Is Traditional Publicity Dead?

By: Edward M. Brancheau

Ever hear these buzzwords? "Fragmented advertising" or "consumer-centric camp signs"? You will if you talk to just about any Fortune 500 company executive or advertising agency about promotions and advertising. You'll dive into long conversations about the hazards and strains of designing convincing advertising campaigns today.

What is fragmentation exactly? It's the rise in the volume of methods at hand for getting your message to your audience.

The evolution of advertising over the last few years (like skipping commercials with the TiVo remote) is one of the leading strains that any business owner of executive is faced with.Now, these strains include audio, visual and electronic media.

Go to Google and do a search for "advertising" and you will get over 450,000,000 results (that's 1 1/2 times the number of people in the US) and results like local advertising, prize giveaways and pay-per-click advertising. It's enough to make a person feel astounded.

So, are billboards, television, radio and magazine -- traditional advertising -- dead?

Not by a long shot. According to one top advertising mogul, traditional advertising methods are still around because they still work.

Figuring out who your target market is, what they want and how they search for that info is the trick.

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising," Mark Twain once said.

If you know your customers, you can spend your advertising dollars on the mediums they use to look for answers.

If your customers are senior citizens over the age of 65 then it doesn't make sense to advertise to them online. It would be better to spend your advertising dollars on radio, television, newpaper and magazine ads that they are reading, listening or watching.

If your typical customer is a working parent, then you need to ask how they get their information, where they get their information and when they get it. Is it on the Internet? What radio stations do they listen to? What magazines are they reading? Do they watch television? When? How? Why?

When you set out to create a highly convincing advertising campaign, you need to determine what your best possibilities are.

Here are four ways simple ways:

1. Know your customer. What do they want? Where do they shop? What do they play? What is their culture? Which places to they like to frequent? Do they want your service or product? Is your product or service affordable enough for them?

2. Know the competitors. Be primed to do a a touch of research. What are your three leading competitors doing to advertise their business? Where are they promoting? How often? What types of advertising methods are they using? How long have they been running? Are you reaching the same audience? Is your message different?

Look at what they're doing right, and figure out creative ways that you can make your advertising just just a bit better, or differentiate yourself from the crowd.

3. Study what the leaders of your industry are doing and copy them. Why reinvent the wheel? Simply take what they are doing and modify it so that it fits your target audience and budget.

4. Know your message. What exactly are you trying to say? What do your customers want to hear? Why should your customer purchase from you instead of another business? You absolutely have to make every single word count.

Dollars to donuts, your customers are probably more technologically savy than they were even just one year ago let alone five years ago. While the Internet has made it possible for your customers to uncover just about any piece of information that they need, the Internet has also created another massive problem... information overload.

Another problem that the web has created is that it has groomed your customers to expect "instant gratification". They want to buy now and receive it right away because they simply do not want to wait. Are you able to meet your customers' demands and give them what they want, when they want it?

If you want to have an convincing advertising campaign, don't try to be everything to everyone. Keep it simple. Your advertising should address one person... your ideal customer. You don't want your ads to be a nuisance so, to avoid that, give your customers what they want and they will see the value of your product or service.

Pay attention to who your customers are and what they want and you will be at an advantage. Traditional advertising is not dead... far from it!

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