Companies must do more than make good products – they must inform consumers about product benefits and carefully position products in consumers’ minds. To do this, they must skillfully use the mass-promotion tools of advertising, sales promotion, and public relations.
Advertising represents any paid form of nonspersonal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor.
Marketing management must make four important decisions when developing an advertising program:
- setting advertising objectives
- setting the advertising budget
- developing advertising strategy (message decisions and media decisions)
- evaluating advertising campaigns.
Setting Advertising Objectives
An advertising objective is a specific communication task to be accomplished with a specific target audience during a specific period of time. Advertising objectives can be classified by primary purpose – whether the aim is to inform, persuade, or remind.
Informative advertising is used heavily when introducing a new product category. In this case, the objective is to build primary demand.
Persuasive advertising becomes more important as competition increases. Here, the company’s objective is to build selective demand.
Reminder advertising is important for mature products – it keeps consumers thinking about the product. Expensive Coca-Cola television ads primarily remind people about Coca-Cola rather than informing or persuading them.
TABLE: POSSIBLE ADVERTISING OBJECTIVES
– telling the market about a new product
– suggesting new uses for a product
– informing the market of a price change
– explaining how the product works
– describing available services
– correcting false impressions
– reducing consumers’ fears
– building a company image
– building brand preference
– encouraging switching to your brand
– changing customer’s perception of product attributes
– persuading customer to purchase now
– persuading customer to receive a sales call
– reminding consumer that the product may be needed in the near future
– reminding consumer where to buy it
– keeping it in customer’s mind during off-seasons
– maintaining its top-of-mind awareness
Setting the Advertising Budget
A brand’s advertising budget often depends on its stage in the product life cycle. New products need large advertising budgets to build awareness and to gain consumer trail. Mature brands require lower budgets as a ratio to sales.
Undifferentiated brands – those that closely resemble other brands in their product class (beer, soft drinks, laundry detergents) – may require heavy advertising to set them apart. When the product differs greatly from competitors, advertising can be used to point out the differences to consumers.
Developing Advertising Strategy
Advertising strategy consists of two major elements: creating advertising messages and selecting advertising media.
Creating the Advertising Message
No matter how big the budget, advertising can succeed only if advertisements gain attention and communicate well.
Many advertisers now see themselves as creating “advertainment” – ads that are both persuasive and entertaining. “Today we have to entertain and not just sell, because if you try to sell directly and come off as boring or obnoxious, people are going to press the remote on you.”
“A commercial has to cut through the clutter and seize the viewers in one to three seconds, or they’re gone”.
The first step in creating effective advertising messages is to plan a message strategy – to decide what general message will be communicated to consumers. The purpose of advertising is to get consumers to think about or react to the product or company in a certain way. People will react only if they believe that they will benefit from doing so.
Thus, developing an effective message strategy begins with identifying customer benefits that can be used as advertising appeals. Ideally, advertising message strategy will follow directly from the company’s broader positioning strategy.
Advertising appeals should have three characteristics: First, they should be meaningful, pointing out benefits that make the product more desirable or interesting to consumers. Second, appeals must be believable – consumers must believe that the product or service will deliver the promised benefits.
Appeals should also be distinctive – they should tell how the product is better than the competing brands.
The advertiser now has to turn the big idea into an actual ad execution that will capture the target market’s attention and interest. The creative people must find the best style, tone, words, and format for executing the message. Any message can be presented in different execution styles, such as the following:
– slice of life: this style shows one or more “typical” people using the product in a normal setting. (e.g. two mothers at a picnic discuss the nutritional benefits of a product)
– lifestyle: this style shows how a product fits in with a particular lifestyle
– fantasy: this style creates a fantasy around the product or its use. For instance, many ads are built around dream themes.
– mood or image: this style builds a mood or image around the product, such as beauty, love, or serenity. No claim is made about the product except through suggestion
– musical: this style shows one or more people or cartoon characters singing about the product
– personality symbol: this style creates a character that represents the product. The character might be animated or real (the Marlboro man)
– technical expertise: this style shows the company’s expertise in making the product
– scientific evidence: this style presents surveys or scientific evidence that the brand is better than one or more other brands
– testimonial evidence or endorsement: this style features a highly believable or likable source endorsing the product. It could be ordinary people saying how much they like a given product or a celebrity presenting the product. Many companies use actors or sports celebrities as product endorsers
Selecting Advertising Media
The major steps in media selection are
1) deciding on reach, frequency and impact
2) choosing among major media types
3) selecting specific media vehicles
4) deciding on media timing
DECIDING ON REACH, FREQUENCY AND IMPACT
Reach is a measure of the percentage of people in the target market who are exposed to the ad campaign during a given period of time.
Frequency is a measure of how many times the average person in the target market is exposed to the message
Media impact is the qualitative value of a message exposure through a given medium. For example, for products that need to be demonstrated, messages on television may have more impact that messages on radio because television uses sight and sound.
CHOOSING AMONG MAJOR MEDIA TYPES
The major media types are newspapers, television, direct mail, radio, magazines, outdoor and the Internet. Each medium has advantages and limitations.
Profiles of Major Media Types
Medium – Advantages – Limitations
+ Flexibility, timeliness, good local market coverage, broad acceptability, high credibility
– short life, poor reproduction quality, small pass-along audience
+ good mass-market coverage, low cost per exposure, combine sight, sound and motion, appealing to the senses
– high absolute costs, high clutter, fleeting exposure, less audience selectivity
+ high audience selectivity, flexibility, no ad competition within the same medium, allows personalization
– relatively high cost per exposure, “junk mail” image
+ good local acceptance, high geographic and demographic selectivity, low cost
– audio only, fleeting exposure, low attention (“the half-heard” medium), fragmented audiences
+ high geographic and demographic selectivity, credibility and prestige, high-quality reproduction, long life and good pass-along readership
– long ad purchase lead time; high cost, no guarantee of position
+ flexibility, high repeat exposure, low cost, low message competition, good positional selectivity
– little audience selectivity, creative limitations
+ high selectivity, low cost, immediacy, interactive capabilities
– small, demographically skewed audience, relatively low impact, audience controls exposure
Alternative media: pens, boxes, chairs, everything else that hasn’t been so much used before.
SELECTING SPECIFIC MEDIA VEHICLES
The media planner now mush choose the best media vehicles – specific media within each general media type. For example, television vehicles include Scrubs, and News etc. Magazine vehicles include People, Cosmopolitan etc.
DECIDING ON MEDIA TIMING
The advertiser must also decide how to schedule the advertising over the course of a year.
The advertiser has to choose the pattern of the ads. Continuity means scheduling ads evenly within a given period. Pulsing means scheduling ads unevenly over a given time period.