What is Product Advertising?

Product  advertising  is a simple idea on paper; but like most things which appear simple at first blush, it can be an incredibly complex one in practice. The idea behind product  advertising  needs no explanation – it is simply presenting a product in the hopes of generating consumer interest. Where things become thornier is when it comes to deciding what benefit the product has to offer and to whom. Identifying a target market and finding the best way to reach these consumers can be challenging in itself. Not every media is ideal for getting your marketing message across to every audience.

The answer to how best to reach the target market often begins with a careful consideration of the product itself; who will use this product’ What are these people most likely to consider the biggest advantages of this product? From this, one can often decide on a strategy in terms of which media will provide their product advertisement which will make an impact on the largest number of consumers within this market, as well as helping to begin coming up with ideas on how to present the product as something which will improve the lives of these consumers.

Along with media placements which will be more likely to directly speak to the target market in question, most successful product  advertising  campaigns will also include  advertising  placements in media which reaches a general audience. After all, no matter how specialized of a niche market you are dealing with, these consumers also watch television; listen to the radio and so on.

Product  advertising  is something which can be so complex that most companies find it useful to engage the services of a marketing or  advertising  agency to handle the work of reaching the consumer. The company can then devote their resources elsewhere, while reaping the benefit of having  advertising  professionals on their side; professionals who know how to speak to consumers and get the company’s message across and have extensive experience in using various forms of media to make a favorable impression on consumers. This is a more cost effective model of product  advertising  for the product manufacturer and permits them to focus on their product and on serving the needs of their customer base.

Advertising Humor – Smart Advertising Choice?

The big sin in advertising and marketing is being boring. A market will forgive almost anything else. But a boring sales letter, commercial, or video will generate absolutely no interest in your product. The advertisement must be interesting to the prospect. Not interesting in general, but to that prospect.

Most small business advertisers who are putting together an ad, think of trying to be funny as their first priority. This is because many think of advertising as a form of entertainment. Advertising isn’t entertainment, it is selling. Making someone laugh when they see your ad, may make you feel better, and it feels like the ad should be working, but this isn’t the case.

You do not want to hear “Wow, I saw your ad. How clever (or how funny).” You want people to see your ad and then want to buy the product it is showcasing.

Is humor ever effective in your advertising? Sure. A viral video should be either very funny or very shocking. This will cause the video to be spread to all corners of the internet. You may even make some sales off of that video. Humor also has a place in advertising because to tends to stick in the mind of the consumer. Humor in advertising makes the company seem a little more “cool” because if the humor. But the humor should never get in the way of the appeal of the ad, which is to make someone want to buy the product advertised.

Advertisers should always put Selling first in their ads. After there is a strong appeal in the ad, then you can think of ways to say it in a funnier way. But never let humor get in the way of the selling.

Here is the danger of using humor in your ads. Some people may simply not get the joke. If they don’t get the joke, the ad will actually irritate them, because they won’t understand your point.

You may actually offend a few people. The humor, if really funny will direct the consumer’s attention to how funny the ad is, not how great your product is.

A funny and dramatic demonstration of your product, that really drives home a buying benefit, is useful because now they are talking about the demonstration, which is the same as talking about your product. See? You want them taking about your product, not the commercial.

What is almost universally useful in your broadcast ads, is smiling, friendly faces. They don’t have to be funny, but just happy. The prospect assumes they are happy because they are using the product. In print, it’s harder to be funny anyway, so you are trying harder to be funny, which doesn’t translate well to print. In print, ads should always try to sell, not be funny.

You can be interesting without going for a laugh. Do you know what prospective customers find interesting? Anything that will make their life easier, or will solve a problem that is bothering them. That’s what they find interesting. And not being interesting is the major sin in advertising.

Do you see the title of this article? Originally it was going to be Advertising Humor: It’s No Joke. Do you know why I changed it? Even though it is a semi-clever play on words, it wouldn’t make you want to read the article as much as the title I used. See the difference?

The Top Five Secrets To Advertising Strategies – Starting With Your First Ad

Today, most advertising strategies focus on achieving three general goals, as the Small Business Administration indicated in Advertising Your Business:

1) promote awareness of a business and its product or services;

2) stimulate sales directly and “attract competitors’ customers”; and

3) establish or modify a business’ image. In other words, advertising seeks to inform, persuade, and remind the consumer. With these aims in mind, most businesses follow a general process which ties advertising into the other promotional efforts and overall marketing objectives of the business.

An advertising strategy is a campaign developed to communicate ideas about products and services to potential consumers in the hopes of convincing them to buy those products and services. This strategy, when built in a rational and intelligent manner, will reflect other business considerations (overall budget, brand recognition efforts) and objectives (public image enhancement, market share growth) as well. Even though a small business has limited capital and is unable to devote as much money to advertising as a large corporation, it can still develop a highly effective advertising campaign. The key is creative and flexible planning, based on an in-depth knowledge of the target consumer and the avenues that can be utilized to reach that consumer.

