So you’ve put aside some of your hard-earned cash in the hope that it will create some more. But where do you even start to ensure that you can create the maximum amount of awareness and attract the maximum number of customers per rand spent? The key to a powerful marketing campaign lies in six tough questions. Hopefully, we’ve made them a little easier for you:

① Define your Ideal Customer

Your business can’t afford to approach everybody, and in any case – you don’t want to.  You’ll get the biggest response, for every cent you invest, if you begin by approaching the right people.  Start by imagining a person who represents the people your product/service is designed for. Give him/her a name, a pay check, a lifestyle, interests, hobbies. How old are they, where do they live? Allow all these factors to come together. Visualize your Ideal Customer in day to day life. What brands do they wear? What do they read? What catches their eye? What do they value? The answers to these questions will give you invaluable information on how to reach the people that matter.

Now that you know who to talk to, what message do you have for them?

② Define your unique selling proposition

Aren’t the best campaigns the ones that speak to you? The ones that answer questions you already have?

Continue imagining your Ideal Customer’s day. When do they come into contact with a problem your product/service can solve? If they don’t, you may need to redefine your Ideal Customer, if they do, use this opportunity to create a powerful selling proposition, stating explicitly how you can help and why you can do so better than a competitor.  If your advertising speaks to this proposition you will set your business apart from others and communicate the real value consumers can expect from your product /service.

③ Specify your Budget

Finances are definitely not the most exciting part of marketing but understanding how much you have to invest will simplify the next two decisions.

④ Choose your Medium

All mediums are effective but some are more effective than others in particular situations. Keeping your Ideal Customer, selling proposition and budget in mind, choose the best channel out of the following to suit you.

TV advertisements are incredibly expensive to air and produce but have a broad reach and millions of viewers. The programs you choose to intercept, can help you target your ideal customer through interest and set up an environment of quality around your advert. Images, sound, movement and narrative make these ads very strong and captivating and perfect for product demonstrations.

Radio campaigns are used for similar reasons and are especially good at creating a sense of immediacy. This makes them brilliant for advertising sales or events.

Outdoor posters are also often used to advertise events. These have the bonus of being up 24/7. Large billboards can reach many potential customers and can have a very strong impact especially if your message is bold and simple.

Although often found on the same shelf, newspaper ads and magazine ads offer very different advantages. Unlike magazines, newspapers have very short shelf lives which also makes them ideal for immediate advertising. Setting your advert in this environment can make it feel credible and familiar but it can also easily get lost in the clutter of headlines and other advertisements. Whereas newspapers can target demographics, magazines target interests. Like TV, magazines offer an environment of quality.

As the world moves away from tangible paper items, it is absolutely necessary to have your business online too.  The web places a whole new spin on advertising. It requires much maintenance and special content to stand out from the clutter but it boasts amazing benefits.  Both production and distribution online is inexpensive. Targeting becomes even more refined as you are able to market to certain keywords and remarket to customers who have taken an interest in you before. Online mediums allow you to interact with your customer in real time which builds your brand a personality that can be approached and trusted.  Online advertising can be in the form of pop-ups, website banners, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, emailing, apps and blogs.

Remember that online marketing is about content and engagement. Your posts should inspire encourage and interest your target market. Your focus should be on building brand awareness. The worst thing you can do online is try to push sales.

Basically, if you aim to advertise to a large amount of people in a wide area, TV and radio work well. However, trade magazines and websites work better if you are targeting businesses, local newspapers, directories and outdoor work well for small areas, and magazines and subscription TV channels are best for targeting niche markets.

⑤ Choose your time frame

Map out a calendar that suits your product/service, budget, medium and message.

⑥ Double Check

Just before you start rolling out, grab a couple of people who have qualities of your Ideal Customer and ask them what they think of your choices so far.

⑦ Track and Measure responses

Finally, your adverts are airing or trending and in this step you get to watch your investment make a return – while keeping an eye online.

The truly magical thing about the online world is the goldmine of free research. Customer clicks and comments create immediate feedback that can be used to measure campaigns strength or perceptions about your brand, business, and product/service. Online platforms also give you the opportunity to respond to and rebound from negative publicity. (Even if you don’t say what customers want to hear, they enjoy immediate responses!)

 In Summary

❶ Don’t be afraid to mainly target people who will give you the greatest return.

❷ Make sure your core message is consistent with your customers’ needs and the value you offer.

❸ Pick an appropriate budget.

❹ Choose the medium just right for you.

❺ Set a time-line.

❻ One last check.

❼ Watch, learn and earn! 


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Written by Abigail Koch, Abigail is a student of psychology and anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand. She is a young writer and a published children’s book writer and illustrator. Her interest in marketing, strategy and behavioral economics allows her to be a specialist projects consultant and designer.