The Key Idea in an AD

Plan the ad around one idea

Each ad should have a single message – the key idea in an ad. If the message needs reinforcing with other ideas, keep them in the background. If you have several important things to say, use a different ad for each one and run the ads on succeeding days or weeks.


The pointers which follow are designed to help you plan ads so they will make your store stand out consistently when people read or hear about it:


Identify your business fully and clearly

Make sure your radio and television ads identify your sponsorship as fully and frequently as possible without interfering with the message. Logotypes and signatures in visual ads should be clean-lined, uncluttered, and prominently displayed. Give your address and telephone number. It’s possible to use a musical or sound effect signature identified with your store to create a “logo” on radio, too.


Pick illustrations that are similar in character

Graphics – that is, drawings, photos, borders, and layouts – that are similar in character help people to recognize your advertising immediately.


Pick the audio format or typeface and stick to it

Using the same typeface or the audio format for radio or television helps people to recognize your ads quickly. Using the same format or kind of type and illustrations also allows you to concentrate on the message when checking ad response changes.


Make copy easy to understand

Printed messages should be broken up with white space to allow the reader to see the lines quickly.


Broadcast messages should be written conversationally. Remember, these messages are human beings talking to human beings.


Tell your listeners how what you’re advertising will help them. Consumers buy benefits, not products.


Get the main message in the first sentence, if you can. Sentences should be short. Be direct. Go straight to the point. Get the audiences’ attention in the first five seconds of the radio or TV commercial.


Try out your script on somebody else or read it into a tape recorder. When you play the tape back, you’ll easily spot phrases that are hard to understand (or believe!). Your ears are better than your eyes for judging broadcasts ads.

Planning for Results in Advertising

Planning for Results in Advertising

Whether you are trying to measure immediate response or attitude advertising, your success will depend on how well the ads have been planned. The trick is to work out points against which you can check after customers have seen or heard the advertisement. Not planning for results in advertising means that you won’t have the feedback loop to manage changes to your marketing mix or to the advertisments themselves.

 Certain things are basic to planning advertisements whose results can be measured. First of all, advertise products or services that have merit in themselves.

 Unless a product or service is good, few customers will make repeat purchases no matter how much advertising you do.

 Many people will not make an initial purchase of a shoddy item because of doubt or unfavorable word-of-mouth publicity. The ad that successfully sells inferior merchandise usually loses customers in the long run.

 Marketers, as a rule, should treat their messages seriously. Humor is risky as well as difficult to write. Be on the safe side and tell people the facts about your merchandise and services.

 Another basic element in planning advertisements is to know exactly what you wish a particular ad to accomplish. In an immediate response ad, you want customers to come in and buy a certain item, or items in the next several days. In attitude advertising, you decide what attitude you are trying to create and plan each individual ad to that end.

Evaluating Advertising Results

Evaluating Advertising Results

 Because your budget is limited you must see that your advertising does the job you want it to by avaluating advertising results. Measuring the results on a continuing basis can help you see that your ads keep your business’s name before the public and contribute to increasing sales.

 Planning is important. Before you can evaluate results, you must decide what purpose your ads should accomplish. This Guide gives pointers on planning ads and discusses several ways you can compare advertising and sales.

 Advertising is necessary today. Whether you have a small business or a large one, you must tell groups of people who you are, what you sell, and where you are located. You must tell them when they wish to hear or read about such things. So you must place ads in newspapers, on radio, TV, and outdoor posters, or send out direct mail pieces.

 As a business owner-manager, you know the money that you spend on advertising must return enough sales and profits in added business to justify the cost of the advertising. In most firms, neither time nor money is sufficient to engage in complicated ad measurement methods. Even so, you can use certain rule-of-thumb devices to get a good idea about the results of your advertising.

 What Results Do You Expect?

Essentially, measuring results means comparing sales with advertising. In order to do it you have to start early in the process – before you even make up the advertisement. The question to the answer is: What do you expect the advertising to do for your firm?

 Immediate response advertising

Is designed to cause the potential customer to buy a particular product from you within a short time – today, tomorrow, the or next week. An example of such decision-triggering ads is one that promotes regular price merchandise with immediate appeal. Other examples are ads which use price appeals in combination with clearance sales, special purchases, seasonal items, (for example, white sales, Easter sales, etc.), and “family of items” purchases.

 Such advertising should be checked for results daily or at the end of 1 week from appearance. Because all advertising has some carry-over effect, it is a good idea to check also at the end of 2 weeks from advertising runs, 3 weeks from runs, and so on to insure that no opportunity for using profit-making messages is lost.

