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Why is an Advertising Plan So Important?

“The only place you’ll find success before work is in the dictionary”. In order to make your advertising successful, you need to put in a little work to develop a plan. We’ll work with you to build that plan but first we need a very good understanding of your business. What is your company’s point of difference, who is your target market, what is your advantage over your competitors?

Other areas that need examining are your ads. What sort of ad will generate traffic? What look should these ads have so that they reflect your uniqueness? Where should these ads be placed so they reach the maximum of your target market?

Then you need to plan around your business cycles. We’ll work with you to plan around your peaks and valleys, plan your promotions around community and business factors.

Ad Planning - Follow These Five Easy Planning Steps:

Step One: Plan Your Overall Strategy

Decide on your overall objective for this year’s advertising plan:

• Increase sales?
• Increase awareness of your product, store or service?
• Increase reach of your target market?

Develop Your Strategy:

• How do you plan to communicate your offer?
• What is your unique selling point?
• Why would your customers prefer to buy from you versus your competition?

Identify Your Target Market:

• Who is purchasing your products?
• Where do they live?
• What level of income/education/purchase decision influence do they have?
• You may want to identify a secondary target market

The Vancouver Sun and Province’s research analysts can provide you with a profile of your target audience at no charge. This profile will not only help you plan your print and online advertising but can also help in planning cross-promotions.

Step Two: Plan Your Total Advertising Budget

A good place to start when setting your budget is by looking at industry average percent of sales devoted to advertising (Chart A).

  1. Determine your store’s square footage
  2. Multiply the square footage by the sales per square foot
  3. Multiply that number by the industry percent of sales devoted to advertising
  4. If you do not see your class of business, use 3 per cent of your gross sales for your advertising investment.

There are other factors that influence whether you should spend less, more or the same as the industry average for your business:

  • Launches and important sales require more advertising than maintenance campaigns
  • Competitive activity may require that you react quickly to changes in the market
  • Need to drive more traffic to your store if you’re experiencing a drop in your area or are in a remote location
  • Increase your business’s awareness level in the market, especially if you’re a new business
  • Length of purchase cycle for your product may require that you advertise more often
  • Your business concept also influences your advertising budget – are you image based, price based or in-between?

Step Three: Develop Your Month-by-Month Plan

Enter the projected sales by month and the percent of sales that you will devote to advertising to calculate your monthly advertising spending. Don’t forget to add in co-op dollars. Take advantage of special offerings such as AuctionMart to further extend your advertising budget.

Step Four: Develop Your Media Plan

Your Advertising Account Executive can recommend a plan that incorporates all your objectives and meets your budget. You should plan for frequent advertising because consumers are constantly coming into the market at different times. Frequency assures that more consumers will see your ad and find the products that they want, and they’ll be reminded often about your store/product and why it’s a good place to shop. Your goal should be to maximize your reach against your target group on a weekly basis so that anyone who is entering the buying phase will be exposed to your ad. We can recommend a schedule that includes a mix of print, online, mobile, promotions, street level and social media. And our artists can create your ads at no extra charge.

Step Five: Record Your Plan and Monitor Your Results

Keep track of your plan’s results and progress each month. Make adjustments to the plan as required. Keep track of paydays, weather, competitive activity, long weekends, your salespeople, point of purchase materials and customer feedback. The more information that you record, the more useful it becomes when planning next year.

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