In our discussion of the communication process in the Promotion Decisions Tutorial, effective communication requires the message source to create (encode) a message that can be interpreted (decode) by the intended message receiver. In advertising, the act of creating a message is often considered the creative aspect of carrying out an advertising campaign. And because it is a creative process, the number of different ways a message can be generated is limited only by the imagination of those responsible for developing the message. In doing so, the marketer must take into consideration a number of issues such as:
General Message Creation Factors
When developing the message, the marketer must take into consideration several factors including:
- Characteristics of the Target Audience – The makeup of the target audience (e.g., age, location, attitudes, etc.) impacts what is conveyed in the message.
- Type of Media Used – The media outlet (e.g., television, digital, print, etc.) used to deliver the message impacts the way a message will be created.
- Product Factors – Products that are highly complex require a different message than simpler products. Additionally, the target market’s familiarity with a product affects what is contained in a message. For instance, a new product attempting to gain awareness in the market will have a message that is much different than a product that is well known.
- Overall Advertising Objective – As mentioned, the objective of the advertising campaign can affect the type of ad that is designed. For example, an advertisement with the objective of stimulating immediate sales for an existing product will be different than an advertisement seeking to build initial awareness of a new product.
Advertising Message Structure
Most advertising messages share common elements within the message including:
- The Appeal – This refers to the underlying idea that captures the attention of a message receiver. Appeals can fall into such categories as emotional, fearful, humorous, and sexual.
- Value Proposition – The advertising message often contains a reason for customers to be interested in the product which often means the ad will emphasize the benefits obtained from using the product.
- Slogan – To help position the product in a customer’s mind and distinguish it from competitors’ offerings, advertisements will contain a consistent phrase or group of words marketers include within their promotional message that is repeated across several different messages and different media outlets
Advertising Message Testing
Before choosing a specific message, marketers running large advertising campaigns will want to have confidence in their message by having potential members of the targeted audience provide feedback. The most popular method of testing advertising used by marketers (or used by its advertising agency) is to conduct focus groups, where several advertising messages are presented. For digital media outlets, technology allows for testing of ads by randomly exposing website visitors or app users to different ads and then measuring their response.