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Evaluating Your Advertising: Part 4

by Molly Clubb | Dec 16, 2012

"Developing and Advertising Plan That Will Work for You"

This is the final post in 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.

Evaluate Your Advertising
Now that you’ve invested quality time into developing a plan it’s time to see if it was all worth it.  Ensuring that your advertising is successful should be a key component of any advertising plan. You need to know if your campaign worked.

There are a few ways to go about evaluating your campaign:

•    Do a random research sample asking people how they heard about you or your breeding program. Every time that you get an e-mail inquiry or a phone call, ask them how they found out about you. Every time someone purchases one of your animals at a sale or asks you to become involved in a partnership, event or sponsorship – ask them why they value your program and how they heard about it. Ask anyone within the Industry (or complete strangers) if they have ever seen or heard one of your advertisements.
•    Consider adding different codes to different pieces of advertising. With each inquiry, ask for the special number, so you can track where they got your number, url or email and see which advertising pieces are showing you the greatest return.
•    Note the percentage your sales, visitors, and/or calls increased from the previous year without advertising and then with advertising. You should see a difference or your advertising isn’t working.

All of your ads should also be post-tested. This will determine whether they are achieving their intended objectives. Here are three common approaches to post-testing:

1. Unaided Recall: A question such as, "What ads do you remember seeing in print recently?" is asked of respondents without any prompting to determine whether they saw any advertising messages.

2. Inquiry Tests: Ads generating the most inquiries are presumed to be the most effective (this can also be tested and tracked with the code method mentioned above).

3. Sales Tests: Chart increases in sales against when your advertising was running. This chart can be inclusive to total sales volume at the end of the sale season or year and can also include analysis of how sales compared to similar time periods in the prior year.

Set Advertising Costs
The most important question to some is “What will all of this cost?” Ultimately, that’s up to you. Your budget will determine when and where you can advertise and if you can utilize a full service agency or will need to rely on in-house staff.

There are four basic ways to determine what your budget should be. Remember, your budget should not only include media costs, but any production or consulting costs as well.

1. Task Objective Method: This is just a way of saying, how much you have to spend to reach your objective. For example, you want to reach 50 percent of your audience. How many people do you have to reach? How many times do you have to run an ad? How much does each ad cost?

2. Historical Method:  This method uses a base budget and then increases the budget each year by a certain percentage. To find a starting point consider looking at what you spent the previous year on advertising and doubling it. Then, raise that amount by 10-15% each year. For example you have $10,000 to spend this year, then next year you increase it 10% to be $11,000. Remember that you need to track your return on your investment in advertising to ensure that your money is being spent wisely.

3. Percent-of-Sales Method: Take a percentage of your sales as your advertising budget. To utilize this method you need to forecast your sales. Here is the formula I recommend:

First calculate your % of Sales Total:

Past Advertising Dollars = % of Sales
                Past Sales

Then calculate your new advertising budget:

% of Sales x Next Year’s Sales Forecast = New Advertising Budget

An average advertising budget will run about 20% of your total sales; In a business-to-business environment, 10% of sales would be considered aggressive, on average.

4. Combination Method: Don’t feel as though only one method will work for you. Many breeders choose multiple methods and eventually find a plan that is the right fit for them. You should evaluate your situation and determine how much you can afford and what it will take to reach your objectives.

Tips To Get You Started
Now that you’ve decided your goals, objectives, target audience, strategy, message, tactics and have marked up this article as much as possible, you can finally put your plan into action. Here are some tips to help get you started:

Choose an advertising agency. A good, full-service agency will often put your plan together for you, design your ad, and implement it. Since this requires an additional investment in their time, it will depend on your advertising budget and specific needs.

Invest in the development of a professional website – it’s the best investment you can often make!

You can call newspapers and magazines directly. Many media sales reps will be happy to place your ad.

Look into a media buying company. There are numerous freelance media companies that will place your ad for you for a fee. Their expertise would take the guesswork out of implementing your plan.

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