Advertising Effectiveness

Advertising Effectiveness

Advertising is a subject that people love and hate. People record their favorite TV shows with digital video recorders (DVRs) in order to escape from commercial advertising. The audience tunes in to the Super Bowl almost every year to see the new commercial advertising and at the same time to enjoy the game as well.

Two Views on How Advertising Works

Asking an experienced marketing researcher about the need for advertising will likely result in a lengthy response. However, the main purpose of advertising is to increase sales and enhance the brand value of the product.

Persuasion plays a vital role in increasing sales volume. Attention, logical argument, and learning are all necessary for persuasion to work effectively. Advertising works effectively at the point where the consumer remembers the logic behind the advertisement and purchases the product.

A neuro marketer who has a background in brain science may have a different answer to the same question. They believe that advertising serves to increase sales indirectly by creating positive associations in the mind of customers about products or brands.

This happens through conditioning and not via persuasion. Conditioning is the result of emotional connection, repetition, and implicit learning.

Although they might mention attention, they could see it as a barrier to advertising effectiveness. Advertising works indirectly at the point of sale through priming.

Seeing the brand in the shop primes the emotional associations made by the advertising, increasing attention to the product and the likelihood of buying it. Priming is most effective if the advertising has increased familiarity, processing fluency, and preference for the brand.

These are simple concepts, but they highlight key differences between these two perspectives of advertising.

The direct route from advertising effectiveness: Emphasizing attention, conscious processing. logical arguments, and sale.

The indirect route towards advertising effectiveness: Emphasizing emotional connection, nonconscious processing and priming, implicit memories, brand attitudes, sales, and branding.

Although these views may seem to be mutually exclusive, we believe that they are complementary. In different situations, for different products or for different consumers, each model may be more realistic.

If you are considering advertising research using traditional or neuromarketing methods, ensure that you and your partner have a common definition for advertising effectiveness. As with neuromarketing vendors and consultants, ensure you agree on which route is best for your advertising objectives. This will make it easier to design studies and prevent confusion later on when the results are presented.

The Direct Way: Increasing the Sales Directly

The AIDA model, which defines persuasion as a four-step process of attracting attention, creating interest, instilling desire, and facilitating customer action, provides a straight path to advertising effectiveness.

This view holds that advertising’s purpose is to convey a clear and logical argument that convinces consumers to purchase a product. It can be done by either reinforcing or changing their preferences to a different product.

Advertising creativity is used to make consumers pay more attention to the arguments. This is because recall is necessary at the point of sale to connect the advertisement and the sale.

The direct route is a method of persuasion that involves conscious, deliberate, intentional, effortful, and rational choices. This view is based upon several assumptions (known as the rational consumer model), which have been challenged by neuroscience, behavioral economics, and social psychology.

It is important to be clear that there are no concerns about this persuasion approach. Numerous studies have proven that this approach works in many situations.

The problem is that customers do not participate in the rational decision-making that the model describes them in their daily shopping and decision-making. The issue isn’t that they can’t be affected by advertising in the way suggested, but that they aren’t frequently.

These are the issues identified by the direct-route model.

  • Most TV advertisements are ignored by the majority of viewers.
  • Most people are unable to recall details of an advertisement. People are more likely to remember storylines and characters if they recall the ad successfully than product claims or verbal arguments.
  • Advertising claims are something that people have ingrained resistance to. They tend to look at counterarguments when they pay attention to claims.
  • People don’t usually consider ad claims in real-world shopping situations. They rely instead on heuristics to make the majority of purchase decisions.
  • It is difficult to prove that advertising has influenced sales. Advertising has a limited impact on sales, with the exception of a few cases.

This does not mean that the direct route model is invalidated by these challenges. We believe that they do show that the model is less applicable than originally thought. The model offers good explanations and predictions within its range of applicability.

Extensive research on advertising shows that consumers are more inclined to pay attention to ads and evaluate them carefully. They also tend not to make purchases based solely on advertising claims.

  • The advertised product is either new or has novel features (e.g. Dyson vacuum cleaners are more efficient than traditional vacuum cleaners).
  • The product’s type is new (for instance, smartphones, tablets computers or 3-D TVs).
  • The product is costly and not often purchased (e.g., appliances, mortgages or cars).
  • The goal of the ad’s purpose is to generate a response, rather than a delay sale. For example, infomercials that persuade viewers “call right away” or ads asking for charitable donations.

Indirect Route: Changing and Reinforcing Attitudes Toward the Brand

The indirect route to effective advertising is a two-step model, which is different from the direct route.

  • Advertising can affect brand equity by changing attitudes, memories, and intentions towards the brand.
  • At the point of purchase, brand attitudes and associations can impact sales

Advertising builds brand equity and drives purchase behavior. Marketers see the indirect route as an important way to measure advertising effectiveness. It identifies more marketing checkpoints between product purchases and ad exposure.

These are the points at which marketing can be measured, and if necessary, adjusted. It is easier to connect brand equity to sales than to try to link ads directly.

Because the ads are seen by the viewer, brand equity changes can be more closely linked to them. The connection between brand equity, market performance, and other aspects (including sales) is also more direct.

Brand equity can have a significant impact on brand performance in many measurable ways. It can also impact expectations, goals, and fluency. These in turn have been shown directly to influence decision making and buying behavior.

This view holds that advertising’s purpose is to increase brand equity. This is done through conditioning, which is an implicit learning process that creates a positive emotional connection to the brand and reinforces it with advertising.

Conditioning works by repetition. Ads must be seen multiple times in order for conditioning to take place. The brand’s positive emotional connection can be activated at the point where the sale is made. From there, it can influence purchase behavior and choice.

The indirect route is a non-conscious, automatic, effortless process of priming or choosing that is driven more by emotion than logic. Research has shown that the indirect path works best when:

  • The product and its category are well-known and popular.
  • The ad reduces the amount of information and message content, and instead focuses on an engaging narrative where the brand plays a key role. This reinforces the emotional connection and minimizes counter-arguing.
  • It is affordable and can be purchased more often.
  • The advertisement is not intended to provoke a response from the viewer but rather to build long-term relationships with a brand.

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