Why Advertise? Why Not?

“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”

Henry Ford

Businesses of every shape and size have often pondered the value of advertising. But few businesses have flourished in obscurity. There is always a reason to advertise, and most smart and successful companies do. We used to live in a simpler time where TV commercials, radio spots, prints ads, and billboards were the preferred (and only) vehicles for advertising messaging.

But the internet changed all that.

In fact, it seems like every time we try to count the number of advertising channels available, we lose count, or our head starts to spin, or both. So, to help a business get started with a marketing and advertising plan, it’s always best to simplify.

One awesome Super Bowl commercial perhaps?

Okay, few have the budget to advertise during the big game. So, figure out what your budget is and decide what is motivating your desire to advertise. These reasons could be inclusive of growing your business, changing perceptions, announcing a new service or product, reaching a new audience, increasing your profile, or proliferating your brand’s image. Above all, when a consumer wants to make a purchasing decision, you would want your business to be top of mind.

It’s important to know that most advertising campaigns have one of three goals in mind: awareness, engagement, or conversion.

Awareness is a campaign that, to put it bluntly, is meant to raise awareness. A well-designed ad that says “hey, we’re here and we’re awesome. Check out our website.” It should be eye-catching. Creative. Powerful. Make you laugh, or make you shed a tear. It should move the consumer to feel something. You want your ad to stick with them. It should be easy to recall. People might even tell other people about it. Cool.

Engagement takes things a step further now that awareness is out of the way. When you engage a consumer, they might sign up for a newsletter, or give you a call, or stop in and take a look around. They’re interested. Kind of like a first date.

Conversion is the ultimate goal – to get a customer to buy your product or service. They’ve seen your ads and have researched your product or service enough to know that it’s right for them. They pull out their wallet and give you a credit card number. Mission accomplished.

Leap-frogging to conversion usually doesn’t work because most people aren’t ready to buy yet. That’s why most ad campaigns play a long game.

So, what types of campaigns are geared for these outcomes? We thought you’d never ask.

Here are four types of campaigns that Kenosha area businesses should consider when devising a marketing plan.  

1. Brand Campaigns

This type of campaign is the most common. It’s a pure awareness play, and usually features some kind of campaign theme like “No one out-pizzas the hut” or “one call that’s all.” It’s intriguing, eye-catching, and meant to get what people in the ad biz call “impressions.” When someone sees your ad, that’s called an impression. The number of impressions you get is directly proportional to the amount of money you can invest in the campaign. Great brand campaigns peak curiosity and drive traffic to your web site and social media channels.

2. Targeted campaigns / Re-targeting

The digital marketing revolution has allowed the ad biz to do what’s called “hyper-targeting” – finding people who may be most interested in buying your product. This type of campaign involves identifying a specific audience you are trying to target and then crafting messaging that speaks directly to them. A campaign like this could include social media posts, digital advertising, a landing page, and maybe even some tried and true tactics, like direct mail.

Re-targeting is a little different. When you visit a company’s web site and start seeing ads for that company while you are on the internet, you are being “re-targeted.” When you go to a web site the internet assumes you are interested in that company’s product or service and starts serving ads to you. It’s like a constant reminder that you should buy that pair of shoes or visit Montana or see John Wick 4.

These aren’t exclusive to direct to consumer efforts, business to business companies have had great success hyper targeting and re-targeting potential customers.

3. Purpose-driven Campaigns

Organizations are finding that more and more consumers are buying products from companies that share their personal values. And if a company demonstrates that they are doing good things in the community, are committed to sustainability, are environmentally conscious, or using ingredients from local farms, people respond positively. Initiatives like this fall mostly into the awareness category, but could quickly shift to conversion once the campaign gains traction and companies build favor with their audience.

4. Interactive Campaigns

The word “interactive” has come to mean a lot of different things over the years. But in advertising and marketing, it is used to describe an ad campaign with numerous working parts. This type of campaign usually includes digital advertising, a social media effort, a landing page, and a specific call to action to get consumers to engage and convert. It could involve tactics like a coupon, giveaway, or unique experience offered by the company. These types of campaigns are usually done as an extension of a larger brand campaign.

To execute any one of these types of campaigns requires three things: Strategy (what message are we saying and to whom), creative (how are we saying that message) and implementation (where we are saying this message). If you’re looking for a marketing and advertising firm, ensure that they offer all three and have a track record of doing work that gets results.

Advertising can be a powerful vehicle to elevate your company and your brand. To do it effectively requires vision from both agency and client. It’s also a cost that should be carefully considered. But in a crowded and competitive consumer landscape, the cost could transcend the monetary. Companies that fail to advertise risk falling behind, descending into obscurity. Something a successful businessman like Henry Ford just would not allow.

Co-authored by James Pellizzi and Nick Pipitone

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