How Do I Plan For My Advertising?

No matter the size of your organization, there is a common theme in advertising: everyone makes the same mistakes. Working in a marketing and advertising agency, we have had the opportunity to consult with over 600 brands over the past 15+ years. These companies include a wide variety of sizes and industries with an even wider range of markets and objectives. In this article, we are sharing some common pitfalls and an approach to help you guide a successful advertising campaign.

What’s the biggest mistake we see companies make in advertising?

Not Having a Clear and Consistent Strategy: a clear and consistent strategy is essential for effective advertising. Without a strategy, failure is waving at you from the start.

When you say “strategy” what do you mean?

Great question. Most well-established companies will have a brand strategy to clearly and cohesively communicate their core brand message and visual identity, among other uses. We often jump off of a brand strategy into a marketing strategy and/or an advertising or media strategy. In a perfect world, we would have a brand strategy and a marketing strategy and then develop a creative ad campaign and media plan, which would serve as the advertising strategy. Unfortunately, we don’t always live in a perfect world. In some cases, time, budget, or other factors force us to jump right into an ad strategy – or worse, straight into execution. That’s where failure seeps in.

We’re focused on best practices and how to approach advertising and media strategy for today’s conversation. Here are some high-level tips for approaching your organization’s advertising.

Why Do I Need An Advertising & Media Strategy?

Having a well-thought-out strategy for your advertising is like having the locomotive or the “first ” car of a train. It houses the conductor and the engine, and it powers everything that comes behind it. Your advertising and media strategy offers several benefits and is well worth the time that goes into planning it out. It helps you identify your goals, overarching approach, target audience, and more. It creates comfort that you are more likely to succeed in this campaign which is important to help you increase your brand and drive business growth. 

Here are some common goals and objectives that drive ad strategy and will clarify the benefits you hope to receive:

  1. Create Awareness: Your ad and media strategy will clarify WHY and HOW you will create awareness about the brand, products, and services.

  2. Reaching A Target Audience: Your ad campaign may be geared toward reaching a new and focused target audience with specific messaging. The strategy should outline and provide guidance for this associated with your creative, messaging, and specific channels of media to pursue.
  3. Increase Credibility: If you’re seeking to build credibility or reshape a perception or reputation, your advertising and media strategy may seek a completely different approach.

  4. Educate Consumers: Education is an awesome tool. Advertising campaigns can be used to educate consumers and to be helpful while simultaneously positioning or lifting a connection with a cause or brand.
  5. Drive Business Growth: One of the most common goals is to drive business growth. However, as marketers, we would say, “Where in the marketing funnel is this campaign expected to impact?” Let’s set realistic expectations so that we can properly measure ROI and effectiveness. Many campaigns can drive the bottom line and directly impact sales growth. This should be discussed during the strategy and planning.

And many others – We’ve only outlined a few examples of goals, but there are many others that may be more specific to you. The key is to be as specific as possible in your goals and objectives.

Building An Advertising & Media Strategy

Your advertising and media strategy may look different in terms of what information is included.

With that being said, there are some key components that I recommend to have included from a media planning standpoint:

  1. Defined Goals & Objectives: Not to belabor the point, you need this to define your WHY.
  2. Market Analysis: Understanding the market and the target audience will help drive decisions for your campaign.
  3. Creative Strategy, Messaging & Campaign Development: Having strong creative campaign elements will help differentiate your campaign messaging and visuals and help resonate with your audience to establish a feeling and emotional trigger. The creative direction and implementation will be key, so have a strong creative partner and a 3rd party voice to help.
  4. Budget Planning & Allocation: Allocating the media budget effectively is important. Be sure to allocate a budget for the planning, development, and management of the campaign (your agency, consultant, and/or creative team), plus your allocation of budget for advertising media and segment budgets by type.
  5. Media Selection & Launch Schedules: Choosing the appropriate media channels to reach the target audience with clear timelines and roles/responsibilities. 

Metrics: Last but not least, you must be intentional with establishing metrics and KPI benchmarks and have a plan for how you want to measure the campaign. Data is key, and being strategic with how you structure your campaign data and metrics is often overlooked.

Advertising Tactics and Channels

With a sound strategy in place, it will be much easier to make decisions on the types of tactics and media channels you want to pursue based on goals, strategy, creative, and budgets (a big one). 

The channels you select will help you effectively distribute your message and promote your company’s brand, products, or services. What is the “vehicle” to best get us where we need to be? When people ask about the types of advertising available, a good way to differentiate is between online and offline, or “traditional” and “digital.” including digital ad platforms (e.g., Meta, Streaming, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google AdWords, etc), and traditional advertising mediums (e.g.regional radio, targeted local TV, billboards, events, etc). There is no shortage of “tactics” and advertising “channels”. Don’t lose sight of having a sound strategy before getting ahead of yourself with tactics, channels, etc.

We evaluate those with budgets after we identify the WHY, WHAT we’re trying to achieve, and creatively HOW we’re going to do it.

In Summary

Now that you know the common pitfalls, don’t step into the hole! Plan ahead, be strategic, work with someone experienced who can offer an outside perspective with creative ideas, and ensure you understand your audience. Take this as your general approach; I am certain you’ll find your path to success. 

If Brasco can be of any assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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