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Advertising is any paid form of nonpersonal presentation of ideas or products. It is a good way of informing, persuading or reminding customers about your product.

While small businesses may not be able to afford heavy spending in expensive media like television or print, a targeted program may achieve the desired communication objectives. An example is the use of cable television or regional television stations instead of national television.

Two basic decisions in advertising are the creatives and the media:

  • Creatives involve creating the message, communicating the message (the copy and execution), and determining the message source or spokesperson.
  • When the advertisement is produced, the next part is to choose which medium will be used (television, radio, newspapers, magazine, outdoor, Internet, Yellow pages, etc.), and the schedule of media placements.

Traditional tri-media involves print, television and radio. These three media offer the widest reach but are typically the most expensive. However, prices for tri-media advertising are justified by computing the per-capita cost. For instance, a TV spot on a primetime show may cost a hundred thousand pesos, but if it is seen by two million people, then the per-capita cost is only 5 centavos, which may actually be cheap compared to other types of advertising.

The problem with tri-media, however, is that it usually reaches people who may or may not be your target market in the first place. Thus, you may be paying for “eyeballs” or “ears” that you do not wish to market to in the first place. For instance, you may be selling a woman’s product, but if 40 percent of the viewers of a particular TV program are male and are therefore not your market, you are still paying for their attention when you advertise on the program.

This is why small businesses with tight budgets may be better off using non-traditional advertising media (also known as “below-the-line” advertising). Examples include the use of flyers, bulletin boards, the Internet, posters and promo items.

If your product is really good, you can consider a giveaway strategy. One successful chain of hamburger restaurants, for example, started out by giving away their burgers to office workers around the area where they started operating. Because the product was really good, the office workers became regular customers. Of course this strategy will only work if your product is cheap enough to be given away in the first place!

Word of mouth is also an excellent way to disseminate information about your product. The problem with this, however, is that by its very nature, word of mouth is not exactly manageable by the company. It will happen only if your product is really good and distinctive enough for people to talk about. If you want people to spread the word about your product, then make sure that it stands out!

The bottom line is that advertising involves ways by which to communicate the existence and the attributes of your product. Because no matter how good your product is, if nobody knows about its existence, then you still would not have a market.

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Magdalena Zettl  |  March 19, 2014