An advertising plan and an advertising strategy provide the framework for small businesses and their advertising agencies to develop, review and measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns in line with advertising and marketing objectives. An advertising strategy sets out the method by which advertising meets the advertising objectives. The advertising plan describes the creative and media tactics, budget, schedule and other elements of the strategy.
An advertising strategy provides an overview and broad direction for the advertising campaign. If the advertising objective is to increase New York consumers’ awareness of a local food brand by 25 percent, for example, the strategy will describe how advertising can meet that objective. The strategy recommendation might be to build brand awareness through high levels of exposure, position the brand as a high-quality product and encourage retailers to stock the product.
The client team and the advertising agency team review the strategy document to ensure that it can meet the advertising objectives. The agency team can then develop a detailed advertising plan to put the strategy into practice. Simply creating advertising for its own sake, without a strategy, is unlikely to deliver the best return on marketing expenditure. According to advertising agency Adcracker, the advertising brief is like a road map that helps a team get quickly to the right solution.
The advertising plan describes how to put that strategy into practice. To build brand awareness, for example, the plan might include a recommendation for a series of advertisements in city newspapers, on local radio stations and on poster sites. To position the brand, the plan might call for a creative approach that suggests high quality and an association with the New York lifestyle. The plan would also include recommendations for building distribution through advertising to retailers and a sales promotion campaign to encourage consumers to sample the products.
The advertising plan sets out the media for the campaign, with details of the target audience, the number of advertisements and their cost. It describes the size of press advertisements and the running time for radio commercials. This part of the plan also indicates how frequently advertisements will appear and the time span for the complete campaign.
The creative proposals in the advertising plan describe the important messages that each advertisement will convey and the techniques used to attract attention and communicate the messages clearly. The plan will describe any response mechanism, such as a reply coupon or website address, so that the advertiser can make arrangements to handle the response.
The plan should include a detailed budget, setting out all the costs for the campaign and indicating when the costs will fall. The campaign is designed to meet measurable objectives, so the plan should indicate how the agency will measure the campaign.