The terms advertising and marketing are often mistakenly interchanged but they have quite different meanings. Understanding their proper definitions can help you define and implement a marketing plan for your auto repair business.
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Marketing is a term that describes the activity of promoting your business. It is the overriding term that includes everything you do to promote your business. This includes everything from the creation of a promotional idea to the point where the intended audience receives it.
Advertising is the tool box used to put marketing into action. Radio, television, print publications, web, social networking, etcetera are all forms of advertising. Advertising answers the question “How do I get my message to my target prospects?”
Take Aim Before You Fire
Unfortunately most businesses go straight to advertising before defining who their marketing message is for and what is the best advertising media to connect with them. Basically you need to decided who you want to chase, where they can be found, how to chase them, and what will attract them once you connect with them. Doing your homework will save you from largely wasting your marketing budget.
Define Your Target
First move is to define your marketing target. Who are they? Male, female, age group, do they have children, are they home owners, and what is their household income? Where do they live and work? Basically create a profile of your ideal client. Don't just say 'everyone'! This isn't practical or wise. Advertising to everyone is very expensive and a great waste of your money!
Where Are they?
Second action is to define where you can connect with your target clients. You need to find out what their interests are and type of media they use. Young people are not likely to read a seniors publication. Nor are middle aged professionals going to be found in great numbers on MySpace website or listening to the local Indie rock radio station. The narrower the focus the better.
Third step is to research what is the best media use. Each media will have a reader/user profile. Most publications can provide their readership/subscriber numbers and demographic information. Part of this research is to discover what is required to create the ad and do you have the budget to use the media. Local publications are best for auto repair companies that have a localized customer base. Community directories, sporting event guides, community websites, social networking website which can restrict and localize ads or searching.
Hitting The Target
Next is to create an ad that is appropriate for the target audience. This is the part that is the most challenging. Creating advertising that connects with people is part psychology, part art, and part voodoo. If you have the budget hiring an advertising specialist can save you time and money. If not, trial and error does work but can be just as expensive in the long run. People are exposed to so much advertising that it takes something special to catch their attention.