Whether you sell products or services in a store, online or just on weekends at the farmer's market, advertising is a key business tool that can help you increase revenue, gain market share and build brand awareness. Learn how advertising works with the other elements of the promotional mix in order to develop a comprehensive strategy to grow your business.

The Role of Advertising in the Marketing Mix

In order to fully understand the role of advertising in promotion, you have to become familiar with its role in the marketing mix. The marketing mix is a business concept that is comprised of four key elements: product, price, place and promotion.

Organizations create marketing strategies by carefully developing the product and its packaging, figuring out the right price the consumer wants to pay, deciding on the best location to sell the product and promoting the product through a number of mediums.

It’s imperative that each of these four elements work together in order to achieve the business’s overarching goals. As such, the role of advertising in the marketing mix is that it must align with the other elements. Otherwise, the advertising campaign will not be successful.

Understanding the Promotional Mix

The last segment of the marketing mix, promotion, consists of a number of different areas. These include:

  • Personal selling: Businesses cultivate long-term relationships with prospects and customers to build trust in order to sell their products.

  • Direct marketing: This involves targeting prospects individually via email, phone or post mail with highly tailored offers and messaging.

  • Sales promotions: Companies can give their revenue a short-term boost by providing discounts, bundles and other attractive offers.

  • Public relations: It’s important to manage the image and reputation of the company through press releases, media appearances, press conferences and sponsorships.

  • Advertising: One of the most important elements of the promotional mix, advertising involves reaching a large audience through a variety of mediums to build brand awareness, promote special offers and build customer loyalty.

Each element of the promotional mix has advantages and disadvantages. The key to a successful promotional campaign is to use a combination of promotional tactics, including but not limited to advertising, to convey your value proposition to your audience.

Pinpoint Your Target Audience

The first step to a successful advertising campaign and promotional strategy is to identify your target audience. This is the group of people whose problems your organization can solve better than your competitors. Conduct market research to understand the demographic and behavioral characteristics of your target audience.

It’s important to know your audience’s age range, gender, geographic location, occupation and salary. This can tell you how much they are willing to spend and where they may be shopping. You’ll also need to know their main challenges. How can your product or service solve those challenges for them? Can you do it in a way that no other company can?

Create an Advertising Strategy

In order to know what kind of role advertising plays in your promotional mix, you need to set some boundaries and objectives. What do you hope to achieve by advertising your product? Possible goals may include:

  • Build product and brand awareness
  • Reach new markets and target audience segments
  • Counter the claims of competitors
  • Remind customers about the benefits of your product
  • Persuade prospects to make a purchase

The goals of your advertising campaign need to align with the rest of your promotional strategy. For example, if you’re selling a high-end clothing line, you may choose to publish print advertising in fashion magazines. This needs to work with your sales promotions. If you’re marketing your product as elite and exclusive, you can’t offer a bargain-basement discount.

Craft the Right Messaging

Your messaging is how you communicate what makes your product or service worth buying. Figure out the top three to five key benefits of using your product. Ensure that they relate to the challenges your target audience is facing. Establish what makes your business unique. This may be a specific material you use in manufacturing that your competitors don’t use or an exclusive process you follow to get to the end result you promise.

Decide on a Tantalizing Offer or Call to Action

It’s important for your advertising campaign to create urgency in the minds of your target audience. You don’t just want them to buy your product eventually; you want them to buy it now. The way to do that is to have a clear and inciting offer or call to action in your advertising campaign that aligns with the rest of the elements in the promotional mix.

Effective calls to action include:

  • Book your appointment
  • Call us today
  • Visit our store
  • Get your free sample

Choose the Right Advertising Medium

The method of advertising can make or break your campaign. It’s critical to focus your advertising where it will be seen by your target market. If your target market is young mothers, then advertising in a men’s fitness magazine isn’t the best choice. Instead, you’ll want to focus your advertising on parenting websites and social media groups in addition to women’s magazines with a parenting niche.

It’s best to advertise in a number of different mediums to expand your reach. Advertising options include:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Billboards and posters
  • Print magazines and newspapers
  • Online magazines and newspapers
  • Social media platforms
  • Paid search online advertising
  • Online banner advertising
  • Remarketing

Remember to select methods of advertising that align with the rest of your promotional strategy. If your goal is to build customer loyalty, you can look into targeting people who have already visited your website through remarketing. Offer sales promotions to existing customers and use direct marketing to promote products based on past customer purchases.

Measure Your Success

In order to have a successful advertising promotion mix, you need to measure your results. When you’re setting your goals for your promotional campaign, be sure to outline key performance indicators that reflect ideal outcomes. These may include how many clicks your banner ad got, how many people tuned in to your TV spot or how many people visited your store during the run of your ad.

Set milestones you’d like to hit with your campaign. What would you consider an unsuccessful campaign versus a successful campaign? It’s critical to have these metrics in mind so you can track your progress.

For example, if you’re running a Facebook ad, you might note that your goal is to get 50 clicks on your ad each day, based on research regarding benchmark metrics in your industry. That way, if you get less clicks on average, you may need to revise your advertising strategy. If you get more, you may need to review your benchmarks.

Make Adjustments for Next Time

The reason for measuring your success is so that you can use that information to learn about how you can improve your campaign next time you run it. If you run an ad on the radio during three different time slots, you may note that you have a spike in online sales after only one of those ads runs. This may tell you that two of those time slots are not as effective as the other.

The next time you run a similar campaign, you may want to consider only running the ad during the time slot that resulted in a spike in online sales. Continue making adjustments to your campaigns to improve the results you achieve.