DAY Communications LLC Design & Function for Web & Print

A Premise with a Promise

serving a product

A renowned theatrical producer, David Belasco, created a maxim when he said, "If you can't write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea." That insight applies to advertising strategy. If you can't state yours in seven words or less, you don't have one that will work.

What is an advertising strategy? Why must it be brief? Who should devise it? How often should it be changed? Good questions!

An advertising strategy is a premise that makes a promise. The premise is a succinct answer to the question, "What business are we in?" It is stated as a benefit or problem solution, that is, as a promise, to your customers and prospects.

For example, the business of a beauty salon is to offer services that help to groom its customers so they will look their best and feel better about themselves, which helps them to be more successful. A shortened version of that mission might be: Quality salon services to help people look beautiful, feel great and get ahead.

Since happy, successful people usually have an air of vivacity, we can abbreviate the strategy to seven words: Quality salon services to give people pizzazz. The strategy is now a simple message which will serve as the foundation of the salon's advertising program. Interestingly, it can also be recast as a name for the business, PIZZAZZ! Or, if the business already has a name, PIZZAZZ FOR YOU! might be used as a service mark.

An advertising strategy is a core concept. It must be focused because the marketplace is deluged with signs and advertisements and there is only a moment to grab attention. It must not be simply a list of attributes; people want to know--"What's in it for me?" Only a premise with a promise has the power to drive your marketing plan and direct your creative strategy.

Do it yourself?

As to the question of who should formulate the strategy, it may be possible to devise your company core concept in-house. In the same way, lots of people dye their own hair at home in the kitchen-- but it's safer to go to a professional. A limp strategy is worse than having orange hair.

An advertising agency will:

  1. Assist you to define your marketing challenge
  2. Find the drama in your product or service and translate that to a meaningful benefit
  3. Analyze your target market and secondary markets
  4. Thoroughly study your competition
  5. Develop a strategy that will position your product or service to break through media clutter, be perceived in a memorable way, and generate sales.


The "big idea" which all creative people strive for depends on the advertising strategy to be kindled. A good agency will tailor ads to embody the strategy. We'll insure that all aspects of your advertising program dovetail into a premise with a promise.

Finally, when is it time to change your strategy? September is a good month to review your advertising program as you set a new budget for the coming year and devise new plans. As well, there's no time like the present. Call us to discuss whether it's time to change your strategy or to discover how to get more mileage out of your present one.

©2014. DAY Communications. All rights reserved.

Test Your Marketing Knowledge

woman taking a quiz

Circle one:

T F 1. The focus group is a respectable research method for collecting input to guide product or marketing decisions.

T F 2. A good way to grab attention in advertising is through alphabetic acrobatics.

T F 3. In 2000 the definition of marketing changed.

T F 4. Couponing is a helpful gimmick for increasing sales.

T F 5. The four components of marketing are: Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

Answers:

1 - False. Since a typical focus group has eight to 10 members and normally four groups are polled on a given topic, the total sample is 32 to 40 people. It is too small to offer stable results, and it is not representative of any particular segment. Dominant voices can affect the group, and the moderator's ability can temper the responses. Focus groups can be helpful to explore a topic, get some suggestions or provoke opinions, or they can be used to pick up the language of consumer behavior.

- from The Marketing Revolution by Kevin Clancy and Robert Shulman

2 - True. Alphabetic Acrobatics, that is, "playing on words" --is! Other techniques of "stopping power" include:

- Open minded narrative (picture or thought) in which the resolution is not presented
- Ironic twists on ordinary behavior
- Incongruity of visual elements and/or words by unusual juxtaposition of elements
- Exaggeration
- Simplification
- Shocking visual or headline
- Participation visuals (tests, games)

- from The Young and Rubicam Traveling Creative Workshop

3 - False. It was in 2004 that the American Marketing Association issued a new definition of marketing... "Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders." Not all marketers like this definition, but –simply put– it underscores that “Marketing is everyone’s job.”

4 - False. There is no evidence that couponing increases sales in the long run. Any sort of discounting tends to educate customers to buy only when they can get a deal. A "sale" says to your prospect that your regular prices are too high. Like so many other areas of life (spending money, taking drugs, having sex) the long-term effects of your actions are often the opposite of the the short-term effects. Why is it so hard to comprehend that marketing effects take place over an extended period of time?

- from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

5 - Traditionally True, but one marketing maven says its four components are: Advertising, Promotion, Publicity, and Contesting. He defines advertising as the purchase of exposure in mass media, promotion as an event requiring attendance or some form of participation by those invited, publicity as free media coverage, and contesting as a promotion that creates excitement for your entire marketing program. Everyone wants to get something for nothing, so contests are a fabulous lure.

- from Creating Demand by Richard Ott

Top Marketing Concept #3

shopper

"A bridge over troubled waters is better than burning your bridges after you've crossed them."

Companies tend to stop advertising in times of economic downturn or at a point when it just doesn't seem like the program is working. The troubled waters could be a recession or they could represent a time of year when people don't buy as much of what you sell. But at those times, what will happen if you drop your advertising? Will people forget you? Will someone steal your customers? Possibly.

Picture this: You have built a bridge, that is, a communication link to your customers. You have built up a certain amount of awareness. If you stop advertising, that will be lost. You will lose your investment. As one marketing guru has put it, "The bond of communication is too precious to break capriciously." Remember, it does take time for a program to show results. So be consistent in your efforts; regard them as an investment and be committed.

You need one bridge or program to reach, retain and cross-sell customers, and another to reach prospects. Often, people think of advertising only as a way to reach prospects, and that is unwise. In today's marketplace, retaining your customer base is a key to survival. To retain customers, do simple things like reinforcing purchase decisions with a "thank you" or with an elaborate brochure that celebrates the benefits of the purchase.

We usually court the customer with a brilliant website and gorgeous printed materials to sell the product, but once it's sold, we think all is well. However, that may be the very time when the customer begins to doubt his decision especially on large ticket items. At this point he needs a congratulations or other positive reinforcement. That will assure positive word-of-mouth advertising.

To get new customers, you need a creative advertising program which features a simple message touting customer benefits, not product attributes. Remember, a benefit is what a product or service attribute does for the customer. Make that clear to capture their attention and awareness. Then repeat the strategic yet simple message with as much frequency as your budget will allow.

©2014. DAY Communications/fastzone.com. All rights reserved.

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