In one sense, advertising is old-fashioned. It has a long, storied history as a device to sell products. But the way we write and deliver ads today barely resembles the classic print, radio and TV pitches of the past.
Advertising is any paid form of nonpersonal communication about a company, product, service or idea by an identified sponsor. That means you must buy space or time for an advertised message, although in rare cases you can use public service announcements for which the media covers the cost.
Advertising involves mass media, from TV and radio to the Internet, magazines, newspapers and billboards. Its impersonal nature usually leaves little room for gathering instant feedback from receivers. That’s why you must study how your target audience will respond to your message before you send it.
Advertising can help you:
- Introduce your target market to new products, new product features and new applications.
- Persuade your audience to choose your product over a competitor’s or to perceive your product in a new way, perhaps by launching an “image” appeal.
- Remind your target market of your product’s features, benefits and availability.
Advantages of advertising
- Credibility. By investing in a public presentation of your company and its products, you can enhance customers’ perceptions of legitimacy, permanence and quality that they associate with your enterprise.
- Timing. You can repeat a message at strategic intervals. Repeating your message increases the likelihood that your target customer will see the message at a time where he is open to hearing it. The right timing can maximize your awareness-building efforts.
- Drama. The best advertising puts a human face on a company and its products. It can convey a sense of adventure, challenge people to test their assumptions about your business or entertain or enlighten your audience. It can introduce consumers to images and symbols that differentiate your company from others.
- Branding. Effective advertising enables you to create and nurture brand equity, a vital but intangible source of goodwill that flows from a favorable image associated with a brand name. Once your company establishes a distinctive trademark in the public eye, you have a competitive advantage.