Solution: Consistency, consistency, consistency. Advertisers who frequently change their message or media placement strategy are literally advertising against themselves. They fail to develop familiarity with the target audience, and are in effect reintroducing themselves with each advertisement. Our experience shows that the following works:
1. Establish the advertising message, theme and look up front and stick with it. Take extra care so that you don't have to change your message mid-stream. For many retailers, "sale" is the most important and consistent advertising message. These retailers should take extra care to have a simple consistent look for their advertising. Exception: retailer running at high frequency levels for a campaign may actually need to break from the look of the campaign for certain major sale events.
2. Focus your media placement. Determine the one or two best places for the advertising and resist the temptation to advertise everywhere. Often, the one best place is certain page or section in the local newspaper or a certain program on a local radio station. Most smaller retailers should only be advertising in one or two places. Do not add media until you have maximized your presence in the "best" place.
3. A proper launch is essential. Launch your campaign with sufficient frequency to establish your message and theme.
An ideal weekly newspaper schedule for the first month would be 3-4 ads/ week in the first 2 weeks and 2-3 for the next two weeks. You may be able to reduce frequency later.
4. Editorial credits are free advertising. Maintain positive relationships with all the media to encourage these credits. Meet with them and give them fair consideration, they appreciate this even if you don't run. Return the favor when you receive outstanding editorial credits.
5. The message and look of your advertising should be simple and clean. Your advertising needs to stand out in a sea of black type and graphics. Keep the ad graphically clean, it helps to surround yourself with plenty of white space.
6. Make co-op advertising your advertising. Ensure that it is instantly recognizable as an ad for your store - not for the manufacturer - and communicates a distinctive, positive message and image. Manufacturer's logos should be minimized or avoided altogether. We find that if you develop a strong enough advertising program, your vendors will flock to you with co-op money without displaying logos.