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Last time we touched on advertising in publications, or “paid media”. Here’s more on when and why advertising can work for your business, B2B or B2C.

In general terms, you will turn to advertising when you are unclear on where to engage with your target audience or in cases where your target audience is so numerous —i.e. in consumer markets —that you must broadcast your messages and have your consumers or prospects respond to you. Alternatively, advertising is useful where the timing of your message is absolutely critical and you must announce on a particular day or time.

More specifically, targeting a publication, media channel, or a TV channel should be based around the audience demographics and their alignment with your target audience. As an SME or a start up advertising, these are pretty expensive options. For the larger enterprise such as Microsoft,choosing to launch a new product on a particular day, buying a small ad on every single page of their key target technology publications and a few national publications would make a massive impact on its target media and, supported by social media and PR, would readily create a ‘buzz’ in the market.

Missed my blog on paid media? Click here to learn how this differs from earned  and owned media

Sponsored Content

In the days of paper-based publications, it was possible to work with a publisher to email personal copies of publications to key individuals chosen from their subscription database to ensure that the target prospect audience saw the message.

Today, the sophistication of most online platforms enables individually-targeted emails to be sent by the publisher to your target demographic of their readership. Here you are using their brand and their readership to create your audience. This is true for both the online media publications as well as the online social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Increasingly today, targeted online advertising to small individual groups is of growing significance. LinkedIn in particular, offers the capability to target advertising to almost an individual level, certainly down to vertical, geography, and job title.

Sponsored content in print and online media can take the form of a sponsored editorial article, which we discussed in the last blog. However, a word of caution about sponsored content: don’t forget you don’t have to use ‘adverts’, it’s also possible to do sponsored editorial and sponsored posts which are equally, if not more so, effective.

Branded Advertising

While sponsored content is usually educational in nature to support the brand and increase its value as a thought leader, branded advertising tends to be promotional and aims to make your brand more familiar to your target audience.

Why? So that the audience is more likely to respond to other calls to action as part of an integrated campaign, e.g. advertising, email, sponsored posts, TV. All of this makes it more likely that someone will click through to your website to buy or engage.

A branded advertising strategy is necessary when you have changed your brand or significantly moved the positioning of the company. While this has its place in a marketing plan, it is typically reserved for very large brands who are undergoing a period of change. A rebranding exercise in a consumer marketplace will typically involve a mass of advertising of the new brand, highlighting its change of positioning e.g. Marathon to Snickers transition in the 1990's, or Norwich Union to Aviva.

Tip #26: Advertising will always be possible and there are still deals to be done with publications where appropriate. Sponsored editorial lets you get your message out exactly as you want it.

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