 Attitude Advertising

Is the type you use to keep your store’s name and merchandise before the public. Some people think of this type as “image-building” advertising. With it, you remind people week after week about your regular merchandise or services or tell them about new or special services or policies. Such advertising should create in the minds of your customers the attitude you want them to have about your store, its merchandise, its services, and its policies.

 To some degree, all advertising should be attitude advertising. It is your reputation builder.

 Attitude (or image building) advertising is harder to measure than immediate response advertising because you cannot always attribute a specific sale to it. Its sales are usually created long after the ad has appeared. However, you should keep in mind that there is a lead time relationship in such advertising. For example, an ad or a series of ads that announces you have the exclusive franchise for a particular brand starts to pay off when you begin to get customers who want that brand only and ask no questions about competing brands.

In short, attitude-advertising messages linger in the minds of those who have some contact with the ad. People sooner or later act upon these messages when they decide that they will make a certain purchase.

 Because the purpose of attitude advertising is spread out over an extended period of time, the measurement of results can be more leisurely. Some attitude advertising – such as a series of ads can be measured at the end of 1 month from the appearance of the ads or at the end of a campaign.

Marketing Plan

Your Marketing Plan

Writing the company’s Marketing Plan is a necessary step to moving toward the goals and plans.

You should begin by answering/analyzing areas such as the ones that follow:

  1. Are any marketing misconceptions at work in the company? If so, we must describe them and produce plans for overcoming them.
  2. Describe the driving forces force in the market that is counterintuitive.
  3. Describe the problems that the company solves for prospective customers.
  4. Develop and describe at least two unconventional marketing approaches we should consider for the company’s products or services.

 See if you can:

  • List and describe at least two emotional forces at work that determine success in the market.
  • List and describe at least three seemingly minor implementation tasks, or details, that must be dealt with to succeed in the market.

Marketing Truths

Marketing Truths

 Moving toward a more rational approach by examining some marketing truths.

One theme that stands out about  companies  is that most stumbled badly at some point before their more visible success.

The right marketing formula is often counter- intuitive.  What seems “obvious” is in many cases just plain wrong

Successful marketers solve problems.  If your product or service has achieved any level of success, it almost certainly solves a problem. Understanding the exact nature of the problem being solved is often the key to moving from modest success to great success

In marketing, the details are often key to success.

Marketing success requires a keen understanding of human nature.  The decisions people make about whether to buy particular products or services are often emotional in nature. Companies that succeed invariably help people feel good about some basic emotional issue–hope, fear, guilt, or greed, for instance–better than competitors.

Successful marketing strategies of similar companies may be quite different.            As noted earlier, there’s no single magic marketing bullet that works for all companies. This observation can even be applied to companies with similar distribution systems or in the same industry

Unconventional marketing strategies are becoming increasingly acceptable.            The days when a company could count on revving up demand for its products or services by simply throwing money into advertising are over .

Increasing numbers of successful entrepreneurs are extolling a simple 6 step marketing approach. Basically, it involves the disciplined use of unconventional, low-cost tactics to gain attention. Underlying the unconventional approaches used in six part marketing are two basic premises: distinguishing the company’s product or service from competitors and getting maximum value from each marketing dollar. The competition in nearly every market is so intense and the costs associated with entering the marketplace potentially so high that unconventional marketing approaches can be expected to gain increasing amounts of attention in the future.

Successful marketers understand the buyer’s perspective. It is essential for entrepreneurs to be able to view their companies and the products and services they offer from the viewpoint of prospective customers. This is never easy, nor can it be completely achieved because of the emotional involvement owners inevitably have with their customers, but it is an important goal to strive for.

Marketing Misconceptions

Marketing Misconceptions

To begin moving in the right direction, we must first dispose of some  marketing misconceptions. Four of the most common are:

Misconception 1: Companies control market demand. This is a notion that is at once seductive and destructive.

The idea that companies control markets has been disproved most vividly in the industry where the misconception first took hold–the automobile industry. General Motors saw its market share plummet during the 1980s, despite pouring millions of dollars into television, magazine, and other mass-market advertising. The decline of huge department stores (Macy’s), airlines (Pan Am), and computer companies (Wang) is further evidence that companies don’t control markets, no matter how large their advertising budgets.

Misconception 2: Once you develop a marketing approach that works for your company, you’ve mastered marketing.  This may be the most dangerous misconception, because it can mislead entrepreneurs who are enjoying business success. Just think about all the business executives who have ridden the crest of marketing success, only to crash.

