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GOALS OF ADVERTISING
The general goal of advertising is to increase sales, either immediately or in the future, and to do so profitably. Hence the function of advertising is to inform customers of goods or services and influence people's behaviour.
Goals of advertising are not limited to trying to influence customers; the process of motivating employees and distributors may be fully as important. The impact of company advertising on its employees and particularly its sales force is not always recognized, but can be a very positive effect as they can see that the company is supporting their efforts, and this generally makes their selling job easier.
So, if advertising efforts are to be effectively planned, directed, and evaluated, more specific goals should be established, such as:
■ Build morale of a company sales force.
■ Announce a special reason for "buying now" (e.g., reduced prices, premiums, limited quantities).
■ Reach people inaccessible to salespeople, such as top business executives and professional people.
■ Enter a new geographic market or attract a new group of customers.
■ Build familiarity and easy recognition of package or trademark.
■ Correct false impressions, misinformation, and other obstacles to sales.
■ Introduce a new product or a new price schedule. a Build goodwill for the company and improve its reputation.
■ Place the advertiser in a position to select preferred distributors or dealers.
Advertising can be classified into two broad categories: informative and persuasive. Typically any advert contains elements of both. When a product is first launched, sales are low because very few customers are aware that it exists. The role of advertising here may be to inform the public of the product's existence and its particular uses. The same applies when the product has been, modified or improved. In some cases, e.g. new cars or scientific calculators, the nature of the product may be such that a large amount of technical information has to be supplied and advertising again may have to be informative. Advertising that informs and educates consumers gives them greater choice in their selection of goods and services. It can be seen as a form of competition between firms and may encourage manufacturers to improve their products to the benefit of the consumer.
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Persuasive advertising, as its name implies, is used to try and persuade a consumer to buy a particular product. Such advertising is subjective and contains many statements of opinion rather than fact, e.g. "Carlsberg - the best lager in the world". Persuasive advertising is normally associated with consumer products and is used heavily where differences between products are minor, e.g. toothpaste, baked beans, soap powder, washing liquids and lager. Persuasive advertising has been criticized but nevertheless by 1982, about $60 billion a year was being spent for this kind of advertising in the United States. One of the main drawbacks of persuasive advertising is that it emphasizes the advantages of a product and attempts to make those who do not use the product feel as if they are missing out. Itplays on jealousy, envy and 'keeping up with the Joneses'.
There are a number of regulations that control the content of advertisements and firms are required to follow the British Code of Advertising Practice.Some important extracts from this code are:
1. All advertisements should be legal, decent,honest and truthful.
2. All advertisements should be prepared with a sense of responsibilityto the consumer.
3. All advertisements should conform tothe principles of fair competition as generally accepted in business.
4. No advertisement should bring advertising into disreputeor reduce confidence in advertising as a service to industry and to the public.
The major management problems having to do with advertising are how much money to spend, how to allocateit, how to schedulethe advertising, and how to measure its effectiveness. Once the firm has decided on running the advertising campaignit must then decide onthe message,the mass mediaand the receiver. All these factors will be linked. It could be that the receiver - the so-called target audience-will determine the message and the media. If, for example, the product is a children's toy, the advert should be placed on television at particular times of the day.
In designing the message the advertiser will need to consider the following:
1. The content of the message: this will depend on the type of product and the market in which it is to be sold.
2. Who is the receiver? The message may be directed at a particular group of the population, in which case it may have to be delivered in a particular way using a certain media.
3. The person used to send the message: very often large firms use celebrities that they think are appropriate for the product.
4. The timing and number of messages: an advertiser has a choice between two approaches to an advertising campaign. It can be extensive, where the object is to reach as wide an audience as possible using different media. On the other hand, it can be intensive, where the object is to reach a particular group repeatedly (e.g. products such as lager, coffee, washing powder and toilet rolls are advertised intensively on television).
Having decided on the message, the advertiser then has to choose the most cost-effectivemedium (or media). This means choosing the medium that delivers the message to the right (and largest) audience at the lowest possible cost. Examples of the media available are: commercial television, independent local radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, buses, trains and bus shelters. For a firm advertising an industrial product the choice may be limited to exhibitions, specialist magazines and direct mail.
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