Advertising is a form of non-personal communication that is paid by an organization to pass information relating goods, services or ideas of a certain business for potential and current consumers or target audiences via an identified medium. Espejo (2010) defines advertising as a branch of marketing that deals with elucidation of features of a product to consumers.
The main purpose of advertising is to create awareness amongst consumers about the availability of particular goods and services in the market. Advertising also targets persuasion and conviction of consumers to purchase the products. Espejo (2010) urges that advertising aims at influencing decision-making process and behavior of customers when making product purchases. Advertising usually seeks the approval of a product, service, idea or organization by the target audience. Advertising can be either commercial or non-commercial.
Modern advertising involves the use of mass media. Print media embraces newspapers and magazines; electronic media includes television, radio and such Internet resources as social networking websites and blogs. In addition, advertising can be carried out by sending direct mails and text messages to the target audiences or through outdoor advertising that involves use of billboards, signboards and trade shows.
Key Trends that will Impact Advertising in the Future
Internet and Interactive Media
Advertising, like other aspects of life, is being intensely changed by the Internet, interactive media and technological advancements. Today, many companies are using the Internet and interactive media for promoting and advertising their products. Rada and Michailidis (2011) define an interactive media as a form of two-way media that permits active communication between two or more people or entities. Good examples of an interactive media are social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Badoo, MySpace and LinkedIn.
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The increased use of the Internet and interactive media by potential consumers has forced many trading organizations to gradually shift from offline to online advertising. For example, Amazon Inc. is well known for advertising, selling and distributing its products over the Internet. Similarly, Google has grown from a tiny search engine to the world’s biggest online advertising company. Rada and Michailidis (2011) estimate that the total revenue generated by Google in 2010 from online advertising amounted to twenty-eight billion U.S. dollars. In addition, politicians have also used the social media as an advertising platform for their campaigns. For example, U.S. President Barrack Obama has an account in Facebook which he uses to interact with his supporters.
In relation to mixed elements of marketing, the Internet and interactive media have the ability to provide different advertising options. Thus, it becomes very useful for companies, which are trying to develop specialized advertisements that target specific market segments. Some interactive media also offer free advertising services. This helps organizations in reducing marketing expenses, thus lowering prices of products. Similarly, use of Internet and interactive media has enabled companies to market their products more effectively. For example, Amazon has been able to include digital contents such as pictures and sounds to illustrate various features of its products being advertised. Advertising agents have also successfully integrated digital products into online databases for easy distribution, hence increasing availability of the products.
Globalization refers to integration of international cultures, ideas, information, goods and services, values and practices across nations. Globalization leads to increased connectivity and interdependence amongst people, organizations, economies and governments in the entire world. Globalization has numerous effects on advertising, marketing and distribution of goods and services across the globe.
In the recent past, marketing of products became globalized as economies started to merge. This also affected advertising strategies used by organizations. Nowadays, many companies target more consumers due to globalization. The need to reach more consumers has been also increased.
In my view, further expansion of globalization will lead to development of more globalized brands that meet international standards and values. For example, the Coca Cola Company will have to develop a range of products that suit each target market. Similarly, the company will be forced to deploy different advertising strategies that suit diverse international markets. Globalization has also led to creation of more personalized advertisements that target specific groups of consumers. For example, advertising of digital products such as music videos for the youth often use pictures of celebrities within target markets.
In my opinion, globalization greatly affects advertising in international markets due to differences in cultural factors, beliefs and values. For example, advertising involving half-nude celebrities may be acceptable amongst youths in America, but may be highly offensive if used in the countries of Middle East, which hold strong Islamic beliefs against nudity. According to Jefkins and Yadin (2011), differences in cultures often affect responses to advertisements by the target consumers.
In the same way, globalization has resulted into enhanced competition of multinational companies. Hence, it increased the need for organizations to create awareness in the circle of consumers through intensive and extensive advertising. Globalization has also led to emergence of new market in developing countries that may not be aware of products of a particular company. Therefore, it is important for organizations targeting such markets to increase their advertising and marketing efforts. Correspondingly, globalization has led to enhanced consumer targeting. Organizations must therefore adopt appropriate advertising techniques to reach more consumers.
Major effects of globalization on elements of marketing mix include increased need for extensive distribution of products, strategic pricing to attract more customers, production of differentiated products and increased need to understand the cultures of different people in international markets. For example, globalization has forced the Coca Cola Company to liaise with middlemen in all countries across the world in order to facilitate distribution of its products in the international markets. The middlemen also act as advisers for the company in matters of advertising policies and cultures of their respective countries.
Regulations are sets of official rules, laws, directives or principles that control the conduct of people and organizations within a society or a country. Most countries have regulations that govern the advertising industry. The main goal of regulating the advertising industry is to protect the public from misleading information. The majority of regulations control the content and influence of advertisements. For example, most countries such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada and Europe have banned advertising of tobacco in major mass media, especially newspapers, radio and television (Eisenman, 2006). Companies are also required to place visible warning signs and messages about the effects of harmful products on health of consumers. In the United States of America, advertising of fast-foods aimed at children has been banned to ensure reduction in obesity rates amongst youngsters (Bernstein & Keller, 2011). Consequently, the Advertising Standards Authority of the United Kingdom requires all advertisements to comply with specific rules and standards. Stringent regulations on advertising of harmful products have led to decrease in consumption of such products. This has negatively affected the profitability of manufacturing organizations.
In relation to elements of marketing mix, regulation on advertising has negatively impacted distribution of certain goods and services. Moreover, the manufactures are unable to reach the entire market due to reduced communication to consumers. Regulation has also affected the prices of such products since manufacturers are required to pay huge licensing fees in order to advertise their products. This cost is transferred to the final consumers.
Future of Advertising
From my point of view, despite various challenges faced by advertising due to regulation, it still has a promising future owing to technological advances and globalization. Moreover, unique forms of advertising strategies are expected to emerge in the future as business environment continually changes. Advertising will evolve further.