Advertising is a major component of any company's marketing plan. It includes messages that are paid for and delivered to targeted customers via mass media. TV and radio commercials, print ads, billboards and a wide array of support media are used to delivering advertising. While advertising helps communicate your brand's value, it does have some drawbacks and limitations.
Relative to other marketing and communication methods, most specifically public relations, advertising messages are largely in the control of the advertiser. When you pay a medium to place your message, you typically have ultimate control over the position, timing and construct of your ad. This allows your business to strategy well in advance what values it wants to project, how to develop the right messages, and which media best reach the intended audience. PR has limited control because it is unpaid for messages.
As noted, you have a number of media options in delivering advertising. Essentially, any communication channel where multiple people congregate is a possibility. Additionally, you can present messages one time, multiple times or tell a long-running story through an ad campaign. This allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of your ads and make ongoing adjustments. You can also choose between long-term, brand messaging which helps you develop an image for your brand, or short-term promotions to attract immediate traffic and sales.
The most obvious drawback of advertising is the costs. PR is free, but again the tradeoff is message control. Still, large companies invest millions of dollars a year in advertising. Television ads are very expensive. Production costs range from $100,000 to $500,000 for national ads, and placement can be as much as $500,000 for a 30-second prime-time spot on a national network. Small companies are usually even more limited. Budgets of a few thousand dollars are typical for some small, local companies. This immediately eliminates TV options and leaves companies hunting for inexpensive media such as local newspapers and radio.
Companies have become increasingly concerned with accountability and return on investment in advertising. This is especially true when they hire ad agencies to develop and deliver campaigns. A challenge lies in the lack of ease in evaluating results and the temptation for advertisers to go for approaches that are easier to track. This may not always product the best results. Additionally, ads, no matter how creative, only work if customers accurately interpret the message. To succeed, companies often spend even more money in market research.
About the Author
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.
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With all the media outlets available today for advertising, such as radio, Internet and print, television remains a tried and true venue. With proper research, you can tailor your ad to reach a targeted audience, or even new audiences. Though television advertising can prove extremely effective, much depends on the ad's quality, frequency and airing time. You should also weigh it against new media. Explore the pros and cons before embarking on television advertising.
When you air a television advertisement, you often have a captive audience. The average American spends four or more hours a day watching television, according to the Nielsen Company. You have a wide range of time during which to reach viewers with your ad. You also create an environment with your ad that has the ability to truly convey your message and draw the viewer in; you use sight and sound to influence the way people view your business. Depending on the time of day you air your ad, you can reach a targeted population. For example, if you have a home cleaning business, consider advertising during the day, when more homemakers are at home.
According to a study by management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., as of 2010 the effectiveness of television advertising is anticipated to be one-third of what it was in 1990. Consumers, especially younger ones like teens, seem to turn more to alternative sources of entertainment, such as MP3 players or watching shows online. With people watching traditional television less often, fewer people will view your TV ad. You also cannot account for viewer behavior. Many people mute the TV during commercials or use it as a "break time" to do something else before the show comes back on.
Take several factors into account when deciding whether to use television advertising. Consider your budget, as TV ads can range from as low as $1,000 for local spots to more than $350,000 for a national ad. Speak with sales account executives at local TV stations to determine the best way to air your ad. Also inquire about any fees for producing the ad. If you're uncomfortable being the face or voice of the commercial, ask about alternatives, such as a local television personality.
About the Author
Julia Forneris has been a writer and editor since 2002. Her work has appeared in economics magazines such as "Region Focus" and on various websites. The editor of Scratch That! Editorial, Forneris holds a Master of Arts in literature from Virginia Commonwealth University.
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