Ads. They’re everywhere.
There’s one that pops up when you’re watching a YouTube video.
There are several when you’re watching TV.
A bunch when you walk around town or even drive down the highway.
Tons of them while you’re listening to the radio.
A plethora of them when you’re reading your favorite magazine.
Thousands when you’re browning the Internet.
Do you know that although there are still no official figures, the average person is said to come across between 6,000 to 10,000 ads on a daily basis?
That’s not only a lot of ads, but A LOT of information too that our minds may not be able to filter. How do we know what matters, and what doesn’t? Which ad “helps” us, and which one “deceives” us? What piece of information should we remember, and which one should we instantly forget?
While we can’t answer all these questions for you, we can certainly help clarify what good advertising is, what it entails, and how to recognize it, regardless of whether you’re actively involved in advertising or you’re simply on the receiving end.
How? Read on to find out.
What Is Advertising?
According to The Balance,
Advertising is the attempt to influence the buying behavior of customers or clients with a persuasive selling message about products and/or services. In business, the goal of advertising is to attract new customers by defining the target market and reaching out to them with an effective ad campaign.
In essence, advertising is the act of affecting someone’s thoughts and preferences in an indirect manner so as to achieve your own individual business goals. In other words, it’s about persuading customers, without them feeling persuaded. It’s about influencing them, without them feeling the pressure of that influence. It’s about planting a seed in their minds, without them noticing that seed. It’s more so about them believing they planted that seed themselves.
Advertising is the ultimate form of persuasion today. It’s an art; it’s a storytelling technique even without using words at times; it’s both a mixture of creative energy and carefully planned strategy.
However, not all ad strategies are the same. In fact, not all ads have the same format to start with.
That’s what makes the world of advertising so rich and versatile though. It’s what challenges ad managers at the same time, too. They’re expected to always be on the lookout for the next ad idea, trying to identify the proper format, target the right audience, and so on.
But that’s what makes advertising so much fun!
That said, advertising is all about coming up with practical solutions, and while theorizing about it is useful, it doesn’t really help us see the whole picture. That’s why we’ll take a look at actual examples of advertising, but prior to that, let’s discuss the different types of advertising.
Types of Advertising
Traditional advertising doesn’t mean outdated advertising. In fact, it’s still widely used, although most companies opt for mixed marketing methods, that is to say, they use both traditional and digital advertising to maximize their chances for success.
Now, here are the most frequently used traditional ad media:
- newspapers, and so on.
Few things work as well as a neatly-planned marketing tactic. And this is especially true for digital ads, as they seem to reign supreme. Digital advertising may be relatively new, but it’s here to stay. As Mark Zuckerberg said:
Advertising works most effectively when it's in line with what people are already trying to do. And people are trying to communicate in a certain way on Facebook - they share information with their friends, they learn about what their friends are doing - so there's really a whole new opportunity for a new type of advertising model within that.
That said, social media ads are just one aspect of digital advertising. Here are some other options:
- web content writing/copywriting (the latter is also applicable to other marketing media)
- email marketing
- display ad campaigns (usually on Bing, Yahoo, and/or Google)
- native advertising
- content marketing
- social media video ads, and so on.
Examples of Advertising
There have been many ads and campaigns accentuating car accidents and the consequences that may follow. One such print ad that stands out is by Ecovia with its “Stop the violence” campaign.
“They used body art illustrations to send powerful messages, trying to convince people not to drink and drive, write SMS messages while on the road, or practice reckless driving.”
A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who travelled out of their way to find we were closed. And endless thanks to our KFC team members and our franchise partners for working tirelessly to improve the situation. It’s been a hell of a week, but we’re making progress, and every day more and more fresh chicken is being delivered to our restaurants. Thank you for bearing with us.
This ad was the result of KFC running out of chicken in 2018. In fact, this had such a huge impact on customers, that KFC ended up closing some of its US-based outlets for some time.
In a stroke of genius, KFC’s ad agency came up with an amazing acronym to cool things down. Hence, KFC became FCK for the time being, and not only was the ad a lightning in a bottle, but it was a way for KFC to apologize in a playful manner to their customers. There’s nothing people like more than big brands getting “humanized” by poking fun at themselves.
You can see the ad here.
The Swedish store Ikea came up with a new ad made of paper that contains a similar “technology” to a pregnancy test. It invites you to pee on it, and if the test is positive, then you get a special sale - a discount on a baby crib.
Here’s the exact wording of the ad:
“Peeing on this ad may change your life
This ad is also a pregnancy test. Pee on the marked area and wait a moment. If you’re expecting, you will get a surprise here in the ad.”
You can take a look at the ad here.
4) Gold’s Gym
Gold’s Gym, an American chain of International fitness centres, created an ad showing how you can transition from being FAT to being FIT by using an image of an obesse man who then slowly transforms into a fit man.
Of course, showing something like this visually is considered effective because it appeals to people’s body image and the way they perceive themselves. What’s more, it seems to offer an opportunity to change and transform the physical aspects they don’t like about themselves.
