Advertising - Marketing Management

Perhaps one of the most visible promotional tools we think of is that of advertising. Partly because of this high visibility, advertising is also one of the most controversial elements of the promotional mix. Some believe that much advertising is a waste of money or even immoral. We start by examining what advertising is (and is not) before looking at how it works. Our main concern is how advertising can be managed so it is cost-effective and helps support both overall and marketing communication strategies.

What is advertising?

A number of elements distinguish advertising from other tools of promotion and at the same time indicate its key characteristics. These key elements are:

  • Non-personal Unlike personal selling, advertising affords no direct personal contact with thecustomer. Although this is a limitation, especially in industrial markets, it means that the advertiser has less control over what is said and to whom.
  • Paid for by an identified sponsor Advertising is directly sponsored and paid for by the advertiser. It is intended to create a favourable response on the part of the consumer and is identified as being for commercial or organizational gain on the part of the sponsor.
  • Promotion of ideas, goods or services The word ‘promotion’ rather than ‘selling’ is used; although some advertising is intended to create a sale in its own right, such as in classified advertising or some forms of direct marketing, most advertising is only part of the process of moving consumers nearer to making a purchase. A distinguishing characteristic of advertising compared to personal selling and to some extent direct marketing is that it is normally aimed at a mass audience through mass communication.

In the case of commercial advertisers, the objective of spending on advertising is to increase sales and profit. However, we must be careful not to exaggerate the power of advertising in this respect, as advertising is but a part of the communications mix; and the communications mix, in turn, is a component of overall marketing strategy. This point is best evidenced, albeit negatively, by illustrating what advertising cannot do:

n Advertising cannot secure repeat business for a product or service that is not value for money. n Advertising cannot remove problems of insufficiently trained or motivated sales staff. n Advertising cannot work if the brand is not in stores when the consumer wants it. Advertising is only powerful when it, and the rest of communication and marketing strategy, is well planned, implemented and integrated through Integrated Marketing Communications

(IMC) – communications and messages are carefully linked so they work in consistent harmony rather than in isolation as their sum is greater than their individual parts. This means that communications tools like direct marketing, media advertising, interactive/Internet marketing, sales promotion, publicity/public relations and as Mulhern5 illustrates, increasingly these days digital communication,are planned as an integrated whole to provide maximum communications impact by being clear and consistent. There are other levels of integration, namely:

  • horizontal (across the marketing mix and also business functions like finance, production and distribution);
  • vertical (so communications objectives support higher level corporate objectives);
  • internal (keeping company staff informed about new developments like new corporate identity, better service standards and new strategic partners);
  • external (ensuring that external partners like PR and advertising agencies work together to deliver a cohesive message, integrated message);
  • data integration (where sales, direct mail and advertising help each other; this requires a marketing information system that collects and shares relevant data across different departments.

IMC means that the whole organization works together and everyone is conscious that their decisions and actions send messages to customers. Furthermore, viewing sales as the objective for advertising is narrow and limiting from a planning perspective. Smith6 et al. suggest that it is particularly important to integrate communications at the marketing–sales interface In discussing what advertising is (and is not) it is important to recognize that the term ‘advertising’ covers many different types of activity; we can distinguish between retail advertising, trade advertising and consumer advertising. Similarly, we can categorize different types of advertising according to objectives.

The objectives of consumer advertising might be to create preference for a specific brand; that of retail advertising to create traffic through a store; manufacturers’ trade advertising might be to encourage dealers to stock a product, announce important forthcoming price deals or new product launches, or simply to increase trade confidence and loyalty. With government advertising, objectives can vary from presenting public information, to exhortations to behave or vote in a certain way. Newspapers provide classified advertising, from announcements like births, deaths and marriages to the sale of products and services.

