What Advertising Can Do For
Your Business

  • Remind customers and prospects
    about the benefits of your product or service
  • Establish and maintain your
    distinct identity
  • Enhance your reputation
  • Encourage existing customers to
    buy more of what you sell
  • Attract new customers and replace
    lost ones
  • Slowly build sales to boost your
    bottom line
  • Promote your business to
    customers, investors and others

What Advertising Cannot Do For
Your Business

  • Create an instant customer base
  • Cause an immediate sharp increase
    in sales
  • Solve cash flow or profit problems
  • Substitute for poor or indifferent
    customer service
  • Sell useless or unwanted products
    or services

Advertising’s Two Important

  • You have complete control. Unlike
    public relations efforts, you determine exactly where, when and how
    often your message will appear, how it will look, and what it will
    say. You can target your audience more readily and aim at very
    specific geographic areas.
  • You can be consistent, presenting
    your company’s image and sales message repeatedly to build awareness
    and trust. A distinctive identity will eventually become clearly
    associated with your company, like McDonald’s golden arches.
    Customers will recognize you quickly and easily – in ads, mailers,
    packaging or signs – if you present yourself consistently.

What Are Advertising’s

  • It takes planning. Advertising
    works best and costs least when planned and prepared in advance. For
    example, you’ll pay less per ad in newspapers and magazines by
    agreeing to run several ads over time rather than deciding issue by
    issue. Likewise, you can save money by preparing a number of ads at
  • It takes time and persistence. The
    effectiveness of your advertising improves gradually over time,
    because customers don’t see every one of your ads.
    You must repeatedly remind prospects and customers about the
    benefits of doing business with you. The long-term effort triggers
    recognition and helps special offers or direct marketing pay off.

Getting Ready to Advertise –
Drawing the Blueprint

1:Design the Framework

  • What is the purpose of your
    advertising program? Start by defining your company’s long-range
    goals, then map out how marketing can help you attain them. Focus on
    advertising routes complementary to your marketing efforts. Set
    measurable goals so you can evaluate the success of your advertising
    campaign. For example, do you want to increase overall sales by 20%
    this year? Boost sales to existing customers by 10% during each of
    the next three years? Appeal to younger or older buyers? Sell off
    old products to free resources for new ones?
  • How much can you afford to invest?
    Keep in mind that whatever amount you allocate will never seem like
    enough. Even giants such as Proctor & Gamble and Pepsi always feel
    they could augment their advertising budgets. But given your income,
    expenses and sales projections, simple addition and subtraction can
    help you determine how much you can afford to invest. Some companies
    spend a full 10% of their gross income on advertising, others just
    1%. Research and experiment to see what works best for your

2:Fill in the Details

  • What are the features and benefits
    of your product or service? When determining features, think of
    automobile brochures that list engine, body and performance
    specifications. Next, and more difficult, determine the benefits
    those features provide to your customers. How does your product or
    service actually help them? For example, a powerful engine helps a
    driver accelerate quickly to get onto busy freeways.
  • Who is your audience? Create a
    profile of your best customer. Be as specific as possible, for this
    will be the focus of your ads and media choices. A restaurant may
    target adults who dine out frequently in the nearby city or suburban
    area. A computer software manufacturer may aim at information
    managers in companies with 10-100 employees. A bottled water company
    may try to appeal to athletes or people over 25 who are concerned
    about their health.
  • Who is your competition? It’s
    important to identify your competitors and their strengths and
    weaknesses. Knowing what your competition offers that you don’t, and
    vice versa, helps you show prospects how your product or service is
    special, or why they should do business with you instead of someone
    else. Knowing your competition will also help you find a niche in
    the marketplace.

3:Arm Yourself with Information

  • What do you know about your
    industry, market and audience? There are many sources of information
    to help you keep in touch with industry, market and buying trends
    without conducting expensive market research. Examples include U.S.
    Government materials from the Census Bureau and Department of
    Commerce. Public, business or university libraries are also a good
    option, as are industry associations, trade publications and
    professional organizations. You can quickly and easily learn more
    about your customers by simply asking them about themselves, their
    buying preferences and media habits. Another, more expensive,
    alternative is to hire a professional market research firm to
    conduct your research.

