The 8 Steps of an Advertising Campaign

StairsIn the past, I worked with a business that made its decisions on where to advertise based entirely on which publications and stations actually called up and solicited an ad. While plenty of publications are cold-calling potential advertisers in hopes of getting a little ad revenue these days, I wouldn’t really recommend taking a similar route. Instead, approaching advertising like any other business project can guarantee that your advertising budget actually has the affect you want in the long-term. An advertising project isn’t so different from buying a new office or designing a new product: with the right process, you can complete your project efficiently and with great results.

Here are eight steps you can follow to keep your advertising campaign on track and successful:

  1. Market research: Before you even start thinking about where you might want to place an ad or even what it could look like, it’s important to do at least some basic research. Even if you aren’t in a position to bring in an expensive research firm, you can ask your current customers questions about why they come back to you, as well as taking a close look at your target demographic’s needs and interests.
  2. Budgeting: Your business probably has a set advertising budget for the year — but how do you divvy it up between your various advertising projects? For each project you’re planning, you need to be clear on just how much money you’re willing to spend. You’ll almost certainly change exactly how you divide it between costs like copy writing and design, but you can treat the overall amount as set in stone. Write it down and put it in your project folder.
  3. Setting goals: The aims you have in mind for a particular advertising project need to be written down ahead of time. While it’s good to be ambitious, it’s also important to decide what constitutes a successful advertising campaign for your business. Sales can be the simplest metric: if you’re advertising a particular product, how many units will you need to sell to pay for that campaign?
  4. Advertising venue: The website, tv station, newspaper, radio station, magazine or other advertising venue you place your ad with is a crucial decision. You’ll need to look at not only the cost of your preferred venues but also whether they reach your target demographic. Ad buys can make up a significant portion of your budget. Deciding on where you will place your ads first tells you how much money you’ll have left over for actually creating your ad.
  5. Choosing creatives: Unless you’re planning to write, shoot and design every part of your ad, you’ll probaably need to bring in some help. Finding the right freelancers for each aspect requires checking through portfolios and rates — if you can find a business or freelancer who can handle all aspects of creating your ad, even if that means subcontracting, it can save you a lot of time. You’ll also want to make sure that you find any talent you’ll need for your ad (voice actors for radio, models for photography and so on).
  6. Design and wording: While you may not have a lot of actual writing and designing to do for your ad, during the creation process you will need to review and sign off on different stages of the project. When starting with a new designer or other creative, make sure that you both know any expectations for timelines and progress checks.
  7. Placing the ad: Once you have a finished ad in hand, it’s time to actually place it with your preferred advertising venue. You may have a few contracts to sign and a check to hand over. You’ll also want to make sure you actually see your ad once it’s run — from a newspaper, for instance, you’ll want to see the tear sheets of pages containing your ad.
  8. Evaluation: Depending on your ad, how you evaluate it can vary. If it included a coupon, for instance, you can simply count how many customers brought in the coupon. For other ads, you may be simply comparing sales before, during and after your advertising campaign. Spend as much time on analyzing how your advertising campaign worked as you can. That information can point you to more effective uses of advertising in the future.

While following such a set process may seem like it would stifle the creativity necessary to put together a new ad, following these steps can actually make it easier. You can minimize confusion and make sure that everyone is meeting the necessary deadlines — and you can ensure that you’ll be able to measure your ad’s actual cost and responses during each step. You’ll be better equipped to tweak your ad or move it to another publication in the future.

Photo by jurek_durczak on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Reader Comments

Jan. 28. 2010 7:22 AM
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I have read and implemented various advertising campaigns; among others your perspectives and approach is also ok to implement. Nice to read all this…


May. 5. 2010 12:50 AM
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I am an advertising student and it is very useful for me today is my exam now i am able to write in the exam about stages of ad campaign


May. 9. 2010 4:33 PM
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Would agree with all of this. But for me, market research is the most important. No matter how good the campaign is from a creative point-of-view, without market research, it’s going to be really hit-and-miss from a marketing point-of-view - of being relevant to audiences.
Althouigh quantitative data (i.e. mass, statistical, objective data i.e. the particular age-group of audiences) is expensive, qualitative data (asking a people subjective-like questions why do you like ..) doesn’t have to be expensive. And can be straight-forward to set up.
You can, also, find a lot of useful information via the internet to help you give an overall idea of potential audiences, the marketplace, the competition, and so on so on, in order to help put the campaign into an overall marketing context.