One of the most useful ways of distinguishing between broad categories of advertising is on the basis of the intended communication effect. In this way we can distinguish between three main categories:

  1. Informative advertising is particularly relevant when a company wants to tell the market about a new product, suggest new ways of using an existing product or inform the market of changes to the product, e.g. price changes.
  2. Persuasive advertising is used to build up a brand following or encourage customers to switch brands, or when potential customers have unfavourable attitudes towards a product or company in an attempt to change these attitudes.
  3. Reminder advertising is aimed at maintaining brand loyalty. It can also be used to encourage former customers who have ceased to buy to return. An example of the widening scope and application of advertising is the continuous advertising campaign to attract new recruits to the police force in the UK. The Home Office use nationwide television advertising to attract new recruits. National campaigns are backed up with newspaper advertisements and promotional techniques such as open days. An example from the USA was when California State Highway Patrol ran a ‘click-it or ticket’ campaign explaining the risks involved in not using a seat belt.

How advertising works: behavioural models of advertising

Given the plethora of types of advertising and the underlying complexity of behavioural issues involved, it is not surprising that there exist many conflicting views as to how advertising works. From our perspective, the reason for attempting to understand how it works is to improve our planning, implementation and control of this element of promotion. In this respect, audience response repertoire models have proved to be the most fruitful.

The four examples of possible audience response repertoire, i.e. AIDA, Hierarchy of Effects, DAGMAR and the ATR models, are designed to explain how advertising, or more generally communication, works. We can see from these that the precise nature and number of steps vary, but their essence is essentially the same. Specifically, they share common characteristics of suggesting that advertising, as an element of marketing communications, works by nudging the audience through a series of steps or stages in the buying process en route to making a purchase decision. The AIDA and Hierarchy of Effects models suggest that good advertising can potentially exert a powerful effect on customers creating, in the case of the AIDA model, ‘desire’ and ‘action’, and in the Hierarchy of Effects and DAGMAR models, ‘conviction/desire’ and ‘purchase/action’. The ATR model, although based on a step-by-step process, suggests that even where advertising is effective, it is much weaker, serving only to encourage ‘trial’ and/or create ‘reinforcement’. Rodgers’7 ‘Product adoption model’ adds to these when he cites the stages as:

  • awareness;
  • interest;
  • evaluation;
  • trial;
  • adoption.

By understanding these steps, and knowing where our target audience currently is in the sequence, we can better plan, implement and control advertising decisions. Adoption models have proved to be particularly robust and useful to marketers and are still widely used. They have been used in product markets as diverse as the adoption of mobile shopping in Korea (Ko et al.8) and the adoption of Internet banking in Estonia (Eriksson et al.9).

These models suffer from the fact that they are not based on empirical evidence. In other words, they represent hypothetical constructs which may or may not reflect reality. It is true that many lack any empirical support, although others have been extensively tested, and on the basis of this, subsequently developed and refined. Evidence, however, is mixed. Certainly some consumers pass through the stages shown in the models, but not always. Palda10 has criticized the hierarchy model, suggesting that consumers may first purchase a product and then become convinced about its value.

These models are also difficult to translate into practice because although they may point to a level in the hierarchy at which advertising should be aimed, it is still necessary to develop a specific campaign. Many of the models lack detail as to how best to achieve an objective. Refinements to some, such as the DAGMAR model, are attempts to operationalize hierarchy models further. However, there remain difficulties associated with measurement, as conceptual problems are still associated with constructs such as awareness, conviction and preference. In addition, some believe that these models focus on the wrong dimensions.

Specifically, it is argued, sales and not communication effects are the underlying objective of advertising; in the absence of a direct and measurable relationship between awareness, or attitudes and sales, the models tend to focus attention on objectives which may not be related to sales. Smith et al.11 review the various hierarchy models with particular relevance to creativity in advertising. An interesting criticism is that these models tend to restrict creativity in advertising by over specifying what has to be achieved.

Certainly, many practitioners and writers on advertising subscribe to the view that the creative element, which effectively establishes and sells the brand image and appeals to the emotions, is the most important element of successful advertising. It is safest to say that the arguments remain unresolved. Certainly we have gone some way to understanding the complex process of how advertising works and how to manage it more effectively. The stance taken here is that the models are useful provided they are applied and interpreted with care.

Managing advertising: campaign planning

The following represent the six basic elements of managing advertising effort:

  • identification of the target audience;
  • determination of clear, realistic and measurable objectives for advertising;
  • determination of the advertising budget;
  • message selection and creative platform;
  • media selection and scheduling;
  • control and evaluation of advertising effectiveness.

