5 Essential Tips for Effective Advertising

In too many companies, advertising is seen as throwing money out the window by finance and sales. The reason? Because brand managers don’t have ads that increase sales.

Brand managers do an awesome job of taking a lot of information and turning it into clear, compelling communications. Don’t make their job and harder by not following these 5 simple tips for creating more effective advertising.

Brand managers risk falling into the trap of trying to make their ads to be “all things to all people”

Many advertising budgets are only managed by brand managers. The money is owned by the product managers – who are really fighting against one another for their unfair share of the budget. Since dollars are so tight, they are expected to work harder than ever. That means everything and the kitchen sink gets put into the ad.

TipsTip #1: Have a goal that sales and finance agree to

No matter how simple this one sounds, it’s true. The agreement on what you are trying to do has to be a shared and bought-into goal. The CFO has to see a return on investment and the sales team has to believe that you aren’t wasting money that they’d just as soon like to use to lower prices.

Which is why driving sales is a logical goal for both the finance team and the sales team to agree to. And from experience, the product manager isn’t going to be too upset either.

Tip #2: Know who you are talking to – and why

Remember that product manager trying to drive sales? They now want this ad to be as broad as possible. Here’s an example that building product companies can relate to: having an ad that is written so generically that it “covers” architects, builders, remodelers, dealers, home centers and any consumers that see it too. Hello – that’s talking to no one.

Being able to focus on a specific group will allow the team to really dive into what make the product relevant for that group.  Having meaningful insights allow the team to write with benefits in mind, not a bunch of generic features.

Effective AdvertisingTip #3: What ONE THING do you want them to do

This is maybe a nice way of saying have a single message in your ad. With a single purpose behind that message. Let’s keep blaming the product manager (and I was one for many years).

That one magical ad has to move the needle. And that means throwing in as many products, features, and accessories as the space will hold. Stop! Even if your goal is education, don’t make the ad do the work for you. No one will read the ad and it certainly won’t increase product sales.

Tip #4: Give them a reason to do it with a clear call-to-action

Don’t lose your single-mindedness now, it’s go time. Turn the tables on the product manager. Is there an incentive that can be used to drive sales? A discount on an first purchase, a BOGO, a promotion, a coupon? Even if your goal is to only drive a lead, create incentives that will not only deliver the greatest numbers, but also the highest quality.

Effective Advertising2Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to be creative but the goal isn’t to win awards

You’ll find the team is more creative when the problem is focused on delivering against a very specific goal in a simple and compelling way. Don’t mistake this process as being easy. Having a narrow focus and a simple message is difficult and feels like you are making compromises.

By the same token, the goal isn’t awards, it’s sales. You’ll never see the sales team point to an ADDY, but they will certainly point to their sales charts – especially when they are overdriving their goals.

Good Selling!


Are You a Marketer or Just a Product Expert?

Product Marketer or Product ExpertYour success can be built around either, but as one Big Box buyer pointed out to me:

“Too many manufacturers think that their marketing managers are marketers and they are not – they are product experts and that’s not helping drive my business – or theirs.”

Because new product development is critical, it’s not surprising that many companies find people who are good at project management.

Many marketers are skilled at working within an organization cross-functionally and adept at Stage Gate or some other milestone process. After all, aren’t new products how you grow your category and improve your margins?

Are you thinking about marketing too narrowly?

IImagef you’ve found that sales are falling short despite a constant stream of new products, then your focus on marketing may be too narrow.

Ask yourself these questions to determine the breadth of your marketing focus:

  1. Do I understand the needs of the consumer, shopper or end-user?
  2. Am I creating products that solve a problem or are innovative enough to give my sales team “new news?”
  3. Do I understand the needs and priorities of my customer? Can I build a compelling story as to why our new product is right for them and will help build sales and profits?
  4. Do I have the capability to bring to life the new product’s packaging, merchandising and sales tools?
  5. Am I bringing new users to the company or helping my customers make the sale? Can I help build my customers’ business with strong promotional programs, social media or e-commerce tools?

Marketing is more than just products

How the pieces fit together in marketing

Marketing is a complex discipline. Although this is an oversimplification, we marketers tend to fall into one of these three broad categories:

  1. Product
  2. Channel
  3. Brand

Strength in one does not necessarily translate into strength in all three.

For example, you may be outstanding at moving a new product through your internal systems, but are you equally comfortable building the sales story for your customer or know how to create demand in the market?

How the pieces fit together

If you want to move from being just a product manager to a more senior marketer, here’s how the three parts of marketing fit together:

1. Product Marketers

  • Intimately understands the needs of the end-user.
  • Create products that solve a problem or help give the sales team “new news.”
  • Skillfully use cross-functional teams and internal systems and processes to move from the drawing board to the sales floor…without wasting the time and resources of the organization.

2. Channel Marketers

  • Intimately understands the distribution channel and knows the needs and priorities of their customers – and their customers’ customers.
  • Can build a compelling story as to why their new products and programs will help build their customer’s sales and profits.

3. Brand Marketers

  • Bring to life the new product’s packaging, merchandising and create compelling and convincing sales tools that give the brand or product a personality.
  • Build the customers’ business with a strong promotional programs, social media and e-commerce tools.

Like most things, balance is the key and you need all facets of marketing to be most successful.

For other Channel Instincts posts on product marketing, see “What Drives Your Product Marketing? or Are You a Product Marketing Hero?

Good Selling!

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