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What is Advertising? Description of Advertising. Explanation.

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Famous examples of advertising...What is Advertising?

Advertising is any paid form of (non-personal) communication and marketing used to convince or persuade viewers, readers or listeners about the benefits of certain products, services, a company or even ideas.

Typically the aim of advertising is to influence consumption behavior with respect to commercial products or services, but the purpose of advertising may also be educational, political or ideological.

Typically the advertiser has to pay for message placement, except for self-advertising.

Advertising can be Business to Consumer, Business to Business. A special form is Trade Marketing.


How does advertising work?

The acronym AIDA describes the stages of an advertising process: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.

Advertisers use Positioning trying to create a favorable perception of a product or service, Brand Personality, or Corporate Reputation in the mind of the prospect.


Forms of Advertising

Advertising may take many forms, which depend partly on the use of various channels:

Definitions of Advertising

  •  The non-personal communication of information usually paid for & usually persuasive in nature, about products (goods & services) or ideas by identified sponsor through various media. (Arens, Wei Gold, Arens 2010)
  • Any paid form of non-personal communication about an organization, product, service, or idea from an identified sponsor. (Blech & Blech 1998)
  • Paid non-personal communication from an identified sponsor using mass media to persuade or influence an audience. (Wells, Burnett, & Moriaty 1998)
  • The element of the marketing communication mix that is non personal paid for an identified sponsor, & disseminated through channels of mass communication to promote the adoption of goods, services, person or ideas. (Bearden, Ingram, & Laforge 1998)
  • An informative or persuasive message carried by a non personal medium & paid for by an identified sponsor whose organization or product is identified in some way. (Zikmund & D'amico 1999)
  • Impersonal; one way communication about a product or organization that is paid by a marketer. (Lamb, Hair & Mc.Daniel 2000)
  • Any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor. (Kotler et al., 2006)

Defining an Advertising Strategy

A key tool used by marketers to define advertising strategies for products is McCarthy's Marketing Mix (1960s), also called the 4 P's: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Later, Booms and Bitner defined the Extended version of the Marketing Mix, also called the 7 P's (add: People, Process and Physical Evidence) which is preferable to design campaigns for intangible products and services.

The effectiveness of advertising can be measured by the advertising elasticity of demand. This measures the percentage increase in demand divided by the percentage increase in advertising spending (a number of other factors are also involved to correct for external influences).


From mass to segmented to individual marketing

In the past, most advertisements were aimed at the general public. This is changing due to following causes:

  1. Target Marketing: the process of communicating, marketing and selling products or services to groups of consumers with similar characteristics (identified via market segmentation)
  2. Niche Marketing: advertisers increasingly want to reach small but profitable market segments with increasingly custom-made products or services.
  3. Internet Technology: increased ability and efficiency to distinguish, target and fulfill individual customer profiles and needs.

Importance of advertising

  • For the economy: The global spending on advertising is immense which makes it a major economic activity by itself.
  • For the media: Advertising can be (an important component of) a business model, as is valid for TV, radio, newspapers, magazines as well as search engines and web sites. Most media outlets would not be in business without revenue generated through the sale of advertising.
  • For advertisers: For many advertisers advertising is crucial to gain interest for their products and services.
  • For consumers: Advertising can have an informational or even educational value for the consumer.

Advertising Agencies

Designing and managing large advertising campaigns is complex and time-consuming. Multiple specialized skills are needed. While large companies are able to manage certain advertising activities themselves, a lot of advertising activities are also traditionally outsourced to specialized advertising agencies.


Typical roles and responsibilities of professionals of advertising agencies include:

  • Account Manager. Locates, acquires and negotiates with (potential) clients. Develops advertising campaigns with the client and is the interface between the advertising agency and the advertiser.
  • Creative Manager. Generates ideas, designs concepts and creates the final advertisement.
  • Market Researcher. Assesses a clientís market situation, researches and analyses customers and competitors. Tests campaigns with Focus Groups.
  • Technical Specialist. Graphic design, film and audio production, copywriting, web programming.
  • Media Planner. Responsible for placing advertisements in appropriate and most effective advertising media.
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Compare also: Product Life Cycle  |  Target Marketing  |  Positioning  |  Co-Marketing  |  Cross-Branding  |  Synchromarketing  |  Tie-in Marketing  |  Subliminal Advertizing  |  Ambient Advertising

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