|Type of paper:||Dissertation methodology|
|Categories:||Psychology Research Personality Society|
Marketing mix refers to the creative fashioning of a blend of marketing procedures and policies to develop a profitable enterprise (Baines et al. 11). The mix consists of twelve elements. The most common is known as the 4Ps, i.e. product, price, place and promotion. The others are product planning, branding, personal selling, advertising, packaging, display, fact-finding and analysis, servicing and physical handling. Advertising is a very critical part of this mix and is almost always accorded the biggest budget. It focuses on a particular market segment with the target audience. Advertising aids in creating awareness of a product being promoted, paint the unique qualities of the product in question in the minds of the targeted audience and overall aims at convincing the target users to buy the product. According to (Baker and Hart 302), advertising literally 'pulls' the product through the channels of distribution. The company can, therefore, use an advertising campaign as a barometer to gauge how well their product has received by the market segment being targeted, i.e. the extent to which their product promotion goals and objectives have been achieved. Advertising plays numerous roles in a company including educating the public about a product, building and furnishing the brand image of the company, and creating a value proposition of a product to win new customers. It also aids in fast, easy market expansion, allows better control of the promotions, developing product confidence in the minds of the target audience and finally, it effectively lowers the cost of production.
To set off the discussion on the roles of advertising, I will look at public education as one of the reasons for advertising a product. Educating is simply informing. The target users should have a clear picture of the physical characteristics the product on offer. Key features such as shape, size, colour, material and weight of the product should be presented. It is imperative to show the performance of the product as this will help the potential customers gauge its quality. Beyond this, the commercial should have an emotional touch so that a person can be attracted to the product and connect with it. On the other hand, if the company participates in the services sector, e.g. in the hospitality industry, it is paramount for a service provider to design an advertisement drive with the target market segment in mind, be it corporate customers, high-end customers, middle-class customers or the low budget customers. This advertisement should also be coupled with unique services offered like excellent customer service and exotic dishes which might attract new customers.
Second is the building and furnishing the brand image. A strong brand image is the manufacturer's prime strategy for differentiating its products...assures profits to retailers who stock it (Baker and Hart 401). In the previously stated advertising campaign by Volkswagen (VW), we saw the use of the slogan "think small" which buttresses their brand image of offering affordable small cars. This appealed to many people and captured them to become part of the rapidly growing Volkswagen's customer base. Volkswagen remained true to its principle of small cars which helped to cut a niche for itself, to survive the competition and succeed in the vastly competitive automobile industry in the USA. The slogan "think small" ensured VW had an unequivocal distinction from its competitors and also created a sense of belonging to many people. From this case study, it is indeed true that the brand image of a company is critical in driving new sales and maintenance of existing customers.
Thirdly, there is the creation of value proposition. The value proposition is a statement that encapsulates the value offered to the customer (Baker and Hart 290). The value can be based on certain parameters such as the ingredients of a product, effect associated with the product, best quality, durability, matchless service, one of a kind designs or low price. This is best demonstrated by the Absolute Vodka advertisement which had a drive with a slogan "in the wild" which ended up increasing their market share by 4% within a year. Key to the success of this campaign was the effect associated with the Vodka - the mirth that it kindled. This was the value proposition of the Absolute Vodka brand. This, therefore, shows that the success of a particular product is tied to any of the value proposition associated with it as aforementioned. They used a relatively cheap budget, and it bore huge results unlike companies that advertise during the super bowl spending an arm and a leg and having meagre results.
Fourthly, advertising helps in faster market expansion and better distribution of products. In creating an advertising campaign, a company usually aims at ensuring that the product being promoted is found at convenient places like shopping malls, franchises, online shops etcetera and available at the right time when required by new customers. This brings into focus the effectiveness of their supply chain. It is through "understanding how exchanges take place between the various members of the supply chain allows us to understand where we can add or reduce value in the customer experience (Baines et al. 14)" All stores in the supply chain should be well stocked during the promotion period. The company should offer contacts for customer support, commit itself to providing guarantees and warranties for its services and products respectively, and perhaps also offer bonus services like free after sale services such as repair and maintenance for a limited period. The company may also offer free deliveries for goods shopped online to boost sales from that front. Customers usually have the disposition to buy goods and services from a company that promises to offer after sale services and reliable customer support.