STAGES OF ADVERTISING STRATEGY

As a business begins, one of the major goals of advertising must be to generate awareness of the business and its products. Once the business’ reputation is established and its products are positioned within the market, the amount of resources used for advertising will decrease as the consumer develops a kind of loyalty to the product. Ideally, this established and ever-growing consumer base will eventually aid the company in its efforts to carry their advertising message out into the market, both through its purchasing actions and its testimonials on behalf of the product or service.

Essential to this rather abstract process is the development of a “positioning statement, a positioning statement explains how a company’s product (or service) is differentiated from those of key competitors. With this statement, the business owner turns intellectual objectives into concrete plans. In addition, this statement acts as the foundation for the development of a selling proposal, which is composed of the elements that will make up the advertising message’s “copy platform.” This platform delineates the images, copy, and art work that the business owner believes will sell the product.

With these concrete objectives, the following elements of the advertising strategy need to be considered: target audience, product concept, communication media, and advertising message. These elements are at the core of an advertising strategy, and are often referred to as the “creative mix.” Again, what most advertisers stress from the beginning is clear planning and flexibility. And key to these aims is creativity, and the ability to adapt to new market trends. A rigid advertising strategy often leads to a loss of market share. Therefore, the core elements of the advertising strategy need to mix in a way that allows the message to envelope the target consumer, providing ample opportunity for this consumer to become acquainted with the advertising message.

1. TARGET CONSUMER The target consumer is a complex combination of persons. It includes the person who ultimately buys the product, as well as those who decide what product will be bought (but don’t physically buy it), and those who influence product purchases, such as children, spouse, and friends. In order to identify the target consumer, and the forces acting upon any purchasing decision, it is important to define three general criteria in relation to that consumer, as discussed by the Small Business Administration:

1. Demographics-Age, gender, job, income, ethnicity, and hobbies.

2. Behaviors-When considering the consumers’ behavior an advertiser needs to examine the consumers’ awareness of the business and its competition, the type of vendors and services the consumer currently uses, and the types of appeals that are likely to convince the consumer to give the advertiser’s product or service a chance.

3. Needs and Desires-here an advertiser must determine the consumer needs-both in practical terms and in terms of self-image, etc.-and the kind of pitch/message that will convince the consumer that the advertiser’s services or products can fulfill those needs.

2. PRODUCT CONCEPT The product concept grows out of the guidelines established in the “positioning statement.” How the product is positioned within the market will dictate the kind of values the product represents, and thus how the target consumer will receive that product. Therefore, it is important to remember that no product is just itself, but, a “bundle of values” that the consumer needs to be able to identify with. Whether couched in presentations that emphasize sex, humor, romance, science, masculinity, or femininity, the consumer must be able to believe in the product’s representation.

3. COMMUNICATION MEDIA The communication media is the means by which the advertising message is transmitted to the consumer. In addition to marketing objectives and budgetary restraints, the characteristics of the target consumer need to be considered as an advertiser decides what media to use. The types of media categories from which advertisers can choose include the following:

o Print-primarily newspapers (both weekly and daily) and magazines.

o Audio-FM and AM radio.

o Video-Promotional videos, infomercials.

o World Wide Web.

o Direct mail.

o Outdoor advertising-Billboards, advertisements on public transportation (cabs, buses).

After deciding on the medium that is 1) financially in reach, and 2) most likely to reach the target audience, an advertiser needs to schedule the broadcasting of that advertising. The media schedule, as defined by Hills, is “the combination of specific times (for example, by day, week, and month) when advertisements are inserted into media vehicles and delivered to target audiences.”

4. ADVERTISING MESSAGE An advertising message is guided by the “advertising or copy platform,” which is a combination of the marketing objectives, copy, art, and production values. This combination is best realized after the target consumer has been analyzed, the product concept has been established, and the media and vehicles have been chosen. At this point, the advertising message can be directed at a very concrete audience to achieve very specific goals. There are three major areas that an advertiser should consider when endeavoring to develop an effective “advertising platform”:

o What are the product’s unique features?

o How do consumers evaluate the product? What is likely to persuade them to purchase the product?

o How do competitors rank in the eyes of the consumer? Are there any weaknesses in their positions? What are their strengths?

Most business consultants recommend employing an advertising agency to create the art work and write the copy. However, many small businesses don’t have the up-front capital to hire such an agency, and therefore need to create their own advertising pieces. When doing this a business owner needs to follow a few important guidelines.

