An advertising campaign includes a series of ads placed in various media that are designed to meet objectives and are based on an analysis of marketing and communication situation.
Steps in planning an ad campaign are:
1. Market Research
The advertise / ad agency should undertake market research for the product to be advertised. Market re- search helps to find out the customer, product, market condition, competition, etc. It will enable to design effective advertising campaign.
2. Define Target Audience
The advertiser / ad agency need to know who are going to buy his product and who should be tar- geted. He should gather information about demographic and purchase behaviour of target audience. Accordingly, ad cam- paign is designed to influence buying behaviour of target audi- ence.
3. Define Objectives of Ad Campaign
The advertiser should de- fine clear objective of ad campaign. The objectives of ad cam- paign can be to create awareness, develop brand image, in- crease market share etc. These objectives guide in planning process of ad campaign.
4. Setting the Ad Budget
At this stage, an advertiser allocates funds for the advertising campaign. While allocating funds for ad campaign, the advertiser needs to consider various factors such as target market, type of media, competition, past budget, avail- ability of funds etc.
5. Deciding the Advertising Theme
The advertiser / ad agency needs decide ad theme/message. It should get popu- lar among target audience. They consider the story board of the ad. Eg. In Santoor Soap ad, a young girl plays a musical in- strument and her daughter passes by and calls her ‘Mummy’ and everyone is surprised about her young skin being mother of a of 9-10 year’s old girl. They decided the colors, graphics, mu- sic and voices, language, jingles, etc. to be used in the ad.
6. Selection of Media
Media refers to a channel through which ad message is conveyed to target audience. Various ad media includes TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, outdoor, internet etc. Selection of media is depending on number of factors such as reach of media, budget, competitor’s media, media restriction, objective of ad campaign etc. Advertiser can select any one media or combination of media to advertiser his product.
7. Media Scheduling
At this stage, the advertiser decides time and frequency of inserting ad in each media. Various media scheduling strategies can be used which includes flighting, bursting, pulsing, steady, alternative month etc. Eg. In bursting strategy, advertising is undertaken heavily at initial period and normal advertising during rest of the period. In pulsing strategy, advertiser undertakes heavy advertisement for particular period, then limited advertising for particular period and again heavy advertising for particular period.
8. Executing the Campaign
At this stage, ad agency prepares ad campaign as per plan. It is necessary to get pre-testing of ad campaign done before it is run in media. Pre-testing enables to find out the technical errors in the ad campaign which can be corrected in timely manner. Then the ad campaign is run as per schedule. After that post-testing of ad campaign is also done. It enables to find out whether ad message is properly understood by the target audience and its impact on the buying behaviour of target customers.