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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Advertising and Promotion

Now that you have decided upon your product or service, the pricing and distribution of it, we must be able to inform consumers where you are located and why they should purchase your product. That communication is through advertising. By now we should have identified the competitive advantage or unique selling proposition and how that uniqueness will benefit the consumer. Just as we saw when performing our market research by using the Yellow Pages, an image of the business is portrayed to the reader. Therefore, what we communicate to the consumer must portray that image and be conveyed in our advertising. However, a constraint we may have is that we cannot spend too much on our advertising campaign. Let's take a look firstly at what we want our advertising to convey to our target market.

Three "I's" of Advertising
What you want your advertising to do is
  1. Involve the audience by inviting them to participate, arouse their curiosity, and convince them that they need your product or service.
  2. Inform the customer about the benefits and uniqueness of your product or service in terms that they can understand. You must tell them how, where and when the item or service can be purchased.
  3. Illustrate the benefits through words, images or sounds that get the audience's attention and convey your information.
Where to Advertise
There are several ways to reach our audience. Each way has a certain impact, effect and cost. In our market research we probably discovered what our target market reads and which TV and radio stations they listen to. If we know this, then we will know how to reach our target market.

There are local, regional and national newspapers, and they all reach a large audience. If you are a small business you would want to advertise where your customers are, probably in a local or hometown newspaper. Ads vary in cost and size, and the newspapers will probably offer you a package deal if you advertise for a week or month. What you want to do is to find the circulation of the newspaper the demographics of their readers. Newspapers are probably the most cost effective method of advertising.

Consumer and Trade Magazines
Where should your product be advertised in a consumer magazine or in a trade magazine? If your consumer is the end user, then you would want to advertise in a consumer magazine. If you sell to a business, then your efforts would be better placed in a trade magazine. Magazines take time to put together and go to press. Magazines have a lead time of approximately three months. Therefore, if you want your ad to be included in the next issue or in two weeks time, let's say, then you will be surprised. If you want to change your ad to represent a forthcoming sale, you won't be able to do it. However, you can cut down your costs by using what they call "remnant space". That is space that is left over and available after they have laid out the pages. Magazines are more expensive than newspapers.

Radio is a very good way to advertise your business. Think of the number of times you have heard an ad for a local business while you are driving to or from work. Therefore, radio has many advantages:
  • It is usually local
  • It reaches an identifiable and loyal audience which generally tune in at specific times.
  • Ads can be changed frequently
  • Advertising time is relatively inexpensive and can be repeated frequently.
But radio depends on listenership The more people who tune in at certain times of day, the more expensive the advertising time. You have 30 sec. spots or 60 sec. spots which can be read by the host or recorded. Your ad must attract the listener in the first three seconds. So think carefully about what you want to say to catch their attention.

TV reaches a large audience; it can be regional or national. The price of the air time will change depending upon the coverage area reached. TV time is expensive and, of course, you have to create that commercial. The cost of production can also be expensive. But local cable programming is more affordable for small businesses.

Something we do not have to pay for! Call the editor of a newspaper and find out if they are going to be doing any articles on your kind of business. You may be able to pose yourself as an expert in that area. If you are a restauranteur, invite the food editor for a meal in exchange for an article. But you must have an angle -- what are they going to write about that is interesting.

Press Release
You can write a press release to announce events related to your business and ask the newspaper editor if he would print it. In my business, we write up press releases to announce vendor partnerships, expansion to new areas, and the taking on a new functional management. See your text for examples of how to write press releases. They have a journalistic style.

Trade Shows
Trade Shows are a great way to meet potential vendors and suppliers, meet the competition and see what they are offering, and test your new product and get customers reactions. There are things that you must do, however, before you commit to a trade show. You must know the cost of trade show booth space -- set-up fees, electrical hook-ups,union fes for workers, etc. It can be expensive. But perhaps you can share the booth space in big shows with other entrepreneurs.

Guerilla Marketing
This is street marketing and one that is very inexpensive and will bring in local area customers to your business. Think about how many times you have returned to your car and found flyers and bumper stickers on it which advertise some local business. How often have you left the subway train (if you are in the NY City area) and have been handed a flyer for a neighborhood store? These are effective, low-cost and simple to make up. You may want to read a book on the subject, one of the more popular ones is Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson.

Digital or Social Marketing
The development of the computer and all things digital have created a great opportunity for us to market and advertise our product inexpensively and quickly through mobil technology.  With the development of Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In and others, we can market our product directly to a select group.  "Be my fan", "follow me" or "connect with me" are the buzz words we so frequently hear.  Creating a blog to write about your product and have others contribute their feelings and attitudes about your product is a great way to develop your audience.

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