Remember whenWestern Unionwas synonymous with time-sensitive business communications, and IBM synonymous with computers

These examples aren’t meant as slights to the companies noted. The purpose in citing them is to make the point that everything looks easy when it works. But it should be clear to anyone who follows the ups and downs of business that few executives can feel truly secure that they have mastered marketing.

Misconception 3: There’s a magical “marketing bullet” that works for everyone.    The converse of this is that a single overall explanation exists as to why successful marketers stumble. Successful marketers invariably attribute their accomplishments to some special practice–a focus on product quality or top-notch service or speedy delivery or the best prices. The stumbles come about, they typically say in retrospect, either because of some force beyond their control (Japanese imports or a recession, for example) or because they “took their eye off the ball.”

If one analytically picks apart the successes and failures, though, they are invariably much more complicated. Lee Iacocca can certainly blame Japanese imports and a recessionary environment for Chrysler’s problems in the early 1980s and again in the early 1990s. But there are no doubt a variety of pricing, feature, positioning, segmenting, promotional, and other issues that adversely affected the company. And perhaps Iacocca became more infatuated with his own success than he should have been if he were to stay objective about his company’s marketing prospects.

Misconception 4: Marketing and selling are the same. This misconception comes about because many of the most successful entrepreneurs are also very good salespeople. Talented salespeople can often go a long way selling a particular product or service without having a clear understanding of the true dynamics of the marketplace. Thus their success in selling can delude them into believing they have mastered marketing.

In reality, though, selling is only one aspect of marketing implementation. That is, once you have identified your customer prospects and determined how best to reach them, you move into the sales process–convincing customers to buy your product or service. If you haven’t done your marketing homework, you can easily fail when it comes to selling. And if you are fortunate enough to convince a random group of individuals or companies to buy your product or service, without some notion as to why you picked them, your success may be a testimonial to your sales rather than your marketing skills.

This confusion between marketing and sales often becomes apparent when companies seek to move past a particular sales plateau–typically in the $500,000 to $3-million range.


YOUR MARKETING PLAN – Turning Art into Science

Simply stated: Marketing is the process of identifying prospects and determining how best to turn them into customers. But there is nothing simple about marketing. It is at once fun and frustrating, obvious and elusive, conceptual and tactical.

And… it is bigger than many entrepreneurs realize.  It requires knowledge of history, sociology, culture, geography, and human nature, as well as competitive trends, positioning, and pricing.

We can go on at length about its inherent contradictions and challenges, but probably the most useful analogy is to think of marketing as an art form.  Learning any art is invariably a lifelong process, with no guarantees of success. So it is with marketing. But as any art is broken down into its major components, made measurable, and regularly practiced, it becomes more easily mastered.

The more involved we become with a particular art form, the more we are able to get past the mysteries that awed us as outside observers. We become aware of a particular mind-set and of patterns that help make solutions more easily identifiable. Many of our reactions become automatic; for example, a black belt in karate reacts to a punch or a kick from an opponent nearly without thinking.

Just as courses in art can help bring out the talent we may have in that field, so can similar training in marketing. It is essential if one is going to write a marketing plan and … no company can survive and grow without a written plan!

Marketing Misconceptions: The Limits of Our Understanding

An important distinction between marketing and other art forms is that many entrepreneurs who may not believe themselves to be talented in such fields as art or carpentry, or even in more familiar business areas such as financing and accounting, think of themselves as experts in marketing. Much as in politics, individuals form opinions and viewpoints concerning marketing that they feel very strongly about–typically with insufficient information or expertise.

That’s because we are constantly exposed to marketing approaches and strategies–when we walk through shopping malls, watch television commercials, stand in line at a bank, eat at a restaurant, or read direct-mail catalogs. Who among us doesn’t have a view about how a clothing store’s selection could have been made more attractive, how ads for food or beer turned us off, how a bank might speed up its lines, or how a restaurant could improve its service?

In these and dozens of other situations, we are reacting to some aspect of a company’s marketing approach. Certainly having a view about someone else’s business–even if it is based on insufficient or incorrect information–is fairly harmless.

The problem comes when you have strong views about your own business based on erroneous assumptions. Indeed, having misconceived views about your own business can be downright dangerous. You can quickly move down the wrong path and, before you have time to correct your mistakes, go out of business or suffer sever losses.

Obtaining the necessary information and coming to the correct conclusions about which marketing direction to take, however, is no easy task. It is the essence of moving marketing from the realm of art into that of science. Clearly such a move isn’t just desirable, it is essential