Another role of advertisements is that they allow better control of product campaigns. Control to mean that the marketing department of a company can decide the timing, design and medium of relaying an advert or a commercial to the target group. This control is enabled by the fact that advertising is a paid service. In the three advertising examples previously mentioned - the Apple smartwatch, Volkswagen cars and Absolute vodka, we can see that each of the advertising methods was cleverly chosen by the companies which enabled them to beat their targets in sales. The three adverts were relatively cheap with an average advert cost of $16000. This is way affordable than the advertising with the super bowl tournament which involves interesting, similar and repetitive commercials which do not lead to astronomical sales as anticipated by the advertising companies. This brings an emphasis on the point that smart selection of the advertising message and the advertising medium can lead to certainly improved sales, and expansion of the market share and even curiously, a total sell out as in the case of the Apple smartwatches.
Moreover, advertising serves to create confidence about a product in the minds of the target audience. According to (Baines et al. 285), advertising is thought to be capable of influencing the development of positive attitudes towards brands. Creating confidence among consumers is about ensuring that a product retains its quality and quantity as promised in the commercial if at all it has been bought by the customer. Proper packaging will ascertain the retention of quality and quantity to protect a product during shipping. Be that as it may, a company can improve the confidence of a product in the target audience by designing packages that are striking as they add to the value of advertising. As per the experiment carried out, we clearly see that out of those who liked the products in $100,000-dollar advertisements, majority of the sample population, i.e. 8 people said they could buy the product because the advertisements appeared more realistic to them followed by 5 participants felt an attachment to the products while 4 people said that the products were more exciting. What does this show us? Well, we can comfortably conclude that people in this sample used the terms 'realistic', 'exciting' and 'attachment' because they felt confident about the products in question. Conversely, the sample population that preferred the products in the $500,000 advertisements did so because of the confidence that had already been built in them about those particular products. This confidence is an assurance of quality that is assumed in the minds of the customers and is therefore convinced to buy the product.
Nevertheless, advertising mitigates the cost of production of products. If a commercial is well designed and persuades a lot of new customers to buy the product, there is going to be a major increase in sales. Consequently, the company will ramp up the overall units it produces which reduces the production cost due to economies of scale. In the case point of Apple smartwatches, the total sell out means that the production cost Apple Inc incurred was minimal. The low production costs were then passed onto customers as reduced prices of products. Lower product prices worked like a charm and drew in numerous customers. The huge demand that was triggered in eager customers by the advertisement that was pointed out earlier to have had a touch of values such as love and togetherness meant that was not only the cost of production reduced but also the distribution and selling costs. This is because the shipping that was done in bulk. For a company like Coca-Cola which spends big in advertisements and yet has similarly bumper sales like the Apple smartwatches simply because of product, familiarity is a bonus emanating from their highly visible brand. Such a company continually advertises to polish their image and generates huge sales volumes months and years on end. This will also bring good tidings to them like reduced production costs, lower product prices and lower distribution costs. We should keep in mind that Apple and Coca-Cola are companies in two different market segments and have different advertising plans. The bottom line is that any company will strive to tailor commercials to suit their needs accordingly, to drive more sales than before and hence greater profits.
In conclusion, the roles played by advertising as a method of product promotion cannot be overlooked. It has proved to be the most effective method of launching new products or services to the market, growing its sales and also sustaining sales of existing products or services since time immemorial. It can also be used to evaluate its effectiveness as a mode of product or service promotion for a company in a particular market segment. More importantly, it aids a company in developing its brand image which is essential in maintaining customer loyalty.
The impact of the internet on advertisement communication
The advent of the internet presented marketers with an opportunity to reach out to millions of people that were hooked up to it. Adverts placed on the Hot-Wired magazine website in 1994 became the groundbreaker to this new frontier of advertisement. The Click Through Rate (CTR) at this time was about 10%. This form of advertisement experienced slow growth amongst marketers, and it was not until 1997 that it had gained sufficient traction with online advertisers spending a reported $940 million that year. This was followed by the launch of an online ad service AdWords by the nascent company Google in the year 2000. This avenue of advertising brought a lot of radical changes to the field of marketing as it was then regarded. Such changes include: the Cheaper cost of advertising, the targeting of potential customers is on point, provides a wider target audience, allows for real-time tracking of ads and enables customers to...
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