Setting the Advertising Objective

As we noted in the Advertising Tutorial, advertising can be used to address several broad promotional objectives including: building product awareness, creating interest, providing information, stimulating demand, and reinforcing the brand. To achieve one or more of these objectives, advertising is used to send a message containing information about some element of the marketer’s offerings. For example:

Message About Product

Details about the product play a prominent role in advertising for new and existing products. In fact, a very large percentage of product-oriented advertising includes some mention of features and benefits offered by the marketer’s product. Advertising is also used to inform customers of changes taking place in existing products. For instance, if a beverage company purchases a brand from another company resulting in a brand name change, an advertising message may stress “New Name but Same Great Taste.”

Message About Price

Companies that regularly engage in price adjustments, such as running short term sales (i.e., price markdown), can use advertising to let the market know of price reductions. Alternatively, advertising can be used to encourage customers to purchase now before a scheduled price increase takes place.

Message About Other Promotions

Advertising often works hand-in-hand with other promotional mix items. For instance, special sales promotions, such as contests, may be announced within an advertisement. Also, advertising can help salespeople gain access to new accounts if the advertising precedes the salesperson’s attempt to gain an appointment with a prospective buyer. This may be especially effective for a company entering a new market, where advertising may help reduce the uncertainty a buyer may have with setting up an appointment with a salesperson from a new company.

Message About Distribution

Within distribution channels, advertising can help expand channel options for a marketer by making distributors aware of the marketer’s offerings. Also, advertising can be used to let customers know locations where a product can be purchased.

Objectives of Advertising

In the Promotion Decisions Tutorial, we explained five objectives that may be achieved using promotion. Advertising can address all of these, though at different levels of effectiveness.

  • Building Product Awareness – The mass communication nature of advertising makes it a particularly attractive promotional option for marketers, who are introducing new products and looking to build market awareness. Additionally, advertising can be used to help support a strategy to reposition a product by creating awareness among a target market to benefits offered by the product that are new or that may not have been previously known.
  • Creating Interest – Advertisements are creative productions with the power to capture customers’ attention. As we will see in Managing the Advertising Campaign Tutorial, the large number of methods and media outlets for presenting an advertisement offers marketers ample ways to create appealing ads intended to excite customer interest.
  • Providing Information – Many forms of advertising expose a targeted market to a message in a brief way and are often not suitable for providing extensive information. However, there are some forms of advertising that can convey a good amount of information. For instance, advertisements sent by direct mail can offer in-depth product information with the inclusion of detailed booklets, links to online videos, and product samples.
  • Stimulating Demand – Advertising is often used as part of a campaign to encourage a target market to make a purchase. While this certainly seems an obvious usage of advertising, in fact, by itself advertising is not the most effective promotional tool to achieve this objective. Instead, advertisements, that on the surface appear to have the objective of stimulating demand, are generally part of a broader promotional strategy that includes other forms of promotion, most notably sales promotion.
  • Reinforcing the Brand – Repeated use of advertising is often required to support a product. Given the number of ads a target market is exposed to on a regular basis, it almost has become a necessity for marketers to advertise consistently as they fear customers will forget about their product if competitors advertise more frequently. Companies operating in markets where competitors spend heavily on advertising must also spend in order to maintain a consistent share-of-voice within the market (i.e., percentage of one marketer’s spending on advertising in relation to total spending).