There are several types of advertising medium including AdWords, display ads, “Run of Press” ads (small reseller ads for Fry’s, CompUSA, Best Buy, etc.), television (ads and infomercials), and radio. An ad campaign can be an effective way to announce a product, increase brand awareness and generate leads. Advertising, however, is just part of an integrated promotional plan. It should often be combined with PR, direct response, event marketing, and online initiatives.
Note: This advertising section concentrates on trade display ads. Other forms of medium are not within the scope of this section.
Advertising Topics (click the the link to jump to section):
- Media Selection
- Media Schedule
- Media Buying
- Ad Guidelines
- Ad Landing Page
- Tracking & ROI – Ads
- Ad Reviews
- Media Resources
In addition, an example of how this process is applied in an actual company (although the names were changed) can be found in the appendix section of the sample marketing plan.
Using An Agency (Full Service or Specialized)
When instigating an ad campaign, you can either do it yourself or hire an agency. The agency can be full-service (media strategy, selection, buying, design, and evaluation), or specialized. You may also elect to use select specialized services from a full-service agency.
The typical areas of specialty include media strategy and selection (they help you come up with the campaign and media types), media buying (to negotiate and purchase media) and design (either in-house design from an agency, a separate design firm, or a select independent designer. The designer usually also helps with the design concepts).
In my case, I have used a full-service agency, concepters, buyers, and designers. Like all outsourced work, I have had mixed results–even with the same agency. For example, while at the 5th largest software company I used a full-service agency that helped with the market strategy and plan, media buying, design, and even the evaluation. However, I used this same company when I moved to a smaller company just for the initial concepting stage–although it could have been more.
Unfortunately, they thought the current work was a small-time opportunity, game me sub-standard service (I paid $10k (in advance) just for the campaign concept, but their ideas weren’t useable–and they wouldn’t help further to bring it to conclusion). It was a bad move for them, since the product happened to have been Netscape Navigator and would have been one of their largest campaigns ever (322 promotions by day 200). Of course, they called back later when they realized what they had missed out on, but they had already ruined their chances.
At this point, I decided to do more work in-house. However, I have always used separate designers and even design work from within full-service agencies. A lot of the mix between in-house and outside services will depend on the depth of your own marketing department and the ability to find good service companies.
This discussion continues within the media buying section.