5. COPY When composing advertising copy it is crucial to remember that the primary aim is to communicate information about the business and its products and services. The “selling proposal” can act as a blueprint here, ensuring that the advertising fits the overall marketing objectives. Many companies utilize a theme or a slogan as the centerpiece of such efforts, emphasizing major attributes of the business’s products or services in the process. While something must be used to animate the theme …care must be taken not to lose the underlying message in the pursuit of memorable advertising.”

When writing the copy, direct language (saying exactly what you mean in a positive, rather than negative manner) has been shown to be the most effective. The theory here is that the less the audience has to interpret, or unravel the message, the easier the message will be to read, understand, and act upon. As Jerry Fisher observed in Entrepreneur, “Two-syllable phrases like ‘free book,’ ‘fast help,’ and ‘lose weight’ are the kind of advertising messages that don’t need to be read to be effective. By that I mean they are so easy for the brain to interpret as a whole thought that they’re ‘read’ in an eye blink rather than as linear verbiage. So for an advertiser trying to get attention in a world awash in advertising images, it makes sense to try this message-in-an-eye-blink route to the public consciousness-be it for a sales slogan or even a product name.”

The copy content needs to be clearly written, following conventional grammatical guidelines. Of course, effective headings allow the reader to get a sense of the advertisement’s central theme without having to read much of the copy. An advertisement that has “50% off” in bold black letters is not just easy to read, but it is also easy to understand.

The Impact of Advertising on Society

The impact of the advertising company on the society at large has been enormous. Unprecedented sales have been made the world over by listing products and services on TV. The American society belongs to the Television age that loves to just sit and watch all sorts of things on television.

In a world that’s increasingly becoming one small global village, companies cannot help but take advantage of the various mediums created to advertise their goods and services.

Research has shown that immense profit has been recorded by most companies who have invested hugely in advertising. Although no one knows the origin of advertising, time has proven that people’s opinion to buy have been greatly influenced by the impact of advertising.

Show a product over and over again as extremely good for acne, coupled with dazzling pictures of women with clear and bright skin and you will notice the increased demand for the product in the coming weeks and months. The art of advertising has often been criticized by its detractors as a form of deceptive propaganda.

Critics has accused advertising companies of falsely using the power of sound and visual to convince unsuspecting buyers to purchase products that don’t offer what they promise. However you look at this, this is business and companies will use any market strategy that is available to them to sell their product.

Why then do advertising companies spend millions of dollar on marketing their products and services to prospective buyers? The answer is not farfetched! People all over the world want to see results. People need to be convinced all the time that they are actually paying for a good or service that works.

If it’s a cleaning product, people want to visualize the results this product will produce and if it’s a meal they also want to see it cooked and served. There’s power in visualization. It triggers off the imagination which in turn helps to convince the mind.

For some reason, People who watch most commercials on televisions never stop to think for once that this could be all make-believe. As soon as they see a commercial, they begin to actually dream of acquiring the actual product. That’s the power of advertising that has been utilized by some good companies to sell their products and also been used as a medium by some other companies to actually take advantage of potential buyers.

Television commercial/advertising has been in the forefront of the creative industry for over two decades now. The number of advertising companies that have sprang up during this time cannot be numbered.

Needless to say that advertising companies now form a major part of the development economy of many nations. They have created numerous forms of employment for artists, computer scientist, graphic artists, public relations personnel, modelling agencies and models to mention but a few.

Almost all listed fortune 500 companies owe a part of their success to their utilization of efficient advertising companies. In this regards, there are various types of advertising companies. Like in any other industry, there are leaders and there are toddlers.

Certain advertising companies have clearly defined themselves as leaders in business with strong competitors coming fast behind. Others however have however barely managed to make a success of their career and are just merely existing and on the verge of extinction.

Like every other business out there, only the persistent and strong willed will win. Advertising is a serious business. It is not some sort of joke. To be better explained, it is a business that is cut out for the witty. The world of advertising is witty, fast and fiercely competitive. In other words, it’s a world where only the fittest survive.

All said and done, it cannot be denied that advertising has it cons, however its pros outweigh the former. It is indeed a dynamic innovation both in television and in the Arts. It has triggered off imagination and creativity. The advent of the computer and the internet has greatly expanded the mediums and forms of advertising in the world today. No longer is advertising limited to television now but also to other forms of media and multimedia.

Before You Advertise Know the Facts! Offline Advertising Vs Online Advertising

What forms of  advertising  are available to you in Cookeville? Should you advertise your local business Offline or Online? You can better decide that once you understand the buying process a person goes through before spending money on a service or a product. It could take days, even years for a person to go through this process.

Understanding this journey will assist you in determining what  advertising  methods would work best in spreading your message. We will be discussing reach and estimated cost between traditional offline  advertising  and Online Pay-Per-Click  Advertising .

Typical Consumer Buying Process:

Most all consumers have the same pre-defined actions before buying Anything! Listed below are the purchasing steps people like you and I unknowingly use.

