The ABCs of effective advertising                                             logo50wd&B.jpg

If you want your advertising to resonate with prospective customers, it's essential that you appeal to their emotions in some way. Fail to do this and you might as well be throwing money out the window.

Effective ads sell your message, company, or product. They may or may not be creative, but if you can package some good creative in with a message that appeals to a strong need or want within your target audience, it will certainly help. Effective ads are convincing. They engage prospects as if you were speaking directly to them, and when you succeed in making this connection your prospective customer's thoughts will become your brand itself.

Even if you achieve the enviable position of having a provocative ad execution with an effective message, your work is far from over. In fact, in the world of advertising, your work is never over. Continually exposing your customers, prospective customers, and suspects (those who aren't currently interested in your company or product, but who might be shortly) to the same messaging over a prolonged period of time will lead to stagnation. Eventually, you'll fail not only to inspire brand loyalty, but also to retain it. Even Coke, one of the world's most valuable brands, reinvents its messaging and image when it decides they have begun to lose effectiveness.

Creating an Effective Ad Campaign

So how do you create an effective ad campaign? One way is to go with the single benefit methodology, which directly links your brand to a single benefit. If your deodorant lasts longer, tell the world about it. The characterisation or personification angle involves creating a character that expresses the product's benefits or personality. The narrative methodology involves developing a narrative story with episodes describing a problem and its outcome.

Again, aim to produce advertising that states not only a product's facts, but that also appeals to emotions. Using the deodorant example, you might accomplish this by playing off your customers' fears of having body odor at an inopportune time.

Although a calculated and well thought out advertising campaign may do a good job of creating brand awareness, it may fall short of inducing product preference or, the end goal, purchase. For this reason, don't rely on advertising as a complete solution. Instead, support it with marketing and sales promotion to help trigger a purchase.

Apply the following criteria to test the effectiveness of your advertising message:

1. The ad intelligibly and simply states a single message.
2. The ad evokes a specific, acute emotion.
3. The ad is being presented in a space where it will likely be noticed.
4. The overriding message is clearly evident.

Finally, understand that even a carefully thought out, highly creative campaign with a strong, concise message will fall flat if the product you're advertising just isn't any good. Be honest with yourself on this one. Solicit existing customer feedback. Then decide whether or not it would be a wiser investment if you were to spend the money and time on first improving your product. The better your product is, the less time and money you'll need to spend on traditional advertising. After all, word of mouth advertising is free, and it's often what ultimately makes or breaks a product, brand, or company.

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