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11.2 Advertising and Direct Marketing, and Message Strategies

Learning Objectives

The objectives of this section is to help students …

  1. Understand the difference between media and vehicles.
  2. Explain the similarities and differences between advertising and direct marketing.
  3. Understand the benefits of direct marketing and what types of direct marketing organizations often utilize.
  4. Understand what a unique selling proposition is and how it is used.
  5. Understand different types of promotion objectives.
  6. Identify different message strategies.

Advertising

Advertising is paid promotion with an identified sponsor that reaches many people at one time and can be repeated many times. One of the biggest issues an organization must address is which medium or media provides the biggest bang for the buck, given a product’s characteristics and target market. For example, a thirty-second ad aired during Super Bowl XLII cost $2.7 million. Since 97.5 million people watched the game, the cost per ad was less than three cents per viewer. For Super Bowl XLVI, the cost for a thirty-second spot increased to $3.5 million, and approximately 111.3 million viewers watched. However, do the ads pay off in terms of sales? Many advertising professionals believe many of the ads don’t, yet the ads probably do create brand awareness or a public relations type of effect since many people tune in and then talk about Super Bowl commercials.

Whether it’s a commercial on the Super Bowl or an ad in a magazine, each medium (e.g., television, magazines, mobile phones, social media) has different advantages and disadvantages. Mobile phones provide continuous access to people on the go, although reception may vary in different markets. Radios, magazines, and newspapers are also portable. People tend to own more than one radio, but there are so many radio stations in each market that it may be difficult to reach all target customers. People are also typically doing another activity (e.g., driving or studying) while listening to the radio, and without visuals, radio relies solely on audio. Both television and radio must get a message to consumers quickly. Although many people change channels (zap) or leave the room during commercials, television does allow for visual demonstrations. In an effort to get attention, advertisers changed the volume for television commercials for years. However, the Federal Trade Commission passed a regulation effective in 2010 that prohibits advertisers from changing the volume level of commercials on television, although consumers still notice that some commercials are louder than the regular shows.

People save magazines for a long time, but advertisers must plan in advance to have ads in certain issues. With the Internet, both magazines and newspapers are suffering in terms of readership and advertising dollars. Many major newspapers, such as papers in Seattle and Chicago, have gone out of business. Other newspapers, such as USA Today are free online, although printed copies are also available. The fact that local retailers get cheaper rates for advertising in local newspapers may encourage both local businesses and consumers to support newspapers in some markets.

Within each different medium, an organization might select a different vehicle. A vehicle is the specific means within a medium to reach a selected target market. For example, if a company wants to develop television commercials to reach teenagers, it might select Gossip Girl on the CW as the best vehicle. If an organization wants to use magazines to reach males interested in sports, it might use Sports Illustrated. Sports Illustrated launched SI.com so readers could get up-to-date information on the Web. On SI.com, readers can also access links to popular articles and “SIVault” (http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault), where they can search articles and pictures that have run in the magazine since it was launched in 1954. The printed SI swimsuit edition continues to be one of the most popular issues of any magazine. Over 67 million consumers saw the 2010 SI swimsuit franchise (via magazine, mobile, SIVault, etc.) (1)

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing allows organizations to target a specific set of customers, measure the return on investment (ROI), and test different strategies before implementing to all targeted consumers. It can be personalized as a call for consumers to take action, which is a desired response. However, direct marketing is very intrusive, and many consumers may ignore attempts to reach them. Catalogs and direct mail provide popular alternatives for many marketers, although the volume of mail sent may drop significantly in a weak economy.

Telemarketing involves direct marketing by phone. You may have just sat down for dinner when the phone rings with a local charity calling to raise money. The calls always seem to come at dinner or at other inconvenient times. Although expensive, telemarketing can be extremely effective for charitable organizations and different service firms and retailers. However, because some consumers have negative perceptions of telemarketers, many organizations do not use it. The Do Not Call Registry, which was established in 2008, prevents organizations from calling any numbers registered with the Federal Trade Commission.