  • Potential customers become aware that they have a need, want or problem
  • They gather information about the product, service or solution that could possibly fix their problem
  • They ask their friends opinions, read customer reviews & consumer reports, watch videos and the list of fact-finding research methods goes on

Only then, when people have gathered this information, do they feel comfortable enough to make a buying decision. The information gathering phase accounts for roughly 95% of a client’s buying process. This leaves only 5% of customers ready to buy at any given time.

What does this have to do with  advertising  in Cookeville?

Simply put, the buying process is common to all potential customers. When you advertise your business in Cookeville or your Cookeville business to potential clients in Nashville or Knoxville, you must understand who your message will reach and when. Telling the world about your business is only effective if it produces a return on investment, Right? In order to produce result oriented  advertising  you must inform shoppers and provide buyers with exactly what they are looking for, giving them incentive to buy.

Offline  Advertising 

Advertisers in Cookeville can choose Offline  Advertising  in the forms of radio, TV, newspapers or other publications and billboards. Average monthly cost for these services when opting in for minimum exposure can cost you an estimated $20-$35 a day. That translates into an average of $825mo or $9900 a year.

These forms of  advertising  can take your message into Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Constant exposure can brand your business by “keeping your name out there” in the community to shoppers and attract potential buyers along the way.

How it Works

Essentially it comes down to exposing a message or multiple messages to the people who read a particular paper or publication, use a common street, listen to the radio or watch TV in a predefined area or location. The goal here is to advertise to the majority and hope you catch some buyers along the way. In theory you are only  advertising  to 5% of the population for direct response.

Now, I understand, you are  advertising  to everyone in your chosen area, but only five percent of the given population will be ready to buy today. It is important that you position your ads in order to market to the all the potential customers that may come in contact with your  advertising .

It is best to provide an informational message that speaks directly to the 95% of people who are gathering information about the products or services you offer. You will also want to provide your viewers or listeners an alternative message driven towards direct sales in order to support the cost of your  advertising . This increases your exposure, branding your business by informing shoppers and giving buyers what they are looking for with good reason to complete their buying process.

If you are a small business trying to grow, you will most likely want to keep your message focused towards the 5% of the people on the verge of buying. Dealing with smaller budgets requires you to increase you odds for making sales and money immediately from your  advertising . Although it will cost more than the estimate above, it is always a good idea to multiply these messages on different  advertising  platforms, including online  advertising  for maximum results.

As with most  advertising , the more you spend, the more people your message is exposed to, the more your chances increase for making sales along the way.

Online  Advertising 

Advertisers in Cookeville who choose Online  Advertising  can advertise on major Search Engines, Social Media sites and on literally hundreds of thousands of websites relevant to your business. Average monthly cost for professionally managed online  advertising  when opting in for minimum exposure will cost you an estimated $16 a day or $492mo or $5899 a year.

Don’t have a website? You don’t need one! Unless you intend to build your online presence for sales and branding together, then you will need a professional website. A fully customized, search engine optimized website will run you an estimated $1000. This is the real deal. Add that to the total cost and you are looking at $19 a day or $575mo or $6899 a year.

Online  advertising  does exactly the same thing as above, plus so much more. You can take your message to Cookeville alone or to people all around the Upper Cumberland area. Online  advertising  also gives you the ability to advertise your business to multiple cities of choice or entire states across the US. You can even take your business  advertising  global if you so desire. That’s not all, you can also add multiple ads or  advertising  messages whenever you want and target your customers with keyword terms so the right message is reaching the appropriate clients.

How it Works

Online  advertising  is most commonly implemented through one of many pay-per-click (PPC) programs. These programs are offered by the worlds largest search engines or websites. Google by far being the leader, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook are a few you can probably relate too. With the one time account setup, you essentially tell the PPC provider who, when, where and what.

For Example: Let’s say you own a lawn equipment business and you sell weedeaters, lawn mowers and leaf blowers. With pay-per-click you target customers by using targeted keyword searches producing as many ads as needed to get your message(s) out to the right people.

You start by building one ad for lawn mowers that will target anybody searching online for the key terms – JD ZX9 Super Model, zero turn lawn mowers and lawnmower shops near Cookeville. By doing this you target the 5% of buyers who are looking to buy a commercial lawn mower close to Cookeville. Next you place another ad about lawn mowers but this time you target customers looking for service. So your ad reads, “Get Your Lawn Mower Ready for Spring – Blade Sharpening to Full Service – Call Now for More Information.” You set it up so only people searching for the key terms – Lawn mower service, lawn mower blade sharpening and lawn equipment service see it. This ensures your getting the right message to the right people 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The cycle can go on and on to target weedeaters and leaf blowers as well. Before running these ads in what we call ‘Traffic’ you also tell your PPC provider to do a few other things as well. Things like only spend $250 a month or $8.30 a day, only show my ads to people searching for these exact terms and only show my ads to people within a ten mile radius of Cookeville, Crossville and Smithville. You have complete control over your  advertising .

