Not to steal a line from Mary I of England (aka Bloody Mary), but execution, execution, it’s all about the execution. Many businesses today understand that advertising is essential to bringing in new customers and retaining current customers. However, too often, when the theoretical dust of an advertising campaign settles, these businesses are left with content far from what they had originally imagined. In other words, it’s like these businesses are hoping to get results that are equal to Brad Pitt but are left with results that are equal to David Hasselhoff…
A real life example to further illustrate this lack of advertising execution is something that I saw as I was traveling on the road the other day. As I was driving, I came into this touristy little town and happened across a company that was trying to entice customers to purchase mass amounts of land that they had for sale in this beautiful area of America. This company had evidently come to the conclusion that the best idea for them to drive sales was to station a person in front of their offices holding a sign (similar to what you see around tax time in front of professional tax offices). I assume this only because in front of their offices stood a well over sixty-five-year-old women taking an extra long drag off her Virginia Slim cigarette while propping her weathered body against a sideways “BUY NOW” sign that I can only assume she was supposed to be spinning.
In principle, the idea this company started with seemed like a good one. Something somewhat different, definitely something to make you look twice, and something that has proven itself to work, even if it is the inbred gimmick cousin of the wacky inflatable waving arm tube man and charity car washes. You see, no matter how full proof the idea seemingly is, the execution is so vitally important. By having an idea that is solely based on the energy and excitement level of the person working the sign and then employing someone who is virtually incapable of producing that level or energy for hours on end, the company doomed its investment in advertising from the go. In no way was this woman motivating me or anyone else to buy land or to stop by this company to inquire about land. The only thing I really took out of the whole occasion, other than this article, is that I am very, very happy that I never started smoking.
This and tales like it are told time and time again, and every time I see or hear such an incidence, I am further baffled by the fact that people continue to invest their company’s hard-earned money into advertising that is not executed correctly. How is it that companies still don’t realize that when you don’t see your advertisements all the way through, you are in fact just tossing your money away and alienating consumers as you do it?
So, how do you ensure that your company is investing in advertising that is executed properly? Here are three simple steps to follow to ensure your advertising is carried out correctly.
Every business should have a set amount that they have budgeted for advertising each year. For each advertisement you are looking to create, you need to be clear on just how much money you are realistically willing to spend. I say realistically because like some people who are stupid enough to get a tattoo by someone whose “artistic” method is heating a safety pin over a lighter and then dipping it the ink of a BIC pen they just cracked open with their teeth, there are businesses who believe they should hire their buddy who can draw “good” over a graphic designer who has spent thousands upon thousands of hours perfecting their technique and has invested time and money into the tools needed to make sure your businesses succeeds. Yes, the graphic designer is pricier, but the quality you end up with is something that you and your company can be proud of.
That being said, you can change how you divvy up the set amount (copywriting, photography, video production, graphic design, social media, etc.), but the realistic amount that you set should be something that you are both comfortable with and is a fair price to the people you are partnering with.
2) Planning & Organization
It’s very difficult to see all your advertising through when you are more worried about running the day-to-day operations of your business. Hiring an advertising professional, like me (shameless plug), will help you take care of all the organization and planning of an advertising campaign without you sacrificing the day-to-day operations of your business. Advertising professionals work with you to do the appropriate market research, set goals for a particular advertising projects/campaigns, help you figure out the best outlet/s to advertise through (website, TV station, social media, newspaper, radio station, magazine, gorilla marketing, etc.), and employee the help of quality professional Creatives (people who will write, shoot, design, edit, etc.).
When you first start with an advertising professional, work together with them to make sure that you both know all the expectations for timelines and progress checks (as you will be reviewing and signing off on different stages of the project). All of these aspects ensure that you are fully prepared to execute a successful advertising campaign from the beginning to the end.
3) Execution & Evaluation
Whether you are placing your finished advertisement in an advertising venue (website, TV station, social media, newspaper, radio station, magazine, etc.) or carrying it out in a public fashion (gorilla marketing), you need to make sure that your project is carried out completely and effectively. This step to your advertising is as important as having quality graphic design, video production, copywriting, and other creative services carried out for you. Sadly, most businesses suffer from something I call Field of Dreams dementia. They believe “If you build it, they will come.” Well, that works fine and dandy in the movies, but in the real world even after you build it people still need to know it is there before they will come to it. In other words, you don’t want to build this great business or pay for great advertising and have no one see it. You have to fully execute in all facets of your business, most importantly in advertising.
Finally, after you have finished your advertisement or advertising campaign, make sure you evaluate how your advertising worked. Now, depending on your ad, how you evaluate it can vary, but some are easier than others. If you used a coupon, you can simply count how many coupons were used during your promotion. For other advertising, you can compare the sales or sales inquiries your business had before the advertisement and after. The information you gain from this analysis is so very important, because with this information, you can point to more effective uses of advertising in the future.
So, as you can see, Bloody Mary might have been onto something all along. It is the execution that is so very important in helping your company turn into an empire. Without it all your efforts and financial investments become nothing more than feudal.
Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Had to use at least a couple royal puns in this article. However, it really is a peasant surprise that you are still reading this. I'm not sure if I should be sad for you or happy about that. Maybe, reading this article will be your crowning achievement to-knight. Okay, I'm done. I'm done. Enough of this nonsense. I'm off to drink my royal tea.