Learn About Advertising Plans

Advertising Plan
••• Getty Images / Gregory Kramer

What is an advertising plan and how does it play into your marketing efforts? An advertising plan is a promotion blueprint that, when followed, provides the direction for companies and businesses to bolster sales, create awareness in the market, and engage with an entirely new customer base. An advertising plan will ensure that your company's money will be spent sensibly spent and will reach all of the proper target audiences.

It should be noted, however, that setting a solid business plan is the first essential step as this addresses all operating costs, including a budget for advertising. As there are many facets to advertising and not just a single method or cost associated with it, a realistic advertising budget needs to be created that stays within the financial boundaries of the company.  

Once the budget and target audiences have been figured out, it is time to set the advertising plan. The methods that are chosen will depend on the funding and target audience. Here are some of the most customary approaches: 

  • Print Advertisement. This is advertising that is basically put on paper, like ads in flyers or direct mail, pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines, and not known to be the most effective form of advertising. This may change in today’s marketing world since the majority of companies are using online advertising, which would make any printed material stand out.
  • Email Advertising. Much like print advertising, emails directly reach potential or current customers, yet is also not known to be the most effective method. With an average open rate of only a mere 20%, a company may have to pay the additional cost of hiring an outside advertising or marketing firm to purchase a mailing list.
  • Media Advertising. This advertising utilizes television and radio ads, and can be quite costly. A company not only has to purchase the slots for television or radio, they must also create something that highlights their services or products. If you are lucky enough to find that your preferred audience happens to enjoy a lot of television time at home or spends a good deal of time in a vehicle, this could be the most beneficial forms of advertising, and worth the cost. Be wary of the technology of DVR’s, though, research shows that much of the advertising is bypassed by fast-forwarding.
  • Digital Advertising. Web pages can be for anything, for any type of company, and there are ads everywhere. Ads traditionally embed a link to the company web page, and positive results from this type of advertising have been shown to be on the rise.

Now that the advertising plan is set, next step is reaching customers. This is the time to identify the media that will be used to support the plan. In addition, an investment of time must also be allocated to actually engage the plan. The final step is to assess the results, determine your conversion rate and how well, or not well, the plan worked. In order to do this, the following needs to be considered: 

  • Return on Expenses. Were the costs of advertising covered by the increase in sales? Did you gain a new customer base? If more money was received, assess if that increase was directly related to the advertising that was used.
  • Customers. Did you get new customers? And if so, how many? Were those customers retained? Did you get return customers?

When you can easily see that there were positive benefits to an advertising plan, it is safe to assume that the plan worked the way it was intended. On the other hand, if the business did not expand as expected, it is time to change the plan and try again.