform,” which is a combination of the marketing objectives, copy, art, and production values. This combination is best realized after the target consumer has been analyzed, the product concept has been established, and the media and vehicles have been chosen. At this point, the advertising message can be directed at a very concrete audience to achieve very specific goals. There are three major areas that an advertiser should consider when endeavoring to develop an effective “advertising platform”:

o What are the product’s unique features?

o How do consumers evaluate the product? What is likely to persuade them to purchase the product?

o How do competitors rank in the eyes of the consumer? Are there any weaknesses in their positions? What are their strengths?

Most business consultants recommend employing an advertising agency to create the art work and write the copy. However, many small businesses don’t have the up-front capital to hire such an agency, and therefore need to create their own advertising pieces. When doing this a business owner needs to follow a few important guidelines.

5. COPY When composing advertising copy it is crucial to remember that the primary aim is to communicate information about the business and its products and services. The “selling proposal” can act as a blueprint here, ensuring that the advertising fits the overall marketing objectives. Many companies utilize a theme or a slogan as the centerpiece of such efforts, emphasizing major attributes of the business’s products or services in the process. While something must be used to animate the theme …care must be taken not to lose the underlying message in the pursuit of memorable advertising.”

When writing the copy, direct language (saying exactly what you mean in a positive, rather than negative manner) has been shown to be the most effective. The theory here is that the less the audience has to interpret, or unravel the message, the easier the message will be to read, understand, and act upon. As Jerry Fisher observed in Entrepreneur, “Two-syllable phrases like ‘free book,’ ‘fast help,’ and ‘lose weight’ are the kind of advertising messages that don’t need to be read to be effective. By that I mean they are so easy for the brain to interpret as a whole thought that they’re ‘read’ in an eye blink rather than as linear verbiage. So for an advertiser trying to get attention in a world awash in advertising images, it makes sense to try this message-in-an-eye-blink route to the public consciousness-be it for a sales slogan or even a product name.”

The copy content needs to be clearly written, following conventional grammatical guidelines. Of course, effective headings allow the reader to get a sense of the advertisement’s central theme without having to read much of the copy. An advertisement that has “50% off” in bold black letters is not just easy to read, but it is also easy to understand.

Sound Advertising

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.

Websites

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.

Advertisers

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.

Advertisements

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.

Changing Markets

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.

Whether you like it, or not, online audio advertising is here to stay.

Advertising – Precious Information Or Vicious Manipulation?

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).

CONCLUSION

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.

Advertising is often deservedly seen as the embodiment of consumer freedom and choice. Notwithstanding this important role, when the choice is “between one candy bar and another, the latest savoury snack or sweetened breakfast cereal or fast food restaurant” (McSpotlight, accessed 20th September 2007) it represents anything else but not an alternative and certainly not a healthy one.

The words of Bernstein (1951), said fifty-six years ago are still very much a question of present interest: “It is not true that if we ‘save advertising, we save all,’ but it seems reasonable to assume that if we do not save advertising, we might lose all.”

Anonymous (2006). Module Book 6, Marketing Communications, University of Leicester.

Arnold, M. (2001). Walking the Ethical Tightrope (Marketing Corporate Social Responsibility), Marketing, 7/12/1001, p. 17.

Bergadaa M. (2007). Children and Business: Pluralistic Ethics of Marketers, Society and Business Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 53-73.

Bernstein, S. R. (1951). Good Taste in Advertising, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 42-50.

Bishop, J. D. (2000). Is Self-Identity Image Advertising Ethical?, Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 371-398.

Botan, C. (1997). Ethics in Strategic Communication Campaigns: The Case for a New Approach to Public Relations, Journal of Business Communication, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 188-202.

Carrigan, M. and Attalla, A. (2001). The Myth of the Ethical Consumer – Do Ethics Matter in Purchase Behaviour?, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 18, No. 7, pp. 560-577.

Chickenhead, ‘Truth in advertising’. Online. Available at: chickenhead.com/truth/chesterfield6.html (accessed 25th September 2007).

Chickenhead, ‘Truth in advertising’. Online. Available at: chickenhead.com/truth/camel1.html (accessed 25th September 2007).

Creyer, E. H. and Ross Jr. W. T. (1997). The Influence of Firm Behavior on Purchase Intention: Do Consumers Really Care About Business Ethics?, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp. 421-432.

Dolliver, M. (2007). A Parental Dim View of Advertising, Adweek, Vol. 48, No. 26, pp. 25.

Goldie, L. (2007). Brands Free To Use Virtual Worlds To Target Kids, New Media Age, 8/9/2007, p. 2.

Hackley, C. E. and Kitchen P. J. (1999). Ethical Perspectives on the Postmodern Communications Leviathan, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 15-26.

