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4 First Steps: Establishing a Marketing Plan

December 14, 2011

Many of you know that I own an advertising agency in Seattle. Our main focus is media buying which is the art of placing ads in the right media space to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. I’ve worked in advertising for a relatively short period of time, 8 years. But in those 8 years the landscape of how consumers absorb media has changed so dramatically I feel like I’ve gleaned wisdom like I’ve been drinking from a fire hose! This blog is mainly focused on business owners because they are most often the decision makers I work with during the media buying process. But the basics of what I’m writing about can be applied to many of you who work in sales, marketing, management and advertising.

So the 4 first steps to establishing your business’ marketing plan are:

  1. Know Your Audience. Who are you trying to reach? What does your ideal customer look like? How old are they? What do they enjoy? Are they married? Single? What does their income have to be? The more you know about the target demographics of your customers the better a media buyer will be able to help you best reach those ideal consumers.
  2. Establish Your Core Message. Knowing what your message is seems simple enough but it can really mess you up if you start to deviate from the path. I work with a lot of businesses in all different industries. A few of the business owners I’ve worked with have struggled because they are trying to send too many messages at one time. Consumers are bombarded with advertising all day long. If your message isn’t simple and succinct with a DIRECT CALL TO ACTION, your message will get lost in the clutter.
  3. Always Give a Call to Action. It doesn’t matter what type of business you have; you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS need to include a call to action. What is a “call to action”? It is you telling the consumer what you want them to do. Do you want them to call you to schedule an appointment? Stop in your store? Visit your website? Download an app? Refer a friend? What do you need your customer to do in response to your advertising?
  4. Hire a Media Buyer. If you are buying advertising in any form you should seriously consider hiring a media buyer. This isn’t a plug to hire me. That’d be great. But that’s not what this is about. A media buyer is a person who buys advertising on your business’ behalf. I can almost guarantee you that if you are buying advertising on your own, from any media company (online, TV, cable, print, radio, buses, billboards, etc.), you are not getting the most bang for your buck. The best analogy I give my clients is this: Using a media buyer to buy your advertising is like taking someone who used to sell cars with you to help you buy a car. A former car salesman knows the ins and outs of getting the best deal for your investment. As former advertising sales people, we had a backstage pass to the media sales industry that gave us hard won secrets into how to get you more for your advertising buck every single time.  The best part about hiring a media buyer? Most media buyers don’t charge you a dime! They make the commission that a sales rep from the media company would have made had you worked directly with that company. Lemme ask you, would you rather a sales rep that is employed by a media company with a budget to meet, recommend an advertising buy ? OR a media buyer who has zero vested interest in whether you invest your dollars with X, Y or Z company other than making your business wildly successful so you never want to leave to their agency? No brainer, right?!

 I have so many more tips to establishing your advertising plan. I’d love to share with you if you have further questions. Or you can check out some of the commonly asked questions I answer here. You can always email me at Robin at ThriveAdvertisingCo dot com.


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