See the Gold’s Gym ad here.
StrongerMarriage.com helps people sustain happy marriages and provide relationship advice. So, they created an ad with the idea to show the unity that lies within the concept of marriage. In their ad, the letter M switches to W, thus the word ME becomes WE. The print ad says: “If you want a stronger marriage, work on it together.”
By changing M to W (that is, ME to WE), one is asked to change their perspective and the approach they have to their marriage. By shifting their perspective, their marriage situation slowly starts shifting too.
Check out this amazing ad here.
- “the greatest art form of the 20th century” (Marshall McLuhan);
- the process of producing ads for commercial services and/or products;
- publicizing information;
- sometimes meant to include a lot of experimenting and testing the waters till we find what works;
- a creative activity;
- a sophisticated form of persuasion (but not in a forceful way);
- both an individual and a team effort;
- a challenge because it always asks of you to think a few steps ahead if you wish to succeed;
- constantly changing - there are always new methods, hot topics, and ideas to incorporate as part of your next ad strategy;
- meant to serve different purposes: keep up with competitors, sell products to increase income, attract new customers and keep loyal ones, raise brand awareness, and so on;
- an investment worth making (of course, you need to allocate your money wisely, and plan for unforeseen costs too);
- meant to highlight each brand’s strengths, while strategically neglecting their flaws;
- making something known (a piece of information, a product, and so on);
- said to have evolved a lot since its beginnings;
- a form of influencing and offering an alternative in a sea of options creatively;
- a means of communication with the potential users of a specific service/product;
- very effective when it stands out and offers an authentic approach;
- meant to:
- encourage users to choose you instead of your competitor(s);
- change consumers’ habits, behaviors, and sometimes even preferences;
- create engagement;
- increase sales.
- supposed to be misleading or deceiving, but H.G. Wells calls it “legalized lying”;
- copying your competitors;
- an overnight thing - it requires a lot of research, budget planning, proper awareness of the market and consumers’ needs, to name a few;
- always helpful (in fact, bad advertising can do more harm to your brand than no advertising at all);
- set in stone - it can undergo a lot of changes and adjustments along the way;
- based on a strict formula, and while there are some rules and suggestions as to what can impact users more, authenticity is still the number one factor;
- a one-off thing - it requires constant planning, strategizing, and upgrading;
- sharing false information and data regarding your product/service;
- openly forcing someone to do/buy something.
The History of Advertising
The concept of advertising goes way back to ancient civilizations. Of course, when we talk about ancient civilizations we obviously refer to a completely different type of advertising. Still, advertising had to start somewhere, in order to develop into what it is today.
First of all, ancient Egyptian civilization used papyrus to create wall posters and sales messages. Also, there’s a plethora of political display campaigns found in the ruins of Arabia and Pompeii. Lost and found ads were identified in ancient Rome and ancient Greece, too.
In ancient China, on the other hand, the earliest known form of advertising was, believe it or not - oral and theatrical. People played on bamboo flutes in order to sell candy!.
Later on, a lot of changes occurred with the advances in printing (especially around the period between the 16th and 18th century). Namely, a lot of newspapers and magazines started featuring ads. They were mostly commercial ads for quack medicine and books, but later on, they featured ads about a variety of products too.
In the 19th century, the first ad agencies opened. One of the leaders in advertising was Cope Bros & Co, a British tobacco company founded in 1848 in Liverpool. Although smoking was pretty much common even prior to that period, this company introduced a lot of innovations: they engaged in heavy advertising; introduced various brand names; and created market segmentation based on class.
In the early 1920s, some of the first radio stations appeared and people recognized the potential of the radio as an advertising system. This definitely brought novelty to the methods of advertising.
Of course, we need to mention TV ads too. The first TV commercial is said to have aired on July 1, 1941. The ad was about Bulova watches, and it aired before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
That said, the biggest novelty was probably the appearance of the internet, which opened up the doors to new possibilities for the everyday man in the 1990s. And we dare say the possibilities with the Internet never cease to stop.
In fact, things just keep on expanding, upscaling, and evolving. This is very much linked to the concept of digital advertising (which we already discussed).
No one can fully predict what the future holds for the world of advertising, but knowing what we know so far, we’re definitely in for a wild ride.
Why Is Advertising Important?
Tom Ford said: “Advertising is, of course, important because advertising is the final design. It's the last layer that speaks to the customer, that tells them what you have.”
In other words, advertising lets a potential consumer know that there is something they need to consider purchasing. It’s like, “Hey, see this thing? Wanna check it out? It can be yours for ____$”. But not this upfront or cras, of course. An ad has the role of a silver tongued mediator, or messenger.
This is probably its most important purpose because it establishes an interaction between a business owner and a potential buyer. It can form a lasting connection, too. It creates a much more personal relationship not only between the brand and the buyer, but the buyer and the product, too.
That said, an ad serves many purposes, hence its importance.