Jun. 22. 2010 11:40 PM
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I read this article and i found it useful and I also draw attention of my students to the site


Sep. 30. 2010 6:18 AM
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GOOD ARTICLE. IT’S WRITTEN IN A VERY CONCISE MANNER, IS NOT ELABORATIVE. LIKED IT. BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE EFFECTIVE IF EXPLAINED THROUGH SOME GOOD EXAMPLES.BUT THEORITICALLY VERY GOOD ONE.


Nov. 20. 2010 1:56 AM
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It was really very nice n easy information to read n understand, i think a few examples should be included to make it more effective.


Dec. 5. 2010 11:01 AM
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Market analysis should be done before it all, i couldn’t agree more.


Feb. 12. 2011 11:00 AM
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gud1 2 teach…gr8 job sir


Jul. 30. 2011 12:33 AM
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good post. Advertising campaigns should never be thrown together. For an effective campaign there should be structured and informed approach.


Sep. 4. 2011 1:41 PM
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thanks for sharing , it’s very nice


Sep. 12. 2011 5:15 PM
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Very helpful, thanks!


Sep. 22. 2011 3:18 AM
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a nother great psot to help my advertising campaigns, thanks for taking time to write this one


Sep. 28. 2011 2:23 PM
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Nice writeup, but can peep it up a bit proffesionaly. Thank you


Oct. 9. 2011 11:25 PM
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Great info! Don’t forget to add twitter plugins or widgets to your website….


Oct. 12. 2011 12:45 PM
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As for me there are different types of market researches that’s why I’d advice to set the key goals first and then do everything else.


Oct. 26. 2011 7:44 PM
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Sometimes advertising may take up more than 50% of your budget.  And sometimes it should.


Oct. 26. 2011 7:46 PM
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Market research - essential to any ad campaign.  Don’t throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks.  Research your market and make sure that your ads make sense.


Nov. 15. 2011 10:38 AM
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The steps mentioned have definitely help to advertising campaign successfully!


Nov. 24. 2011 5:43 PM
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I appreciate and thank you for this post. Keep going to follow. Thanks for sharing this valuable information!


Dec. 7. 2011 11:02 AM
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I really like the Blog content, I like the information. This is what we are looking for. Thank for this and keep update the information.


Dec. 12. 2011 6:07 PM
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Interesting stuff. Choosing the right medium to invest is very much needed


Dec. 30. 2011 6:16 AM
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I’m impressed. You’re truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. I’m saving this for future use.


Jan. 8. 2012 7:35 AM
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Impressive stuffs are here. The information and the aspect were just wonderful. I think that your viewpoint is deep, it’s just well thought out and truly incredible to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts so well. Good job!


Jan. 30. 2012 9:55 AM
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Most of our business comes from clients whose businesses are primarily online, and though all of your excellent points of focus still apply we have often had to add another professional to our advertising team. Recently most of our online advertising has also received the input of are freelance SEO expert. Who has an eye for those things which apply to customers and search engines alike.


Feb. 22. 2012 7:20 PM
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Nice writeup,  Thank you but can peep it up a bit proffesionaly.


Feb. 26. 2012 12:55 PM
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I am an advertising student and it is very useful for me today is my exam now i am able to write in the exam about stages of ad campaign


Feb. 28. 2012 7:45 AM
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i think a few examples should be included to make it more effective.  really very nice n easy information to read n understand,


Feb. 29. 2012 8:55 AM
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Your blog is a great one.


Mar. 2. 2012 5:53 AM
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I think you outlined good steps for a business to consider before setting out for an advertising campaign. Companies have to know their budget, from having enough to purchase display stands to placing an Ad on a TV slot. Even for online ads like Google Adwords, knowing your budget means you are able to cater the right funds for ad appearance without going over budget.


Mar. 4. 2012 8:10 PM
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Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed your blog posts.In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!…


Apr. 1. 2012 6:49 AM
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COOL HAY


Apr. 3. 2012 5:27 PM
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In my opinion market research is the most important factor in the adverstising campaign. It has to be done good.


Apr. 12. 2012 8:37 AM
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In my opinion market research is the most important factor in the adverstising campaign. It has to be done good


Apr. 13. 2012 9:19 AM
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you can complete your project efficiently and with great results.


