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Promotion - why advertise?

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

Why and what should a business advertise?

Before undertaking an advertising campaign, marketers should be able to answer two key questions:

(1) Why are we advertising?

(2) What are we advertising?

On the face of it these seem like two fairly obvious questions. But they are significant. Advertising can be a very expensive promotional tool. It is widely believed that much advertising spend is wasted. So careful consideration about “Why” and “What” can pay dividends.

Why advertise?

The following may be good reasons why a business is advertising:

• To create awareness, customer interest or desire

• To boost sales (moving the demand curve to the right)

• To build brand loyalty (or to maintain it at the existing level)

• To launch a new product

• To change customer attitudes – perhaps trying to move a product more “upmarket” or to dispel some widely held perceptions about the product

• To support the activities of the distribution channel (e.g. supporting a “pull” strategy)

• To build the company or brand image

• To reminds and reassure customers

• To offset competitor advertising – businesses may defend market share by responding to competitors’ campaigns with their own advertising

• To boost public standing: companies can boost their public standing with advertisements that link them with generally approved campaigns such as care for the environment

• To support the sales force – advertising can make the job of the sales force easier and more effective by attracting leads from potential customers and perhaps motivate them by boosting the profile of the business

Take a look through any magazine and select a sample of adverts. Which of the above reasons do you think are behind the adverts you choose? Don’t forget that some adverts aim to achieve multiple objectives.

What to advertise?

Factors that help answer the “what are we advertising”? focus on what the advertising message should be. In general, there are really only two kinds of effective advertising message:

Firstly, does the business/product have a Unique Selling Proposition (“USP”)

A unique selling proposition is a customer benefit that no other product can claim

In reality these are rare, although that does not stop marketers from claiming them for their products.

Secondly, does the thing that is being advertised “add value” and if so, how?

For example, advertising for washing powders will focus on the “added value” created by whitening agents or the fact that a particular formulation will last longer than the competition (take a look at the Fairy web site to see if you can spot the other “added value” features claimed for its products)
Whatever is advertised, it is important that the message is:

• Seen
• Read
• Believed
• Remembered
• Action upon by target customers

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