Advertisements are important because they promote brand loyalty. They allow buyers to stay devoted to your business; instill a sense of familiarity, depth and trust. Advertising also increases company’s traffic, as many consumers are more than likely to visit a specific company (either online by visiting their website or physically in the nearest store) after seeing an ad. And of course, more visits and more customers means more sales.
But advertisements also matter because they attract new customers as well. This is significant because no market is permanent - consumers change companies and try out new products. In other words, there’s always this fluctuation and brands striving to attract more and more customers. By offering high-quality, unique ads, you allow your brand to spread and stand out; to be present; and in front of other people’s eyes.
This includes competitors, too. If your competitors see you’re running a successful ad campaign they could be intimidated, challenged, curious, furious, or simply aware of what other companies in their industry are up to. This doesn’t have to be rivalry - remember there’s healthy competition, and then there’s toxic rivalry and sabotaging others. So what ads are basically doing is they’re “inviting” companies to show themselves in the best possible light, so that their brands shine the way they’re supposed to.
How To Develop Advertising?
Developing an ad strategy seems fairly easy. However, creating an ad strategy that actually works is another story.
That said, if you want to learn how to devise a proper ad strategy - you’re in the right place. Here are some of the key steps to consider when you’re creating an advertisement:
Know your ad format
Before you can actually start preparing your ad and the overall campaign, you need to be comfortable with the ad format. This consists of two steps. First, you need to pick the right format for your ad. For instance, if you’re promoting a new hotel, organizing a video ad will be perfect. Hotels require a visual representation - you want potential clients to imagine themselves being there. And what better way than to have them be exposed to the hotel directly?
The second thing is you becoming confident, knowledgeable, and flexible with the ad format. For example, if you’re planning a video ad just like we’ve discussed, you need to see what works for a video ad and what doesn’t. For instance, will you opt for a narrator or you’ll include text on the video itself? What’s the perfect video length? Who needs to shoot this video?
Set up your main goals, objectives, and target audience
What is it that you’re trying to achieve with this ad? Do you wish to get brand exposure and better brand recognition? Do you wish to attract new consumers? Are you maybe trying to keep up with competitors? Perhaps all of the above?
Whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve with your advertisement - be clear on it. It will help you not only with the ad planning, but with the actual execution too.
Don’t forget to identify your target audience! Who’s going to buy your product/service? What’s their demographics? Understanding who you’re trying to reach with your ad is a very important step.
This one goes without saying. You need to take a closer look at your overall company - what it currently stands for, what message it conveys on the whole, how it’s received and perceived, what it lacks, and so on.
You can even do a SWOT analysis of the product/service you’re planning to advertise. SWOT is an acronym and stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s a strategic planning technique which helps individuals or organizations identify all these aspects and how they relate to their business plans.
Also, check out other companies in the industry. See what’s currently displayed and advertised on the market. And, check in with your audience - see what your consumers wish for.
That said, this doesn’t mean you should be fully focused on the “outside” and what others’ expectations are from your brand; you should also follow your inner calling, your passions, and your own personal beliefs regarding your company. Still, putting all the factors together every now and then will only help you strengthen your company.
Come up with different ideas. Write them down. Re-read them as much as you need. Delete the ones you don’t resonate with after a while. Repeat the process as many times as you need, that is, as long as you need to find the right idea.
Talk to others. Share your thoughts, doubts, dilemmas, and ideas. Consider their input too.
This isn’t an overnight process. You’ll probably juggle between one idea and another one, and just as you think you’ve chosen the right one, you may think of a third one!
Go with the flow, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Find a way to enjoy the whole process, but be mindful of the deadlines you may have.
Deliver your ad
Once you cover the previous steps, you’re ready to deliver your ad to the public. Of course, this will depend upon the advertising medium you’ve chosen. This means you may have to collaborate with others, too.
For instance, if you’re doing a radio ad, you need to find adequate radio stations, and see whether these stations live up to your criteria. Of course, they also need to be open for collaboration.
Analyze the results
Don’t forget to analyze the results after each ad launch. You need to see how the ad was received, the overall feedback. Also, check to see whether your sales have increased, if new consumers have been attracted to your brand, and so on.
Analyzing your results will not only help you see how your ad was accepted and what it may lack - it will also help you prepare much better for your next ad campaign.
Finally, don’t forget that the steps may differ based on your experience. For instance, experienced advertisers may require a less detailed SWOT analysis, as they more or less have a general understanding of the market and what they’re trying to achieve.
Also, the time that it takes advertisers to do something will differ - both based on their methods and their experience. In general, the more experienced you are, the faster you can finish your tasks. However, this isn’t always the case and it doesn’t mean that an advertiser should be rushed.
Finally, here are three inspiring suggestions by Leo Burnett:
- “The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.”
- “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
- “There is no such thing as a permanent advertising success.”
Examples of Advertising in Everyday Life
We all know what a brand is, and we all probably have a favorite. In fact, we probably have several favorites, depending on what we’re focusing on. So, we may prefer Nike for sports clothes, Apple for electronic devices, Lacoste for casual wear, and so on.
