Advertising is a persuasive marketing communication from a company, organization or persons with the intention of getting a particular audience to take certain action or to continue in particular action.
Advertising is usually having a commercial motive behind, though there may be some adverts which are non-commercial. Most adverts are either from a company, a political party, an interest group or other commercial organizations.
Advertising, just like most other things have been in the world with us for as long as the world itself. As we advance, so do the ways by which we advertise ourselves, philosophies and businesses. The ancient China has what is known as oral advertising of bamboo flutes played to sell candy (as recorded in the classic of poetry in around 11th to 7th centuries BC)
There was also Indian rock art painting which could be traced back to 4000 BC.
There are several medium by which advertisement gets to the target audience. We have Newspaper, Radio, Billboard, Television, Magazine, Direct mail, Text messages, Social media, Blog, etc.
The medium of advertisement a business/company chooses depends on what it`s offering and its target audience.
Over the years, advertising has advanced in terms of mediums and messages. For example if you were talking about advertising in the early 80s, you wouldn`t be talking about blog, social media or text messages. You as well would not be talking about several creativity and innovation copywriters have brought in to the industry.
Most people are of the opinion that the tobacco innovative advertising of the year 1920 marked the beginning of modern advertising.
In the year 2011, $467 billion is estimated to be spent on advertising worldwide. This shows how advertisement is more important today than it has ever been.
So why is advertising that important to a business, organization or interest group?
Because the competition in all field or industry is becoming tougher by the day.
You could produce an average product in the last 100 years and become a millionaire without a single marketing or promotion. You could render a good service in the last 50 years and become rich with just a little advertisement. In today`s world, average products/services do not sell, good products/service do not sell much and even great products/services need smart marketing.
We can talk about branding, packaging, positioning and many other elements of marketing, but they are all “insiders”. The only thing that takes you to the minds and hands of your target audience is advertising.
You may brand your business, position yourself smartly and brand your products/services and still not selling enough to make your business profitable, if there isn`t good advertisement.
Now you may ask me, can every business advertise?
Yes, as I will share with you through bellow tips.
- First think about your positioning.
Even before thinking of advertising your products/services, you have to invest a lot of thoughts into your position in the market place. Do you have any unique strength you`re known with by your market? Is your product/service in anyway different than that of your competitors?
Do you have a better product, faster service or more professional staff?
You have to first sit down and see something in your product/service that is unique and makes your offer more valuable than that of your competitors.
After discovering this strength in what you`re selling, the next thing is to position yourself as “the business” that fills that gap.
Let me give you an example on how a company does this.
Dangote Cement is having a position which is, “3x stronger”. By this, Dangote Group is positioning its cement as stronger (better) than those of its competitors.
What you have to be careful of here is that, your claim must be true or else your marketing effort will fail. If Dangote Cement is not (truly) stronger and the company claims it does, it`s just a matter of time before consumers will know and that`s going to be a big failure.
Position yourself as a better product/service in a way, then…
- Invest much time on your branding and packaging
Yes, I said earlier that branding and packaging are “inside thing”. However, it`s what you have inside that you want to take outside. The truth is, people still judge the book by its cover. If what you`re selling is not well packaged or you don`t create a good brand for your business, your advertising and other marketing efforts will not be successful.
Read this tutorial about branding.
- Find out who your real customers are.
Who are those who need what you`re selling? Where do they live? How is their daily activities like? Where do they work, school or play? How can they be best reached?
The more you know about those you want to sell to, the better your marketing message will be because you will know what language, slang or communication style they can best react to.
- Let your customers advertise your products/services for free
Since the beginning of the world, there has been various fashions of word of mouth advertising, whether for products, services or individuals. In the Bible, when Nathanael saw Philip (John chapter one verse 45), he said, “We have found the Christ”. That`s the word of mount advertisement.
Human beings are so good and kind that when they have a good experience with certain product or service, they love to tell their friends and relatives about it.
We all do this.
Few days ago I was talking with a friend on phone. He doesn`t like MTN. I am one of the most loyal customers of the MTN (I have four active MTN Sims) and I love to promote MTN whenever I am opportune to, so I started persuading my friend to become a regular MTN customers. At a point, he told me, “don`t advertise to me”.
I immediately understood what I was doing… word of mouth advertising.
One free (and very effective) promotion you can do for your product is the word of mouth advertisement. How can you do this?
Encourage your customers to talk to others about your product/service. Give them something as reward if the need be. And…
- Produce/sell a truly great product/service.
As I earlier mentioned, the era of average products is gone. The era of good product is going. For any business person to actually make a lot of money in today`s highly competitive market, he/she must take to the market, something truly unique.
You cannot sell an average product through word of mouth advertisement. You cannot sell a good service through the word of mouth advertisement. The reason is because until people can say “wow” about what you offer, they wouldn`t be willing to tell anybody about it.
A creative product/service can easily be marketed through the word of mouth advertisement. That`s why you have to offer something truly great or unique.
- Don`t advertise your products/services. Advertise your USP.
Now when you`re willing to put together some marketing messages on your signboard, billboard, poster, or radio, TV, newspaper, social media, blog or whatever other medium you choose, you have to advertise your Unique Selling Promise (USP), not your product.
The reason is this.
Other businesses are selling what you`re selling. For example you wouldn`t write in your signboard, “buy bread here”. That`s not persuasive, does it? What if we use, “buy low-sugar, but sweet bread here”? Now, you`re sounding unique and persuasive. For people who know that sugar is bad for their health, you`re the man.
You wouldn`t want to advertise your hospital in the newspaper by saying, “get hospital services at so and so address”. Instead, something like “we are malaria specialists. Come to our hospital at…” may be more persuasive.
I`m sure you get my point. Don`t tell the world about your product, hundreds of products like yours are already in the market. The only thing that can persuade people to buy from you is your Uniqueness.
- Advertise benefit or solution, not your products/services.
Who actually cares about what you`re selling? You and some of your employees. Nobody else does. The reason why consumers want to buy a particular product or service is because it solves their problem or because buying it benefit them in a certain way(s).
For your marketing message to be persuasive, it must not talk about what you`re selling. It must talk about how what you`re offering will make people`s life better.
Sky Bank of Nigeria ran a wonderful advert that won some cool awards (I think) few years ago. That ad features an assumed customer who says, “I wish I had a friend, to help me grow every day”. Then there is a slogan, “saying yes to your dream.”
Sky Bank didn`t advertise banking, they advertised benefit.
Don`t advertise what you`re selling. Nobody cares about it. Advertise the benefit consumers will derive from buying your products/services.
If well put together, all the above 7 advertising techniques can help you to run a successful ad for your small or big business.