Horgan, S. (2007). Online Brands Need Their Own Ethical Guidelines, Marketing Week, Vol. 30, No. 26, p. 30.

Hunt, S. D. and Vitell, S. J. (2006). The General Theory of Marketing Ethics: A Revision and Three Questions, Journal of Macromarketing; Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 143-153.

McSpotlight, ‘Advertising to children, UK the worst in Europe’ Online. Available at: mcspotlight.org/media/press/food_jan97.html, (accessed 20th September 2007).

Nwachukwu, S.L.S, Vitell, Jr. S.J., Gilbert, F.W., Barnes, James H. (1997). Ethics and Social Responsibility in Marketing: An Examination of the Ethical Evaluation of Advertising Strategies, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 107-118.

Odell, P. (2007). Marketing under the Influence, Promo, Vol. 20, No. 6, p. 27.

Roberts, M. and Pettigrew, S. (2007). A Thematic Content Analysis of Children’s Food Advertising, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 357-367.

Singhapakdi, A. (1999). Perceived Importance of Ethics and Ethical Decisions in Marketing,
Journal of Business Research, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 89-99.

Stanford University, ‘Alcoholic Advertisements’. Online. Available at: stanford.edu/class/linguist34/advertisements/alcohol%20ads/index.htm, (accessed 20th September 2007).

Radio Advertising Costs

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).

The Message

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.

The Media

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.*

*Note, these are gross rates and do not include production costs or agency discounts. These are market averages for the standard radio schedule mentioned above, actual costs may vary. Does not factor in added value, ROS schedules, bonus spots, etc. Different combinations of dayparts on different stations may cost much less.

* Markets 1 -5 (ex: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.)

Expect to pay from $4000 to $8000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 6 – 20 (ex: Dallas/Ft.Worth, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, etc.)

Expect to pay from $2000 to $5000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 21 – 50 (ex: Denver, Cleveland, Kansas City, etc.)

Expect to pay from $1000 to $3000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 51- 150 (ex: Akron, Syracuse, Baton Rouge, etc.)

Expect to pay from $800 to $2000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 150+ (ex: Myrtle Beach SC, Green Bay, Topeka, etc.)

Expect to pay from $500 to $1500 per week/per station for a top performing station.

You may be saying, “Wow! That can be expensive”. In some cases it is! These are standards and radio advertising schedules come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, schedules are smaller depending on advertising goals and objectives. However, it is recommended that you are able to commit to the range of minimums.

The Elements of a Good Advertisement

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.

So, if you’re thinking of creating a new ad or ad campaign for your company, by following the above guidelines and suggestions, you can create the most effect advertisements as possible, convey the message you want to convey, and be one your way to increasing revenue.

Flyer Printing – The Ultimate Guide to Flyers & Print Advertising

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

Before You Advertise Know the Facts! Offline Advertising Vs Online Advertising

What forms of advertising are available to you in Cookeville? Should you advertise your local business Offline or Online? You can better decide that once you understand the buying process a person goes through before spending money on a service or a product. It could take days, even years for a person to go through this process.

Understanding this journey will assist you in determining what advertising methods would work best in spreading your message. We will be discussing reach and estimated cost between traditional offline advertising and Online Pay-Per-Click Advertising.

Typical Consumer Buying Process:

Most all consumers have the same pre-defined actions before buying Anything! Listed below are the purchasing steps people like you and I unknowingly use.

Potential customers become aware that they have a need, want or problem
They gather information about the product, service or solution that could possibly fix their problem
They ask their friends opinions, read customer reviews & consumer reports, watch videos and the list of fact-finding research methods goes on

Only then, when people have gathered this information, do they feel comfortable enough to make a buying decision. The information gathering phase accounts for roughly 95% of a client’s buying process. This leaves only 5% of customers ready to buy at any given time.

What does this have to do with advertising in Cookeville?

Simply put, the buying process is common to all potential customers. When you advertise your business in Cookeville or your Cookeville business to potential clients in Nashville or Knoxville, you must understand who your message will reach and when. Telling the world about your business is only effective if it produces a return on investment, Right? In order to produce result oriented advertising you must inform shoppers and provide buyers with exactly what they are looking for, giving them incentive to buy.

Offline Advertising

Advertisers in Cookeville can choose Offline Advertising in the forms of radio, TV, newspapers or other publications and billboards. Average monthly cost for these services when opting in for minimum exposure can cost you an estimated $20-$35 a day. That translates into an average of $825mo or $9900 a year.

These forms of advertising can take your message into Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Constant exposure can brand your business by “keeping your name out there” in the community to shoppers and attract potential buyers along the way.

How it Works

Essentially it comes down to exposing a message or multiple messages to the people who read a particular paper or publication, use a common street, listen to the radio or watch TV in a predefined area or location. The goal here is to advertise to the majority and hope you catch some buyers along the way. In theory you are only advertising to 5% of the population for direct response.

