Are You Interested in Effective Marketing? Advertising Strategy Matters

by James on January 21, 2010

Effective ads are key for effective marketing. But, many marketers, even the most “sophisticated,” often don’t understand or take advantage of the perspective from which consumers view their efforts. Their marketing isn’t effective because their advertising strategy isn’t in sync with the needs and interests of their customers.

Effective Marketing

Let break it down.

Effective marketing has two broad objectives: demand creation and demand fulfillment. That’s it, just the two. On the other hand, consumers go through several stages before they purchase: from satisfied to prospecting and then consideration. Demand creation affects the first two. Demand fulfillment is most effective at the end. You need both and don’t confuse them, they aren’t the same.

Use this idea when considering what you say in the ads you develop. Write a reveal strategy to manage what is being said in each channel so each can work as hard as possible against the appropriate objective and deliver an effective marketing program.

For example, banner ads, are much more effective when focused on demand creation. Click through rates are less than 1% so don’t expect banners to generate response (demand fulfillment) because that’s what you want them to do. Not going to happen. Period. But, banners can be an effective tool to let people know you are in the market, to tell them what your product offers. Banners can be an effective demand creation medium. After all, depending on your target audience 20% to 30% of media consumption is happening online. So use banners to create demand; focus the message they deliver on product differentiation, which leads to more effective marketing.

Search and landing pages are all about demand fulfillment. Don’t waste real estate puffing up your brand. You are telling visitors what they already know. Give them a compelling reason to take action. Draw them in and entice them to buy from you.

Hip Shots

  • Write an advertising strategy that determines the message to be delivered at each step of the purchase process.
  • Demand creation or awareness advertising should focus on product benefits.
  • Demand fulfillment advertising should focus on the desired consumer action.
  • Both are important but don’t ask them to do each other’s jobs.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Shallow January 29, 2010 at 6:36 am

Good post, James, especially as I’m teaching Marketing Communications (ironically from the same textbook as I taught Intro to Advtg.!) How about brand awareness? A LOT of advertising has that as its stated purpose? (I’m an old-fashioned guy in that I teach, as per the advertising greats, that good advertising is ‘salesmanship in print’.)

James January 29, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Thanks Chris.

Awareness advertising is a strategy that supports the demand creation objective. Sales Promotion would be another strategy but a bit further down the funnel. My banner ad example is a tactic that can be used to support an awareness strategy. Many marketers don’t think about their marketing communication in terms of the two objectives. So they measure the effectiveness of banner ads, which are better equipped to build awareness and create demand, using clicks, which is a response or demand fulfillment metric.

Another example is balancing organic search with paid search. Marketers object to using branded terms in paid search because they terms rank high, usually on the first page, in organic search. But, test after test shows that clicks from organic search convert at a much lower rate than clicks from paid search. Organic search supports demand creation. These consumers are higher in the funnel and are willing to, in fact want to look around the web site to learn more about the product or service. Consumers deep in the funnel use paid search to fulfill their demand. We’ve trained them to expect instant gratification when they click on a paid search ad. That’s why it’s such a bad idea to use the print ad’s copy, demand creation (awareness), on the landing page, demand fulfillment (conversion).

In the days of three TV channels, radio, magazines and newspapers thinking about advertising as “salesmanship in print” made some sense although it might have been overly simplistic even then. At the highest levels marketing communication, in its various forms, is still “salesmanship in print” but to achieve your goals in today’s fragmented media landscape I think you need to understand where each communication channels functions best and understand the mind set of your target consumer so you can tailor the message to be appropriate. I’ve seen marketers repeat the “print ad” on the landing page. Really bad idea. Consumers are at the landing page because they’ve seen the print ad and other demand creation advertising, they already know what you stand for, and now they want to take action so give them a good reason to buy now.

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