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ThinkstockPhotos 514558113An advertising plan and an advertising strategy provide the framework for small businesses and their agencies to develop, review, and measure the effectiveness of 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.

Develop the Strategy

An advertising strategy provides an overview and broad direction for the advertising campaign. If the advertising objective is to increase consumers' awareness of a local company or product by 20%, 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 company as a high-quality provider, and encourage consumers to purchase the company's products.

Review the Strategy

The client team and the 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. The advertising brief is like a road map that helps a team get quickly to the right solution.

Advertising Plan

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 billboards. To position the brand, the plan might call for a creative approach that suggests high quality and an association with certain lifestyle demographics. The plan might also include recommendations for building distribution through advertising to retailers and a sales promotion campaign to encourage consumers to sample the products.

Media Selected

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 print advertisements and the running time for radio commercials, for example. This part of the plan also indicates how frequently advertisements will appear and the time span for the complete campaign.

Creative & Messaging

The creative elements and messaging in the advertising plan describe what each advertisement will convey, and the techniques used to attract attention and effectively communicate the messages. The plan will describe any response mechanism, such as a reply card or website address, so that the advertiser can make prepare to handle the response.

Advertising Budget

The plan should include a detailed budget, setting out all the costs for the campaign and indicating when the costs will be incurred. The campaign is designed to meet measurable objectives, so the plan should indicate how the agency will measure the results of campaign and calculate ROI.