So, we know what brands are and we know brand examples, but what about brand awareness? How can we explain this term? According to Investopedia, brand awareness is “a marketing term that describes the degree of consumer recognition of a product by its name.”.
In essence, brand awareness refers to how much customers are able to recognize specific products/services in certain situations and under specific conditions. For instance, drinks such as Coca-Cola, Lipton, Red Bull, and so on, are very much recognizable, and they have customers reaching over the supermarket shelves to buy them.
This is because over the years, these brands have used a wide range of advertising strategies to secure their place on the market. What’s more, they monitored customer behavior, overall feedback, and product reception, so they very much understand what works in their favor and what doesn’t. As David Ogilvy said:
“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey, or cigarettes or beer. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines… The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.”
Also, brand awareness consists of two essential components: brand recall and brand recognition. Although they come hand in hand, they operate in a different manner. For instance, brand recall triggers a specific memory: it’s basically linked to memory retrieval, so to speak. If a company from your childhood is looking to make a comeback, this is something they may partially rely on. On the other hand, brand recognition includes object recognition.
Both are equally important because both play a role when it comes to customers making their purchasing decisions.
And what better way to affect these decisions than to prepare adequate advertising plans?
How to approach this?
If you’re a customer:
- What’s the most shocking ad you’ve seen so far? What was it about? How did you feel about the brand afterwards?
- What about the funniest ad you’ve ever come across? What was so funny about it? How did you perceive the brand then?
- What makes an advertisement memorable and effective?
- Why do you choose one brand over another? What’s the deciding factor for you?
- If you see your favorite celebrity promoting a specific brand, do you instantly become fond of that brand too? On the other hand, if a celebrity you dislike advertises a specific product/service from a brand you’ve never heard of, would you skip that brand altogether? Or would you consider giving it a chance?
- Are you bothered when ads interrupt radio songs, TV shows, and other TV programs? If you are, can you think of any alternative solutions?
- What would make you turn your back on a specific brand?
- What type of products do you feel are the most advertised? Why?
- What should an ad offer to get you interested in it?
- How committed are you to specific brands? Or are you mostly focused on the actual product you need and not the overall brand? Also, if you fancy a brand, are you comfortable using all their products, or just a selection of some?
- Does buying from brands such as Nike, Hermes, Burberry and so on, give you a sense of status and importance? How do you determine a brand’s worth?
- Do you feel you’re exposed to many ads each day? Is this something that bothers you? If yes, how do you handle it?
- If you wanted to sell something, how would you advertise it? Have you seen it done before? Can you imagine yourself in the shoes of an advertising manager?
If you’re making ads:
- How do today’s ads differ from those 10-20 years ago? Make a list with several differences. Then try to see whether you can find certain similarities.
- Do you think your brand offers value for money? How so?
- If you were a customer, would you pick your own brand, that is, the brand you’re promoting?
- What’s the most important thing about your brand? In other words, what makes it memorable? Also, how can you make it stand out even more?
- Have you ever tried running a brand awareness survey within your customer list asking the following:
- Where did you hear about our brand first:
- social media?
- friends, family members, colleagues, to name a few?
- online search?
- print media?
- TV commercials or a radio ad?
- mobile app ads?
- Have you heard others talking about our brand? Did their opinions and comments have an impact on how you perceive our brand? Why? Why not?
- How does our brand impact your purchasing decisions?
- How does our brand fit into your everyday routine?
- What product/service we offer do you think best represents our brand?
- Why do you like our brand? What products/services have you tried so far? Also, what’s something you’d like to try in the future?
- What can we do better? If you were in charge of our brand, what’s the first thing you’d change?
- What other similar brands come to mind when you think about ours? Why? What’s the link?
- How would you feel if our brand ceased to exist? Which product/service would you miss the most?
- On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least likely; 10 being the most likely), how likely is it that you would recommend our brand to a colleague/family member/friend?
- What’s your brand’s main focus? What are you trying to promote, what’s your brand’s purpose? For instance, if you’re running a travel website are you trying to:
- let others know what places to visit?
- offer travel gear and essential equipment?
- share only visuals such as videos and images or just written content?
- provide personal travel experiences?
It’s every business owner’s biggest challenge - how to attract MORE customers, and sometimes even how to attract ANY customers AT ALL.
And we get it - with such a vast competition nowadays, and the market being saturated, things can get tough. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though.
Attracting customers is a process. It’s not an overnight thing. Sure, there are brands that get successful overnight, but most of the time it’s hard work.
This shouldn’t discourage you though. It simply means you need to understand the process and apply the necessary steps to get there. It may not be a piece of cake, but with diligence and devotion you’ll get there.
Now, first things first.
You need to identify your target customer. What type of customer will be attracted to your brand? A teenager, a woman in her 40s, or an elderly man? Is it people who can afford to spend a lot of money, or people who can only meet their basic needs? Of course, this will depend on whether your brand sells essential goods or non-essential goods. For instance, if you sell expensive jewelry, it’ll make no sense to target teenagers or people who can barely make ends meet.