Apr. 16. 2012 10:42 PM
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That’s what I was looking for, thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.


Apr. 19. 2012 2:14 AM
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what I was looking for, thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.


Apr. 19. 2012 2:00 PM
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Unless you’re planning to write, shoot and design every part of your ad, you’ll probaably need to bring in some help. Finding the right freelancers for each aspect requires checking through portfolios and rates — if you can find a business or freelancer who can handle all aspects of creating your ad, even if that means subcontracting, it can save you a lot of time. You’ll also want to make sure that you find any talent you’ll need for your ad (voice actors for radio, models for photography and so on).


May. 7. 2012 9:18 AM
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That was a great blog…I am enjoying catching up on your posts!
I’d like to suggest an additional step or item on the list. Engage the team. So often companies launch huge campaigns and their employees find out about them when the first call comes in, they see it on TV or in the paper, or one of their friends mentions it to them. Your people can’t get behind your efforts if they don’t know what they are. Engagement is a very big step especially for a small company. If everyone feels a part of the effort, they’re more likely to get behind it. visit our site at Dirigocreative.com or like us on Facebook Dirigo Creative


May. 10. 2012 4:41 PM
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Nice writeup,  Thank you but can peep it up a bit proffesionaly.a


May. 17. 2012 5:07 PM
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thank god for giving me this process


May. 18. 2012 5:04 AM
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Thanks for the post.Your knowledge of the subject is very deep.Took me a while to read all the comments but I really love the article. It proved to be very useful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here!


May. 21. 2012 9:33 AM
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This would be the natural solution and and thus I know everything would always be fine.Useful information shared.I am very happy to read this article.


May. 28. 2012 1:29 PM
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Market research is not easy and sometime a waste of time and money.You can not only judge on some numbers.


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Jun. 10. 2012 11:05 PM
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Great reading, great design. Are you selling your blog?


Jun. 13. 2012 4:41 PM
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I like your organizing for the campaign steps, even the last step of evaluation.
Thanks a lot


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well personally I like white layouts on blogs they enhance the reading


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This is a great artistic article. The chat with James Koehleh on the artistic use of color and depth is so awesome. I’m just so lucky i came across this article. The information has helped me a lot. I can’t wait to see the next article posted.


Jul. 12. 2012 11:01 AM
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I’m learning his right now:) thanks for the tips!


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Jul. 21. 2012 9:15 AM
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You’ll need to look at not only the cost of your preferred venues but also whether they reach your target demographic.


Jul. 26. 2012 10:04 AM
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Lots of valuable information.Thanks for sharing!


Jul. 26. 2012 11:40 AM
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I will try to follow your tips. For sure we will have results.


Jul. 29. 2012 8:32 PM
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Great read. Personally I think that AD placement is one of the importanest thing when start an AD campaign. I will surely follow your tips and see what happens.


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When developing your advertising schedule, be sure to take advantage of any special editorial or promotional coverage planned in the media you select. Newspapers, for example, often run special sections featuring real estate, investing, home and garden improvement, and tax advice. Magazines also often focus on specific themes in each issue. Don’t forget online ads (be sure to check out laws that apply), local HOA newsletters, and coupon supplements.


Aug. 16. 2012 7:52 PM
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i agree with michael.. and a great article!


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Oct. 18. 2012 12:09 PM
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if you’re advertising a particular product, how many units will you need to sell to pay for that campaign?


Oct. 20. 2012 11:36 PM
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As far as advertising venues go these days, there’s a whole lot of them especially on the internet. You’ve got your website, social networks, specialized groups, etc. You either use all of them or just pick the ones that will work most effectively for your business.


Oct. 22. 2012 6:06 PM
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Evaluation is the final point and the most important. If something is bad or can be improved the evaluation is always necessary


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Marketing research is probably the most important step, especially with all of the new online marketing options. Investing your money in the right places can make all the difference.


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You’ll almost certainly change exactly how you divide it between costs like copy writing and design, but you can treat the overall amount as set in stone. Write it down and put it in your project folder.


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I worked with a business that made its decisions on where to advertise based entirely on which publications and stations actually called up and solicited an ad. While plenty of publications are cold-calling potential advertisers in hopes of getting a little ad revenue these days, I wouldn’t really recommend taking a similar route.dui lawyer orange county


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