Conducting Kick-ass Marketing: Why Advertising is Here to Stay

Advertising Communications

Advertising communications is the love-child of marketing. It is heralded as the benchmark of success as an organisation: if you are able to put out an ad on a billboard, radio station, or television channel, your company is a big player. Besides the enormous cost most advertising communications require, is this respect founded?

While many would define “advertising” as any sort of promotional channel, I will be defining it as any paid, mass-media communication channel. Often, advertising requires coordination with a company whom has a large audience base. You are buying some of their communication space to an audience they have built up. This differs from direct, as you are engaging a large group at once and have little to no opportunity to customise what you show them. This differs from digital, as it does not rely on web technologies. This differs from publicity, as this is a paid channel, where you are paying an intermediary to show ads to their subscribers.

Advertising Communications Marketing

Topics typically associated with Advertising Communications includes:

  • Internet Advertising
  • Television Advertising
  • Celebrity Endorsement
  • Catalogue Advertising
  • Billboards and Outdoor Advertising
  • Product Placement
  • Print Advertising
  • Radio Advertising

Benefits of Advertising

There are several major benefits of advertising communication channels. First, this channel usually has the largest captive audience out of all the other advertising types. Show your ad on prime time television, and you will be reaching millions of people. Show it during the Super Bowl of 2015, and you would have had 114.4 Million viewers. Even at 0.1% conversion, you will find yourself with 114 thousand new customers. The obvious benefit of advertising communications is thus numbers.

The second major benefit to advertising communications is control. While you cannot customise messages to each individual unlike direct and digital communications, you do have complete control of what your ad shows, when it shows, and what type of viewer it is shown to. Usually, advertising channels will have specific and defined audiences. Advertise on radio during morning traffic, for example, and you will reach busy office commuters. Advertise in a bird watching magazine, and you will reach people who love birds. Advertising communications gives you control of what you want to say, when you want to say it, and who you want to say it to. An added bonus is that the audience you are targeting to is usually quite engaged. The reason they subscribe to magazines, catalogues, and the radio is either because they want to learn more about the subject they are interested it, or they have nothing better to do.

Disadvantages of Advertising

While these two benefits make advertising incredibly attractive, there is a large downside. With great power, comes great cost. One second in the 2015 Super Bowl costs $150,000. You are spending the equivalent of one Aston Martin per second of advertising time. It better be worth it! While other communications channels would not require such costs (billboards would cost under $2000 in a moderately busy area for a month), compared to direct, digital, and publicity communications, it is very exorbitant. Deciding whether advertising is right for you usually relies on what you are selling, and the expected revenue from each sale.

The second major negative for advertising is that most of this money has to be spent upfront. Unlike digital and direct communications, you will not be able to track your return on investment until the advertisement has been published. Information will pour in the second after launch, but you are not able to receive feedback and tailor your offering over time to maximise your goals. The process of advertising here is that you put the ad in, pray that it succeeds, and wait for a response. Extensive ad-testing and research beforehand is usually wise to prevent nasty surprises. Oh, and one more thing- make sure that you’re ready to deal with success if it rolls your way. Can your system handle 114 thousand new customers calling at the same time?

Advertising can be compared to as the nuclear weapon of marketing. While it can be targeted somewhere and has enormous reach, its costs are proportional to it’s power, and there is no going back after you press the button. Unless you are very well endowed, it can either win the war, or set you back forever.

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