External factors also need to be taken into account, including social and legal constraints, attitudes and ideas of the advertising agency, competitors and customers (particularly their needs and motives). This wider framework for advertising.

Identification of target audience is the first step in planning advertising campaigns. Much of what follows in campaign planning stems from this essential step. Together with overall marketing and promotional objectives, the target audience determines creative context, media planning and scheduling.

Frequently used methods of defining target markets include demographic factors of age, sex, income and social class. However, particularly useful for advertising decisions are the more behavioural/ psychological bases e.g. the ACORN system, and newer ‘lifestyle’ approaches to classifying target markets.

This is because these bases give us a fuller, richer description of target markets, encompassing not just consumer characteristics such as age and sex, but also their personalities, spending habits, attitudes, interests and opinions. Where information on these aspects is not available, market research will be required to establish a full profile of target customers. Setting advertising objectives: Once we have determined the target audience for advertising, we need to determine what advertising is intended to achieve with that audience. In broad terms, using the earlier classification of types of advertising, it might be intended to inform, persuade or remind. While this might be useful in beginning to delineate the reasons and role of advertising in the overall marketing and communications mix, these broad classifications are not a sufficient guide to the next steps in the advertising management and campaign planning process.

Ideally, we need to specify precise communication goals for advertising. This is where models of the sequences in buyer behaviour related to communication are useful. For example, Colley’s DAGMAR model translates into some 52 possible communication goals for advertising. Notwithstanding the controversy over these models, they are helpful in setting specific objectives for advertising, couched in terms of objectives for communication designed to move customers through the buying stages. These objectives should, whenever possible, be defined in quantitative terms and specify a time-scale.

Determining advertising budgets: Earlier we discussed some of the approaches to setting the overall budget for marketing communications, together with factors that would determine the allocation of this overall budget to the individual elements of the promotional mix. Having gone through the process of broadly determining the thrust or emphasis of promotional strategy between the different promotional tools, we should have at least a preliminary idea as to how much of the total budget will be allocated to advertising.

However, at this stage we need to refine this process to arrive at a precise budget for advertising. In fact, the advertising budget can be arrived at on the same variety of bases as the overall budget for communications, i.e. based on percentages of sales and/or profits, based on competitiors’ spend or based on the objective and task method. Once again, the only justifiable method is the objective and task approach, as this is distinctly advantageous when setting clear and quantified communication objectives for advertising in the preceding stage. With a thorough understanding of what the advertising objectives are, these can be translated into specific tasks for advertising, and in turn those tasks can be costed in conjunction with the advertising agency.

Managing advertising: a systematic approach

Managing advertising: a systematic approach

Deciding on the message/creative platform is an area which potentially has the greatest impact on the success or failure of an advertising campaign. Unfortunately, it is an area that generates controversy as to what makes a successful creative advertisement. The basic direction for the creative programme is provided by product strategy that defines the market position towards which (for consistency) the product is to be directed. Advertising objectives are the second vital input to the creative programme.

They influence both what the advertising says and the manner in which it is presented. The third input to the creative programme is information developed in the consumer, product and market analysis. In particular, the creative programme should be based on a clear description of the characteristics of the target consumer and the problem that the consumer is trying to solve. It also depends on information about the product to be advertised and detailed information about competitive products.

It is here that the manufacturer and the advertising agency have to decide what the advantages of the product are when compared with those of its competitors. Is it less expensive? Is it of improved quality? Is it smaller or larger? Does it have new features? Does it offer a new experience? Does the product have several outstanding advantages to offer the consumer? If it has one truly outstanding feature that can be exploited in the advertising, this is the unique selling point or proposition (USP).

In developing a creative programme the advertiser must determine the content of the message. Advertising content serves the advertiser by carrying out the strategy and objectives set for the product. The content serves the consumer by providing information about solving problems. In addition to deciding what is to be said, the programmes must also consider how it is to be said. The creative programme must determine how the advertising will be produced. The advertiser faces difficult choices in weighing up the promise or appeal. It has been suggested that the advertiser should use rational appeals when their prospects face utilitarian problems. Emotional appeals on the other hand work best when problems are social or psychological.

