For people to buy any product, they need first to be motivated. The seller has to create a want in customers. It is difficult for any business to make significant sales without informing customers about the availability of the products it is offering. This is where advertisement comes in. The major role of advertisement is to educate, lure customers into buying a product, service, or brand as well as motivate them.
For an advertisement to bear fruits, it has to be able to overcome clients’ resistance and urge to change (George & Michael 1995). It also has to counter other competitive advertisements that are in the market, which may lead to target customers failing to purchase the product being advertised. After consumers are won, they have to be retained and made faithful to the product. This paper aims at looking at the importance of advertisement in iPad marketing and how it is entrenched in the marketing mix of the product.
Functions of advertising in the marketing mix
On September 11, 2011, Apple Company released an iPad advertisement duped learn (Hodgkins 2011). The advertisement aims at encouraging customers to use the digital product as a learning tool. This advertisement has come in the period when a lot of learning institutions are introducing iPad as a learning tool for students. The advertisement which featured in electronic media comprised of moving pictures and demonstrations on how to use the iPad.
By using demonstrations, the advertisement played a greater role in helping the target market know how to use the product. Moreover, the advertisement showed the different functionalities of the iPad, thus making the target market understand the numerous benefits of using an iPad. iPad is not only being used in tertiary institutions but is also being used lower levels of learning. Accordingly, the iPad advertisement was developed in such a way that it catered for all spheres of the target market. Kids were shown how to type and write using the iPad as well as how play games such as piano. Consequently, not only did the advertisement create awareness of the product, but it also taught the target market on how to use the product.
How advertising fits in the communications mix
Advertising is one of the elements of the communication mix. Others include public relations and product promotion. The main aim of the communication mix is to create product awareness. Besides, the communication mix helps in educating customers on how to use a product as well as benefits accrued from using the product (Gibson 1983). Advertisement; being one of the elements of the communication mix that facilitates creating product awareness.
Generally, adverts and designed and tailored to the target market. In addition, advertising agents look for the most appropriate medium of advertisement to use based on the target market. This helps in ensuring that the intended message reaches the target market. The iPad advertisement made by Apple Company was designed in a way that all the different segments of its target market were reached. Apart from creating awareness of a new product, advertisement is used in the communication mix to remind customers about the availability of a certain product and where to get it (Ann 2011).
Marketing communications tools
To effectively reach the target market and make substantial sales, business organizations employ numerous communication tools based on the nature of the target market and size of the business. Examples of marketing communication tools used include public relations, sales promotion, and direct marketing. All these have their advantages and disadvantages (Levy 1981).
Advantages of public relations
Public relations are where organizations use communication channels such as newspapers, television, radio or magazine to educate customers about the benefits of their products. Unlike advertisement, the communication medium used is not directly involved in ensuring that the message reaches the target market. Examples of relations include an article by Kevin Mattison that described role of hydrodynamic radius in characterizing bimolecular and an article by David Dolak the sales manager for Protein Solutions, Incorporation (Dolak 2010, para. 2-5). One of the advantages of public relation as a tool of communication is that it is termed to be more credible.
There is a perception by the public that advertisement companies are paid based on the impact of information they convey and thus can go to an extent of providing false information to attract more customers. Hence customers view public relation as more credible and truthful since no money is paid for advertisement.
Public relation helps in avoiding clutter (Grunig 1992). Generally, information being conveyed is treated as a news item thus receiving attention of the target market. This is contrary to advertisement messages which may lead to customer confusion as they are conveyed following one another. Moreover, public relation facilitates in reaching the target market. In situation where target market is small, employing communication tools such as advertisement and promotion may prove expensive. Public relation turns out to be the best option in such a situation. For instance, if the message is intended to reach ladies only, the organization can purchase a column in one of the magazines preferred by ladies. A good example of public relation is the one used in advertising cover girl; a women cosmetics product. The advertisement is conveyed during American Next Top Model (ANTM) show.
Disadvantages of public relations
Unlike other promotional messages which are conveyed the way they are written, in public relations information is passed to news media representative who then modify it to feature as a news item. This may lead to the information being distorted thus not reaching target market as expected. In addition, the massage may not be conveyed at all (Broadbent & Cooper 1987). This is especially if the media feels that there is no need of including the message in its news. At times, the message may also be scrapped from the news to emergence of other critical breaking news leading to it not reaching the intended audience.
Advantages of sales promotions
This is where business organizations use communication activities aimed at adding value to products or giving incentives to consumers to increase sales volume. Examples of sales promotion include scratch cards accompanying various products where a customer scratch and win what is written on the card (Like Grator Scratcher) and coupons offered by England’s Dodge Motorsports (Dolak 2011 para. 1) The activities help in increasing desire by customers to purchase specific products or to try a product. Some of the tools used in sales promotion include sweepstakes, contests, premiums, coupons and free samples. One of the advantages of this medium of communication is that helps in price discrimination. It is possible to charge different prices for the same product in different market segments. This facilitates in increasing sales volume of an organization.