Drill down further and place ads like “Bob’s Lawn Shop – Lawn Mowers, Leaf Blowers & Weedeaters – 10% off Service During May” and place these ads on many other relevant websites. For instance, I send you an email asking you if you know of a place that sharpens lawn mower blades. You reply with a no, but because the conversation is relevant, your ad is showing on the side of the page and catches my attention. Or, perhaps, your target customer is looking on Lowe’s website at zero turn mowers and he spots your ad (like a billboard) on the side of the page and clicks through to your website. You could even set it up where they simply click the ad to call your business immediately from there mobile phone because you provide what they need today, locally. This is a great way to catch shoppers nearing their final buying decision through mass marketing. Keep in mind, there are no additional cost.

The Biggest difference with online  advertising  is you only pay when someone visits your website “Internet Store Front” or takes action from your advertisement. By targeting pre-qualified customers where they live (home, work, cell phone) at exactly the time they are looking for your businesses service, product, location or solution, you increase your chances of return on investment. This takes the “Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” aspect out as well because you choose who sees your ad, when they see it and what information they get when they take action. The best part is you can collect data by tracking conversions and begin to filter out what doesn’t work and build upon the target markets that are producing revenue for your business.

With 91 million searches a day on Google alone, people are looking for your business by way of the internet. When is the last time you cut out a newspaper ad, pulled over to write down a number or hunted up a phone book?

 Advertising  Comparison

-Offline  Advertising 

Pros:

  • Reaches local customers with option of running multiple messages
  • Targets customers throughout the buying process
  • Brands your business image in your selected viewing area

Cons:

  • Short ad exposure times
  • Unable to target any deeper than location or interests
  • No precise way to track results or effectiveness

Estimated Cost: $825 a month

-Online  Advertising 

Pros:

  • Only pay when someone acts upon your  advertising  message
  • Target pre-qualified customers with specific ads for sales and branding anywhere in the world
  • Capability of tracking data, optimizing to eliminate non productive  advertising  thereby producing increased results over time
  • Ability to pause, change or adjust your  advertising  any time day or night without any contracts

Cons:

  • A professional website is crucial for long term advertisers
  • Complex. Needs professional management for best results
  • Setup takes 2-3 weeks

Estimated Cost: $575 a month

Advertisers from the Middle Tennessee area have some very good choices for  advertising  there local business to the people of Cookeville. You know your business and hopefully this information will give you better insight on not only how you can advertise your business but also what cost will typically be involved.

Feel free to research this subject more at your own leisure. You can find information through the internet from advertisers websites, additional articles and even forums/blogs describing peoples own unique experience with offline and online  advertising .

View pay-per-click packages and pricing

Online Advertising

 Advertising  has moved much beyond the levels of print and point of contact  advertising . Today one of the world’s most effective  advertising  techniques is online  advertising . With the unparalleled rise in the World Wide Web, not only has it become one of the most targeted sections of  advertising , but at the same time it is also the most cost effective  advertising  process in the world.

Categories of online  advertising  could include such systems as banner ads, email marketing,  advertising  networks, online classified  advertising  and many other techniques. The procedures are simple, they are quick and the results are easily visible.

The greatest benefit of online  advertising  is that it knows no time and space boundaries. It is visible to anyone at anytime and geographical boundaries are no longer applicable. Another great advantage is that they can be targeted to specific groups or a relevant audience. Certain keywords will bring up the advertisements on the requisite pages, thus ensuring that you catch the eyeballs of people who are looking for similar content.

Google, due to its commanding position in the search engine world, is used as the benchmark for all  advertising  techniques and marketing strategies. If a company manages to do well with its Google  advertising , then it is guaranteed that the same techniques will achieve good results on other search engines also.

Google’s AdWords is one of the most basic systems of  advertising  on their search network. The AdWords reach only interested customers, since the ads pop-up only on relevant search pages. You can also reduce  advertising  costs tremendously since these are not very high priced ads. You can also alter them as and when needed, and judging from the evaluation charts you can make informed marketing decisions.

Online  advertising , especially banner  advertising  or ads on various sites should not be judged on the basis of the number of click throughs. An advertisement’s efficacy cannot be calculated according to the instantaneous results it generates. There is a great deal of recall value attached to ads, and similar to print media or TV advertisements, the results normally become evident only later. However what is essential is the placing of the advertisement, since the significance of the page it appears on is what determines the focus of the ad.

