This article throws light upon the five main stages involved in a well managed advertising campaign. The stages are: 1. Set the Advertising Objectives 2. Set the Advertising Budget 3. Determine the Key Advertising Message 4. Decide which Advertising Media to Use 5. Evaluate the Results of the Advertising Campaign.
An advertising objective is a specific communication task to be achieved with a specific target audience during a specified period of time.
Advertising objectives fall into three main categories:
(a) To inform, e.g. tell customers about a new product.
(b) To persuade, e.g. encourage customers to switch to a new brand.
(c) To remind, e.g. remind buyers where to find the product.
Marketers should remember that the role of advertising is to create demand for a product. The amount spent on advertising should be relevant to the potential sales impact of the campaign. This in turn will reflect the characteristics of the product being advertised.
For example, new products tend to need a larger advertising budget to build awareness and to encourage consumers to make a trial of the product. A product that is highly differentiated may also need more advertising to help set it apart from the competition.
Setting the advertising budget is not easy—how can a business predict the right amount to spend? Which parts of the advertising campaign will work best and which will have a relatively little effect? Businesses often use the rule of thumb as a guide to set budgets.
Spending a lot on advertising does not guarantee success. Research suggests that the clarity of the advertising message is often more important than the amount spent. The advertising message must be carefully targeted to make an impact on the target customer audience.
A successful advertising message should have the following characteristics:
Customers should find the message relevant, e.g. the ad by Vodafone made it clear that their network extends everywhere customers want it to reach.
The ad must capture the customer’s attention, like the Hoodibaba ad by Baja Auto. The photography and sound effects generated much interest.
This is a difficult task, since researchers suggest that most consumers doubt the truth of advertising in general.
There are a variety of advertising media from which to choose. A campaign may use one or more of the media alternatives.
The key factors in choosing the right media include:
What proportion of the target customers will be exposed to the advertising?
How many times will the target customers be exposed to the advertising message?
(c) Media impact:
Where should the target customer see the message for it to have most impact? For example, does an advertisement promoting holidays for elderly people have more impact on television (if so, when and which channels) or in a national newspaper or perhaps a magazine focused on this segment of the population?
Another key decision is the timing of the campaign. Some products are suited to seasonal campaigns on television (e.g. Diwali or Christmas hampers) whereas for other products, a regular advertising campaign throughout the year in media such as newspapers and niche magazines (e.g. a resort holiday in a hill station) may be more appropriate.
The evaluation of an advertising campaign should focus on two key areas:
Is the intended message being communicated effectively and to the intended audience? For example, it is important for the company to make a note of the effects of its communication efforts. Airtel saw a huge increase in sales after the release of its ad featuring A.R. Rehman.
Has the campaign generated the intended sales growth? This is much more difficult to measure than the communication effect.