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What Is an Advertising Plan?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

An advertising plan is a written document or other plan with the primary goal of spreading the word about a particular product, service, promotion, idea, person, and so on. It is often included in a business plan that outlines all aspects of a business, though it can be independent of such a document. The advertising plan will often include all elements of a marketing campaign, such as a description of the product or service, an analysis of the market for that product or service, a budget for the marketing of said products or services, and the steps by which the plan will be carried out.

The first step in an advertising plan is the analysis of the product or service itself. The business must know and understand all aspects of the product or service in order to deliver a strong message to consumers as to why they should invest money in that business's product or service. Sometimes a business may hire an outside agency to develop the advertising plan from start to finish, which means people outside of the development of the product or service will analyze the benefits to come up with an effective advertising strategy.

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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

Once a solid analysis has been done, the business must do an analysis of the target market for the product or service. The advertising plan will include this information, as well as the methods by which such information was obtained. Knowing the market is an important step in tailoring the advertising plan to the people who are most likely to invest money in a particular product or service; it will also help the business decide where and how to advertise in order to reach that target demographic. After these decisions have been made, the business will need to develop a budget for spending on the advertising techniques that have been settled upon.

The budget will include the cost of promotional materials such as posters, mailers, door hangers, and so on, as well as any media advertising such as magazine ads, television spots, and radio commercials. If an outside agency has been hired to develop the advertising plan, the costs of such services will also be included in the budget. Once the money has been spent and the advertising choices are put into place, an analysis of the results of the campaign will be noted and measured against the business's investment in the overall plan.

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