Over 13.6 billion searches take place in one month in the US alone. Out of these 9 billion of those searches are on Google. Hence the importance of Google as the main  advertising  destination cannot be underplayed. Every SEM company worth its salt will target Google searches for optimization, and online  advertising  companies will target their ads towards the 9 billion searches every month. Thus Google promotion packages are an inherent segment of every  advertising  strategy. These include not only  advertising  on Google search engines, using the specialized techniques developed by Google, but also  advertising  on other classified advertisement networks and directory listing sites which are ranked high on the search engine lists.

Online  Advertising  includes search engine marketing with Google AdWords, Yahoo SM and Microsoft Adcenter; it also includes buying banners from CPM ad networks as well as social media marketing.

Ethics in Advertising

Introduction

Ethics have always been an important aspect of every business activity, although the term has meant different things at different times in different lands to different people. Nonetheless, as ethical concerns are an inseparable element of business, advertising can not ignore them. Sadly, the advertising industry has rarely cared to look beyond immediate marketing objectives. The argument in the industry is that it is the government’s job to judge what is right and what is wrong. Shirking its own responsibility for regulation, the industry has belittled business values and agencies have harmed their balance sheets.

For any business, customer is very important, and businessman attempt to communicate to all their target customers using means of communication like advertising and sales promotion. Advertising is a very powerful and most commonly used tool.

Benefits of advertising

o Communication

The organization has to attract the customer and create a market for its products. For this purpose, advertising is the most powerful and widely used tool for communicating message regarding products/services to a large target audience.

o To raise the standard of living

In our developing economy, adverting with its micro and macro level influences, exerts vast and varied influences that have played key role in raising the standards of physical and material well being of the Indian society.

o To make market competitive

In India, one finds many innovations being introduced which has changed the market structure from seller’s market, and thus the result is more competitive market conditions.

o Product differentiation

It is a fact that advertising brings about products variety through real and psychological product differentiation.

Critical evaluation of advertising

Though many benefits are achieved through advertisements, the ad message is becoming more and more exaggerated. To achieve competitive advantage, advertising magnifies unimportant differences, resorts to clever, tricky product promises, and claims more and more unbelievable benefits. The customer finds many advertisements as false, deceptive, or misleading. Consumers are uncertain regarding whether or not the performance of a product purchased will in fact meet their needs. If they find that the product lacks in quality, advantage, durability etc., as advertised they might not buy it again, and develop an aversion to every other product of that company.

Unethical advertising

Advertisement is considered unethical in the following situations;

o When it has degraded or underestimated the substitute or rival’s product.

o When it gives false or misleading information on the value of the product.

o When it fails to give useful information on the possible reaction or side effects of the product. And

o When it is immoral.

Ways of misleading the consumers

o Many a time, traders entice the customers into their stores by advertising goods at a very low price, but they stock only a handful of such sale items in the store. When the advertised goods are sold out, consumers are steered towards the higher-priced stock or lower quality goods.

Retailers must ensure that reasonable supply of products is available during the sales, and retailers should not purposely avoid it. Retailers should make it clear in the advertisement that how many items on sale are available or when the sale ends.

o Sale offer should be for a limited period. Advertisement should declare that sale offer is for a limited time period. The period of the offer should be made clear in the advertisement only when the advertised goods are available for a limited period or stocks are limited.

o Traders often offer insignificant price reduction. To illustrate, a trader may advertise that the price of product is reduced to Rs.99.95, when the normal selling price is Rs.100.. The trader must include the normal selling price and discounted price in his offer .The trader sale offer is misleading if the trader claims the product is below cost , when the price is not below cost after discounts, rebates and other allowances it is misleading if the trader simply shows a fictitious higher price as normal selling price in the advertisement.

o Advertisement must clearly indicate the total price of goods or services. All price comparison must be truthful and must not intentionally or unintentionally mislead the consumers. Under the Fair Trade Practices Act, retailers have an obligation to ensure that they do not mislead or make false representations to customers with respect to price of the goods. The consumers who shop around and compare the prices of various products are less likely to be deceived by misleading claims consumers should also be aware of what is a reasonable price of goods and not take any advertised discounts at face value.

o While many sales are legitimate or genuine, the consumers should not get attracted to such sales offers i.e., “Hurry…very few days remain for sale”. The consumers should be aware of what to expect when retailers place items on sale and how to avoid being misled by discount advertisements. A marketer should take care to ensure that when goods or services are advertised to be available at a discount or as being on sale, it is a genuine discount or sale.

