Communication Effects of Advertising

The management should attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of the advertising campaign if the firm’s advertising goals are to be achieved and the ad effectiveness is to be increased. By regular evaluation of the advertising effectiveness, the short comings and the plus points would be revealed and the management would be able to improve the campaign by negating the shortcomings and retaining the favorable point. For this purpose, it is very necessary to know how advertising affects the buyer’s behaviors. But this is very difficult task because measurements are imperfect and imprecise.

The effectiveness of advertising can be measured by the extent, it to which it achieves the objectives set for it. If it succeeds in attaining the objectives. Advertising can be said to be effective otherwise it will be a waste of money and time. In this sense, advertising can be recognized as a business activity like other activities.

In a very real sense the integrity of promotional activities rests on how well those activities work. An advertising budget that is spent on some poorly defined task or on undefined tasks may be regarded as an economic waste as compared to that spent to achieve the well defined objectives for which the results can be measured. Any social institution upon which a significant portion of our total productive efforts is expanded should be able to point to its specific accomplishment. Indeed, it is a source of discomfort that specific results of advertising activities have not always been subject to precise measurement. Both practitioners and critics feel that promotional activities should only be accepted as socio-economic-institution with full right and privileges “when the means  exist to prove that advertising super are productive rupees’ It is undoubtedly a source of embarrassment that we cannot exactly measure the effectiveness of advertising in definitive terms.

The exact result of advertisement expenditure is very difficult to predict because;

  • The reaction of consumer; buyers to the advertising efforts cannot be known in advance.
  • The reaction of competitors in the field cannot be guessed in anticipation and
  • The unexpected events (such as change in social and economic environment and the government policies etc.) cannot be accurately anticipated. Such events may influence the results of the advertising efforts. If we take a hypothetical case of a retailer who contract to spent Rs.5000 on advertisement with a local newspaper for a special sales even. The advertisement is seen and the response is much greater than it is anticipated. What caused the success of sale? They message theme colors etc., of the advertisement or the low prices quoted during the sale of the superior quality of the product or absence of competition in the market on the day or the favorable. Weather conditions or the goodwill of the firm etc. The overwhelming success of the sale is the joint result of all the above variables and it is quite impossible to isolate the role of any one variable. It is so because the cause and effect — relationship cannot be established in advance when a multitude of variable impinge upon a particular event. It is entirely possible that a poor advertising support may push up the sale because everything else falls into its proper place or the reverse may be possible. But it does not mean that that we cannot measure the effects of particulars advertising effort. The advertising executives are much concerned about the assessment of the effectiveness of the advertising efforts. For this purpose, the management needs answers to such questions as: was the advertising campaign really successful in attaining the advertising goals? Were our T.V. commercials as good as those of our competitors? Will the print advertisement, which we have designed, make consumers aware of our new product? To get answers of these questions, various tests of effectiveness (Pre- tests and post-tests ) are deeded to determine whether proposed advertisement should be used, and if they are not satisfactory how they might be improved, and whether on going campaign should be stopped continued or changed. Pre- tests are conducted before exposing target consumers to the advertisements and post tests after consumers have been exposed to them.

As indicated earlier, the advertisers are interested in knowing what they are getting for their advertising rupees, So they test the proposed advertisement with pre test and measure the actual results with a post test. In the past, protesting was done by the advertising agencies but now the advertisers have been taking an increasingly active role in protesting process. Pre test may be done either before an advertisement has been designed or executed after it is ready for public distribution or at both points.

During protesting there is often research on three vital questions;

  1. Do consumers feel that the advertisement communicates something desirable about the product?
  2. Does the message have an exclusive appeal that differentiates the product from that of the competitors?
  3. Is the advertisement believable?

Although a lot of money is spent on protesting yet the advertisers like to confirm the results by post testing of their promotional campaigns due to the following reasons;

  • There is a need produce more effective advertising by retaining the good and removing the bad.
  • The advertising executives can prove to the satisfaction of the management that a higher advertising budget will benefit the firm.
  • There is a need for measuring the results to determine the level of expenditure that is most promising.

Communication Effects of Advertising

Most research focuses on the communication effects of advertising  rather than sales effect because it is a long run process. In the short run, however sales may be slight and important but in the long run its effects ob brands and companies may be of great importance. Indirectly it will affect the sales in the long run, by changing the consumer awareness and attitude. The advertisers are therefore, concerned with their impact on consumer awareness and attitude.

The communication effects of advertising  on sales may be presented in the following   sequence diagram;

Awareness –> Attitude –> Trial –>Satisfaction –>Purchases or repurchase

Awareness builds a favorable or at least a curious attitude towards the product which leads to experimentation. If consumer is satisfied with the trial he may decide to purchase the product. There are many critical and unresolved issues in determining how to test the communication effects of advertising. Among these are:-

  • Exposure Conditions — Should advertising be tested under realistic conditions or under more controlled laboratory conditions?
  • Execution — Protesting a finished advertisement as an expensive and time consuming. Does protesting a preliminary execution produce accurate and useful data?
  • Quality Vs. Quantity Data- Quantitative data are the easiest and the almost precise measurement. But qualitative data collected through interviews may provide information that short answer questions never can.

Many types of advertising tests are conducted (different methods of pre-tests and post-test are given in question number) In T.V. commercials are tested by inviting a group of people to the studio to view a program. The audience is then surveyed about the commercials. Print advertisements are tested through dummy magazine portfolio tests.

Communication Effectiveness Vs Sales Effectiveness

It is easier to assess the communication effect of advertising than the sales effect. Many firms try to measure the effectiveness of advertising in terms of sales results but this practice is always misleading. Since, the effect is the result of so many variables, a distinct effect of advertising on sales cannot be correctly measured, Although there may be some exceptions. For example direct mail advertising can effectively be measured by the inquiries received. But in many situations the exact relationship between advertising activity and sales cannot be established satisfactorily.

We can correctly assume that some sales will occur even though there is no advertising or little advertising or conversely there will be no increase in sales after the point of saturation is reached or it may be that sales will show a decreasing trend at this point in spite of large amount of expenditure on advertising is done. It is so because advertising is no the only variable that effect the sales.

Thus, we may conduct that sales effect of advertising is difficult to measure because a number of variables affect the quantum of tales and the contribution of advertisement cannot be measured separately unless all other variables are presumed to be constant. This situation is quite hypothetical and almost nonexistent. Added to this is the fact that advertisement itself is made of a variety of variables such as media, messages, colours, page or time of the day, locations, the size of the headline and the appeals used. Thus even if the advertising variable is separated this would still not answer the question about the effectiveness of the individual components of the advertising campaign. So advertisers try to measure the communication effect of the advertising.

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