Choosing the right advertising agency.
If you’re at the point of spending thousands, or even millions, of pounds on your latest ad campaign, have you asked yourselves what success looks like?
Are you ready to respond to the unexpected consequences the halo effect of your campaign may trigger? Hopefully, you will be more focused on nice problems to have, like ‘how will our service department cope now our orders doubled overnight?’ But equally, what happens if website traffic triples and sends the site down… during your headline ad slot during Coronation Street.
And how are you going to understand how your target market respond emotionally? Is your campaign reinforcing your existing brand values? Or building in new, unintended qualities. Hopefully positive.
If the answers to any of these questions is ‘no’, then maybe you haven’t.
An integrated advertising agency.
Your advertising needs to be authentic; it needs to convey your brand’s vision. If your ad agency doesn’t understand your brand, the advertising they produce will likely ring hollow with consumers.
Your ad agency needs to embed themselves in your brand, and in your business.
To deliver a seamless customer experience to responders, your advertising campaign will need buy-in from operations, customer services, IT/engineering departments, as well as marketing.
Is your chosen advertising agency willing to invest that time?
Like any brief we work on, we start by trying to understand two key areas; what are the commercial objectives underpinning the campaign, and who is the target consumer (and how is the campaign looking to influence them).
It’s important we understand what a successful campaign looks like to your business. Most often, this will take the shape of a series of financial targets based around sales volume or margin.
However, you might simply be looking to create ‘awareness’ around your brand, to ensure your target audience understand the benefit of your proposition. It’s not unusual for these objectives to work in tandem, with a mass media campaign such as TV advertising creating awareness, which is then harvested by a sales-led direct mail or email campaign.
To influence your consumer, you first need to know which advertising channels are most relevant to them. We recommend undertaking a media audit, driven by the postal address data you hold on existing customers; we always start on the premise that it’s easier to target a higher penetration of customers for whom we know the brand is relevant, than start to investigate whole new markets.
The media audit will inform you of the most efficient channels for reaching your audience, along with a likely ‘cost per thousand’. We would then look to overlay any qualitative research insights onto the data, to understand buying motivations for your target audience.
Typically, aligning commercial objectives with customer insights will inform our choice of advertising channel.
Digital advertising is the fastest growing advertising channel, and typically it breaks down into three categories; paid, earned and owned media.
Pay per click (PPC) is the highest profile paid channel, with Google the dominant platform. The key benefit is that your brand only pays when a prospect clicks your ad.
An affiliate network campaign will enable you to promote your brand on relevant third-party websites. You’ll only pay commission when a referred user makes a purchase.
A banner campaign is similar to the affiliate network, in that it will allow your brand to place adverts on relevant third-party websites. The key difference is that banner campaigns are usually bought on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis, so you’ll pay the same whether you get 100 sales or none.
Creating your own website, social media and content, through which you earn advertising exposure.
Publicising your owned brand assets to earn shares, likes, comments and most importantly, links. Successful earned outreach will be based on your brand achieving authority within your market, meaning your opinion matters. In an ideal world, this advocacy is free, but you should keep a budget for boosting or promoting your content, to get the wheels turning.
Although TV advertising has a reputation for being expensive, it actually offers a low CPM, and is efficient at reaching large audiences quickly. Unfortunately, on top of the media cost, you’ll also need to allow for production of a TV ad – which is not inexpensive.
Despite this, TV remains the undisputed king of brand awareness campaigns. This can often lead to a halo effect in the form of higher website traffic and conversion, warmer customer advocacy and higher customer service enquiries, making it a challenging channel to assign direct credit to for increased conversions and profitability.
Recent advances in targeting, such as Sky AdSmart, allows brands to target individual households with relevant messages, and greatly reduce the barrier of entry with regards to cost. AdSmart can target households based on factors such as age, location, affluence and life-stage, derived from from a combination of Sky’s own customer data and information from consumer profile experts such as Experian.
If you’re interested in finding out more, get in touch.
As printed media circulation has fallen, ad rates haven’t followed suit, making print advertising less attractive to the majority of brands.
While there is still a large reach with particular demographics, specifically older consumers who often still rely on print media, it is not the advertising force it once was.
If your brand embraces ‘coupon culture’ then there is still a place for digital in your advertising efforts. Use dedicated URLs for landing pages, or unique phone numbers, to track the response rate and assess which offline advertising elements are driving the most success.
Outdoor advertising takes the form of billboards, bus shelters and public transport network advertising opportunities, but as with print media it is very difficult to build an attribution return on investment model for outdoor campaigns. This means these out of home advertising campaigns are more commonly used for raising brand awareness rather than generating a direct commercial return.
Digital format, mobile integrated outdoor advertising has been trialled, but hasn’t really taken off. There have been some smart applications of technology in OOH advertising, such British Airways ‘Magic Billboards’ that dynamically recognised the flight data of BA planes passing overhead, or Pepsi Max’s Unbelievable Bus Shelter which used augmented reality to trick people they were witness to some strange events, including an alien invasion, but to date these campaigns have been more likely to win a creativity award than generate a clear RoI.