4:Build Your Action Plan – Evaluating Media Choices

  • Your next step is to select the
    advertising vehicles you will use to carry your message, and
    establish an advertising schedule. In most cases, knowing your
    audience will help you choose the media that will deliver your sales
    message most effectively. Use as many of the above tools as are
    appropriate and affordable. You can stretch your media budget by
    taking advantage of co-op advertising programs offered by
    manufacturers. Although programs vary, generally the manufacturer
    will pay for a portion of media space and time costs, or mailer
    production charges, up to a fixed amount per year. The total amount
    contributed is usually based on the quantity of merchandise you
  • When developing your advertising
    schedule, be sure to take advantage of any special editorial or
    promotional coverage planned in the media you select. Newspapers,
    for example, often run special sections featuring real estate,
    investing, home and garden improvement, and tax advice. Magazines
    also often focus on specific themes in each issue.

5:Using Other Promotional Avenues

  • Advertising extends beyond the
    media described above. Other options include imprinting your company
    name and graphic identity on pens, paper, clocks, calendars and
    other giveaway items for your customers. Put your message on
    billboards, inside buses and subways, on vehicle and building signs,
    on point-of-sale displays and shopping bags.
  • You might co-sponsor events with
    nonprofit organizations and advertise your participation; attend or
    display at consumer or business trade shows; create tie-in
    promotions with allied businesses; distribute newsletters; conduct
    seminars; undertake contests or sweepstakes; send advertising flyers
    along with billing statements; use telemarketing to generate leads
    for salespeople; or develop sales kits with brochures, product
    samples, or application ideas.
  • The number of promotional tools
    used to deliver your message and repeat your name is limited only by
    your imagination your budget.

The Advertising Campaign

You are ready for action when armed
with knowledge of your industry, market and audience; a media plan and
schedule; your product or service’s most important benefits; and
measurable goals in terms of sales volume, revenue generated, or other

The first step is to establish the
theme that identifies your product or service in all of your
advertising. The theme of your advertising reflects your special
identity or personality, and the particular benefits of your product or
service. For example, cosmetics ads almost always rely on a glamorous
theme. Many food products opt for healthy, all-American family
campaigns. Automobile advertising frequently concentrates on how the car
makes you feel about owning or driving it rather than performance

Tag lines reinforce the single most
important reason for buying your product or service. "Nothing Runs Like
a Deere" (John Deere farm vehicles) conveys performance and endurance
with a nice twist on the word "deer." "Ideas at Work" (Black & Decker
tools and appliances) again signifies performance, but also reliability
and imagination. "How the Smart Money Gets that Way" (Barron’s financial
publication) clearly connotes prosperity, intelligence, and success.

Comparing Advertising and
Public Relations


  • Space or time in the mass media
    must be paid for.
  • You determine the message.
  • You control timing.
  • One-way communication – using the
    mass media does not allow feedback.
  • Message sponsor is identified.
  • The intention of most messages is
    to inform, persuade, or remind about a product – usually with the
    intention of making a sale.
  • The public may view the message
    negatively, recognizing advertising as an attempt to persuade or
    manipulate them.
  • Very powerful at creating image.
  • Writing style is usually
    persuasive, can be very creative, often taking a conversational tone
    - may even be grammatically incorrect.
  • (Vicki Hudson, Grand Rapids
    Opportunities for Women, Grand Rapids, MI, 1/99)


  • Coverage in mass media, if any, is
    not paid for.
  • Interpretation of the message is
    in the hands of the media.
  • Timing is in the hands of the
  • Two-way communication – the
    company should be listening as well as talking and the various PR
    venues often provide immediate feedback.
  • Message sponsor is not overtly
  • The intention of public relations
    efforts is often to create good will, to keep the company and/or
    product in front of the public, or to humanize a company so the
    public relates to its people or reputation rather than viewing the
    company as a non-personal entity.
  • The public often sees public
    relations messages that have been covered by the media as more
    neutral or believable.
  • Can also create image, but can
    sometimes stray from how it was originally intended.
  • Writing style relies heavily on
    journalism talents – any persuasion is artfully inserted in the
    fact-based content.