Thank you AFP!

November 17, 2010

Whew, what a long but enjoyable day!

Today (Nov 17) was the National Philanthropy Day conference in Kingston, Ontario, hosted by the Southeastern Ontario branch of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). I was up at 5AM and on the road at 6:30AM for the 2 hour drive from Cornwall (my current hometown) to Kingston. I didn’t get back home until 8:15PM. Fortunately I don’t have to be at work until 1PM Thursday afternoon.

Without singling anyone out, I wanted to send a BIG thank you to AFP and everyone at the conference for their hospitality. It was great meeting everyone and I sincerely hope that I will have the opportunity to work with all of you in the future.

You Can’t Please Everyone

November 14, 2010

A common issue with creating an IMC campaign is that the client wants to market to everyone. To put it bluntly, this is impossible. To help choose a market, we’ll use the old standby, the 5 Ws:

Who - A number of different niches can be answered with this simple answer. Do you want to target senior citizens? Teenagers? Young adults? Boomers? Once that question is answered, your market selection can stop there or you can further segment. Let’s take Teenagers for example. Do you want to target males, females, or both? Are they just starting high school, in the middle of high school, preparing to graduate? Are there specific ethnic groups you’d like to target? The choices for who to target are almost endless, but defining your audience is, in my opinion, the most important step in developing an IMC campaign because every other decision is made based on this information.

What – The point of advertising is to inform potential customers of your product/service, but what exactly do you want to accomplish? Do you have a sale coming up that you want to make people aware of? Are you trying to raise awareness of a charitable cause? Do you have a new product that you’re introducing?

When – When do you want your advertising to run? Some campaigns can be time sensitive, like before Christmas or other holidays. Depending on your chosen media, choosing when to run your campaign must be decided several weeks or even several months in advance in order to purchase the advertising time and/or space needed.

Where – How large of a geographic area do you want to target? The municipality that your business is located? Certain cities? The entire province? Several provinces? The whole country? Defining your area plays a significant role in the media chosen.

Why - Why does the customer need this product or service? Why should they contribute to my charitable cause? As an advertiser, you need to answer every question that a customer asks when viewing an ad: “why should I care?”

Once all of these questions are answered, you can then move on to preparing your IMC campaign.

Consistency is key, even in IMC

November 14, 2010

Consistency means to continually produce the same result, such as a chef consistently producing good food or a cashier providing consistently fast service. In Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), consistency takes on a different meaning.

An IMC plan uses different media, such as TV, radio, newspaper, online, outdoor, public relations, etc. to sell or inform customers of a product, service or charitable cause. A proper IMC plan will have the same look, message and intended audience across all of the different forms of media chosen for a particular campaign. This is the IMC definition of consistency.

Consistency helps your audience to recognize your company or brand. When a potential customer sees one of your ads, you want them to know immediately who you are. Having consistency in your IMC plan allows customers to recognize that a certain ad is for your company. It also makes a positive impression because it conveys professionalism, attention to detail and a sense of pride in your company.

IMC 101

November 14, 2010

My diploma is in Advertising – Integrated Marketing Communications. Most people know what Advertising is, but not as many have heard of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and aren’t sure what it means. IMC involves using many different forms of media to create an advertising campaign that is consistent in its design, message and. target audience. In this era of new media, there are many ways of reaching your target audience – and many ways of missing them by making the wrong decisions. Media is the means of delivering your message, such as television, radio, print, outdoor, Internet, etc.

Traditional Media 101

Television advertising usually consists of commercials that run during breaks in television programs, although they can also air during a program, such as when the weatherman says “tonight’s weather is sponsored by (insert business here)” or a business logo being shown on the screen while the program is running. Television advertising can be very effective in reaching your market and can easily show the viewer exactly what your product or service offers to them. Unfortunately the big drawback to television advertising is – and always has been – cost. Not only do you have to purchase the advertising time months in advance, you have produce the commercial yourself which requires a camera crew, video editor, actor(s) and the proper equipment.

Radio advertising on the other hand is known for being extremely inexpensive. Unlike television, radio spots (advertising term for commercial) can be easily produced – a microphone and sound editing program is all that is required. You can choose to use people within your company, ie: “Hi, I’m John Doe from Acme Trinkets Inc.”, a celebrity spokesperson, or even a personality from your chosen radio station(s). Although radio technology has been around seemingly forever, it is still an extremely useful form of media because people still listen to the radio in their cars and as background music at work.

Newspaper advertising can be very flexible in terms of cost because you’re paying for the size of the ad, colours and location in the paper (front page, Sports, Business, etc.) Improved graphic design software, more powerful computers and improved printers have also made creating ads much easier. Most newspapers have an in-house graphic design team that can create an ad to your specs and budget if you wish. Due to its options, newspaper ads can become a balancing act between cost vs. effectiveness. Larger, more colourful ads cost more, but usually grab the reader’s attention better than smaller, black-and-white ads.

Outdoor advertising is experiencing a surge in popularity due to newer options that are available. Traditional outdoor advertising consists of billboards, buses, bus shelters and stadium/arena advertising. Since these ads require a graphic designer and printer, they benefit from the same advances in technology as newspaper advertising. Billboards can make a big impact due to their massive size and ease of visibility, but since the average person glances at billboard for only a few seconds, your message has to be concise and to the point. Bus ads can be panels on the sides, on the rear, or on the whole bus, called a wrap. Additionally, ads can be placed inside bus shelters or on bus stop benches. Outdoor advertising requires a significant commitment however, as most companies require space to be purchased for months at a time.


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