» Stop Your Ads Until After You Read This

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What media comes to mind when you think about advertising? Many people think of television commercials. There are also plenty of billboards spread along roadways, and you'll hear radio spots during your commute. Some businesses showcase their ads in newspapers. Other ads come in the form of weekly retail circulars.

What do all these have in common? Ads are only effective as part of an overall marketing plan!

When promoting your business, it's important to remember that the function of advertising is to generate awareness and, ideally, to create a perceived need among your prospective customers. There are many frameworks you could adapt when planning your ads. The one I prefer is Google's ZMOT model, originally developed by Procter & Gamble. For more information see the "Marketing Strategy" page on our website.

Under ZMOT, advertising is part of the "stimulus" for action. If your ads fail, you've wasted your money. But should you succeed, your potential customers will then seek to learn more information about what you are offering.

It's at that stage when you want to have glowing reviews, a sensible website, an interesting social media presence, and other inbound marketing tools that build gravitas around your brand. Your potential customers are quickly forming opinions about you before they ever talk with you. You had better make sure these opinions are formed in your favor!

When hiring someone to create your advertising, consider this:

  • Sometimes the lowest bidder creates the worst brand impression.
  • Bad writing and bad acting reflect on your brand.
  • Nobody wants to see your children or your family in your advertising unless you are specifically selling a child or family-oriented service. But even then, proceed with caution.
  • Adopt healthy skepticism toward anyone who tells you that advertising is all you need to effectively promote your brand.

What other advise would you give to organizations promoting themselves with modern media tactics?