Apart from price discrimination, sales promotion influences consumer behavior. Promotions are normally run for a short period prompting consumers to purchase the product before the offer expires. In addition to influencing consumer behavior, sales promotion increases store traffic. Dealers are prompted to purchase in bulk to ensure that they do not run out of stock. Eventually, the organization ends up distributing its product at a quicker rate.
Disadvantages of sales promotions
Since sales promotion exhibits price discrimination, it leads to consumers becoming price sensitive. Hence, consumers do not make purchase and wait until promotion is announced to purchase the product. This greatly affect market price of commodities lowering the profit margin. For commodities that are rarely promoted, running such an activity may lead to customers doubting its quality. For instance, the continued promotion of Smyle Powder led to customers doubting its quality. Eventually, customers stopped using the powder (Dolak 2011 para. 3). Sales promotion does not offer long-term solution to an organization. It is run for a short period leading to sales volume swelling only for a short period.
Advantages of direct marketing
Direct marketing entails a communication activity where organizations sells direct to consumers without involving middlemen. An organization may mail the consumer or directly approach consumers to create product awareness. Examples include Rodale gardening book package and FamilyFun magazine. The method benefits consumers in that products are offered at lower prices. Basically, involvement of middlemen in product distribution leads to prices going up. By dealing directly with consumers, organizations are able to gather first hand information regarding their response to products (Copper 2011). This helps them in product improvement to meet consumer needs thus increasing their sales volume. In addition, this method helps organizations build and nurture healthy relationship with their customers. Consequently, they are able to retain their customers as well as expand their market. The method cuts down on retail space overhead and enhances operations speed and efficiency.
Disadvantages of direct marketing
Direct marketing entails direct mailing customers. Rather than wining customer loyalty, organizations risk losing customers. It is perceived to be an infringement into customers’ privacy and some are opposed to it completely. It becomes hard for organizations to explain to customers about how they got their phone numbers or emails (Copper 2011). This is deemed to be snooping and may lead to customers having a negative image of an organization. In addition to mailing, companies send letters to present and potential customers. With current environmental conservation awareness, some customers complain that the method contributes to environmental pollution. Some cities prohibit use of fliers and advertisements in streets. This makes it hard for companies that use direct marketing strategy to reach their customers.
Role of advertising in brand image and personality
Brand personality refers to human characteristics associated with a specific brand. Generally, consumers tend to associate brands with specific personality characteristics. For instance, brand excitement is associated with sociability and activity. Advertisement plays a greater role in creating brand image and personality. There is a high tendency of customers to put into consideration the traits of brand endorsers when making decisions whether to purchase the product. In most cases the imagery and meanings that make up brand personality are not intrinsic in the brand. They are added through advertisement and consumer reactions.
Meenaghan (1995 24) brings out a clear distinction that was discovered by Johar and Sirgy regarding advertisement. He argues that advertisement can be categorized into two groups. One branch of advertisement is aimed at creating awareness of functionality of the product while the other one aims at creating imagery appeals. This branch either builds a personality for the product or builds an image of the person that uses the product. Consumers use the source cues of an advertisement and equate them to their beliefs. The fact that advertisement contributes in building the brand image and personality underlines the reason why companies use popular people such as athletes to advertise their brands.
These refer to channels or avenues used by organizations to communicate their products and services to customers. Organizations prefer to use one medium to another based on the nature of the product, size of the organization and the target market. Some of the advertising media include print media (both press and outdoor), broadcast media (such as radio, television and cinema) and interactive advertising media such as internet. All these media have both advantages and disadvantages to organizations.
Advantages and disadvantages of print media
Advantages and disadvantages of press
Press stands for print media such as newspapers, magazines and yellow pages. The benefits of using press in advertising are that it is possible to reach wider market coverage. NH Advertising and The Brewery Romford are good examples of press advertising. Newspapers and magazines are distributed to a wider geographical area making it possible for an organization to reach wider market coverage. In addition, press gives one the freedom of the size of the advertisement (Pleshette 2011). Consequently, when advertising a product such as iPad that has numerous functionalities an organization can fully describe the product since it is not restricted on the size of the advertisement. Advertisement medium such as magazine facilitates reaching the target market segment. Different groups of audiences prefer different publications. Thus, if a company wishes to target a specific market segment, it can do so by publishing its advertisement on a publication that the specific audience prefers.
