May 25, 2009 | last updated March 24, 2012 1:10 pm

Advertising Advantage

In an era of growing economic instability and decreasing consumer demand for products and services, businesses are becoming more aware of the importance of effective advertising.

From a marketing perspective, success in the marketplace depends more on the quality of advertising and the right choice of media than it does on the amount of money spent. In practice, effective advertising is about communicating your "promise" and "positioning" to the target audience.

It All Begins With A Promise

Great promise is at the core of an advertisement; it represents the value of the offering with attributes such as core product benefit, quality, features, brand name, warranty, and customer service. The concept of promise is to truthfully deliver the desired satisfaction and benefits to the consumer. Making promises and keeping them creates superior value and brand loyalty.

Finding A Target Audience

If promise is the soul of an advertisement, positioning is at the heart of an effective advertising strategy. But successfully positioning a product can be challenging. Positioning is the ability to create a perception in the consumer's mind that your product is different from that of your competition. A product can be differentiated on the basis of its physical form, features and product quality, apart from other attributes such as price.

The idea is to make the most of your unique brand assets, which might even be your corporate name. Most businesses will focus on a unique attribute and tailor their advertising message around that selling point.

Content Is King

Successful advertising creates enduring and original campaigns and should have the right balance of information and emotion. Every piece of communication should support the brand's positioning and use the same advertising elements. All advertising elements — strategy, tone, mood and specifically content — should reflect the brand or product's lifecycle. If the brand is in the introductory stage, focus should rest on comprehension, explaining what it is all about. If it is a well-established product, the advertising should put more emphasis on image, leadership and status.

Quality Control

Advertising agencies have in-depth knowledge of your market, and building a partnership with them leads to greater efficiency, better understanding of your brands and greater performance. As a general rule, a company should build strong relationships with at least one or possibly two agencies. Remember to invest in quality. Experience proves that higher quality advertising promotes effective consumer communication. The benefits are worth the costs. And don't forget: advertising agencies are skilled in media buying. All consumer communications should include clear, well-written text. Creative designs can work, but don't make your message too complicated for the customer to follow. Finally, remember to be honest and genuine. The objective is to create brand loyalty, and that is what results in increased market share, revenue and profitability.

Rodney Oudan is an associate professor of marketing at Worcester State College. He can be reached at roudan@worcester.edu.

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