Definition of Advertising Objectives
All advertisements should increase sales. Some may induce purchase action immediately (direct action advertising), while some may stimulate demand for a later period (indirect action advertising). The objective of advertising should be to make the consumer buy the company’s brand every time he faces a need for the product. Thus, every advertisement must be framed with specific objectives that ultimately lead to an increase in sales.
Position the Offering
Advertisements are primarily used for positioning products in the target audience’s mind.
Positioning essentially involves defining what the product does and who it is meant for. Creative positioning involves development and/or reinforcement of an image or set of associations for a brand.
There are seven ways of positioning a brand:
Product characteristics and customer benefits: A powerful attribute for positioning is being the number one in the market. People tend to remember objects that are number one but may easily forget number two positions. Occasionally two attributes are used (cavity fighting and fresh breath) to convey positioning. Companies emphasize product attributes, features, and benefits while positioning their products.
Price-quality: Giving value through quality products sold at low prices, or high quality products at competitive prices, or superior quality at a premium.
Product use: The idea is that when people think of a specific use of the product, they would automatically think of the brand name.
Product user: Associate a product with a user or a user type.
Product class: The product may position itself as a leader within a product class, or may position itself against the product class.
Symbols: Use of symbols is effective when the symbol reflects a quality desired in the brand.
Competition: Positioning against well-entrenched competitors is effective since their image in the marketplace can be used as a reference point.
Creating awareness helps to legitimize a company, its products and its representatives to customers. Advertising improves acceptance of products and salespeople. Brand awareness is a precondition to purchase, and is achieved through advertising. Advertising can be used to make the target audience aware of a solution to a problem.
Once consumers try the product, the acceptance rote is high (as personal experience is the best indicator of product performance). But initially only a small proportion of target customers try the product. Advertising that stimulates trial increases the diffusion rate of product among the target audience. New product or brand introductions particularly warrant the stimulation of trial among the intended target audience. Various promotional offers also fall into the same category.
Remind and Reinforce
Once a clear position has been established in the minds of the target audience, the objective of advertising is to remind consumers of the brand’s existence and reinforce its image. For many leading brands in mature markets, the objective of their advertising is to maintain top-of the-mind awareness and favorable associations. They have a strong market position and a major advertising task is to defend against competitive inroads, maintaining high sales, market share and profits.
Provide Support for Sales Force
Advertising provides support to the sales force by identifying warm prospects and communicating with otherwise unreachable members of a decision making unit. Some industrial advertising contains return coupons which potential customers can send to the advertiser indicating an interest in the product. Identification of such warm prospects enables sales force to use their time more efficiently by calling upon them rather than cold calling on potential customers who may or may not be interested.
Advertisements can also be used to correct misconceptions which consumers hold against brands. Companies or brands that may have got tarnished due to negative publicity can be resuscitated by advertising. For instance, the leading aerated beverage manufacturers have faced the wrath of the Chinese media due to the alleged pesticide content in their product. Joint advertisements have been issued by Pepsi and Coca Cola negating such claims.