Then, you need to position your company as the “answer” to your customers’ needs. Of course, one of the most effective ways is to come up with a catchy ad campaign, hence our article.
Also, don’t forget that meeting new people and expanding your network is always a huge plus. You can always consider teaming up with businesses that have more or less a similar customer base. This can be especially useful if you’re at the beginning stages of your business and don’t know where to start.
What’s more, you can use direct response marketing. As Jeff Motter, CEO and chief marketing officer of East Bay Marketing Group, suggests:
Learn to create ads that attract your ideal clients by giving them something of value for free to get them started in your funnel. Learn all you can about direct response marketing practices, because they will teach you to focus on results that matter. Create compelling messages that tell your ideal audience why they'd have to be a fool not to work with you. Show them you understand their pain, and can make it go away faster and cheaper than they could without you.
Customers are much more than just a number or a stat, but…
… but reality sometimes suggests otherwise. In fact, numbers and statistics can sometimes be a good indicator as to how customers perceive their favorite brands; what they think about brands in general; and what helps them trust a specific brand or be willing to try it.
All this, in turn, helps people such as yourself understand what they need to focus on if they want to attract customers.
Without any further ado, here are some amazing 2021 customer loyalty statistics:
- Existing customers seem to be much more valuable than new ones. That’s probably why the likelihood of selling something to an existing customer is 60%-70% as opposed to a new one (which is very low: 5-20%).
- 58.7% of internet users think that being able to earn loyalty points and/or rewards is one of the best aspects of any shopping experience. What’s more, 70% of customers said that they’re more likely to recommend a brand if that brand offers a solid loyalty program.
- 75% of customers expect brands to make their lives better, but only 40% actually believe brands contribute to their quality of life.
- 55.3% of customers are loyal to a brand because they love the product, and 77% of customers have managed to stay loyal to a specific brand for 10 years or even more.
- Finally, did you know that 77% of all brands could disappear and no one would care? Reading this will probably make each brand do whatever they can to NOT be part of these 77%.
How to approach this?
If you’re a customer:
- What’s the last product you’ve bought after seeing an ad about it? Were you happy with it? Did you re-purchase that product afterwards, or it was a one-time thing?
- How do ads influence your purchasing choices? Reflect upon it. Also, are there any areas of your life where ads have a bigger impact? For instance, do ads impact your clothes choice a lot more than they impact your cosmetics purchases?
- Why would you buy one product over another? Is that decision based on your current priorities or maybe there’s a different reason for it?
- What types of ads catch your attention? Also, are there any ads you simply can’t stand?
- When you’re shopping in the city or simply walking out, do you accept advertising fliers or any free samples that are being offered to you? Why? Why not?
- Do you think brands should treat their loyal customers differently? For instance, they could send gifts with the customers’ regular order, testers, and so on. Also, do you think this is a nice way of not only keeping loyal customers, but attracting new ones, too?
- How do you feel about using code coupons? What about special deals? Is this something that encourages you to purchase products/services from a specific brand?
- Do you feel that ads sometimes trigger a desire within people for more material possessions and insatiable purchasing habits? Have you found yourself in such a situation?
- When you make an online purchase and get your order, are you happy to receive an email asking how satisfied you were with the product/service? Would you reconsider re-purchasing from the same brand/becoming their loyal customer? Or maybe you’d find this unnecessary and a waste of time?
- How do you feel about brands that promote their products/services excessively? Would this encourage you to become their client or would it repel you even more?
- Are you comfortable using similar products from different brands, that is, using a specific brand, but also buying stuff from their competitors?
If you’re making ads:
- Why is it so necessary for brands to advertise?
- Is advertising always costly or ad managers simply have a hard time distributing money properly?
- What type of customers are you targeting?
- What ad strategies have proven to be the most effective for you so far? Why? Do you think they’ll always work or you’ll need to make changes at some point because customers may find the approach rather predictable?
- What product, feature, service, and so on, can you provide your customers with in order to stand out from the competition?
- How much do you value customer feedback? Do you think there’s a way to collect customer feedback without being pushy or “annoying” your customers? If yes, have you done it? If not, would you consider implementing it?
- What can your company do to meet your customers’ needs better?
- According to you, what is a satisfied customer? And vice versa - what’s a dissatisfied one?
- How do you measure the value you offer to your existing customers? Do you offer the same value to potential ones too?
- Have you ever gotten negative feedback from customers? How did you react? What did that customer do afterward - did they continue using your services/products or they opted for a competitor?
- What can you do to provide a better ad experience for your customers?
- Do you believe in attracting customers through ads (that is making ads, have sponsored links pop up on targeted users, and so on), or you believe in getting customers organically (such as word-of-mouth)?
- What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when you want to make sure a customer keeps re-purchasing your products/services?
- Do you reward loyal customers in any way? For instance, the same person has made three purchases in a single month and has spent a significant amount of money - do you do something to acknowledge that? It doesn’t have to be anything major - you can simply send a small gift, a thank you note that says “Thank you for trusting us”; “Thanks for your loyalty”; “Thank you for supporting our business”, and so on.
