An outsider’s perception of the work in an ad agency is one of glamour and glitz. It is often assumed that working in an ad agency means being surrounded by glam dolls and hunks. That it is a profession of high profile and high living with a lot of showmanship, socializing and partying. Till a few years ago people would have ranked it second only to the world of films in terms of the “glamour” co-efficient. But ‘politics’ and ‘fashions’ world have pushed it down the ladder a bit since.
Well, the real world of advertising is most certainly a world of high and intensity but in a different way. Though at a first glances an ad agency would seem like any other corporate office, often the similarity would end at the office reception. Once inside, you are in the battle zone.
The decibel levels and chaos is often striking arguably second only to the commodity and stock exchange pits. So is the pressure of deadlines, client calls and chasing of work and people both inside and outside the agency. Usually a working day in the agency for most people is long, hectic, unpredictable, stressful, full of drama, yet loads of fun, often including the weekends.
FIVE M’s OF ADVERTISING
Advertising is an important promotional tool for any marketing campaign. So much so that whenever we think of marketing we think of advertising although it is just one of the marketing tools. Today government bodies as well as non- government organizations go for high profile advertising campaigns. The purpose here is not to increase the sales figure but to increase the awareness of people regarding the relevant topics. Today the marketing manager has a range of advertising options to choose from- from interpersonal communication to Internet. Deciding on a correct option calls for detailed analysis aspects like objective behind advertising (Mission), company’s earmarked budget (Money), content of communication through advertising (Message), advertising vehicle (Media) and impact of advertising (Measurement). These can be broadly classified as the five M’s of advertising.
First of all the marketing manager must be clear on the company’s purpose for advertising. “Increase in sales figure” will be a very broad and to a certain context a vague objective. According to Mr. Philip Kotler, a renowned authority in this field, there can be three possible objectives behind advertising:
Information- when a new product is launched, the purpose should only be to inform people about the product
Persuasion- Persuading people to actually go out and buy the product. This objective is of paramount importance because of cutthroat competition. Any advertisement must be persuasive in nature, attracting consumers towards the brand
Reminder: This objective is relevant for well-established companies. These types of advertisements only try to remind the consumers of the brand existence. For instance whenever we hear or read yeh dil maange more, we tend to think about Pepsi. Same way we tend to associate “two minutes” with Maggie noodles. The marketing manager should establish a clear goal as on the purpose of advertising, information, persuasion or reminder.
After the objective has been decided upon, the next step is to decide upon the budget. There are several methods for deciding on the advertising budget. The most common among them is the percentage of sales method. Under this method, a certain percentage of sales are allotted for advertising expenditure. Though this method is used widely, there are some problems with this method. The first issue is what percentage the company should take? Even if a company somehow decides a percentage figure, this would mean increase in advertising expenditure when sales are up and less spending when sales are down. This in some ways is quite paradoxical, because logically the reverse should happen. The company needs to spend more on advertising when sales are down. But this method uses circular reasoning and views sales as cause for promotion. In fact sales are a result of promotion. Another method suggests that a company should spend as much as its competitors are spending. This method claims that it would prevent promotional wars. But then like each individual each company is also different. It may not make any sense in spending like your competitor because competitor might be on a different footing.
As a common experience, we love some advertisements, while the others just irritate us. An appealing advertising will win consumers and will consequently induce them to purchase the product. On the other hand, irritating advertising will create an adverse effect. This is why many companies hand over this task to advertising agencies, which has professionals to make impact -making ads. The message that company wants to convey should be put in a manner that will arouse interest. Moreover it should convincingly highlight upon the products USP. What is said is definitely important but what is more important is how it is said. The tone should be appealing. Words used should be catchy and retentive. These days both electronic as well as print media are overflowing with ads. People have no time to read or see them, and therefore they have to be attractive enough to target audience’s attention. This is the job of message.
Selecting the proper media vehicle for communicating the message goes a long way in the success of any kind of advertising. Each media vehicle has its positive and negative points with a different reach and impact. Therefore a company has to be very clear about its target audience. Choices available are Internet, TV, newspapers, magazines, direct mails, radio and hoardings. Everyone of this has its advantages and disadvantages. Companies often go in for a media mix, i.e. they select more than one of the available choices. Timing is of great significance here. Many industries face seasonal fluctuations and pass through cycles. Therefore advertising should be timed that way to take care of these fluctuations. A limited budget should be prudently allotted among these media vehicles.
It is necessary that effectiveness of any advertising be judged. Only on the basis of this measurement, can further decisions regarding continuation or termination of the particular advertising campaign be taken. An ad can be judged on the basis of its reach and impact on sales. Good advertising is one that generates brand awareness and consequently brand preference. How much of sales can be attributed to advertising, is a difficult question to answer. Sales are influenced by many factors besides advertising. It is not easy to isolate the impact of advertising on sales. Nonetheless there are some advanced statistical techniques available that can be used with the help of computer software’s like SPSS. Thus a systematic and balanced understanding of these five Ms of advertising will help in designing better advertising campaigns that create a favorable impact on the target audience.
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