Direct response advertising includes an offer and a call to action. You may be watching television when an interesting product is shown. The announcer says, “Call now and receive a bonus package.” They want consumers to call to purchase the product or to get more information. The Internet provides the preferred direct response medium for direct marketing because it is less expensive and easier for the organization to utilize.

Utilizing a Product’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

When organizations want to communicate value, they must determine what message strategies work best for them. Smart organizations determine a product’s unique selling proposition (USP), or specific benefit consumers will remember. Domino’s “Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free” is a good example of a unique selling proposition. Likewise, Nike’s global slogan “Just Do It” helps athletes and other consumers realize their potential, and many consumers may think of all the things that they do when they use Nike products. Watch the following video on Nike to get an idea of the many different activities people from different countries do when using Nike products.

Video Clip : People around the World Use Nike Products

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp5dZZBKTXQ

Nike products are used for many different sports by all types of athletes.

Nike and Coca-Cola have been extremely successful in adapting their promotions to different international markets. Both companies have very popular global brands. Sometimes the same promotions work in different cultures (countries), but others must be adapted for different international audiences—similar to the way products may be adapted for international markets. Companies must be careful of how words translate, how actions are interpreted, how actors (or models) look, and what different colors in ads may mean.

When deciding on a message strategy, organizations must consider the audience, the objectives of the promotion, the media, and the budget, as well as the USP and the product. Knowing your audience and whom you are trying to reach is critical. The more advertisers know about the consumers (or businesses) exposed to the message, the better. Commercials for golf products shown during golf tournaments focus specifically on golfers. Other commercials, such as several recent ones for the fast-food chain Hardee’s, are on the risqué side. They may appeal to some college students but may offend other consumers such as senior citizens. What do you think? Do you think Hardee’s is trying to reach a younger demographic? Do the ads make you more inclined to purchase fast food from Hardee’s? See the Hardee’s commercial in the video below.

Video Clip : Commercial for Hardee’s Thickburger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avq2LAcPdj0

This commercial that may be offensive to some consumers.

The Organization’s Promotion Objectives

Advertisers must also examine their promotion objectives. What are they trying to accomplish with their promotions? Are they trying to build awareness for a new product, are they wanting to get people to take action immediately, or are they interested in having people remember their brand in the future? Building primary demand, or demand for a product category, such as orange juice, might be one objective, but a company also wants to build selective demand, or demand for its specific brand(s), such as Tropicana orange juice.

Other common objectives follow the AIDA model (attention, interest, desire, and action). AIDA objectives typically are achieved in steps. First, companies focus on attention and awareness of a product or service, which is especially important for new offerings. If a consumer or business is not aware of a product or service, they won’t buy it. Once consumers or businesses are aware of products or services, organizations try to get consumers interested and persuade them that their brands are best. Ultimately, companies want consumers to take action or purchase their products or services.

Message Characteristics

Organizations must also determine what type of appeal to use and how to structure their messages. Some of the common advertising appeals are humorous, emotional, frightening (fear), rational (informative), and environmentally conscious. If you were asked to name your favorite commercial, would it be one with a humorous appeal? Many people like commercials that use humor because they are typically entertaining and memorable. Humor sells, but firms must be careful that the brand is remembered. Some commercials are very entertaining, but consumers cannot remember the brand or product.

Each year, some of the most talked-about commercials take place during the Super Bowl. Many people watch the game just to see the commercials. Watch the following YouTube videos to see one of the top ten Super Bowl commercials of all time and how newer commercials relied on a similar approach. Notice how many of them use a humorous appeal. But do you think some are more effective than others? In other words, will viewers actually buy the product(s)?

Video Clip :Often Rated the Best Super Bowl Commercial Ever

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc0izCGKxP8

This commercial uses a child and fun to appeal to many consumers.

Video Clip : Rated One of the Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2009

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_pYddCq7Hg

Coke Zero uses the same approach in 2009 as the award-winning commercial in the 1980 Super Bowl.

Video Clip : Rated One of the Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2009

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_pYddCq7Hg

Pepsi uses a humorous approach for a commercial although it was not a Super Bowl commercial.

Video Clip :Pepsi’s Version of “Asking for a Shirt”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx38M9llRtA

See the Coke man in a Pepsi commercial.

