A potential customer called me recently asking us to run a two-month digital ad campaign.
I said, “No, save your money.”
Because, I can promise you that two months of any marketing activity will not yield the results you’re looking for – including digital ads! (That is, unless you’re not expecting much ROI.)
Digital advertising can be a highly effective way for science-based businesses to gain brand awareness or generate leads. However, it’s important to approach advertising with a long-term strategy and budget rather than a short-term task. In this blog post, we’ll explore why two months of ads won’t net you a great ROI and why a sustained approach to digital advertising is crucial for science-based businesses.
Setting Advertising Goals
When it comes to advertising, it’s essential to understand your goals and manage your budget accordingly. Let’s start with this question: Are you advertising for awareness or lead generation? What is your expected ROI? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can determine what ads to buy and where.
If you’re looking to build brand awareness, you’ll likely need a higher budget and a longer timeline – as getting your brand in front of potential customers and making an impression takes time. On the other hand, if you’re focused on generating leads, you may be able to work with a smaller budget and a shorter timeline – as long as you’re targeting your advertising to the right audience and using effective lead generation tactics.
But, if you think a two-month campaign will move the needle for you, it won’t.
Think about it. How much brand awareness can you create in two months when your audience needs to see your brand up to 16 times before they remember you?
Or, ask yourself this: How many sales qualified leads (SQLs) do you think you can produce in two months from ads? Will it be enough to sustain your company for an entire year?
Digital Ad Campaign Momentum
Digital ads are excellent choices for companies of all sizes – from small/medium size life science businesses to multi-national corporations – due to their cost-effectiveness and wide reach. And many options are available – from Google Ads to digital industry publications.
When analyzing ad performance over the course of a year, we find that the momentum gained through a sustained advertising plan is essential for long-term lead generation. We’ve also found that you will lose momentum if you have a plan for Q1, but your budget gets approved in Q2. This lost momentum is not easily recoverable – meaning you ultimately need to spend more than if you had planned ahead and maintained consistency.
A client of ours has a fiscal year that begins in April. This means their budget for advertising isn’t approved – or available for use – until Q2, when many of their target publications’ digital ad space is already purchased. To avoid losing momentum, we started holding back budget to allow us to make the ad buys they needed in Q1. By doing this, we can sustain their momentum in the marketplace.
If you only have two months’ worth of advertising money, you must find a better way to reach your audience.
Digital ads won’t gain traction in such a short period, especially given Google’s new AI model that remembers which adwords your audience has already seen. Apple devices may also pose a challenge to advertisers, as their iOS system can complicate tracking for digital ads that are delivered in emails.
Is Your Company Doing a Disappearing Act?
Continual advertising provides momentum. It also offers constant visibility.
Even if your budget is tight, you can create brand awareness and lead generation simultaneously, but you need to be smart about your advertising. If you only advertise for two months, what will happen during the other ten months of the year?
You will lose visibility, fall off your prospects’ radar screens, and risk being entirely forgotten by them when they are ready to begin their purchase process. As I mentioned above, it’s unlikely to produce sustained revenue throughout the year.
Let’s say you do go ahead and run a two-month digital ad campaign leading up to a major industry conference. While you may see some short-term results, such as increased traffic to your website and a bump in lead generation, you’ll lose visibility (and momentum) after the conference. If you don’t have a plan in place to continue advertising and engaging with your target audience, you’ll quickly fade into the background and lose any gains made during your initial campaign.
You don’t have to match your competitor’s spending dollar-for-dollar. You can be smart with your advertising spend, but you do need to plan for an uninterrupted campaign.
Long-term Planning for Long-term Visibility
Planning your marketing spend for an entire year – even when budgets are tight – is essential to your success. But, how can you make the most of a small budget?
By getting creative with the budget you have.
It is possible to stretch your marketing spend. When working with clients, we can be very creative in utilizing available spend. We leverage our relationships with publications to ask for extras when we book their ad buys. We also use different advertising formats on multiple targeted channels and look at partnering with other businesses to co-sponsor events or webinars. We carefully choose partnering and co-sponsorship opportunities that make sense for your brand and provide the most bang for your buck.
Advertising is a long-term investment that requires careful planning and consideration. To create sustainable results and ongoing visibility, you must plan your marketing budget for the entire year. This means thinking beyond just one event or conference and planning a sustained approach to advertising and engagement throughout the year.
Digital advertising is a powerful tool for science-based businesses. However, you need to clearly understand your goals, how you will measure success, and plan your budget accordingly to create sustained momentum throughout the year. If you want to explore how we drive leads and brand awareness through digital ad campaigns, contact us.
Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.