Now, I understand, you are advertising to everyone in your chosen area, but only five percent of the given population will be ready to buy today. It is important that you position your ads in order to market to the all the potential customers that may come in contact with your advertising.

It is best to provide an informational message that speaks directly to the 95% of people who are gathering information about the products or services you offer. You will also want to provide your viewers or listeners an alternative message driven towards direct sales in order to support the cost of your advertising. This increases your exposure, branding your business by informing shoppers and giving buyers what they are looking for with good reason to complete their buying process.

If you are a small business trying to grow, you will most likely want to keep your message focused towards the 5% of the people on the verge of buying. Dealing with smaller budgets requires you to increase you odds for making sales and money immediately from your advertising. Although it will cost more than the estimate above, it is always a good idea to multiply these messages on different advertising platforms, including online advertising for maximum results.

Viral Advertising Business Performance

Why use viral advertising strategies in your business marketing efforts.
Using shock therapy to implement an online advertising campaign for your business.
Using viral advertising in your social media marketing and Facebook Fanpages will excel your results much faster.
Don’t shove your advertising message down their throats, let it go viral naturally.
Present unique and creative advertising campaigns to increase traffic and expose new prospects.
Creating a viral epidemic of buyers is your main business goal with your advertising strategy.
Learning to leverage your advertising budget for sustainable momentum.
Establish a success formula that can be repeated in your business viral advertising over and over again.
Add the most important ingredient to your advertising campaigns and that is creativity.
Be prepared to embrace new technology, software and APPS in your marketing strategy.

1. There is nothing more effective in promoting your message as a good viral advertising campaign. Viral advertising is designed to use the power of many and inspire others to promote your message for you. This is simply “word of mouth” advertising, is amazingly effective. A business owner can start a viral advertising campaign with no money invested, and let the online community spread your message like wildfire. You can now save advertising money that you were spending on newspaper ads, flyers, door hangers, and even TV commercials. Viral advertising is estimated to be 500 and even up to 1000 times more effective that a regular ad campaign.

If you can learn how to express an idea with commitment and dedication that has an emotion attached to it, you will get people’s attention. It doesn’t matter if you are a madman or idiot, even bad press gets good press time. You can’t please everyone but you can get an emotional reaction out of most people, when owning a strong opinion and sharing it. Being neutral in your viral advertising will not bring you in the sales. Have something to say that will impact their life, or at least make them react a bit. Don’t worry about whether or not they love you or hate you, just be confident that your product is worth their attention either way and stay committed to gaining their trust.

2. Get your business noticed by shock marketing, state something completely unexpected that will make them stop and read more. Being dramatic and doing something out of the ordinary with your product gets attention. Are you just marketing advertisements, or are you marketing an extraordinary exiting story about your product. If you Ad is interesting and highlights your product in a subtle way, you will keep people’s attention longer, and get closer to bringing them to the “I want” it stage. Viral advertising is 100% about emotions, so take them by surprise and do something totally unexpected.

3. Set Up Exciting Viral Content in Parts and then sequels, where the viral advertising message continues.

Ever hear of Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 – once you create Part 1 they start looking for where do I find Part 2 as they want to know the end of the story or the end of the feature comparison prompting them to purchase your product. Make sure you keep their attention once you have it by providing a “Call To Action”. Sell them on the value of why they need your widget, gadget or useful product then introduce an offer they can’t refuse to purchase the product.

The next step is to motivate them to share your awesome and exciting presentation with another associate. This is the meat and potatoes of viral advertising, present information that is so interesting and unique that everyone wants to tell someone else what they read, heard or saw. Set up your “Shock Wave” content so that others can download and then embed it into their own blog or email to others. Upload a short video series on all your advertising “bloopers”, or business bloopers, maybe trying to put together a piece of furniture or equipment and getting it all wrong the first time. Then provide another “Call To Action” using your Facebook Fanpage that they can “Like”, along with the other top social media sharing sites.

4. It is not surprising to hear that many consumers feel jaded when it comes to online shopping. Nobody wants products shoved down their throats through mass advertising methods and using hard sell marketing. If you want to get the consumers attention in this fast paced modern world, you need to be unique and most importantly interesting. Smart consumers are quickly distracted from boring content and they will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to your viral advertising message.

A proven and trusted method of advertising and marketing that get results is viral advertising, and fortunately for the marketer new software developments can make all the difference. Your personal recommendation is still stronger than any other form of advertising on the planet period! People trust people, and with smart phones using text messaging by the second, and social media sites getting posted on every event of the day, if you have presented your product offer in a way that makes them remember you, you have one half the battle.