- If you could ask your potential customer one question, what would it be?
Making money is probably why every business exists. It’s to secure one’s financial stability, provide salary to the rest of the employees, and hopefully boost the overall economy.
And while it all sounds very neat, a lot of business owners actually struggle to turn a profit. This is largely because they either have bad advertising, or no advertising at all. Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to this, but for the sake of our article we’ll stick to this one.
Business owners should make sure their ads “encourage” customers to spend money, that is, buy their product/service. Plus, most ad campaigns require money - you need to invest in making advertisements, so why not approach this properly?
If we know that the ability to generate money is linked to the existence of your business, we can understand the motivation behind each business owner. But for many, it’s about more than just existing or scraping by. More ambitious business owners try to double or triple their income over time.
But to do so, it’s important to know what the most sales-effective and cost-effective ad types are. A 2019 study (which is still relevant, by the way), suggests the following:
- Facebook ads;
- Google search ads;
- Google display ads;
- LinkedIn ads;
- Bing ads.
Of course, it’s up to you to determine what’s most suitable for your business. You can always consult someone else and get further insight and ideas. The ultimate goal of ads is to stimulate potential customers to make a purchase.
That said, you shouldn’t forget about the other ways to make some money too. For instance, if you’re running an online business, there are many other ways to make money, apart from depending on your customers’ orders.
You can write paid guest posts relating to your niche, consider affiliate marketing, charge money for sponsored posts, create paywalls for your premium content, allow banner ads, develop membership content, and so on.
Finally, it’s not all about money - don’t let your profit-driven spirit outweigh your purpose-driven one. After all, true passion is the driving force behind each business.
How to approach this?
- Are you satisfied with the amount of money you’re currently making?
- So far, what do you owe your business’ financial success to?
- How can you make more money doing what you love, that is, running your business? Try brainstorming. You can even consult others and see what advice and suggestions they have for you.
- What opportunities can you identify at the moment that can bring you more income in the upcoming period?
- What are some expenses you have in relation to your business that you can easily cut back on?
- How can you upsell to your current customers? Also, would you feel comfortable doing it? If this is followed by negative feedback, how would you react?
- How can you upgrade your current advertising strategies so that you:
- attract more customers;
- generate more income?
- Also, do you need to work on your sales techniques, too? What changes can you make starting today?
- Is there any kind of product that would complement what you’re already selling (let’s say you’re selling laptops and now you decide to start selling laptop bags and other laptop-related accessories and gadgets)? How can you plan this? Would you charge more for the laptops and then add a free laptop bag with each order? Perhaps you’ll sell them separately? Or maybe you’ll gift them to certain customers?
- What other ways can you think of to sell your current products/services at a higher price? This is very much related to the above-mentioned question about upselling. Are you worried that increasing your prices might result in you losing certain customers? That said, do you think a lot more people would buy your products/services if you lowered your prices?
- Do you feel your company provides absolute value for money and you can justify your prices?
- How can you get others to refer customers to you? Business owners always try to get referrals and more customers, because the more customers you have, the more money you make.
- Do you have any psychological blocks and barriers that prevent you from making more money?
- What are your current beliefs around money? For instance, a lot of time people may have limiting beliefs around money - such as believing that they’re not worth enough, so they’re afraid to charge more.
Famous Quotes About Advertising
“Because advertising and marketing is an art, the solution to each new problem or challenge should begin with a blank canvas and an open mind, not with the nervous borrowings of other people's mediocrities. That's precisely what 'trends' are - a search for something 'safe' - and why a reliance on them leads to oblivion.”
“I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
“Trying to do business without advertising is like winking at a pretty girl through a pair of green goggles. You may know what you are doing, but no one else does.”
“To me, great advertising can make food taste better, can make your car run smoother. It can change your perception of something. Is it wrong to change your perception about something? Of course not. I'm not lying; I'm just saying, 'This one's more fun, this one's more exciting.'”
We no longer buy oranges, we buy vitality. We do not just buy an auto, we buy prestige. And so with all the rest. In toothpaste, for example, we buy not a mere cleanser and antiseptic, but release from the fear of being sexually repulsive. In vodka and whisky we are not buying a protoplasmic poison which in small doses, may depress the nervous system in a psychologically valuable way; we are buying friendliness and good fellowship, the warmth of Dingley Dell and the brilliance of the Mermaid Tavern. With our laxatives we buy the health of a Greek god. With the monthly best seller we acquire culture, the envy of our less literate neighbors and the respect of the sophisticated. In every case the motivation analyst has found some deep-seated wish or fear, whose energy can be used to move the customer to part with cash and so, indirectly, to turn the wheels of industry.”
“If a newspaper is to be of real service to the public, it must have a big circulation: first, because its news and its comments must reach the largest possible number of people; second, because circulation means advertising, and advertising means money, and money means independence.”
