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Advertising Tactics Belong at the End by Nicole Valentin

A typical new client meeting usually begins with my client verbalizing they want a big billboard on a specific road they frequently drive down; they want to advertise on the radio, or on TV, or in the newspaper. These are called advertising tactics. Sometimes the client even already has a creative vision for what the ad is going to look like: “I want to show a man in a cow suit because it’s funny and people will always remember the ad with the guy in the cow suit”.

It’s always helpful that a client begins with the end in mind. But, following such a linear way of thinking could get you into trouble as you might head down the path that leads to ultimate advertising failure.

My job is to actively listen to what my client is trying to accomplish and then determine the following:

    1. Considering my client’s budget, are these truly the right advertising tactics to take in order to accomplish my client’s goals?
    2. Will the ad with the cow actually appeal to my client’s target audience?

To answer these questions and avoid wasting their money, I need to begin at a different place than where my client has taken me. I need to begin by first defining the objectives.

The words marketing and advertising are often used interchangeably but they are actually very different. Marketing is defining the 5-W How’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How) of your business. Once defined, this will dictate your branding strategy. Advertising is the execution of increasing sales and revenue, market penetration, and company branding goals with respect to each advertising medium.

When a client is in the preliminary stages of strategy, this is the order in which these ideas should cultivate:

    1. Marketing Objectives, Strategies & Plans: Verbalize how you will market your product or service and what you want to accomplish.
    2. Advertising Objectives: Each advertising medium is capable of delivering different results. Defining your expectations of each medium will allow you to be fair when measuring performance. Decide on the objective for each medium as they relate back to the marketing plan.
    3. Advertising Strategies: Begin by creating a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis. Maximize your business’ strengths and opportunities, come up with a plan to improve or deal with your weaknesses, and be prepared against all identifiable threats.
    4. Advertising Tactics: These go at the very end. As each tactic is considered, the questions you ask yourself should be, “Will executing this tactic help me maximize my strengths and opportunities? Will it help me minimize my weaknesses and ameliorate my exposure to threats? Is it truly capable of helping me accomplish my advertising objectives?”

NV Advertising’s mantra has always been: Strategy and Structure before Tactics – Always! In an ideal world, we would directly collaborate with the Marketing Directors of each company we serve because together we can determine which advertising tactics complement the marketing objectives and strategies already set by the company. And often that Marketing Director is the president or the owner – the typical brave entrepreneur that wears many hats. And that’s exactly who we love to work with.

I have always felt that the biggest value we bring to the table, aside from actively and often single-handedly creating a client’s entire advertising strategy, is the unique ability to make it all work cohesively together on a continual basis. We work with you to create a 100% custom annual plan, often managing six and seven figure annual advertising budgets on multiple tactical levels. We coordinate our efforts to be logical, efficient, effective and complementary.

We are especially helpful when unexpected changes occur and you need to make a sudden revision to the plan. Having assistance from a team of professionals who are helping you seamlessly drive all your efforts is worth its weight in gold.

If you habitually begin with the tactics because you thought it was a good deal or the representative promised you results, you probably continuously feel like nearly every advertising effort you’ve ever made has been a failure. Plus, you’re not even sure why it didn’t work. It’s not you, it’s the way you went about it.

With or without our help, I encourage you to step back and begin with a strategy that is developed to accomplish your true business goals. The road to advertising success starts at the top with a good marketing strategy in place – not with the tactics. Those go at the end!

About Nicole Valentin

Nicole Valentin heads one of Tampa Florida’s most innovative advertising firms, NV Advertising, which she founded in 2010. Ms. Valentin graduated from USF's School of Mass Communications with a B.A. in Advertising and counts on over 12 years of advertising media experience. In her spare time, Nicole loves traveling, learning about world cultures and spending time with her family - especially her dog, Jake. You can find Nicole on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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