5. By fulfilling some unique marketing strategies you remove your business from the mainstream humdrum advertising practices. It’s a known fact that many people feel frustrated with the usual conventional way many businesses sell their products. Don’t let your business fall into this pitiful trap of no return. Step to the plate and be the one who stands out in the crowd, who motivates prospects to burn blisters on their fingers, texting about your great buy of the day.

Business owners are becoming much more conscious of profits and losses due to advertising decisions they have made, and it’s impact on their ROI (return of investment). So the questions comes forth “can we affect people from the inside, from their emotional self and not just from the mind”? So is viral advertising becoming not only the new trend but the must have trend to succeed online. It is our ability to influence the mass public at large that creates successful viral advertising campaigns. Ads that influence the behavior of the viewer in such a ways that they are motivated to share their exciting experience is the purest testament of what viral advertising is all about. If enough of their friends and contact embraces their excitement over what they have been exposed to the viral advertising cycle begins to circulate.

6. Your ultimate goal of course would be to create an viral advertising campaign that causes a behavioral epidemic of buyers. An infectious viral result where everyone wants to be able to say “Yes I Saw That”, or “Yes I heard about that”, or “Yes I watched that”, so that they appear to be in the loop with the latest and newest hot selling protégé. Some marketers prey on the idea of owning a “Secret”, something so special that only a few get access to it. It then becomes an obsession everyone wants to know the secret and will go to any length to get access to it. If you can only offer medium media exposure of your product, then relying on these viral advertising methods becomes essential.

So is your goal to place an advertisement that is seen by 10 who tell one person each, becomes 20 who tell one person becomes 40 and so on. Or do you want real viral advertising success where you place your viral advertisement and get 100 who tell 10, who tell 10 who tell 10. So who is in control here, the business marketing manager of course, the one who decides how the advertising budget is allocated. Is he reserved and old fashioned, or is he brave and uninhibited and adventurous. It is an knows fact that Viral Advertising does in fact work very effectively, and it is the business owners goal to seek out a reliable viral advertising business source.

7. Once your viral advertising campaign has become viralized, it is proof that you have found a suitable target market audience for your product. Once this is identified, you can leverage your viral advertising budget maintaining a perpetual cycle and not a static ad campaign. In order to always be able to identify your most effective viral advertising campaign, it is important to use proven methodologies with specific tracking measures built right in.

8. So does your business have an “Online Viral Advertising Formula”? Is your business aiming high for thousands of hits, a true testament of a successful viral advertising campaign. Marketing consultants know that the more informative your advertising the more persuasive it will be to the consumer. What really makes the consumer decide to purchase your product is based on the content provided in the advertisement more than it’s layout or and whether or not their is something worth sharing, or texting about.

With the ever changing fast moving internet world coming up with a formula for viral advertising is not an easy task. A good rule of thumb is “What motivates you to share a viewed advertisement is different to what motivates you to get out your credit card and finish the purchase.

9. Going back to our conversation about emotions, if you can make someone laugh or gasp or look in disbelief to what they are viewing your chances are the best that they will share that experience with their friends, associates, and followers on social media sites.

The magic of every successful viral advertising campaign begins with a great unique idea. The one main ingredient in all online successful advertising campaigns is creativity in your graphics, your presentation, your keywords and your identified target market. Training business owners though to give each viral advertising campaign they embark on time to mature, time for the seed to sprout, time for the momentum to build and the rewards to pour in from all their hard work and efforts.

10. Don’t be shy to take advantage of the ever fast changing technology world to benefit your business advertising efforts. Finding a great viral advertising business can be a real game changer for your online advertising results. Most importantly look for a viral advertising business that is free to join, and that uses state of the art software designed to drive your business into the next galaxy.

Viral advertising will always win in the end simply due to the abundant measure of viewing numbers. A strong viral advertising strategy will encourage individuals to share an article, a podcast, a video or simply an online advertisement, resulting in exponential exposure by it’s massive influence.

The rippling effects of one single viral advertising message can literally reach hundreds and even thousands of readers in a few short hours. You can quickly enhance your viral advertising success by offering a free give away product. This “FREE” product can be a small physical product that can be mailed out, or it can be a digital product that is delivered instantly online.

It is a well known fact that “FREE” if the most powerful word a marketer can use in any viral advertising campaign. Often the business owner experiences what can be called delayed gratification when using the “FREE” power word in their viral advertising campaign. Add the common expression “OTO” or One Time Offer” that almost always follows a free give-a-way, and you have a winning combination. First you got their attention, and then you offer them something of such great value, they can’t afford to say “NO” and purchase it while it is so cheaply priced.

Always keep in mind that the whole purpose of engaging in viral advertising methods is to spread an idea, and that idea while it is spreading throughout the internet, actually helps market your niche business or product and is attached to your website.

Have you noticed how business owners have become obsessed with Free exposure in any arena? Too many times marketing campaigns have been thrown together much too fast and may get attention but your product or company does not.