When it comes to developing an advertising strategy, selecting the right media for your brand is a moving target. Every channel has an unknown lifespan before it will either evolve dramatically or dissolve completely. It’s hard to believe that the Yellow Pages were once our primary means of finding products and services. Today, a printed phonebook has more use as a doorstop than as an actual reference.
Newspapers and magazines have mostly shifted from print to online. Television is turning into a non-cable experience. Billboards are being programmed digitally. Between the constant change and the endless types of media available, where do you start and where do you go with your advertising?
Who Do You Want To Reach?
The early days of advertising consisted simply of reaching the masses, period. Businesses bought ad space to get in front of large audiences they hoped would include people who might be interested in their offerings. Statistics such as readership, viewership and listener base were the main indicators of a medium’s advertising power.
While those numbers are still very relevant today, digital advertising has steered us more toward advertising to the right audience rather than necessarily to the largest audience. With this in mind, you need to start by identifying who you want to reach (or to take a step back even further, who you are in the first place). You can be more accurate with your strategy when you think first in terms of audience type rather than audience size.
Defining your target audience can be as deep of an exercise as you want it to be. For example, a local bank offering mortgage loans might choose to advertise to married couples in their 30s, because many couples at this age are typically gaining financial stability and beginning to consider buying a home. The bank could stop there with their persona building, or they could keep going and set parameters such as income, occupation, neighborhood, etc. The more you can drill down to an exact persona, the more informed your decisions will be when you’re deciding where to spend on advertising.