The problem with press as a medium of advertisement is that advertisement space can at times be very expensive. To advertise a product such as iPad that require description of its functionalities, a company may incur cost due to big space required. Besides, there are numerous advertisements run in these media implying that an organization’s advert has to contend alongside the clutter of other adverts from rival companies.
Advantages and disadvantages of outdoor
Outdoor advertisements include advertisements found on billboards, posters, benches as well as transit advertisements like the ones found on taxicabs. Examples include the JCDecaux and Taxiadvertising.com in United Kingdom. This form of advertisement reaches a wider market as it is in the public domain. Unlike other media such as press and television that run their advertisements for a short period, outdoor runs its advertisements throughout. Advertisements run in this medium are frequently viewed and reach all market segments indiscriminately (Pleshette 2011). Since the message conveyed in this medium stays for a specific duration, it is the best medium of advertising iPad. Every time people pass close to the billboard on across a taxicab having the advert would be reminded of the product.
Normally, people spend limited time reading advertisements placed on billboards or on taxis. This is because either the audience or the message is in transit. Consequently, the message needs to be brief for audience to read it all. It is therefore hard to bring out the functionalities of a product such as iPad on a billboard.
Advantages and disadvantages of broadcast media
Advantages and disadvantages of television
Most of the households own televisions. Thus, this medium of advertisement helps organizations reach large numbers of people both locally and internationally within a short period of time. Since television is a visual medium, it possible for an organization to include moving images and sounds in its advertisement. Therefore, for a product like iPad, a company can include moving images that demonstrate on how to operate it. Besides, an organization can decided on the audience to target as different stations offer opportunities to select the required audience (Krugman 1965).
To overcome clutter, an organization requires running its advertisement on a television many times. This may turn out to be expensive compared to returns it brings to the company. It is also hard for a company to convey a lot of information using this medium due to limited time allocated to advertisements. To effectively advertise an iPad, a company requires being creative. Hence, it may be hard to use television in this advertisement since it is expensive with respect to creativity, airtime cost and production.
Advantages and disadvantages of radio
This is a widespread medium used by the public at one time or another either at home, at work or in the car. Hence, it is possible to reach a large number of people using this medium. Because there are numerous radio channels, organizations can negotiate on advertisement cost with radio owners. Radios offer creativity services for free. Thus, it is possible for organizations to articulate their advertisements to effectively reach the target market (Pleshette 2011). This proves a better medium for advertising electronic products such as iPad since it is possible to bring out their functionalities in a creative way at a lower cost.
Since people listen to different radio stations, an organization is required to run concurrent advertisements on several stations to reach a large number of people. Once an advertisement is over, it is hard for the audience to over it again highlighting the important points. As a result, it requires the advertisement to be run over and over again for the audience to capture and retain the message. In most cases, people listen to radio while doing something else. Accordingly, it requires an organization to creatively present its advertisement so as to attract attention (Pleshette 2011). Otherwise, an advertisement may pass without being noticed.
Advantages and disadvantages of cinema
The number of people visiting cinema halls continues increasing. This makes cinema an appropriate avenue running an advertisement. People get into cinema hall and settle in preparation for the movie to start. This is the appropriate time for an advertisement to be run. At this time, people are composed and their attention is directed to the screen. Hence, it is possible for an advertisement run in cinema to drive the point home compared to one run on a radio. The major problem with cinemas is that by the time people are leaving cinema halls, they only thing they remember are scenes from the movie and they hardly remember the advertisement run. A research conducted by Johnson (1981 pp. 11-19) proved that 50% of those who frequent cinema halls hardly recalls the advertisements run on the screen.
Advantages and disadvantages of interactive advertising media
A good example of interactive advertising medium is internet. Organizations using this medium is advertisement have an upper hand in that it is possible to update their customers whenever they come up with new products or change brand names for their products. It is possible for organizations to get immediate feedback from customers regarding their products thus helping them to tailor their products in a way that they meet the needs of their target market (Smith 2011). Since many people are turning to internet to seek information, companies selling electronic products such as iPad have an opportunity of reaching a large number of audiences thus reaping from the medium. This medium of advertisement is cost effective as sending information is cheaper compared to other media.
Despite the cost of sending information being cheaper, there are other costs that are factored in when using this medium. They include cost of developing and maintaining a website and buying software and hardware. Currently, low number of customers buys online with most of the customers preferring to visit a shop despite getting information from the internet (Smith 2011).
For customers to use a product, they have to first be aware of the availability of the product and where to get it. This is the role played by advertisement. Organizations opt to use different media of advertisement based on the nature of product being advertised, size of the company and nature of target market. Since advertisement contributes in building the brand image, organizations ought to make thorough preparation before running an advertisement.
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