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Developing An Advertising Plan: Part 3

by Molly Clubb | Dec 14, 2012

This is a continuation of a series of Blogs: Developing An Advertising Plan That Will Work for You. We're here to help you with your annual planning and marketing strategy and help keep you on top of your game. Molly is currently accepting phone appointments to brainstorm a strategy that's best for your ranch and help you develop a plan. We encourage you to take the time to plan your marketing/advertising, message strategy, sale consignments and other items ahead of time and take some of the stress off scrambling for these items at the last minute.

Define Creative Strategy/Target Message
Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience, you can begin the process of deciding what it is you want them to know about you. While there are many ways to position your breeding program or service, you should always try to appeal to the needs and wants of your target audience. Once you understand their needs, you can create a message inviting them to take specific action.

What do I want to say?
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If you’re having trouble developing your message here are a few other questions to consider: 

•    What benefit am I promising?
•    What’s my selling proposition?
•    Why should my audience believe me?
•    Why would the targeted consumer buy from me?
•    What does the targeted consumer need to know about me and my program?

Remember, it is important not to focus on too many things, because then your message will get too confusing. Use your money to create a few really good ads for each message strategy. Invest in superior art work. Take the time to write (or have written for you) copy that people will take pleasure in reading. Make it interesting and informative. Make your audience take action by going to your web site, calling a phone number, or even attend an upcoming sale or event.

You may decide that you don’t want to dictate creative in the advertising plan. In fact, you may not want creative strategy included at all. But if you do, here are some of the things you would want to cover:

•    How are we going to present the message? Through a celebrity? A brand character? Using a well-known person in the Industry?
•    Will the copy be friendly to the average person or specific to the Industry lingo? Dramatic? Overpowering?
•    Should we use music, stock photos, video clips, etc. to communicate emotion? If so, which one(s)?

Develop Your Media Strategy
At this point you have identified your target audience(s) and your message strategy. It is now time to decide which option will best reach your audience and tell your story, all while staying within your budget. What are your tactics? What approach do you want to use? This will become your media strategy.

How can I best spread my message to my target audience?
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There are numerous options to choose from when you are deciding how to advertise.
•    Magazines
•    Sale Catalogs
•    Website & Internet Marketing (SEO, pay per click search engine listings, affiliate or associate relationships, paid banner placements, email, etc.)
•    Collateral: (brochures, single sheet flyers, take-one displays posters, sale pen flyers, etc.)
•    Event Sponsorship
•    Multimedia CD/DVD’s
•    Newspaper
•    Direct Mail
•    Radio
•    TV
•    Outdoor (such as billboards)
•    Special promotions or packages

The simple answer to media strategy is to identify your target audience then find the best media, at the best time, to reach them. For many advertisers the options will be obvious.

Design A Timeline
You’ve now tackled three hard topics but in order to complete your advertising plan and implement it successfully there are more questions to be answered.

When are you going to reach your audience?
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Timing is an important aspect when placing advertising. If you place an ad too soon, people may forget about the item your advertising. If you place an ad too late, people may already have plans or purchased another product or animal.

I always recommend a year-round plan to my clients. This seems to allow the most organized approach to advertising but also allows them to begin running a campaign early enough to catch the "planners" and continue running it, if needed, in order to catch the non-planners.  By doing this I’ve found that clients maximize your chances of reaching their entire audience. It’s important to remember that advertising can motivate planning and needs to do so before the customer has already begun the action of buying, selling, attending an event, etc.

So, how do you time the advertising? There is no correct schedule to advertise a product, but two factors should be considered. The first is the purchase frequency. The more frequently the product is purchased, the less repetition is required. Second, advertisers need to consider the forgetting rate, which is the speed at which buyers forget the brand if advertising is not seen nor heard.

There are two basic approaches to setting advertising schedules:

1. Continuous schedule: Advertising runs throughout the year, when demand and seasonal factors are unimportant.

2. Flight schedule: Advertising is distributed unevenly throughout the year because of demand, heavy periods of promotion, or introduction of a new product/animal/offspring.

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