“When I lecture kids, I say, 'You've got to be ambitious by the advertising' - ambitious. You've got to say, 'See, this product? Maybe I can change the world with this product.' They look at me like I'm nuts, but that's what you can do.”
“Social enables word of mouth at an unprecedented scale. Its most powerful effect, through reviews and recommendations, is to put product quality and value for money as the key to success in commerce. Social brings a level of transparency that prevents marketers from advertising their way to success without underlying product quality.”
“We are all advertising, all of the time. If you want to sell your car, what do you do? You clean and polish it and make it the best you can. Some people bake bread when they are trying to sell their house because the smell adds a friendly feeling. Even the priest, with all his or her fervour, is advertising God. Everybody is selling.”
“The advertising men made it clear that there were two ways of looking at ideas in a war against fascism. Those of us who were working on the project believed ideas were to be fought for; the advertising men believed they were to be sold. The audience, those at home in wartime, were not 'citizens' or 'people.' They were 'customers.'”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are some important terms in advertising?
Advertising has its own fair share of fun words and important terms. While we can’t share all of them in this article, we can definitely cover the most significant ones.
This acronym stands for the American Academy of Advertising. It’s an association which includes students, educators, and former advertising educators.
This is the American Association of Advertising Agencies. It’s basically an association whose members are ad agencies.
The acronym stands for the Association of National Advertisers. As the name suggests, this is an association whose members are advertisers, that is, they deal with advertising their company’s services and/or products.
Advance premium is a premium that a customer is provided with, on the condition of a later purchase.
An advertiser can be: a service company; a retailer; a manufacturer; or any supplier who advertises their services/products.
AIDA is an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It denotes a historical model of how advertising functions - by first catching the customer’s attention, then getting them interested in what you offer, and so on.
Back to back
Back to back means running more than a single commercial, usually one following right after another.
Billings is a term which refers to the total amount charged to customers, and it also includes production costs, media costs, the agency commission, and so on.
A brand manager is a person who handles all the marketing responsibilities and tasks regarding a specific brand.
This refers to advertising which is directed to other businesses (B2B), not to consumers (B2C).
The acronym CBBB stands for Council of Better Business Bureaus. This is a national organization of the local business bureaus.
DAGMAR is a process of setting goals for ad campaigns so that it’s possible to determine if the goals have been met or not. The acronym stands for Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results.
Demographic segmentation refers to the process of dividing customers into various groups depending on demographics, so that distinct groups can be treated in different manner. For instance, if there are two ads, then one may appeal to adults, whereas the second one could be geared more toward teenagers. This is so because both groups are usually attracted to different types of ads and content - what works for one group won’t have the same effect on the other one.
An end-user is a person who typically uses a service/product, regardless of whether they’re the one who bought the service/product or not.
Green advertising is a type of advertising that promotes services and products that don’t harm the environment, or that actually help it in some way.
An imprinted product is a type of a promotional product that contains a company’s logo or maybe has an advertising message printed on it.
Narrowcasting means using a broadcast medium in order to appeal to audiences with specific interests.
Product life cycle
The product life cycle is a marketing theory which suggests that brands or products tend to follow a specific sequence of stages such as: an introduction, growth, maturity, sales decline, and so on.
Rate cards are information cards (usually provided by print and broadcast media), and they contain information about ad costs, issue dates, mechanical requirements, cancellation dates, circulation data, closing dates, and so on.
Seasonality is a concept which denotes the variation in sales for services and products throughout the year, usually depending on the season. For instance, iced tea is usually advertised more in summer, as opposed to winter months.
Subliminal persuasion is an advertising message that’s presented below the threshold of consciousness. It’s also referred to as subception. Such advertising messages are said to be perceived subconsciously, but not consciously.
Unaided recall is a research method where a respondent receives no assistance in answering questions about a specific ad.
Values and lifestyles (VALS) research
VALS is a research method which groups consumers depending on some characteristics such as demographics, lifestyle, their values, and so on.
What makes an ad successful?
What makes a great ad? This is a bit more complex than what it initially looks like, as there are several factors that contribute to an ad’s success.
First and foremost, successful ads are ads that reach potential consumers and effectively inform them about your brand and the products/services you offer. However, a successful ad not only informs consumers about your products/services - it compels them to make a purchase.
All ads need to be clear, concise, authentic, and reflect your brand’s mission. It should also be credible, memorable, and catchy. And like all marketing strategies, it should be built upon solid grounds.
A successful ad is an ad that boosts your profits too. Of course, you first need to invest in the creation of any ad, but if you produce a solid one, then it’s guaranteed it will bring you more customers, and thus more orders. This, in turn, increases your income, and motivates you to upgrade your services/products even further.
Also, don’t forget that your ad should be competitive. In other words, your ad needs to stand out from the others - especially those in the same industry as yours. So, do your research, check out competitors, and see what their ads look like. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should copy, it simply means you should see what their ad feedback was like, how their consumers reacted, what worked for them, and what doesn’t. Use your own judgment. Or rely on a great marketing agent to do it!
