Today’s ads represent a quantum leap from their pre-internet predecessors. With significantly lesser investments, companies are using powerful ads to reach exponentially more number of viewers – across a wider range of demographic.

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Know your audience
Based on the existing customer data you’ve collected, create a demographic profile of your potential customer. This will typically include age, gender, location, marital status and income levels. Adjust it according to the nature of your business. Once you have this ready, undertake extensive research to understand their preferences, needs, price points and how they like to consume content. Identifying your target customer will give you clarity on the medium of ad you need to work with i.e. TV, radio, online, mobile and so on. If you don’t have data to work with, conduct a survey reaching out to your existing customers; people that have made at least one purchase in your store or on your website.

Be strategic
As is the case is with any other marketing decision, it is important to lay out a detailed plan before getting an ad out. By mapping out the how, why, who and what of your advertising campaign before launching, you will not only save money, but also time and effort. Moreover, ensure that your entire team is on board with the message you want to send out to the market. It is worth setting aside some time for internal reflection; assessing the goal of the ad and how it is aligned with the overall purpose of the business. Since advertising is seen as a marketing activity, it is often the case that the process is left entirely on one department, but it is important to make sure that other departments are involved in the process as well. For instance, the sales department needs to be involved because they have to ultimately sell that proposition, the customer service department needs to participate as they will have to deliver the proposition, and so on.

Test your campaign
Many companies test the effectiveness of their campaigns by releasing it to control groups and testing their reactions. This allows you to be confident of your ad’s readiness when it finally hits your target market. Don’t hesitate to make changes and tweaks along the way in order to improve the quality of your campaign.

Create an emotional connection
With hundreds of creative ads floating around the market, it’s not good enough to have an intriguing ad. It has to be something that connects with the audience and taps into how they’re feeling. A great example is the recent campaign launched by British Airways called “Fuelled by Love”, which portrays their strong bond with the Indian market. This ad works because the audience can instantly relate to it and it has the ‘feel good’ factor. It is important to resonate with the customers and give them a meaningful, powerful message.

Include a call to action
Every ad should have a clear message on what the viewer of the ad needs to do next. This is what pushes the viewer to avail your product or service. And, keep it simple. For example, “Call +9715… today to avail this free consultation.”

Go beyond the idea
Simply having a creative idea isn’t enough to launch an effective campaign. Your ad needs to communicate how your product or service fits into the customer’s day-to-day life and how does enrich their overall quality of life. More importantly, the ad needs to subtly represent the values and culture of your company. What does your company stand for? And, why is that mission important to your organisation? Brands are complicated and in most cases they are replaceable by other brands. So people need stories to remember what the company is all about. Storytelling makes people believe that one product is better than another. When people believe that your product is superior they are more likely to buy it.

Remember, less is more
Ads have the tendency to maximise value from the space available by providing an overload of information – ultimately overwhelming the viewer. Ensure that you leave enough white space within the creative so that there is enough breathing space and the spotlight isn’t taken away from your intended message. When deciding what information needs to be included, consider what is most critical and forms the crux of your ad. Every piece of text in the ad should be weighted according to its importance. Also, use different font sizes to differentiate what needs to stand out.

Emerging use of ad blockers
With the rise of digital advertising, an increasing number of companies are opting for online ads. However, how do you get around the rampant use of ad blockers? The answer is simple: by creating more meaningful and relevant ads that merge in with the viewer’s existing content. Another great way is by using powerful images. An article on explains: “Images communicate and draw attention better than standard text. These are frequently seen with articles and blog posts, and are especially popular on social media. By incorporating marketing campaigns with in-image solutions that are contextually relevant and offer superior user experience, you can attract more views without disrupting the user experience. With in-image advertising platforms like imonomy, ads do not get filtered out by ad blockers. Since images are already a natural part of the content, audiences are less likely to be “ad blind” with these images. The system uses content recognition technology to ensure the in-image ads are matched to the topic of the content, creating a relevant experience for the user. In addition, using such contextual and relevant images also helps to make your content more attractive and the improved user experience translates into improved click through rates of 1.3 per cent to 2.5 per cent compared to less than 0.1 per cent with traditional display ads.”

Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.

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