Remedies to overcome deceptive advertisements

o Cease-and- Desist Orders

The cease-and-desist orders, which prohibit the respondent from engaging any more in deceptive practice, are actually the only formal procedure established by the Federal Trade Commission Act for enforcing the prohibition of ‘ deceptive acts and practices.”

o Restitution

Restitution means the consumer is compensated for any damage caused to him by the product that had advertised claims not adequately substantiated. Restitution is rarely considered because of its severity.

o Affirmative Disclosures

If an advertisement has provided insufficient information to the consumers, an affirmative disclosure might be issued Affirmative disclosure require ‘clear and conspicuous disclosure’ of omitted information. Often the involved information relates to the deficiency or limitations of the product or service possibly relating to matters of health or safety.

o Corrective Advertising

Corrective Advertising requires the advertisers to verify past deception by making suitable amendment in any of its future commercial.

Self Regulation in Advertising

It is our responsibility to regulate our operations. And we must do it ourselves. Self regulation is not a quick-fix solution; it will be completely ineffective with out commitment from and the integrity of one and all. Self Regulation may require the following;

o The development of a self-regulatory code of conduct covering all forms of media that is sensitive to ethics, legalities, decency and truthfulness in advertising.

o Provision for monitoring and accountability, including a policy allowing for the removal of ads that violate the code.

o Greater participation of advertising professionals in the regulatory process.

o The inclusion of non-industry players in the process

o Consumer awareness of the self regulation system.

o Simplification of the complaint process against ads.

o Transparency throughout the entire system.

These reforms will achieve three goals. They will make the industry accountable for its actions. They will make regulators and critics think twice before attacking the industry and finally they will lead the public to trust ads, advertisers and agencies.

Conclusion

Reputable companies and advertising agencies avoid telling lies. They realize the cost of being caught. A dent in trust can prove to be much costlier than the failure of an ad campaign or for that matter, even a brand. The challenge before advertisers and agencies is to ensure that ads reflect our values. We must endeavor to see that “advertising” does not remain a dirty word.

Mobile Advertising – Integral Part of Any Marketing Campaign

Mobile advertising is advertising through mobile phones or other devices like iPad. An integral part of any advertising campaign, mobile advertising is fast gaining popularity due to its quick, wider reach and its potential to track the effectiveness of a campaign. As the number of mobile users across the world continues to surge (studies show that the trend is likely to continue for several years), mobile media is evolving rapidly. Apart from simple mobile phones, smart phones based on Wi Fi or Wimax have also emerged as a popular means of promoting products and sending out social messages.

Forms of Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising is done in several forms but the most common one is banner ads of varied sizes. Mobile web banner or web poster ads appear on the top of a page or bottom of a mobile screen. Another very popular form of mobile ads is the SMS advertising which contributes significantly to the global mobile marketing revenues. Other forms of cell phone advertising include MMS advertising, advertising within mobile games, videos or in-application ads which appear when an application is being loaded or before it is loaded. Another advantage of this mode of advertising is that its effectiveness can be measured in a variety of ways, such as on the basis of number of view and clicks. A recent introduction is interactive ads, which allows mobile users to interact with the advertiser.

Importance of Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising is likely to emerge as the necessary driver for the development and commercialization of the mobile internet. It is an important tool for monetizing mobile content and applications. However, an effective cell phone advertising campaign can only be developed if the mobile phone operators, handset vendors, content providers, application developers and advertisers collaborate effectively. So, it must be taken up while taking into consideration the variety of handsets available in the market, their different screen sizes and support technologies.

The high potential of cell phone ad has seen a proliferation of advertising networks that provide the necessary infrastructure for developing mobile ads of various types that suit the specifications and requirements of advertisers. These companies provide their clients with a Software Development Kit or SDK to include mobile ads in the applications for a mobile phone.

8 Ways Companies Waste Advertising Dollars

I understand, running a business is tough. Tons to do. Even more to think about. But, have you thought about how you are wasting those precious few  advertising  dollars? We see money wasted everyday in  advertising , here are some of the most common ways:

1) Inconsistency – Rollercoaster  advertising  is not as fun as it sounds. Rollercoaster  advertising  is when companies don’t stay in front of their customers. Business slows down so the company responds by doing some  advertising . They soon get busy and the attention gets directed to serving the recent influx of business. Soon, that new business is starting to wane, and its time to ramp up the ad machine again. If you will consistently advertise to your perfect customer your rollercoaster will level out and you can ride that train to the bank.

2) “Me Too”  Advertising  – Do you remember the “Got Milk?” campaign? Of couse you do. Its one of the best campaigns of the 90’s. Do you remember all the knockoff campaigns that it spawned. T-shirts, billboards, magazine ads everywhere had “Got _______?” in that nice narrow font. Do you remember any of the companies that did the knockoffs? I didn’t think so. “Me Too!”  advertising  is jumping on a band wagon of a concept or tactic that works. Unfortunately, the “me too”ers seldom see the same returns. Be original, set the bar and let everyone else say “Me Too!” to your  advertising .

