Spending money on advertising without first establishing goals not only wastes money, time and effort, but could do more harm for your business than good by sending the wrong message. Even advertising with a specific plan in mind is still no guarantee of success. Advertising is much more of an art than a science.
Some items for you to consider when setting goals for your company's advertising strategy:
What target market do you want to reach?
What image do you want to portray?
What product or service do you want to emphasize?
How much money can you spend?
When is the right time to advertise?
When setting goals, remember to make them specific. A general goal is nearly as detrimental as no goal at all. An example of a general goal is to increase sales. However, advertising doesn't specifically increase sales. It increases knowledge and awareness. Therefore, a specific goal for your advertising campaign may be to increase the number of people visiting your store or calling to inquire about a product. Advertising brings the customers to you, it is then up to your sales process to turn those customers into sales.
Your goal for every ad campaign may not be directly related to sales. For example, you may develop a campaign to enhance your company's name recognition. Certainly, in the long run, this should pave the way for future sales; but for that specific campaign, the goal is company awareness.
You may not be able to answer all the questions raised when you sit down to develop your advertising goals. Market research, both traditional or on the Internet, may be necessary before beginning your campaign.