Advertising: it’s around us everyday. Don Draper, from the popular show Mad Men, tells us “Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.”
There are two different forms of advertising out there: Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B). We work in the B2B world of advertising where a client needs to market and sell their product to another business. Conversely in the B2C world the company is marketing and selling their product directly to you, the end user. Why is it important to know the difference between B2B and B2C advertising? The difference is in the strategy and approach of an advertising plan or media plan. Your target audience is different so why would you use the same strategy with both? Find more insight on the differences of B2B and B2C here.
If we look back at our MarCom Wheel, under the advertising category we include:
- Print Advertising
- Banner Ads
- Google Adwords
In our previous blog E-Marketing is E-Volving we reviewed Banner Ads, and Google Adwords. So for the purposes of this blog we’re going to focus on print advertising.
What is the process of placing an ad?
It’s easy to think that someone picks a pretty picture, adds a few words and sends it into a magazine or trade journal, and then they are done. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but there is a lot more that goes into creating a print ad (or any type of advertisement), such as:
- Graphic Layout
- Upload to Publication
This step is the most important when building an advertising calendar. Ads are not (or at least should not be) placed willy-nilly. Every advertisement should be strategically placed in publications, based on your target audience and editorial content. Editorial calendars are available from every publication. You can optimize your ad insertion by looking at the topics scheduled to be published in each issue. In the B2B industry, trade publications are a wonderful outlet for advertising, especially in the life science, pharmaceutical, and energy industries.
Time to get creative! For corporate marketing departments, the conceptualization process starts with listening to and gathering information from your clients. Once you have a firm understanding of what your target audience is looking for then it’s time to develop a design concept. Important things to consider are: tone, audience, and your company’s brand standards! Once you’ve developed the ad concept, you move onto copywriting and graphic layout (and both of these happen simultaneously).
Developing ad copy is an art all on it’s own. It takes a very skilled writer to be informative and persuasive at the same time. A tone of voice needs to be taken into consideration as well. How does your target audience want to be addressed? Copywriters have to get the message across in the space that is allocated to copy from the graphic designer (which is usually quite small). It’s important for copywriters and graphic designers to work together.
Designing what the ad is going to look like isn’t as easy as you may think. Like the copywriter, the graphic designer usually has to work within strict parameters. The ad layout must adhere to any brand guidelines or standards that your company has. This can include color, spacing, outlines, images, and logo placement – just to name a few standards.
Naturally when we create something we like to think that it is good and ready to go, but unfortunately life and business don’t work that way. After the first version of an ad is created it needs to be reviewed by management. Product managers should review the ads for their products (or area of responsibility) to make sure the messaging and creative are delivering the message they envisioned.
Upload to Publication
This is the easy part. You simply upload or email the ad to the publication by the due date. Each publication has specific ways they want to receive ads; so you must adhere to those format requirements. Also ad insertion dates are preplanned well in advance before the roll out and actual printing of the publication to ensure that publications have everything they need at print time. These dates are not negotiable. You can find these dates in the publication’s media kit.
As you can see, the process of developing an ad is not easy, and takes months of planning and strategizing. Find out more information on developing your developing your advertising strategy here.
What part of the advertising process do you think is the most difficult?