Is Entrepreneurship for
Multilevel Marketing Plans
SBA Financing Programs
for a loan
Personal vs. Business
Marketing Research Process
Can Do For Your Business
- Remind customers and prospects about the benefits of your
product or service
- Establish and maintain your distinct identity
- Enhance your reputation
- Encourage existing customers to buy more of what you sell
- Attract new customers and replace lost ones
- Slowly build sales to boost your bottom line
- Promote your business to customers, investors and others
What Advertising Cannot Do For Your Business
- Create an instant customer base
- Cause an immediate sharp increase in sales
- Solve cash flow or profit problems
- Substitute for poor or indifferent customer service
- Sell useless or unwanted products or services
Advertising's Two Important Virtues
- You have complete control. Unlike public relations efforts, you
determine exactly where, when and how often your message will
appear, how it will look, and what it will say. You can target your
audience more readily and aim at very specific geographic areas.
- You can be consistent, presenting your company's image and sales
message repeatedly to build awareness and trust. A distinctive
identity will eventually become clearly associated with your
company, like McDonald's golden arches. Customers will recognize you
quickly and easily - in ads, mailers, packaging or signs - if you
present yourself consistently.
What Are Advertising's Drawbacks?
- It takes planning. Advertising works best and costs least when
planned and prepared in advance. For example, you'll pay less per ad
in newspapers and magazines by agreeing to run several ads over time
rather than deciding issue by issue. Likewise, you can save money by
preparing a number of ads at once.
- It takes time and persistence. The effectiveness of your
advertising improves gradually over time, because customers don't
see every one of your ads.
You must repeatedly remind prospects and customers about the
benefits of doing business with you. The long-term effort triggers
recognition and helps special offers or direct marketing pay off.
Getting Ready to Advertise - Drawing the Blueprint
1:Design the Framework
- What is the purpose of your advertising program? Start by
defining your company's long-range goals, then map out how marketing
can help you attain them. Focus on advertising routes complementary
to your marketing efforts. Set measurable goals so you can evaluate
the success of your advertising campaign. For example, do you want
to increase overall sales by 20% this year? Boost sales to existing
customers by 10% during each of the next three years? Appeal to
younger or older buyers? Sell off old products to free resources for
- How much can you afford to invest? Keep in mind that whatever
amount you allocate will never seem like enough. Even giants such as
Proctor & Gamble and Pepsi always feel they could augment their
advertising budgets. But given your income, expenses and sales
projections, simple addition and subtraction can help you determine
how much you can afford to invest. Some companies spend a full 10%
of their gross income on advertising, others just 1%. Research and
experiment to see what works best for your business.
2:Fill in the Details
- What are the features and benefits of your product or service?
When determining features, think of automobile brochures that list
engine, body and performance specifications. Next, and more
difficult, determine the benefits those features provide to your
customers. How does your product or service actually help them? For
example, a powerful engine helps a driver accelerate quickly to get
onto busy freeways.
- Who is your audience? Create a profile of your best customer. Be
as specific as possible, for this will be the focus of your ads and
media choices. A restaurant may target adults who dine out
frequently in the nearby city or suburban area. A computer software
manufacturer may aim at information managers in companies with
10-100 employees. A bottled water company may try to appeal to
athletes or people over 25 who are concerned about their health.
- Who is your competition? It's important to identify your
competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what your
competition offers that you don't, and vice versa, helps you show
prospects how your product or service is special, or why they should
do business with you instead of someone else. Knowing your
competition will also help you find a niche in the marketplace.
3:Arm Yourself with Information
- What do you know about your industry, market and audience? There
are many sources of information to help you keep in touch with
industry, market and buying trends without conducting expensive
market research. Examples include U.S. Government materials from the
Census Bureau and Department of Commerce. Public, business or
university libraries are also a good option, as are industry
associations, trade publications and professional organizations. You
can quickly and easily learn more about your customers by simply
asking them about themselves, their buying preferences and media
habits. Another, more expensive, alternative is to hire a
professional market research firm to conduct your research.
