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Advertising Strategy

Your advertising strategy is what differentiates your message and enables you to effectively engage customers amidst the thousands of sales and marketing promotions they are bombarded with on a day-to-day basis. As such, it is important to look at some of the different ways of effectively strategizing in putting together advertising campaigns. In a nutshell, advertising consists of what you say and how you say it and my goal is to provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of all of the various ways of analyzing these two key factors.

Advertising Strategy

What I want to do is deconstruct ways of looking at advertising strategy in order for you to be able to analyze your own strategy and create effective advertising campaigns. Advertising is usually analyzed by a number of formulas that boil down to the same concept of what you say and how. Rather that get bogged down in terminology, I will provide you with a simplified overview of advertising strategizing that covers all of these different aspects and go on to list the pros and cons of different advertising media and various advertising appeals.

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What is Advertising?Advertising Marketing StrategyAdvertising IdeasA History of AdvertisingExamples of Advertising TechniquesBadvertising! 1 | 2 | 3Creative Advertising IdeasAnatomy of an AdFamous Advertising SlogansOnline Advertising TrendsAdvertising Marketing PlansUsing Google AdWords"You" MessagingAdvertising Strategy Consultant

Advertising Strategy Overview

Let's take a look at the key ingredients of advertising by breaking down the what and how of your message and looking at the essential building blocks that go into your advertising campaign.

Advertising Strategy

Your message is simply a communication of your positioning which in turn is comprised of the benefits you provide to your customers and what makes you different from your competitors. Your overall positioning might be made up of a number of such factors but the the purpose of a specific advertisement you will probably choose 1 or 2 benefits with which you might include a point of differentiation as well.

The goal of your advertising strategy is not to say everything but rather to focus on your strongest selling point. More detailed sales and marketing collateral – like your website, for example – may list multiple benefits and a lot of other information but for the most part, ads need to be short and hit your sweet point without wasting any time. Most customers are not going to be able to absorb and retain a lot of information through your ad and so your goal is to get them interested so that they follow up to find out more.

Advertising Strategy

As for how you deliver your message, your advertising strategy includes your creative strategy as well as your media strategy. I discuss media objectives and tactics in detail below and as for creative strategy, the components that go into making this are what emotion you are trying to create in your audience as well as what technique you use. This technique is comprised of your advertising appeal which is the “angle” you use as well as any gimmick you use which can be anything from creating a scene on TV to a colorful radio or print ad personality.

I provide a comprehensive list of advertising appeals below and you can go over that to figure out what the best approach is for your own advertising strategy. As for emotion, this is one of the key goals of an advertisement and without it your message will not resonate with your audience. Whether you come up with your technique first or decide to focus on creating a specific emotion to start with, the combination of these elements comprises your creative strategy and is the magic behind delivering your message with impact in a way that will create a lasting impression.

Advertising Strategy Marketing Objectives

Your advertising strategy might be based on marketing objectives such as a specific percentage increase in sales or market share which are often the goals of advertising campaigns in large companies. You may be looking to reposition a certain product as with the very interesting story about an Aspirin TV commercial where the company doubled sales by showing someone drop two aspirins into a glass of water instead of just one. Similarly, your marketing objectives may be to introduce a new product or look for a new market for existing product based on demographics or geography, for example.

Advertising Strategy

Focusing on your marketing funnel is another approach to advertising strategy with the goal of your advertisement being to progress customers along the buying process. The marketing funnel above was developed by market researchers Forrester Research and a similar approach is to move customers from Awareness to Comprehension to Conviction to Action. Regardless of what stage a specific customer who sees your ad is at, your objective is to provide them with the information and incentive to move to the next stage and on towards a purchase and brand loyalty.

Advertising Strategy Media Objectives

You may decide that particular set of media is suited to your message, creative strategy or budget, or it may be that you develop a set of tactical criteria for media selection in your advertising strategy. These can include a dispersed versus concentrated media strategy, considerations of reach, frequency and length of impressions or a goal of reaching a certain percentage of your target audience for a given geography. Your media objectives can also be designed around precipitating unplanned as well as planned brand contact. An example of this is building in passability and other features of viral marketing.

Advertising Strategy Media Choice

Advertising Strategy

In deciding on what particular media channels to use in your advertising strategy, it can be helpful to analyze the specific strengths and weaknesses of each and I have listed advantages and disadvantages of the major types for you below.


