Why the Advertising Basics Are More Important than Ever

Joe Weinlick
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The advertising industry is awash in new advertising strategies that previous generations couldn't have dreamed of. Social media, embedded marketing, and native advertising are all fairly recent arrows to be added to the advertising professional's quiver, but none of them really get to the heart of what it means to draw customers to your clients. Getting back to the basics of advertising is more important than ever before in this age of machines talking to machines, and advertising strategies must be tailored to the effect you're trying to reach.

Today's advertising experts are spoiled for choice in the approaches available to the public. It's a lucky advertiser who can find gainful work in the field without knowing the ins and outs of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. YouTube, Hulu, and viral advertising strategies have expanded the scope of the advertiser's practice far beyond what it was when an ad campaign consisted of buying some ad space on TV and taking out a full-page ad in the newspaper.

The recent development of new media has made precision marketing a possibility at last, but the question remains: what do you do with your target audience once your advertising strategies have gotten people's attention? That's where it's important to remember the essentials of advertising—what it is, what it's for, and what it's supposed to get you—or else you'll find yourself talking to an empty room. Indeed, it's even possible that an overly slick campaign could obscure the very product you're selling.

The Prime Directive of advertisers is to know the target audience. New technologies and better market research can help with that, of course, but the imperative goes deeper than just picking the right demographics. Learn what your potential clients look for in a product or service before deciding on an approach. If you're selling cars to young people, you'll stress performance and styling. If you're selling to young parents, safety features will be your biggest selling point. For middle-aged men, your campaign might be designed to evoke nostalgia or promise a second youth. In each case, it's knowing your audience—far more than choosing between TV, print, and social media—that will make the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity.

Another central principle of successful advertising strategies is to give your customer a reason to buy what you're selling. Running a Twitter campaign that extols the cornering of your client's new car is nice, but it doesn't tell customers what's in it for them if they buy one. Fall back on your market research here. If your customer base is interested in safety, link the superior traction to higher safety ratings. If the target demographic is cost averse, stress how little maintenance the suspension requires. In each case, you're connecting the feature of the product—superior suspension—with a benefit that will demand action.

All too often, modern advertisers get lost in the bewildering world of high-tech approaches that are technically feasible but ultimately misguided. Rather than leaping on the latest medium for your message, in the modern world, your advertising strategies will do far better if you remember the basics of advertising and focus on the message.



(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)


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