Advertising is a humongous industry. It is the lifeblood of the internet. Most of the free stuff that you see on the internet wouldn’t be possible without advertising. A large number of companies (including Google & your favourite TV channel) wouldn’t be where they are without advertising.
Advertising is especially important to me because it helps businesses make people aware of their offerings and it helps consumers know what is available out there.
A lot of people in the general public don’t like advertising because they think it can be irrelevant and sometimes intrusive. While that’s true, advertising is not all bad. I believe that the bad side of advertising can be attributed to the fact that a lot of people want to do advertising because of the seemingly low barrier of entry. You’ll find millennials doing it (ironically, I’m a millennial). You’ll find (small) business owners doing it. Everyone wants to do it.
The truth is that most people who engage in advertising don’t always know exactly what they are doing. I’d like to take this opportunity to share the basics of advertising. These are things that you will need to know or take into consideration when engaging in any advertising activities.
- Have a measurable objective: Advertising can be very expensive. Therefore, never do anything in advertising without a measurable objective. Not having an objective is a receipy for wasting money.
- Know the product/service you want to advertise: Knowing that you are going to advertise a car is not enough. You need to know what make it is. You need to know its features. You need to know what it can and can’t do. You need to know if its currently available or not.
- Know your audience: Advertising is about communicating a message to a group of people. If you are going to do this effectively, you need to know your audience. Think about how effective you would be at communicating something to a stranger compared to how effecting you would be at communicating that exact same thing to your parents or siblings. The more you know the audience, the more effective you will be at communicating a message to them and getting them to take the action you want.
- Choose the right message: Your message is basically what you are going to say to the audience you’ve chosen. It is important to make sure that your message will help you reach your objective. I think this is where some people in advertising miss the mark. You want me to buy a car but your entire advert is about people laughing… Where is the car? To me choosing the right message is about understanding the product/service and the audience. Once you understand those two, you can choose a message that will be easy to understand and lead to the right action.
- Choose the right medium: The medium is the vehicle that will cary your message. Without a medium, you might as well not bother. Examples of advertising mediums include TV, Radio, newspapers, mobile phones and the internet. Different mediums require a different set of skills to get them to work for you.
- Choose the right creative: The creative is what the message will look like. For example, on TV an ad about a car will have visuals, and on radio it will only have sound. But the creative aspect of advertising is much more than this. It is about the visuals you show, and how those visuals look. It is about the sounds you choose, and how you make them sound. It’s complicated. People create entire careers around this. Please note that the creative can also distort your message. Case in point? The recent Dove advert…
- Monitor the success of your campaign: After you’ve created this wonderful advertising campaign, you could just release it and your work is done. Not so fast! You have to monitor the performance of the campaign. This is so that you can act should anything go wrong. Moreover, monitoring can also help you learn things that you can apply to your next campaign. I attribute the rise of online advertising to the monitoring aspect of advertising. Online you can monitor almost anything. That’s what gives the internet the edge over traditional mediums like TV and Radio.
There is more to advertising than what I’ve listed above. However, these are things I believe are present in almost any advertising campaign. Therefore, they would be beneficial to anyone looking to engage in any advertising activities.
I hope you found this informative.