Controversial, but widely used types of emotional appeal are those based on creating fear or shock in target audience. These have been used in campaigns as diverse as trying to reduce the spread of AIDS, protecting children from cruelty/abuse, anti-smoking campaigns and even in the marketing of Benetton’s fashion clothing. Some believe that with the advent of reality TV type programmes, advertising has lost its power to shock. Williams12 suggests that used with care, shock advertising still works today.

Think about the promotion of household cleaning products such as polishes and detergents. Often the advertising approach is to extol the cleaning or ease of application properties of the brand. Increasingly, advertising agencies are using less of an intuitive subjective approach to developing the creative content of advertisements. Instead, they are turning to a range of market research tools designed to improve the design of creative content based on careful and systematic research. It is over 40 years since one of the most successful advertisers, Leo Burnett,13 advocated using in-depth interviewing techniques to provide information on a suitable copy platform.

This is a written statement of creative strategy that specifies work to be done before writing the advertisement. Similarly, in the 1960s Maloney14 developed a framework for designing advertising copy content based on encouraging representative target customers to associate with the type of reward or benefit they expected or hoped to get from either having used or consumed the product or service in question, or from an aspect of the product or brand in question which was ‘incidental’ to the usage experience. For example, we can appreciate that a major benefit from using real ground coffee instead of instant for dinner guests is the feeling that we are making a special effort for them. Put another way, making real coffee makes us feel better about ourselves. Many leading brands of non-instant coffee use ideas like this in their creative content.

Determining media selection and scheduling This element of advertising management should be prepared concurrently with the budget decision. A wide variety of media vehicles are available to the advertiser. Media planning is made easier by adherence to the preceding steps in the advertising management programme. Overall marketing strategy, advertising objectives, budgets and creative strategy serve to delineate and point to the required media strategy which is determined by the target audience.

A four step media planning approach proposes:

  1. definition of media requirements, specifying the target audience, required exposure, creative requirements of the media and budget available;
  2. selection of media to be used against media requirements;
  3. selection of specific media vehicles utilizing media requirements to gauge their potential effectiveness;
  4. specifying time length of advertisements and scheduling their appearance.

With such a variety it is difficult for a non-specialist to decide which media are best suited to a particular campaign. There is considerable competition between media to provide a service to advertisers. Most media owners publish information about their media and its coverage/audience. We examine sources of such information shortly, but generally, media selection requires asking and answering a number of questions:

  • To whom is the appeal to be directed and what kind of appeal should be made? On the basis of decisions made, the media department (usually in the advertising agency) will begin to examine characteristics of available media.
  • To what extent are various media categories and vehicles appropriate for reaching the target audience and the particular appeal selected?
  • What is the credibility of the various media vehicles?

Having decided a shortlist of various media which appear to be suitable for a campaign, the media buyer must consider which one is the ‘best buy’. It is rare for only one medium to be selected and usually the best results are obtained by using a combination. When the media buyer prepares the shortlist, he or she will prepare a cost comparison. This will be based on rates issued by media owners. A summary showing the cost per thousand readers or viewers in the ‘target’ market for each of the media, will be submitted to the advertiser with the agency’s advice. At this stage, a decision will be taken.

There has been a trend towards ‘media shops’ or media agencies. Essentially different names for the same thing, before the arrival of these independents, agencies had to run their own media departments. These media independents book space or time and specialize in this kind of work. An agency has to consider whether using a media shop gives a better service or whether to integrate the function in-house.

Advertising agencies are paid by the media on the basis of a percentage (between 10 per cent and 25 per cent and an average of 15 per cent) of advertising expenditure that the advertising agency places with the media. The agency’s client agrees the advertising budget, advertising copy and message with the agency, and the agency receives commission from the media based on the advertising spend (often more than £10 million for a major campaign).

Advertising is sometimes referred to as ‘above-the-line promotion’, and the ‘line’ refers to the line above which the agency receives commission for placing their client’s advertising. ‘Recognition’ of the agency is needed in the UK from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) before commission can be paid, so non-recognized advertising agencies cannot draw commission. In other countries, similar organizations to the IPA exist with similar ‘recognition’ rules.

A number of research sources and tools are available to help in the task of media planning and buying. Some of these are provided by the media owners and the more important of these UK and European based sources are now outlined.

