Formulating and Implementing Advertising Strategy

Advertising strategy formulation involves four major activities: Setting Objectives, Formulating Budgets, Creating Ad Messages and Selecting Ad Media and Vehicles. Objectives are goals that the various elements aspire to achieve individually or collectively during a scope of time such as a business quarter or fiscal year. The objectives that marketing communications in its various forms must accomplish are varied, but regardless of the substance of the objective, there are three major reasons why it is essential that objectives be established prior to making the all-important implementation decisions regarding message selection, media determination, and how the various elements should be mixed and maintained.


Establishing a budget is, in many respects, the most important decision. Budgeting is a critical decision in as much as endeavors such as advertising are typically very expensive. Budgeting is not only one of the most important decisions but also it is one of the most complicated, as will be demonstrated in the following discussion of how—in theory—advertising budgets should be set if the objective is to maximize profits.   In advertising, the act of creating a message is often considered the creative aspect of carrying out an advertising campaign. And because it is a creative process, the number of different ways a message can be generated is limited only by the imagination of those responsible for developing the message.


When creating an advertising message the marketer must consider such issues as:


  • General Message Creation Factors: When developing the message the marketer must take into consideration several factors including:


  • Characteristics of the Target Audience: The makeup of the target audience (e.g., age, location, attitudes, etc.) impacts what is conveyed in the message.
  • Type of Media Used: The media outlet (e.g., television, print, Internet, etc.) used to deliver the message impacts the way a message will be created.
  • Product Factors: Products that are highly complex require a different message than simpler products. Additionally, the target market’s familiarity with a product affects what is contained in a message. For instance, a new product attempting to gain awareness in the market will have a message that is much different than a product that is well-known.


  • Message Structure: Most advertising messages share common components within the message including:
  • The Appeal: This refers to the underlying idea that captures the attention of a message receiver. Appeals can fall into such categories as emotional, fearful, humorous, and sexual.
  • Value Proposition: The advertising message often contains a reason for customers to be interested in the product which often means the ad will emphasize the benefits obtained from using the product.
  • Slogan: To help position the product in a customer’s mind and distinguish it from competitors’ offerings, advertisements will contain a word or phrase that is repeated across several different messages and different media outlets.
  • Message Testing: Before choosing a specific message marketers running large advertising campaigns will want to have confidence in their message by having potential members of the targeted audience provide feedback. The most popular method of testing advertising for the marketer (or their ad agency) is to conduct focus groups where several advertising messages are presented. On the Internet, advertising delivery technology allows for testing of ads by randomly exposing website visitors to different ads and then measuring their response.
  • Media Strategy: The fourth element, media strategy, involves the selection of media categories and specific vehicles to deliver advertising messages. (The term vehicle is used in reference to, say, the specific TV program in which an advertisement is to be placed—TV is the medium, the program is the vehicle.)

Implementing Advertising Strategy

Strategy implementation deals with the tactical, day-to-day activities that must be performed to carry out an advertising campaign. For example, whereas the decision to emphasize television over other media is a strategic choice, the selection of specific types of programs and times at which to air a commercial is a tactical implementation matter. Likewise, the decision to emphasize a particular brand benefit is a strategic message consideration, but the actual way the message is delivered is a matter of creative implementation.

Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

Assessing effectiveness is a critical aspect of advertising management—only by evaluating results is it possible to determine whether objectives are being accomplished. This often requires that baseline measures be taken before an advertising campaign begins (to determine, for example, what percentage of the target audience is aware of the brand name) and then afterward to determine whether the objective was achieved