Advertising can be a costly business, but if planned and managed carefully it can yield great returns. However, reacting to a spur of the moment offer can be money down the drain. If you are a start-up business or an SME, you are unlikely to have vast sums of money to spend on advertising or to try to test things in order to find what works for you. You will no doubt find yourself bombarded by sales calls offering you any number of advertising spaces. However much they may seem a bargain, if you didn’t plan them then it is better to say no. The key to successful advertising is to have a strategy — know what you want to achieve and make a plan to achieve it. Do your research into what has worked for businesses or products similar to yours to ensure you are going to get a return on your investment. When you are planning your advertising strategy and campaigns, you need to be able to measure and qualify your spend, so a golden rule should be that if you can’t measure it then don’t pay for it. If you are on a very tight budget, it can be tempting to take up the ‘bargain’ offers that sales people may present to you, but you should resist making snap decisions. When it comes to ‘too good to be true’ advertising offers, another golden rule should be if it isn’t in the plan then don’t do it. Don’t be pressurised into making on-the-spot decisions, however good the offer on the phone sounds. If it wasn’t in your plan this time round, then decline. If you really think it is a good idea, then build it into the plan for the next round of advertising. If you are really being given the hard sell on what an advertising offer can ‘guarantee’ you in terms of responses and new business, then ask the provider to give it you for free and tell them you’ll pay them based on the return you get. Then see how confident they are about their ‘guarantees’. Research is vital if you want to get something back from your campaigns. Pick your advertising routes and vehicles carefully and then repeat. It is better to be advertising in fewer targeted locations frequently than it is to take a huge scatter-gun approach on a one-off campaign. One-off advertising is unlikely to yield much as there is so much other advertising to compete with, so you need to keep getting your message out there for it to start to make an impact. Working on advertising campaigns or in the advertising industry can be exciting, challenging and very creative. If you are looking for a role in advertising, it is likely that the marketing recruitment agencies in Birmingham which you approach have been the most successful at frequent advertising. Their success in attracting you should give you the confidence that the same marketing recruitment agencies in Birmingham are attracting the right jobs too.