4:Build Your Action Plan - Evaluating Media Choices
- Your next step is to select the advertising vehicles you will
use to carry your message, and establish an advertising schedule. In
most cases, knowing your audience will help you choose the media
that will deliver your sales message most effectively. Use as many
of the above tools as are appropriate and affordable. You can
stretch your media budget by taking advantage of co-op advertising
programs offered by manufacturers. Although programs vary, generally
the manufacturer will pay for a portion of media space and time
costs, or mailer production charges, up to a fixed amount per year.
The total amount contributed is usually based on the quantity of
merchandise you purchase.
- When developing your advertising schedule, be sure to take
advantage of any special editorial or promotional coverage planned
in the media you select. Newspapers, for example, often run special
sections featuring real estate, investing, home and garden
improvement, and tax advice. Magazines also often focus on specific
themes in each issue.
5:Using Other Promotional Avenues
- Advertising extends beyond the media described above. Other
options include imprinting your company name and graphic identity on
pens, paper, clocks, calendars and other giveaway items for your
customers. Put your message on billboards, inside buses and subways,
on vehicle and building signs, on point-of-sale displays and
- You might co-sponsor events with nonprofit organizations and
advertise your participation; attend or display at consumer or
business trade shows; create tie-in promotions with allied
businesses; distribute newsletters; conduct seminars; undertake
contests or sweepstakes; send advertising flyers along with billing
statements; use telemarketing to generate leads for salespeople; or
develop sales kits with brochures, product samples, or application
- The number of promotional tools used to deliver your message and
repeat your name is limited only by your imagination your budget.
The Advertising Campaign
You are ready for action when armed with knowledge of your industry,
market and audience; a media plan and schedule; your product or
service's most important benefits; and measurable goals in terms of
sales volume, revenue generated, or other criteria.
The first step is to establish the theme that identifies your product
or service in all of your advertising. The theme of your advertising
reflects your special identity or personality, and the particular
benefits of your product or service. For example, cosmetics ads almost
always rely on a glamorous theme. Many food products opt for healthy,
all-American family campaigns. Automobile advertising frequently
concentrates on how the car makes you feel about owning or driving it
rather than performance attributes.
Tag lines reinforce the single most important reason for buying your
product or service. "Nothing Runs Like a Deere" (John Deere farm
vehicles) conveys performance and endurance with a nice twist on the
word "deer." "Ideas at Work" (Black & Decker tools and appliances) again
signifies performance, but also reliability and imagination. "How the
Smart Money Gets that Way" (Barron's financial publication) clearly
connotes prosperity, intelligence, and success.
Advertising and Public Relations
- Space or time in the mass media must
be paid for.
- You determine the message.
- You control timing.
- One-way communication - using the mass
media does not allow feedback.
- Message sponsor is identified.
- The intention of most messages is to
inform, persuade, or remind about a product - usually with the intention
of making a sale.
- The public may view the message
negatively, recognizing advertising as an attempt to persuade or
- Very powerful at creating image.
- Writing style is usually persuasive,
can be very creative, often taking a conversational tone - may even be
- (Vicki Hudson, Grand Rapids
Opportunities for Women, Grand Rapids, MI, 1/99)
- Coverage in mass media, if
any, is not paid for.
- Interpretation of the
message is in the hands of the media.
- Timing is in the hands of
- Two-way communication -
the company should be listening as well as talking and the
various PR venues often provide immediate feedback.
- Message sponsor is not
- The intention of public
relations efforts is often to create good will, to keep the
company and/or product in front of the public, or to
humanize a company so the public relates to its people or
reputation rather than viewing the company as a non-personal
- The public often sees
public relations messages that have been covered by the
media as more neutral or believable.
- Can also create image, but
can sometimes stray from how it was originally intended.
- Writing style relies
heavily on journalism talents - any persuasion is artfully
inserted in the fact-based content.