stock-illustration-61558616-text_marketing_flatelement_backupIf no one needed advertising, companies’ bottom lines would be healthier, businesses would have one less complication and the series Mad Men would have no traction or relevance and would probably never have been produced.

However, to increase sales, companies have to sell. To sell, companies need advertising. Let me define what I mean by advertising. It is any tool used to reach a target audience and deliver a selling proposition. That includes broadcast communication (TV, radio) Direct Mail, print, digital or online communications (websites, apps, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook etc) and even door-to-door sales people. Advertising is disseminating information.

The question is not whether you need advertising, it is when and how to deploy advertising.

Communication strategies are most successful when they dovetail with marketing strategies which in turn work best when they intelligently dovetail with the larger corporate growth strategy .

However, it is not uncommon for companies to turn to advertising to solve a problem. There was a delightful campaign done many years ago for an Oregon beer, Henry Weinhard’s, competing with the giants like Anheuser Busch. This Oregon beer was made with all natural ingredients and the campaign was based on a foil of two characters (like a Mutt and Jeff) who were responsible for delivering “Schludwiller” into Oregon. In one spot, they were driving their tractor trailer through tiny backroads in an effort to sneak the beer into the state. Mutt was going on about how Henry Weinhard’s was made with all natural ingredients, etc.

He asks Jeff, “Is Schludwiller?”

Jeff: Nope.

Mutt: Well if it’s not, how do we plan to sell Schludwiller?

Jeff: Heck, Mutt, that’s what advertising’s for: to make up for stuff like that.

And so many people believe. But effective advertising, no matter what the media, is not a cure for flaws. Can it reposition a product or service in a new and relevant way? Absolutely. And this is where marketing and advertising strategies get muddied. The truth is that identifying how a product or service should be repositioned is in many ways at the role of marketing. However, analyzing the competitive communication landscape is part of what defines a communication strategy. Here, they can overlap.

Regardless of who takes the lead, identifying opportunities and defences against threats is a strategic one. Advertising is not the first thing a company or government should do in the face of unexpected crises or opportunity but the last.

The first thing to do? Get smart. Research. Intelligent research.

You get the right strategy and give that to people who deliver on strategy and I guarantee your advertising will work. I have the proof to back that up. If you want to hear it, contact me.

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