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What Is An Effective Advertising Strategy?

How do you determine what is going to work or not work?

What do you really need to know to make your advertising strategy work successfully ?

There no accidents or lucky breaks when it comes to creating your advertising. It takes what I call the four “A’s”.


What is it that you want to achieve? What are your goals with this particular program? If you don’t know what you want to achieve how do you know if you achieved it? It goes back to the SMART principal – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timed. Take the time to look at these elements to create your plan.

I want to sell 1000 widgets at “X” price, is specific. I have seen it where people used Groupons for their advertising strategy and they were inundated with people taking advantage of their offer and it was impossible to fulfill. This did more damage than good. By not specifying exactly what you are wanting to sell and how many you have on hand can land you in a whole world of hurt.

It is important to measure everything. Know what you expect and measure to see what you actually have and the difference is your success quotient. Measure which phase of the advertising program was the most successful. Did the radio pull? How many coupons came back? Did people mention the “catch words” in the newspaper ads? How many phone calls came in specific to the offer?


Attainable is probably the most important of the SMART set. It is easy to want to get more clients but can you service or provide the products to them? Will the money you spend on getting the clients be recovered by the profit from the products or services you sell? Does the timeline that you set on your promotion give enough time to reach the goals you have set?

How relevant is this promotion to your current goals, branding, strategy and your customers?  Are you targeting the right people? Is the copy and design geared to the proper audience? More important, how relevant is what you are advertising to your bottom line. Will it make a big enough difference, will it send the right message, is all the rest of the work that needs to go into making it happen worth it?

Timed, wow this is a big one. People are not going to be buying snow shovels in July regardless how cheap they are, or are they? This seems like a very basic, common sense concept but it is amazing how often people don’t get it. The basic adage for success in business is to “find a need and fill it”  and “provide it to people when they need it”.

Yes, going through these different questions is time consuming but will save you many hours of pain if your advertising program flops.



Ask people what they want, like, and need? It is as simple as that. Come up with three products, service packages, or programs and ask people which of the three they think they would like the most. The more people you ask the better the result. A friend told me a story of when he was wanting to promote a new product in a grocery store and he didn’t know what the best size was to package it in. He was telling this to a friend of his who was a VP for Coke and they were in a grocery store at the time. The VP got on a shopping cart, stood in it and had a group of female shoppers gathered around him and he asked their opinions.  The results were astounding, the sizes that were common practice weren’t close to what the women wanted, nor the packaging. My friend took the advice packaged it as the women wanted and the product flew off the shelves.

Moral of the story – Women Rule. Ask them what they think about your possible offerings? Ask them about price, packaging, and placement and give it to them.  Come up with three options for each of the advertising mediums you are thinking of using and ask people which appeals to them the most and use them.


Take all of this information and use it! Then make it happen. Do not get mired in the old paralysis by analysis syndrome. Do it and watch what happens. Does all advertising perform up to expectation – NO. Are they all runaway successes – NO. But doing nothing will not advance your cause either.

The biggest take away from this is to start the process a year ahead of when you want the promotion to occur. To have an effective advertising strategy you need to plan for it. It does not work as a last second save your butt event. To ensure the ultimate return on your effort, you need to proactively plan and produce.

Acting also involves activating a variety of mediums in your approach. I went fishing once with my uncle and he was adamant about his fly fishing techniques. We were at this lovely stream in the heart of Alberta and it was a perfect day, at least for me. I starting catching fish almost on every cast, he didn’t catch anything. Offering him my spot I went to the next hole, changed my bait and kept catching fish. He didn’t change and didn’t catch fish. It became a joke, I went to the next hole, changed my bait kept catching, he kept his flies and caught nothing that day.




You need to measure your results. Keep track of everything. Did you achieve your goals? You need to review your ads and see if they held to what your focus groups told you. Did you act at the right time? Review what worked for you, what didn’t and what you would do the same and what you would do differently with every stage. The buck stops with you and that hard earned buck is harder to get but by employing the 4 “A’s” in your arsenal your chances of success are greatly enhanced.



Chuck Groot CPA, MPA, MBA is an author, speaker, photographer, business coach, and entrepreneur are noteworthy. His clients credit their success to his ability to get right to the heart of any challenge that they put in front on him. He credits his success to God and his client’s willingness to being open to new ideas and their desire in the pursuit of excellence.

As an entrepreneur, his enthusiasm and innovative approach have garnered him both professional success and the recognition of his peers. But his greatest delight is being able to share these skills with others and enabling them to be successful on their own.

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