Signs of proper advertising come from sales, product R&D, and consumers. Brands and agencies need to hold advertising campaigns to a high standard. High-quality campaigns must go through extensive research, create plans & creative strategies, and prioritize business metrics over media metrics. Many companies in the industry take a rush-to-market approach. This approach causes two major issues. 1) Brands pay a premium for consumers 2) Consumers switch brands quickly.
Advertising campaigns need extensive research to achieve short and long-term success. Some of the insights can last a brand for years or even decades. For example, Coca-Cola used the ad slogan, "The pause that refreshes" for over 30 years. (Source: Business Insider). The consistent message helped consumers remember and connect with the brand.
Advertising research methods fall into two distinct buckets. 1) Primary: The advertiser conducts the research study. 2) Secondary: A 3rd party source performs the research study. Each research method has its own data collection process.
1v1 Interview: Research interview with the ideal consumer or an individual within the product/service community.
Focus Groups: Large research interview with 5-10 participants. The participants are the ideal target audience. Food is typically given to encourage group discussion and relax the environment.
Surveys: A set of open-ended or multiple-choice questions. Researchers should use campaign personas to select the participants.
Databases: Collection of research from interviews and surveys. The results are typically set by industry (ex: entertainment) or product/service categories (ex: hats)
Research Studies: Scholarly articles that base the findings on proven research
Pew Research Center provides a variety of research. For example, brands might use the below study to learn about consumer issues and potential solutions.
Plans & Creative
The main components of an advertisement are the placements and creative.
Placement: This is the where and how of the ad. The ‘where’ includes the Geo (ex: Philadelphia - Center City) and the location within the Geo (ex: train station). While the ‘how’ includes the media channels. The channels are either digital (ex: Paid Search - RSA and Extensions) or traditional (ex: Billboard - 30 Sheet/Static)
Creative: This is the ad visual. The visual can take many forms. Ad channels allow for print/digital images, videos, paintings, sculptures, and more. Traditional channels allow for more visual opportunities than digital channels.
Proper placement and creative are important to the success of an ad. However, many believe that the placement is 40% of the campaign’s success while the creative accounts for 60% of the campaign’s success.
Prioritize Business Goals over Media Channel Goals
High-quality advertising takes a business-first approach. The actions focus on business goals, the consumer, and sales. This approach allows brands to satisfy the consumer and adapt to their needs over time. Media metrics are important, however, media metrics shouldn’t drive the bulk of the insights or recommendations.
Media-driven campaigns mainly focus on new consumers and low CPAs. This makes it hard to get ahead of changes in the industry. Brands only make changes if there’s poor performance. On the flip side, high-quality campaigns learn about the consumer prior to launch. Poofish reports that “66% of customers expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations”. Research allows brands to deliver products/services that directly meet the needs of the consumer. Additionally, brands can communicate properly with old and new consumers.
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