Advertising is one of the many marketing tools that are used to attract attention of prospective customers to a business or its products or services. The more effective an advertising campaign, more the customers it draws, and with greater frequency. Advertising is part of the overall marketing strategy of a business, which includes public relations, promotional programs, signage, incentives, newsletters, and word of mouth, among other strategies.
The aim of a marketing strategy is to use advertising, along with these other tools, for maximum impact.
History of Advertising
If you think that advertising is a modern phenomenon, think again. The earliest forms of advertising, of course, would have been through word of mouth. Advertising – for sales, and lost-and-found – was commonly created on papyrus in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Commercial advertising, through wall or rock paintings that goes back to 4000 BC, has been found in many parts of India, Africa, and South America. Commercial and political advertising displays have been recovered from the ruins of the ancient Pompeii, a Roman city destroyed by the volcano -Mount Vesuvius – in 79 AD.
With the development of printing technology in the 15th and 16th centuries, handbills were used as a form of advertising. By the 17th century, newspaper advertisements made their way in England, which were mainly for printed books, and medicines. By the 19th century, classified advertisements became popular in the United States for promoting a variety of goods. This century also brought in the first advertising agency in Philadelphia, in 1843. From just being brokers for ad space in newspapers, the advertising agencies graduated to writing ad contents by the 20th century.
First with TV, followed by Cable TV, and now with the development of Internet, the very face of advertising has changed.
Impact of Advertising
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
-John Wanamaker, father of modern advertising.
Advertising certainly has a lot of impact on what we buy, or do not buy. There is a lot of debate going on, for and against the impact of advertising, but one thing is clear, it does affect our buying trends, for good or for worse.
Today, with the advent of the Internet and its impact on our everyday lives, it has provided new advertising opportunities. As part of the marketing strategies on the Internet, Popup, Flash, banner, advergaming – the practice of using games, particularly computer games, to advertise or promote a product or an organization – and email advertisements, among others, abound. Unfortunately, email advertising has taken the form of spam.
Another significant trend brought about by the Internet, and which seems to be the future of advertising, is niche, or targeted, ads. Niche, or targeted, advertisements allow advertisers and businesses with an increasing ability to reach narrow, or targeted, audiences. In the old days of advertising, the trend was to find ways to deliver your advertisement, efficiently, to as large a mass of audience as possible. Today, however, the trend has changed.
Using tracking, customer profiles, and such, niche content is brought by advertisers to smaller, but better defined, audiences. These ads are more relevant to the smaller audiences, and hence more effective. Video on demand ads target specific groups. These ads can be watched by the audiences from their homes, who choose to watch only those ads they actually want to watch.
Whatever forms your advertising takes, it should do the following:
- Remind customers and potential customers of the benefits of your products or services. – Establish and maintain your distinct identity, and brand. – Build sales to boost your bottom line.