British Rate and Data (BRAD) This gives information on issue date and price, copy date, circulation, mechanical data and the advertising rates of:

  1. national daily newspapers;
  2. national Sunday newspapers;
  3. provincial daily newspapers;
  4. London and provincial newspaper groups;
  5. weekly newspapers;
  6. consumer publications;
  7. trade, technical and professional publications.

Advertising rates and other relevant information are included on:

  1. television;
  2. radio;
  3. posters;
  4. transportation;
  5. cinema;
  6. telephone directory advertising;
  7. local free distribution papers;
  8. house-to-house distribution.

Media Expenditure Analysis Limited (MEAL) produces a monthly report covering product groups within product categories; analysis of advertising expenditure by category, product group and brand, product description and expenditure via press and television. British Audience Research Bureau (BARB) measures TV audiences in the UK by monitoring a sample of 4,500 homes using a special meter installed in each household. The meter records which stations are turned on and, using a remote control unit, a record is made of who is watching the programmes at any point in time. This data is then downloaded from monitors direct to BARB for analysis. BARB provides a monthly chart involving the top programmes as well as publishing a weekly top ten of the most popular programmes. In addition, it publishes weekly regional lists of the top programmes and the monthly ratings share of each channel.

Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) Established in 1992, RAJAR measures and analyses radio audiences in the UK.

Cinema and Video Industry Research (CAVIAR) produces statistics on cinema and video audiences

National Business Readership Survey This is commissioned by the Financial Times and the results are published at six-monthly intervals. Its purpose is to help in the planning of advertising aimed at business people in the UK.

Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) Most large publishers belong to the ABC, to which their auditors return sales figures. The Bureau has the right to investigate these figures, and random checks are made. The Bureau issues an ABC Certificate at the end of each half year. This gives the ABC figures for publication by ABC in the Circulation Review issued as a supplement to British Rate and Data (BRAD). ABC also measures and verifies website traffic.

The Commission Luxembourgoise pour l’Ethique en Publicité (CLEP) was officially re-launched on 20 May 2009 as the Luxembourgish self-regulatory advertising organization, which had been restructured according to the Best Practice Recommendations of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA). As the CLEP had been inactive for several years, a project was initiated in 2008 to restructure and re-launch the advertising watchdog. This was done with the support of EASA and the Belgian self-regulatory advertising organization, Jury voor Ethische Praktijken inzake Reclame/Jury d’Ethique Publicitaire (JEP).

Once these planning stages have been completed, advertising is produced and media booked. Normally, both planning and production of advertising will be done in conjunction with an advertising agency.

Evaluating and controlling advertising Given the importance and expense of advertising, it is vital to assess its effectiveness. This is where the importance of the stage of setting clear and quantified objectives comes in. When we discussed objectives for advertising, it was suggested that although sales and profits may be the ultimate reason for advertising in profit-making organizations, there are difficulties in relating these to advertising. Because of this, it was suggested that advertising objectives be set in communication terms, e.g. increasing recognition and brand awareness.

Advertising and creative/copy content must be evaluated prior to implementing the campaign as well as post-campaign. An overview of research techniques for pre-testing and post-testing advertisements is now set out.

An evaluation programme begins by defining elements from the advertising budget, the media programme and the creative programme. An ‘effectiveness evaluation procedure’ is designed for each element. This includes specification of a standard as a base for comparison; when actual performance is measured it is compared to the standard, to determine whether or not performance is satisfactory.

Budget evaluation methods involve the sort of standards and control applied to any financial budget, namely, measuring and evaluating any differences between planned and actual advertising spend. Perhaps, as with most budgets, the tendency is to overspend. Reasons for this in the context of advertising can include: overruns on production costs, delays in casting or filming, and unforeseen competitor actions. With regard to the media programme element, we might establish standards with regard to required media reach and frequency i.e. the number of target customers who have an opportunity to see the campaign and on how many occasions it has been seen. With regard to the creative programme, this can be evaluated against more qualitative measures such as: ability to recall or changes in attitude.

For each programme element to be evaluated, the evaluation programme should specify the measurement technique to be used, e.g. media audience measurement evaluates the effectiveness of media programmes, recognition and recall tests measure the effectiveness of individual advertisements, and techniques such as consumer and retail audits measure the effectiveness of overall campaigns. Media audience measures were mentioned earlier.