3) Shotgun  Advertising  – This spray and pray method of  advertising  to EVERYONE is costly and not very profitable. It gets expensive trying to flood the marketplace with your message in hopes of hitting the perfect customer. Every time your message lands on the wrong customer you waste money. You may wonder why “the big boys” use so much of the mass market  advertising , its because they can afford to. But in recent years they are learning that targeting specific customers that are ideally compatible with their message is paying off more than hitting everyone with the same ad.

4) Wrong Vehicle – Using mass transit  advertising  to market a kitchen utensil to stay at home moms doesn’t sound like a good Idea, right? It’s not. Stay at home moms are called that for a reason. They stay at home. They don’t use mass transit very often. So why do companies use  advertising  vehicles that won’t reach their perfect customer? Choose the  advertising  vehicle that best fits the needs of that one customer that your product speaks directly to. Its kind of like using a tank to go water skiing, it might pull you but it won’t work that well.

5) Wrong Customer – Have you tried to sell tractors to a stock broker? It ain’t easy. Choosing the right customer is half of the battle in  advertising . Many companies say our target market is the whole world. That is a bit of a contradiction. Take an inventory of what needs your product or service fills. Look at what customers have the demographic and psychographic qualities that fit your product offer. Then work to craft a message that speaks directly to them and their needs. They are the right customer, speak to them.

6) Too Big – Every year a few companies spend millions on a single 30 second spot during the super bowl. If you remember the DotCom boom the Super Bowl broadcast was filled with quirky sometimes weird ads that “promoted” a website. A few years later, 90% of those companies were no where to be found. Would that money been better used in a consistent, targeted, custom message to the right customer? Guaranteed. Would they still be in business today? No way to know. My advice, don’t spend  advertising  dollars on placement that is beyond your reach. Especially if your haven’t tested the message. Think Big, Work Small.

7) Too Small – Money is tight. I get it. But, try to push yourself to the next level when it comes to your ad budget. I know it sounds weird after the last point. But I said the “next” level not the next stratosphere. If you wish to reach your perfect customer, they have to know you exist. You must let them know what you offer and how it meets their needs. Test your message as cheaply as you can. When you find a message that works, go big. Take a few risks, step out of your comfort zone. To get something different, you must do something different.

8) Poor Brand – What is your brand? Your brand is your look, your message, your value, your overall marketing message. Do you have a strong brand? Can you convey your message in 2 sentences? Do you speak to your Perfect Customer with every market touch point? Do the answers to these questions evade you? That probably means your brand isn’t as strong as it should be. Branding is probably the most important part of  advertising . Invest in your brand, it pays dividends.

If you can avoid these few mistakes, your  advertising  can be the life-blood of your business. If you fear making an  advertising  mistake, send us an email at [email protected] we be glad to help you through it.

Thanks for reading,

Mark Combs

Lead Cre8ive, Cre8iveDept.com

Advertising Effectiveness Trends, a Small Survey

In the day to day running of my business, I am discussing marketing strategies with business owners and marketing managers on a daily basis. If you can earn their trust, then they will be very candid with you, especially if you can help them without trying to sell them something.

What resulted from this were some startling admissions that I did not expect. This had me thinking, it can cost an awful lot, especially for the small to medium business owner, to spend money on good market research. So I wondered what the results would look like after a few months if I were to record the marketing success and failure stories after each visit.

I broke this down into respective industries to give more meaning to the results, and also, if available, lend the reasons to these successes and failures. Now I have decided that three month periods will do for data collection as years of research in marketing becomes outdated by the time it is published in the forever increasing and changing monster that is the modern market place. Always ensure research is current and relevant.

Although some of you may want to see raw data, a summary of my finding is all I am going to share in this article sorry! Please take into account that the sample number is in the hundreds, but certainly not in the thousands. The value of this research comes from the honesty of small to medium sized business owners, and the fact they have usually spent the time to talk about these things in detail.

Here are some general trends that I have found;

o Newspaper and radio advertising return on investment continues to decline rapidly.

o The second most effective form of advertising was word of mouth referrals.

o The most effective form tended to be anything unique, e.g. logo and advertisement placement in unexpected places.

o Advertising on product giveaways tends to have a life span of one week, i.e. a company logo on a free pen typically brings in no new revenue one week after it has been given away.

o Advertising discounts were not as effective at getting people through the door as advertising something new.

o Customer loyalty increased with free giveaways, but not so much with advertised discounts.

o Most business owners were dissatisfied with the follow up frequency of advertising sales reps, i.e. after an initial advertising campaign, contact is not made until after an unacceptable length of time.

To bring relevance to these results, one must take into account that this is a small city (about 122,000) and has a large rural support base in outlying areas. These trends show that a need to provide innovative and well maintained advertising service is apparent in this city. Perhaps this is the same elsewhere.

There were some other interesting facts, but these seven findings had the most valid results statistically. If in the future, some other trends become overwhelmingly evident, then I will revise this article.