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Study Notes

Marketing: Advertising a Product or Service (GCSE)

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Advertising is defined as any "paid-for method of promotion" and is the main form of "above the line promotion".

Advertising presents or promotes the product to the target audience through a variety of media such as TV, radio, cinema, online and magazines to encourage them to buy.

The problem with advertising is that consumers are bombarded with advertising messages every day. How can a business cut through the advertising noise and get a message across effectively? And how can a business measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign. It is often said that businesses waste half their advertising spend – the problem is that they don't know which half!

When deciding which type of advertising to use a business needs to consider factors like:

Reach of the media – national or local; number of potential customers it could reach; how long before the message is seen

Nature of the product – the media needs to reflect the image of the product; a recruitment ad would be placed in a trade magazine or newspaper but a lipstick ad would be shown on TV or women's magazines

Position in product life cycle – launch stage will need different advertising from products undergoing extension strategies

Cost of medium & size of advertising budget – e.g. local newspaper advertising is cheaper than radio, which in turn is cheaper than TV. But the business will also want to consider cost per head if reaching a larger audience

Online or offline – there has been substantial growth in businesses that advertise online as they swap some (sometimes all) of their advertising budgets to reach Internet users.

Advertising can also be split into two main types:

Persuasive advertising - this tries to entice the customer to buy the product by informing them of the product benefit

Informative advertising - this gives the customer information. Mostly done by the government (e.g. health campaigns, new welfare benefits)

Sometimes a business will employ an advertising agency to deal with its needs. An agency plans, organises and produces advertising campaigns for other businesses. The advantage of an agency managing the campaign is that it has the expertise a business may not have, e.g. copywriters, designers and media buyers.

The main advantages and disadvantages of advertising as method of promotion are:

Advantages of advertising:

Wide coverage

Control of message being promoted

Repetition means that the message can be communicated effectively

Can be used to build brand loyalty

Disadvantages of advertising:

Often expensive


One way communication

Lacks flexibility

Limited ability to close a sale

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