As we saw, many of the audience measurement systems are run by independent bodies, and for obvious reasons, not by the advertising industry itself. Measures of audience figures essentially assess how many might potentially be exposed to an advertisement, how many actually did see it and on how many occasions. Media is priced and purchased on the basis of figures such as these so they are important. Increasingly the various audience measurement bodies are adding qualitative assessments of their target audiences to the more qualitative ones. Recognition and recall tests have long been used to measure and evaluate advertising effectiveness.

Recognition tests are based on simply asking respondents if they can recognize a brand and/or its advertising. For example, a photograph of a brand or advertisement may be shown to a respondent without the brand name being visible. The respondent is asked to identify the brand in question. If this is done with respondents pre- and post-advertising we obtain a measure of the effectiveness of advertising in aiding brand recognition.

Recall tests are more involved than recognition tests and ask respondents exposed to the advertising being evaluated what they can ‘recall’ about the advertising. Clearly, this is a much sterner test of the effectiveness of a campaign than simply measuring recognition. Recall tests may be aided, where the respondent is given some kind of prompt; or unaided, where the respondent must rely totally on their memory. Both recall and recognition tests are used widely by advertisers and can be used to assess a wide range of factors. Recall tests in particular are usefully when assessing the effectiveness of the creative content of promotion (Baack et al.15).

As regards the use of consumer and retail audits, these are aimed at measuring the sales effect of advertising. In the case of retail audits the measure is of the effect of advertising on moving products into and out of retailers. Consumer audits measure the pattern of purchases by the customer, often using participants who agree to record and report the products and brands they have purchased during the week.

Techniques of measuring and evaluating advertising are quite sophisticated. We now know much more about what to measure and how to do this through increased use of electronic systems for collecting and analysing information.

Developments in advertising research and practice

Advertising concepts and methods represent one of the most dynamic areas of marketing. The importance of advertising, coupled with the amounts of budgets and resources devoted to this area, have meant that it is an aspect of marketing that attracts considerable research attention to extend our knowledge and management expertise. We are constantly increasing our knowledge about how advertising works (and does not work) to manage advertising more effectively. In addition to developing this knowledge, advertising is affected by trends and changes in macro-environmental factors; particularly technological trends and changes. Some of these more important developments and trends are now discussed.

The notion of brand equity

Kotler and Keller define brand equity as the added value endowed to products and services through individual elements of the communications mix especially advertising. This is explained graphically. The arrows from each element that forms the marketing communications programme and brand equity respectively, illustrate that each of these is an integral part of the box they are joined to.

The marketing communications programme delivers communications tactics in relation to the brand shown on the left hand side. This imparts more abstract impressions about the brand to consumers such as feelings about the brand, loyalty towards the brand, brand image, brand relationships and awareness of the brand. The most powerful brands, therefore, have a strong brand equity comprising elements on the right-hand side of Figure. The diagram also helps reinforce the notion of integrated marketing communications discussed earlier.

Each of the different communication tools potentially conveys something, positive or negative, about a brand to a customer, thereby adding (if positive) or detracting (if negative) the standing of the brand (its equity) in the eyes of the customer. For example, the customer may be exposed to an advertising campaign for a brand which he or she finds interesting and amusing. As a result, brand awareness is increased together with a favourable brand image. These add to the equity of the brand by increasing the opportunity of making a sale or increasing brand loyalty. However, if, persuaded by the amusing advertising, a customer visits the company website intending to find out more about the brand, but in so doing, finds the website unattractive and difficult to negotiate, then the value of the brand in the eyes of the customer is diminished. Therefore, each and every element of the promotional mix affects the standing of the brand in the eyes of the customer.

The proliferation of advertising and advertising clutter

Increases in availability and types of media, more advertisers and greater advertising spends have contributed to a proliferation of advertising activity and messages. Consumers are inundated with advertising and the result is that it is difficult to gain the attention or interest of consumers, so often the message intended by the advertiser is lost. This phenomenon is known as ‘clutter’ or more technically ‘information overload’ which occurs when the number of advertisements to which an audience is exposed reduces interest in, and the capability to receive, any specific message. Kent investigated clutter with respect to television advertising on UK network channels.