Video Clip : Pepsi’s You’re a Winner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYeoxkF8xfc

Pepsi used a similar strategy in 1996.

Companies must also be careful when using fear appeals so consumers don’t get too alarmed or frightened. A few years ago, Reebok had to discontinue a TV ad because it upset so many people. The ad showed a bungee jumper diving off a bridge, followed by a shot of just his shoes hanging from the bridge by the bungee cord. That ad provoked people because it implied the jumper had fallen to his death.

Firms also decide whether to use strategies such as an open-ended or closed-ended message; whether to use a one-sided or two-sided message; and whether to use slogans, characters, or jingles. An open-ended message allows the consumer to draw his or her own conclusion, such as a commercial for perfume or cologne. A closedended message draws a logical conclusion. Most messages are one sided, stressing only the positive aspects, similar to what you include on your résumé. However, two-sided messages are often utilized as well. Pharmaceutical companies often show both the positive aspects (benefits) of using a drug and the negative aspects of not using it. (Of course, U.S. laws require companies to list the side effects of prescriptions—hence the long “warnings” you hear and read about in conjunction with drug ads.)

Video Clip : Example of an Open-Ended Commercial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEmrdO8tW3w

Do you interpret cologne and perfume ads the same way you see them portrayed on television?

The order of presentation also affects how well consumers remember a brand. If you forgot about a twenty-five-page term paper that you had to write before the next day of class, which sections of the paper would be the strongest? Would the beginning, the end, or the middle be the best section? Many students argue that either the beginning or the end is most important, hoping that the instructor does not read the entire paper carefully. The same strategy is true for commercials and advertisements. The beginning and the end of the message should be strong and include the brand name. That way, if consumers hear or read only part of the message, they will hopefully remember the brand name.

 

Figure 11.7: Jingles

The Jolly Green Giant helped kids remember the Green Giant jingle and hopefully reminded them to eat their vegetables

(greefus groinks – Jolly green giant – CC BY-SA 2.0)

Some companies use characters or mascots and/or jingles or slogans. Although media is changing, many of the characters and jingles have stayed the same for decades. When you think of Campbell’s soup, do you think “Mm, mm good”? Just as the commercials viewed in the beginning of the chapter focused on “Mm, mm good,” Campbell’s has used the same slogan since the early 1900s, and the Campbell Soup Kids were created in 1904. Although Campbell’s changed its slogan in 1998, the company still uses the “Mm, mm good” slogan in most of its promotions across different media. Apparently, the slogan still resonates with consumers. Other jingles, characters (mascots), or symbols you may be familiar with include the Jolly Green Giant, the Wienermobile, and the Pillsbury Doughboy known as Poppin’ Fresh. How successful are advertisers in making sure consumers know their brands? Try the brand quiz at http://www.smartmarketingquiz.com/ and see how many brand icons you know. The following figures also illustrate some of these characters and symbols.

Figure 11.8: Wienermobile

The Wienermobile tours the country

The Wienermobile tours the country.

(Wikimedia Commons – public domain.)

Figure 11.9: The Pillsbury Doughboy

The Pillsbury Doughboy, Poppin’ Fresh, is popular around the world.

(Wikimedia Commons – CC BY-SA 3.0.)

Do you remember the Oscar Mayer jingles? Watch the video below and see if you find yourself singing along. The jingle was originally developed in 1963 and is now recorded in different languages. In 2006 Oscar Mayer promoted a singing contest for the jingle, which still remains popular. Kraft’s promotions are also consistent across media, using the visuals from commercials as pictures in their print ads in both English and Spanish versions, following the IMC concept.

Video Clip :The Original Oscar Mayer Wiener Song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNddW2xmZp8

Often considered one of the best original ads on TV, the Oscar Mayer Wiener song is known by people of all ages.

Video Clip :The Oscar Mayer Bologna Song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmPRHJd3uHI

The Oscar Mayer Bologna song is also well known among consumers of all ages.

The Promotion Budget

An offering’s budget is a critical factor when it comes to deciding which message strategies to pursue. Several methods can be used to determine the promotion budget. The simplest method for determining the promotion budget is often merely using a percentage of last year’s sales or the projected sales for the next year. This method does not take into account any changes in the market or unexpected circumstances. However, many firms use this method because it is simple and straightforward.

