Being creative in your advertising/marketing can set you and your business apart from your competition. You can be creative with your placement, message and offers or you can combine these to maximize their effectiveness! Here are 5 tips to do just that:1- Look for sponsorship opportunities! With Radio and TV sponsoring a specific show or hour can help to maximize your exposure. Weather sponsorships, news sponsorships and sports sponsorships give you that extra coverage of the spots, promos and liners, but in addition to that you have the added value that your company will be seen as bringing the general public the information they need and want throughout the day.2- Be creative with your message. We’ve all heard the cookie cutter ads. The “I’ve got the greatest widget ever come buy from me ads” there are so many of those that they begin to blend together every day on radios and TV’s across this nation. When an ad becomes background noise it is a waste of airtime and money. So keep your message fresh! Use your imagination and be creative. Use humor, sincerity, or even a change in the flow of an ad to get the consumers attention. Listen to your competitors ads and ask yourself how can I make my ads stand out from theirs? Another great question to ask yourself is how does my product solve a problem for the consumer and how can I depict that in my ad? Your advertising representative should be able to help you with this.3- Make your commercial unique and keep it fresh- This can be done in many ways. I encourage my clients to use branding to make their ads stand out. This can be achieved through a tag line that is unique to your business or a specific sound heard in each of your ads, and/or using a specific voice in all your ads. In most commercials there is a music bed used as background music to the ad. This music bed can be used to brand and set your business apart from the competition as well. Using the same music on all your ads allows the consumer when they hear that music to identify right away that that ad is for your business. By the same token you can also set your commercial apart by not using any music at all. If you have the voice for it voicing your own ads can accomplish the goal of setting your commercial apart and it allows the consumer to feel like they know you as a local business owner and that can be priceless! In the words of Jefferey Gitomer “people don’t want to be sold they want to buy and they want to buy from their friends.” By letting the consumer feel like the know you, you can become that friend! Then remember to keep your ad fresh. This can be done by having multiple ads that run so the consumer isn’t hearing the same one over and over again. Or by doing short runs with your ad. If you are going the short run with just one ad route I suggest you change the ad up every 3 months otherwise it gets stale.4- Include an offer in your ad. This can be a double-edged sword for many business because most businesses fall prey to trying to use an offer that is just not worth the consumer remembering. There was a time with a 10% discount was a big thing. But in this world of 10% military, student and senior citizen discounts 10% doesn’t really mean anything anymore. However, an ad that offers 20 -30% off can be very effective. Offering a free upgrade or an added accessory at no cost to the consumer can work as well. If you are running ads in multiple mediums it can also help you to track where your marketing dollars are working best for you if you have different substantial offer running in each medium. Just make sure you are prepared to follow through with the offer for every customer that responds. The last thing you want is for your first impression on a new customer to be that you advertised falsely in your ad.5- Find a marketing specialist in your area that really understands advertising and is creative in the way they look at advertising for your business. Let them help you create an ad that will set your business apart from the competition. But don’t just settle for the first advertising executive that walks through your doors. Interview several and find one that genuinely cares about local businesses and your business specifically. You will be able to tell whether they really care or if they are just trying to make a sale. Then once you find the right one, treat them as you would a valued employee, an essential part of your business and always communicate with them and pay your bill on time! They can offer you additional tips on ways to be creative with your marketing.For the best results with your marketing try to combine several of these tips in your next ad and see the difference for yourself.Being creative with your marketing is essential in this world of media and distractions. By making your ads stand out from the crowd you will also be getting the most out of your advertising dollars.