That said, don’t forget about truthfulness. If you like something, and you think it should be included in your ad, don’t use it no matter what. See if it brings value to your brand and to the overall ad. Be honest - don’t promise things in the ad that your product/service can’t deliver.
Also, choose the right format for the service/product you’re trying to promote - for instance, if you’re advertising a car, there’s no better way than going for a video ad. You want potential buyers to see the car, the angles, the color(s), the design. You want them to feel the car’s power. If you opt for a radio ad, however, you won’t get the same effect. On the contrary, the ad simply won’t be anything special.
All in all, each ad is a story of its own, but luckily there are certain tips and tricks that help advertisers get the most out of their ads and make them as successful as they can be.
Why do some people dislike advertisements?
Why do certain people dislike ads? What’s so problematic about them? Is it because people are reminded of what they want, but currently can’t have, or because ads can sometimes encourage spending money in a careless manner? Or is it that they simply annoy people, not just because of their content, but because of the sheer volume of ads they’re exposed to?
Here’s what Andrew Oswald, a professor at the University of Warwick, has to say about it based on research he conducted with his team:
Before I can decide how happy I am, I have to look over my shoulder, consciously or subconsciously, and see how other people are doing. Many of my feelings about my income, my car, and my house are molded by my next-door neighbor’s income, car, and house. That’s just part of being human: worrying about relative status. But we know from lots of research that making social comparisons can be harmful to us emotionally, and advertising prompts us to measure ourselves against others. If I see an ad for a fancy new car, it makes me think about my ordinary one, which might make me feel bad. If I see this $10,000 watch and then look at my watch, which I probably paid about $150 for, I might think, “Maybe there’s something wrong with me.”
That said, there are many other reasons why people find ads disturbing. For instance, as I mentioned, they might be troubled by the frequency of ads (simply feeling overwhelmed by the number of advertisements they encounter on a daily basis); their lack of relevancy and overall bad targeting; their placements on a webpage (if they’re browsing the Internet); and so on.
Other reasons people dislike ads
Disking ads may oftentimes occur due to different reasons. It could be because certain ads are seen as being “evil”.
David Ogilvy said: “Advertising is only evil when it advertises evil things.” But what exactly are “evil things”? What criteria are we supposed to use to decipher them?
The way we see it, it feels like this depends upon our personal beliefs and attitudes toward advertising. In other words, our response to an ad will depend upon our relationship with the thing being advertised.
For instance, if you’re a smoker, and come across a smoking ad you probably won’t be repulsed by it. But if a non-smoker sees the same ad they might perceive it as imposing an unhealthy habit, which is especially dangerous to impressionable youths.
That said, things are much more complicated than this. For example, even if a smoker sees a smoking ad we can’t always assume they’ll be fine with it/interested in it. For instance, the ad could be promoting: a competitor, so they’ll immediately neglect it (or might check it out simply to compare pricing, for instance); they might be trying to quit smoking, but they occasionally do it, so we can’t know what seeing the ad might trigger within them.
Overall, the concept of disliking ads is a versatile one, and we have to determine whether it refers to ads in general; or just particular ads that promote specific things. But it is each ad manager’s job to understand what turns people away from certain ads, in order to create more engagement and better feedback.
Suggestions for Further Reading
People in advertising are always on the lookout for the next amazing idea. And what better place to look for it than in books?
What’s more, reading about advertising isn’t only about learning what works. It’s also about seeing what doesn’t.
With that said, here are our top advertising book suggestions:
- Scientific Advertising: 21 advertising, headline and copywriting techniques, by Claude C Hopkins
- CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone, by Drew Eric Whitman
- Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas, by Richard Bayan
- The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters, by Joseph Sugarman
- Social Media Marketing: 7 books in 1: Facebook Advertising, Instagram for Business, Youtube for Beginners, Affiliate Secrets, Personal Branding, Network Marketing, Copywriting Mastery Handbook, by Charles Edwards
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd, by Allan Dib
- 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and More!, by Andrew Macarthy
- Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, Donald Miller
- This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See, by Seth Godin
- Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers, by Donald Miller
- All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All, by Seth Godin
- Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, by Andy Sernovitz
Do let us know if there are any other advertising books that stood out for you. We’d love to include some of your suggestions!
Jamie Lee Curtis said: “I believe that life is hard. That we all are going to walk through things that are hard and challenging, and yet advertising wants us to believe that it's all easy”.
And while life is certainly not always easy (and neither is advertising by the way), we can at least make things slightly easier. Because essentially, while advertising does render reality less realistic, the aim of most products and services is to improve the life of the customer, however small that improvement may be.
Care to see how?
Join us on our advertising adventure then! And by adventure we refer to our neatly developed advertising course. You’ll learn about:
- the economic impact of advertising and the goals of advertising;
- developing advertising objectives and strategy;
- demand generation vs demand satisfaction;
- developing a script;
- sponsorships and corporate advertising;
- advertising metrics;
- customer needs and product utility;
- Google: Adwords, Google: SEO, and Facebook advertising, and so much more!
Ready to stay up to date with the latest advertising trends then?
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