General objectives are those that are followed by every company without exception. General objectives may be classified into two categories i.e.,
Stimulating demand; and
Increasing profits of the firm.
The first and foremost objective of advertising is to stimulate demand for the product by creating a favourable climate for maintaining or improving sales. Advertising is all about convincing the prospective consumers that the product is worth the price charged.
The management should bear in mind that some products are sensitive to increased advertising than others. In other words, more demand can be stimulated for some products which are more receptive than others through advertisement and they should press upon such factors.
How do Advertising stimulate demand?
Advertising can stimulate the demand for any product in three basic ways:
1. The current users of a product may be persuaded to increase the existing rate of product consumption. This may be done by reminding them about the product. its brand and the possible advantages of using the product.
2. The second way of stimulating demand for the product is to attract new users into the market by telling them the qualities of the product and its possible uses so that they may change their brand.
3. The third way of stimulating demand is to tell the current users about new uses of the product so that customers may use the company’s product for several other purposes.
In this way, advertising may introduce new areas and new customers to the company’s products and thus stimulate the demand for the same.
Increasing Profits or Return on Investment (ROI)
Advertising involves investment of funds. Hence, it should produce a reasonable return on the said investment in order to assess the desirability and profitability of advertising.
Increased demand or sale is worthless unless it leads to increased profits. This aspect may be overlooked in the short run to obtain the objective of market penetration. Advertising may enhance the profits of a business firm in two important ways:
1. Advertising does increase sale of the product
The increase in sales will result in mass production and thus will lead to reduction in production costs. Utilization of plant capacity to the maximum, specialization of labour, quantity discount on the purchase of raw materials and other large scale economies will lower down the product cost per unit. As manufacturing costs will be lowered, the profits of the concern will be increased consequently.
2. Similarly, advertising will reduce various ‘marketing costs’
For example, increased advertisements will lead to increased sale and will reduce expenditure on personal selling, less per unit cost on transportation and storage.
Thus, advertising increases profits of a concern due to reduction in manufacturing and marketing costs. But they should not be taken in absolute terms. Profits should be weighed against the increased cost of advertising before concluding that advertising has helped to improve the profits of the firm.
Specific Objectives of Advertising
The following are some of the specific advertising objectives, that are generally set by different producers in different situations.
1. Introducing New Product
Advertising introduces a new product to potential customers. The prospects are informed of the attributes, qualities and price of the product. A new product may gain momentum in sales, if the potential buyers are made aware of its existence. In many cases, the manufacturer decides on the scale of production after evaluating the results of advertisement.
2. Promoting brand and developing brand loyalty
An advertising campaign may be directed to promote a specific brand name in the minds of the prospective buyers of a product and also aims at building brand loyalty by way of convincing them for repeat purchase.
3. Increased usage
Advertising is also used to increase usage of the product. Proctor and Gamble’s advertising campaign for ‘Vicks Vaporub’ is a good example for the increase in usage. The campaign advises the target market to apply it in three places for effective relief. Colgate and Palmolive also achieved greater usage of their tooth paste through advertising.
Suggesting various applications of the product through effective advertising help in achieving increased usage. In this regard, Vermicellli is a good example. The producers campaigned a number of cooking formulae with vermicilli that increased the demand of the product many times.
4. Developing Product Image
The objective may be to develop a distinct image for a product in the minds of the buyers. Advertising plays a vital role in product positioning. Advertising helps to shape the consumers’ image of the product in the desired fashion.
5. Changing Habits
The aim of an advertising campaign may be to change the existing habits of the target market. Kitchen ware is the best example for this. A number of products replaced the traditional tools and appliances that changed the cooking habits of the housewives. A strong and effective advertising campaign of different products is responsible for such a change. Changing one’s habit is not easy. People normally tend to change to the changing environment. It is advertising which makes them change their habits.
6. Support Personal Selling Programme
We have seen already that advertising is a part of a firm’s promotional mix. The objective of advertising may be to assist personal selling which constitutes another important part of the promotional mix. If sales personnel are the key to a firm’s marketing success, advertising can serve as a door opener.
The initial awareness and knowledge created by advertisements will be highly beneficial to the sales representatives when they meet the prospects face to face. It makes the job of a salesman simple and effective. The salesmen, selling to the middlemen also find it easy to convince the middlemen when a product is advertised.
7. Reaching inaccessible buyers
It is very difficult for the producers to meet all buyers personally through their sales force, as the potential buyers are spread widely over various locations. Advertising makes it possible to establish an indirect contact with even inaccessible buyers and thereby creates more demand for the products. Mass communication through advertising paves the way for mass marketing.
8. Information about changes made
The objective of advertising is also to inform the buyers about the changes made in the company policies and product mix. The information may relate to changes in price structure, product modification, change in package, brand name, etc. Such changes can be effectively conveyed quickly through advertising.
9. Increases Sales
The purpose of advertising is to create sales. An advertising campaign motivates buyers to make a purchase after convincing appeals. Advertising drives people to the market and thereby creates a demand for the products.
10. Facing Competition
Another important objective of advertising is to face the competition in the market. Advertising in modern days is used not only to inform the people about a new or existing product but for maintaining and increasing the demand of the product by keeping the buyers away from rival’s products available in the market under competitive conditions.
Advertising helps to build up brand image and brand loyalty so that customers develop a habit to use the product. When brand loyalty is developed, it becomes very difficult for the middlemen to change it.
11. Increases the Market Share
Advertising increases the market share. Various uses of the existing products. are communicated to the prospective customers. If possible, the different uses should be demonstrated to customers through different media of advertising.
The behavioral study of customers will enable the producer to arrive at a method for increasing the market share of the product. The strengths and weaknesses of competitors are evaluated before the strategy of market expansion is implemented.
12. Company Image
Advertising helps in projecting the image of a company. It campaigns for the company’s name along with the brand. The goal of a company is to create favorable image in the minds of the consumers.
An established image ensures easy acceptance by the society over the changes initiated in existing products, new product introduction and withdrawals. The company can promote itself as a responsible organization of the business community.
13. Increasing Public Welfare
Advertising has the objective of increasing the welfare of the public. This is an inherent purpose of an advertisement. Unless public obligations are met, the advertisement would be a fraud upon the public. The moral and ethical values should be stressed in all advertisements. Advertising also informs the public as to how to ensure public hygiene, educates them in the conservation of energy, makes the environment free from pollution, and so on.
14. Selection of media
The most effective media should be chosen in order to get the most profitable result.
An appropriate coordination and integration of marketing and advertising efforts are imperative. Otherwise, objectives of advertising get confused with the objectives of marketing.
16. Other Objectives
Advertising has several other objectives, such as contribution to economic growth and social reforms. It promotes the marketing system, educates the public to make an economical use of scarce resources and maintain ethics of society. The government may insist on many other objectives of advertising, depending upon the socioeconomic conditions of the country, not only for business purposes, but for political, social and economic reforms as well.
Advertising objectives are neither fixed nor confined or limited. Setting up of objectives depends upon company’s objectives, plans and policies. The general objectives refer to the total sales, whereas a specific objective directs the campaign towards the achievement of a specific problem.