His results showed that television is cluttered with advertisements for directly competing brands and this damaged the ability of target audiences to recall particular advertisements. The suggestion is that advertisers attempting to seek target audiences may be inadvertently compromising the effectiveness of their advertising. The conclusions of this and similar experiments are that highly cluttered times should be avoided and advertisers should negotiate for greater protection against clutter. More contemporary research by Rotfeld18 has taken this research further in terms of providing a partial solution to declining audience attention to advertising. In another study Chen et al.19 researched the effects of information overload on consumers’ subjective state towards buying decision in the internet shopping environment.

Marketing communications and brand equity

Marketing communications and brand equity

Direct response television/interactive digital television

Direct response television (DRTV) includes television advertising that asks consumers to respond directly by calling an 0800 number, visiting a website, calling for more information, or visiting a retailer There are two types of DRTV, short form and long form. Short form is a DRTV commercial that is two minutes or less in length. Long form is longer than two minutes and is known as an informercial. Long form is used for products that need to educate and create awareness.

Research indicates how such advertising works best and how to manage it more effectively. In an early study, Carter20 found that longer DRTV advertisements were more effective than shorter ones. She also found that advertisements which displayed a telephone number for more than ten seconds were six times as efficient as those that displayed a telephone number for less than ten seconds. A voiceover of the telephone number gave a much better response. Most DRTV experts now agree that adverts must be at least 60 seconds long, but surprisingly compared to conventional TV ads, generally the longer the better DRTV advertising has become popular for fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) and some more durable products. Developments in IT have facilitated the growth of two-way communication of television advertising with target audiences. This is relatively new, but is destined to grow with advances in digital technology and opportunities for application on the Internet.

Zipping, zapping and muting

Television sets have remote control and programme recording facilities. This has led to phenomena known as ‘zipping, zapping and muting’. Zipping is the term given to the fast-forwarding of advertisements on pre-recorded TV programmes. Zapping is the term used for channel-hopping, and muting is turning down the sound on the set when advertisements are on. Advertisers are worried about these phenomena as they reduce the effectiveness of advertising spend. However, the effects on advertising are complex.

Early research by Gilmore and Secunda21 found that as a repetition of a zipped advertisement increased, so did its recall. However, product recognition and product recall depended on having seen the product advertisement before seeing the zipped advertisement. They concluded that a zipped television advertisement can lead to product retrieval and reinforcement of previously learned information. This recognition and retrieval can have a positive effect on attitudes towards a product. Such findings suggest that extensive research is needed with regard to implications for the marketer.

Fragmentation of media

Technology has led to an explosion in the range and types of media available to the advertiser. This is particularly true in television advertising. The growth of satellite and cable television means that audience figures for many programmes are much smaller and often more specialized than they have been previously. While this means that the advertiser can reach fewer potential customers through television advertising, they are able to target selected audiences more accurately.

There are many implications of this fragmentation of target audiences e.g. many marketers are moving away from largescale ‘blockbuster’ promotions on national TV networks towards more selective promotional campaigns involving more of an emphasis on ‘push’ rather than ‘pull’ promotion. Push promotion is the use of sales promotional incentives by manufacturers to distributive intermediaries with the objective of persuading retailers and distributive intermediaries to stock (e.g. by offering additional discounts).

Pull promotion is the use of advertising and branding and customer-oriented sales promotions by manufacturers aimed at ‘pulling’ customers into stores to search for specific brands like Kelloggs. Manufacturers using pull techniques can exercise greater control over wholesalers and retailers. Advertisers increasingly use global websites through the Internet to promote products.

We have seen how advertising strategy fits into overall marketing and promotional strategy, together with the steps in its effective planning and management. In the remainder of this chapter we consider sales promotion and PR/publicity. Other elements of the communications mix, namely selling and direct marketing, are considered separately. Much of the framework for planning sales promotion, direct marketing and publicity i.e. the need to relate these to an overall promotional and marketing strategy considering target customers, competitors and social/legal factors applies in the same way as advertising. Similarly, these elements of promotion must be planned systematically, with clear measurable objectives and effective control and evaluation.


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