Advertising: Campaign Planning

If you are a publisher, why do you advertise? When you spend money on an ad, what are you hoping to accomplish? Do you regard advertising as entertainment? Art? Do you want people to look at your advert and tell you how creative you are?

These are counter-productive goals, and a waste of your money. However, far too many of the ads out there fall into this category. Advertising is how you educate potential customers about your product; it is not art, but a means to disseminate information. The goal should be for the reader or viewer to find the advertisement so interesting that he buys your product.

Here are some things to keep in mind when planning an advertising campaign:

(1) The wrong advertising can actually reduce the sales of a product. Don’t believe the people that say all advertising increases sales to some degree. It doesn’t. An ad campaign that turns customers off to your product actively undermines your efforts to get them to buy it. It is better not to advertise, than to advertise poorly.

(2) Do some homework. Look at some of the advertisements that other publishers have used to market similar products and find out, if at all possible, how successful those ads were. Did they generate sales? How many?

(3) Talk to some customers. Ask them to look through some ads and give you feedback. Note the types of ads ‘spoke to them’ and why. Emulate those things in your ad campaigns that worked; ditch the rest. Find out those things that draw a customer to your product. What is the promise you can make to a potential customer to get them to buy your product?

(4) Properly position your product. What is your target audience? If you are publishing a game for mature audiences, speak to them in terms they understand and respect. The hobby gaming industry is not homogenous. There are many different types of gamers, who play many different types of games. Don’t try to advertise to all of them at once, with the same product. Target your advert to those potential customers who are most likely to want to buy your product. If you want to target a different demographic, make a different game.

(5) Image is everything. It is your product’s personality, and made up of the product’s name, how you package it, its price, the nature of the product, and yes… the style of its advertising. Every advertisement you run for a given product should contribute to the brand image. Every advertisement you run should consistently project the same image. Customers buy a product for its image as much as they buy it for its merits. Be consistent with your image, and if it resonates with your target audience, you will continue to see sale after sale.

(6) The hobby gaming industry is filled with products that are similar to each other. All you can hope to do with your advertisements is explain the virtues of your product more convincingly than the next company, and to differentiate your offerings by the style of your advertising. You do not have to convince customers that your game is the best, only that it is good. Put your best foot forward, and focus on your product’s strengths. If a customer feels that your product is good and feels uncertain about someone else’s, he will buy yours.

(7) Measure how well your ad campaigns work. You will never know if your ad campaign is a stinker unless you can get feedback as to its effectiveness. Have sales climbed, and is that increase due to the ad campaign? If so, stick with what works. If not, go back to the proverbial drawing board and create something that does. Remember my first point…


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