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Triang Marketing
028 90660103
86 Lisburn Road
Belfast

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Absolute Marketing
028 90691111
397 Ormeau Road
Belfast

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Profile North Communications
028 90234285
37 Rugby Road
Belfast

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East West Marketing N I Ltd
028 90237391
York Street
Belfast

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Open Fairways
028 90731055
Teal Pavillion Portside Business Park
Belfast

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New Homes Marketing
028 90289028
121 Donegall Road
Belfast

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Pareto Marketing Ltd
028 90220440
83 University Street
Belfast

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Envision Management & Marketing Consultants
028 90452777
4 Hillsborough Gardens
Belfast

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Doig Marketing Consultancy
028 90739390
310 Newtownards Road
Belfast

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Ims Ni Ltd
028 92602777
Unit 19A Lisburn Enterprise Centre
Lisburn

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advertising and marketing: how to guide

(first appeared in August 2009 edition of Practical Marketing e-bulletin - subscribe here )

When many small business owners and professional service firms think of marketing they immediately think of advertising. This is inevitable, I suppose, as it’s one of the most obvious examples of marketing communication.

All too many small businesses therefore use advertising when they perhaps don’t understand how it works and haven’t got the right message or offer to appeal to their target market.

Advertising alone is unlikely to help you achieve your marketing goals and unless you have a set of clear objectives, an exceptional message and concrete ways of monitoring the response rates you could find you waste an awful lot of money very quickly.

You wouldn’t be alone in feeling your advertising spend is wasted and many others have felt forced to advertise for all the wrong reasons too. Here are some of the most common reasons I’ve heard business owners give for advertising:

“We have to be in the Yellow Pages – every other solicitors firm is in there.”
“The local paper was doing a 10-page feature and said they wanted us to take part, we felt flattered and didn’t want to miss out.”
“No, we don’t measure how many sales come as a result of our weekly adverts but we’ve been doing it so long it must be working.”
And there are many more which include being pressurised by advertising sales people, being sold an unbeatable offer or offered an exceptionally low rate. But to be honest none of these reasons are good enough unless you are convinced advertising will deliver the results you want.

Take a break before you advertise
It’s very easy to avoid wasteful marketing and advertising but it does involve a bit of thought. Luckily – once you’ve considered the questions below you need never feel forced to advertise again.

What business goals are you trying to achieve? For example do you want sales growth, to break into new markets, to launch a new product or to protect your market position against new competitors? Be as specific as you can when setting your goals – this will help determine what marketing path to take.

Who’s in your target audience? Considering this really carefully will give you all kinds of clues as to where and whether you should be advertising. If you consider this in relation to the publication you are thinking of advertising in and can convince yourself your target audience will see it and respond positively, maybe it’s the right thing to do. The more targeted you can be the better the result.

Is your message clear? If you are selling a product do you have a very clear reason for customers to buy your ‘widget’ rather than someone else’s? If a service, have you really captured what it will give to your clients?

What action do you want people to take? All too often adverts...

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