The affordable method, or what you think you can afford, is a method used often by small businesses. Unfortunately, things often cost more than anticipated, and you may not have enough money. Many small businesses think they’re going to have money for promotion, but they run out and cannot spend as much on promotion as they had hoped. Such a situation may have happened to you when you planned a weekend trip based on what you thought you could afford, and you did not have enough money. As a result, you had to modify your plans and not do everything you planned.

Other companies may decide to use competitive parity—that is, they try to keep their promotional spending comparable to the competitors’ spending level. This method is designed to keep a brand in the minds of consumers. During a recession, some firms feel like they must spend as much—if not more—than their competitors to get customers to buy from them. Other companies are forced to cut back on their spending or pursue more targeted promotions. When Kmart faced bankruptcy, they cut back on expenditures, yet they kept their advertising inserts (free-standing inserts, or FSI) in Sunday newspapers to remain competitive with other businesses that had an FSI.

A more rational and ideal approach is the objective and task method, whereby marketing managers first determine what they want to accomplish (objectives) with their communication. Then they determine what activities—commercials, sales promotions, and so on—are necessary to accomplish the objectives. Finally, they conduct research to figure out how much the activities, or tasks, cost in order to develop a budget.

Part of the budgeting process includes deciding how much money to allocate to different media. Although most media budgets are still spent predominantly on traditional media, shifts in spending are occurring as the media landscape continues to change. Mobile marketing continues to become more popular as a way to reach specific audiences. Over one-third of cell phone users were exposed to mobile advertising in 2009 and 16 percent of the people exposed to mobile advertising responded to the ads via text messaging. Younger people are typically the most accepting of mobile advertising (Loechner, 2009). Spending on mobile ads is expected to grow 80% from $1.45 billion in 2011 to $2.61 billion in 2012. A big part of the growth is due to the mobile search business of Google (Cotton, 2012).

The manufacturers of most major brands use texting and multimedia messages. Mobile marketing allows advertisers to communicate with consumers and businesses on the go. Over half of Chinese, Korean, Indian, and Thai Internet users access social media sites through their phones rather than through computers(2). While many marketers plan to use electronic devices for their mobile-marketing strategies, other firms may use movable or mobile promotions, which, as discussed earlier, are also considered out-of-home advertising.

 

Review

  • Advertising is paid for communication that has an identified sponsor and reaches many people at one time.
  • Once companies decide on different media (e.g., magazines or television), they must also select specific vehicles (e.g., Sports Illustrated or the Super Bowl), Direct marketing allows organizations to target specific individuals and use direct response advertising.
  • Telemarketing, the Internet, direct mail, and catalogs are popular direct marketing methods.
  • Organizations must determine promotion objectives, or what they want to accomplish with their promotions.
  • Each brand needs to have a unique selling proposition (USP) for customers to remember and want their product.
  • Depending on their objectives and their USP, marketers must develop a message strategy. Some companies prefer humor or rational appeals while others may use a fear appeal.

Sources:

(1)  http://simediakit.com/property-single.xhtml?property_id=36

(2) “Social Network Site Users Ready to Go Mobile But Telecom Carriers Need to Set the Stage for Mass Adoption, Says IDC,” IDC, November 17, 2009, http://www.idc.com/AP/pressrelease.jsp?containerId=prSG22084309 (accessed January 20, 2010).

References

Cotton, D., “Mobile-Ad Spending Projected to Reach $2.61B in 2012,” Ad Age Digital, January 26, 2012, http://adage.com/article/digital/mobile-ad-spending-projected-reach-2-61b-2012/232334/

Loechner. J., “Advertising Growth Spreads in All Mobile Formats,” Research Brief, MediaPost Blogs, May 27, 2009, http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/106675/advertising-growth-spreads-in-all-mobileformats.html (accessed March 12, 2012).

License

11.2 Advertising and Direct Marketing, and Message Strategies Copyright © 2017 by Babu John Mariadoss. All Rights Reserved.

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