Advertising is the moment when a given product is made known during the marketing process. Advertising venues are not always equal nor always have the same importance. Depending on the type of product, the advertising will be focused accordingly, bearing in mind where the advertising takes place, to which advertising standards it aims at, etc. This is related to the search of the desired target group ?it is not worthwhile that veterinarians know the new PC software; it is a waste of money.
Therefore, we can divide advertising in two parts, though this division is merely theoretical: informative and selling. In this section we will discuss both parts. But before dealing with them, we will discuss the importance of advertising in the marketing process.
Advertising is the second step in the marketing campaign. We have mentioned that advertising has two parts ?informative and selling; and we have pointed out that these features go together in practice. Marketing is related to each one of them, taking into account one of them to get to the other. What does this mean? That an expert in marketing thinks how «to inform» in order to «sell» and to whom by informing. That is to say, he makes the product known by highlighting its features, which are interesting for the target group, and he offers the product «in an advertising way» to a certain sector of society. This is a not very clear difference with a publicist. Advertising experts create attractive ad campaigns to increase sales and, in many occasions, they do it from the market researches done by the marketing experts. In short, marketing analyzes what will be of interest for those buying a given product and who are those people; whereas advertising analyzes how the product is introduced in response to what is desired and who wants it.
The informative role of advertising is, somehow, the «oldest» one. This consists of making the new product known. Obviously, this is essential for the product to reach the sales level the company desires, just because something people do not know cannot be bought. However, current advertising, and even more when it is related to marketing, does not focus only on mere «objective» information of the product. Market researches reveal which features of the product are more attractive for the target group. Thus, the advertising informative aspect is improved, modified and radically altered, depending on the case. An objective report of a product treats its different features in the same way, whereas advertising knows how to focus on what the target group considers the most interesting aspects. You can even hide those aspects you consider undesirable for this group. For example: the sale of a new chainsaw has, ordinarily speaking and without taking into account many aspects, a target group that can be «a 25/60-year-old man with a low/medium cultural background». (Please note this is only an example and it is not a result from a rigorous research, it is only used to make a point.) The target group may not be exact, but it contemplates the group that will most probably buy a chainsaw. Therefore, advertising will inform about the technical features of the product, etc. by highlighting its strength and power, bearing in mind the values that identify this group. However, it will not explain in detail the possible dangers of its usage, since the target group will not like the fact that they are not considered strong, skilful or indestructible.
The selling function and the informative aspect have practically two different ways. This function does inform about the product, but in an indirect way and treating it as a tool ?as a mean and not as an aim. This part of advertising tries to move, excite, encourage and identify itself with the target group’s values. In this stage of advertising there is not a real intention of informing about the product per se, so that people can contemplate whether the product is convenient or useful to them; on the contrary, it tries to sell the product without considering what sells ?it tries to move the recipient in such a way so that he buys the product, be what it may. As an example of this we can point out the latest Johnny Walker’s ad. This is about an android speaking. He says he would love to be human to be able to feel and, while he will exist forever as long as he is not decomposed, humans can achieve immortality by making a great thing. It is never explained how the whiskey is manufactured and no feature of the product is mentioned ?not even that it is a whiskey ad. This same ad can be applied for different products and be as effective. By saying this, we want to show that the selling part of advertising can completely leave aside the product’s information.
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