•Advantages: high impact; “show and tell”; large reach; targeted audience; wide coverage; large demographic
•Disadvantages: cost; brief impressions; lack of detailed information


•Advantages: large reach; targeted audience; large demographic
•Disadvantages: audio only; lower audience attention; perceived as “old fashioned”; small coverage; cost; brief impressions


•Advantages: low cost; longer impressions; repetition; large reach; targeted audience; wide coverage
•Disadvantages: static; print only; clutter; short lifespan; limited demographic; declining audience


•Advantages: full color / glossy; longer impressions; repetition; targeted audience; wide coverage
•Disadvantages: clutter; lengthy process; small reach; limited demographic

Direct Mail

•Advantages: low cost; guaranteed delivery; full color / glossy; longer impressions; large demographic
•Disadvantages: perceived as “junk”; lots of clutter; limited coverage; small reach; short lifespan


•Advantages: big; long lifespan; large demographic; repetition
•Disadvantages: cost; limited reach; limited coverage; brief impressions; clutter


•Advantages: multimedia; interactive; immediate purchase; variety of options; detailed analytics; large reach; large demographic; targeted audience; wide coverage; low cost options
•Disadvantages: expertise required; perceived as bothersome; clutter

Advertising Strategy Appeals

The last piece of your advertising strategy – which may, in fact, be your centerpiece – is coming up with your advertising appeal. Along with your gimmick, this forms the creative how of delivering your message and creating an emotional response from your audience. Just like with a lot of art that does not follow a definite process, your advertising appeal is something that you may start with or come up with at the end of your advertising planning. Here is a comprehensive list of advertising appeals for you to understand exactly what they are and what kind of appeals you might want to try in future advertising campaigns.

Advertising Strategy

•Product Usage: simply showing people using your product or service is a powerful advertising strategy

•Compliments: another common advertising appeal is to compliment people for using your offering ("you're worth it")

•Ideal People: show ideal, happy people involved in the ideal lifestyle and having fun

•Feel Good: creating a touching scene of friends, family and loved ones

•Anthropomorphism: this fancy terms means giving lifelike attributes to your product and turning it into a kind of mascot for your advertisement

•Characters: as well as turning your product or service into a character, you might have a marketing character – real or animated – who can add to your sales pitch

•Quality Production: having a high-quality ad is of itself a selling point and reflects well on your product or service. This includes any audio visual aspects of your ad as well

•Testimonials: these can be just as powerful with celebrity endorsements as with those from normal, everyday people using your product or service

•Self Interest: focus exclusively on the customer problem you are solving or benefit you are providing while showcasing your offering in flattering ways

•Fear: following up on self interest is to focus on the negatives of not buying your product or service ("can you afford not to?")

•News: do you have a new or improved product, breakthrough or another announcement that can form the basis of your ad?

•Curiosity: you can sometime appeals to people's sense of curiosity in compelling them to want to find out more about something through your ad (“Did you know...?”)

•Bandwagon: this advertising strategy says to your customer, “Everyone else is doing it, are you?”

• Exclusivity: the opposite of the Bandwagon approach is telling your customers that they will join an elite group by purchasing from you. Both approaches work!

•Supersize It: as McDonald's has shown with their iconic Golden Arches, making it big works, be it your sign or your product in your advertisements

•Compete: sometimes talking bad about your competitors can put your customers off, while at other times it can be good advertising... you decide!

•Compare: as well as bad-mouthing the competition, your advertisements can take a more “scientific” approach by comparison products side by side

•Statistics: have you got some numbers you can throw into the mix in order to make your product or service be more appealing to customers?

•Repeat: once you have your core message figured out, say it loud, proud and often, including several times in one ad if possible

•Superlatives: if used properly, saying you are “the best” or “the highest” or have “the most” of something can be a simple and useful way of adding power to your advertisements

•Be Hip: position your product or service as a “no brainer” to your target demographic, so much so that not to buy it is almost a social or moral faux pas

•Poke Fun: the flipside of being hip is to make fun of people who don't use your product or service. This can be done in a light-hearted way and is the basis of many successful ads

•Either / Or: this classic sales technique can be used in advertising along the lines of, “you can choose from either... or...” which gives your customers options, all of which are purchases

•Orders: another sales technique which can be used to your advertising advantage is simply to tell your customers to buy (or call or act) – you may be surprised to find many of them do

•Visualize: paint a picture of how great life will be with your product or service. Make use to use plenty of “loaded” words and scenes to get your customers really wowed

•Patriotism: advertisers often appeal to our sense of national identity, purpose or community in order to sell more products and services. Can you?

•Associate: tie your offering to the finer things in life through associations. These may be endorsements, categorizing your offering in a certain class or simply showing it with others

•Studies: are there any experiments you can do to show your offering in the best light? Even ad-hoc “unscientific” tests and anecdotal evidence can be a powerful advertising strategy

•Public Service: can you convey a public service message that is tied to your product or service? Useful information also forms the basis of your online content strategy

•Exaggerate: an effective advertising strategy can be accomplished by creating an extreme scenario or imagery that depicts the pertinent feature of your offering

•Drama: the essence of all good storytelling is creating a challenge that is overcome by our hero (or heroine!). Similarly, your ad can create drama that your offering helps fix

•Metaphors: is your product or service like having an umbrella on a rainy day? What other similes can you come up with that you can use to represent your value?

Ask about Advertising Strategy or create your own page on this subject!

What is Advertising?Advertising Marketing StrategyAdvertising IdeasA History of AdvertisingExamples of Advertising TechniquesBadvertising! 1 | 2 | 3Creative Advertising IdeasAnatomy of an AdFamous Advertising SlogansOnline Advertising TrendsAdvertising Marketing PlansUsing Google AdWords"You" MessagingAdvertising Strategy Consultant

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