Advertisement controls what and how we consume various products. Many ads employ deceptive and manipulative tactics to influence us to buy products in ways we cannot even tell. Sometimes people think they can ignore ads believe that they do not affect their spending behavior, that is not even the case. We get to see ads every now and then and we must admit that they have become part and parcel of our daily lives. The article shall therefore dissect the manipulation adverts cause, the problem they propagate, how to deal with the negative consequences caused by ads.
Many people do not want to accept that they are affected by the ads when it comes to making a choice of what to purchase because they believe they are in full control of choices they make. Not all advertisements are bad since others serve the purpose of educating us while others inform us of the availability of a product. Advertising involves the use of videos, images, music and colors to put across some message regarding a particular product. These images create a lasting effect in the brain of a consumer therefore persuading him or her to take action. Therefore, an advert that is appropriately prepared be it online or offline obviously plays a major role in influencing a consumer’s decision to purchase whatever is being offered (Ghose & Todri, 2015).
Adverts are primarily prepared to persuade individuals to buy or purchase a particular item thus understanding how advertisements influence the choices people make is just one step to comprehending persuasion methods employed in marketing. These techniques can take the form of rational, irrational or an amalgamation of both. Rational techniques are often employed in what is commonly referred to as informational advertising to assist individuals make informed buying decisions.
This form of advertisement is centered on the product an organization would want to offer to its customers. It provided factual information relevant to inform and convince a consumer to choose the product over competitor’s offering. The information contained in such adverts ought to be accurate hence verifiable. In most cases, informational advertising lays focus on the advantages and specific features of a product. However, the information provided to consumers is issued under the presumption that prospective clients would accept it to be legit. The advertiser can also compare the products with what competitors offer as well as its performance among other advantages that would lead a consumer to a logical decision to purchase (Ghose & Todri, 2015).
Apart from informational advertising, advertisers can deviate from product centered adverts to tender user-oriented promotions. Therefore, transformational adverts promise the user experiences that would improve their general quality of life. Consumers are further promised to have more fun, more excitement, glamor, warmth, richness, and satisfaction. The messages communicated through transformational adverts tend to connect what is communicated and the reality hence commonly referred to as experiential advertising.
More often people thinks that advertising only serves the purpose of telling us about the characteristics and unique qualities of a product in the market. For instance, one cookie might be advertised to be one that tastes sweeter, leaving the consumer relieved and refreshed. The consumer might choose the cookie over the rest in the market because he or she pegs the decision to buy on the properties it contains. Adverts do among other things to put a product or a service net to competitors in the marketplace. Back to the example, the cookie might contain pictures of babies have fun probably insinuating the cookie is good. One will buy the cookie because he or she associates goodness with the baby contained on the pack.
Effects of advertising on consumer behavior
Traditionally, advertising has been known to pass the message to the customer forgetting that it has numerous effects it creates on the customer. Promotion and advertising affects clients in ways that one may find so surprising. It is thus so important for a marketer to understand these effects before launching his or her product. Advertising therefore serves the purpose of creating awareness on the side of customers. The viewers of ads learn so much about new products and services available in the market. The consumers will learn about the products just like they conceive news and events from the press. The information provided through advertising plays a critical role providing facts that enable consumers to make informed decisions. At this stage, the consumers express curiosity and therefore would want to consume the products to experience them.
Consumers are considered to be rational in their behavior and for that matter will look forward critically investigating the features that the product or service has to offer. All the functional aspects of the advertised product are analyzed critically and logically in order to form an informed opinion. Additionally, through the analysis consumers are capable of differentiating products offered in the market by various producers. In the market, there are numerous products and services which act as perfect substitutes for each other. In order to make the right choice or purchase decision, advertising plays a critical role in exposing the unique product or service feature.
More importantly, advertising presents a unique opportunity for consumers to examine and evaluate the benefits various products and services and compare them against those of competitors. In the process of weighing the benefits, the customers get emotionally involved in promotion and advertisement. They will further identify ways in which the product or service makes them happier or gives them pleasure which shall in one way or another improve their lives. When customers attach meaning and value to whatever is being advertised, they will eventually purchase the product or service.
There is much that comes with evaluation of benefits, for instance, this behavior is irrational and the customer cannot explain some purchases. The unplanned purchase of goods is what is commonly referred to as impulse buying. Customers can engage in competitive practices in order to obtain a particular product thus dictating the pricing. Additionally, advertising effectively increases the bargaining power of clients. One product can sell so high in one market while the same product retails at a low price.
Repetitive advertisement considerably affects how consumers make purchases and consume certain products and services. The repetition of the message acts as a perfect reminder to the customer of the existence of the product or service being advertised. In fact, it is this repetitive messages that assist in harnessing loyal customers. Additionally, the customer behavior is impacted majorly when that client goes shopping and all over a sudden thinks of a product and instantly makes a purchase as if he or she had purposed (Fransen, Verlegh, Kirmani & Smit, 2015).
What it takes to change consumer behavior through advertising
It takes the preparation of a good advert to create a good feeling and impression regarding a product. Surrounding it with things associate with is one way of making the product attractive and appealing to the general public. Most at times, we pay less attention to ads aired on TV or on other advertising platforms. However, we don’t realize when we actually consume them. It is also important to note that we cannot have every bit of information regarding everything we would want to consume. At this point, we tend to employ intuition to choose what is good for us from the broad range of options that often confront us (Zhang, 2015).
Experience being the best teacher can play a big role in influencing how we conceive adverts and actually consume products and services on offer in the market. In many occasions consumers can just feel good about a product because they have had a previous encounter with it. Sometimes, certain products are consumed because one individual referred another to try it. Referrals originate from experience a user or consumer of a product or service had with the product. For instance, if a prior encounter with the service or good being advertised was unpleasant, not even a single advert can change the mind of the buyer to choose it over competitor’s offering. The information that we gather or collect from and advert help us in deciding whether to consume or not.
Linking production and consumption
Advertising is considered as a bridge between the production and consumption of products. Institutions of modern advertising and marketing play a great deal in converting wants into effective demand. Human wants are characterized by their large number and inability to satiate all of them at a go. Therefore, adverts spark emotions hence effectively creating desires and demands that did not previously exist. For instance, an organization planning to introduce a new product to the market has to consider developing the most creative and attractive advert to catch the attention of potential customers. The much spent in advertising serves the purpose of arousing customers’ interests in the new product (Stephen, 2016).
Though it has been severally claimed that one way of discouraging consumption of certain products to be cutting advertisement, these claims are not true. Banning as well as regulating advertisement of products cannot in any way stop the consumption of certain goods. To understand this, one has to consider the value advertising delivers to consumers in the global market apart from suppling them with the much needed information to make informed reactions and decisions. Advertising should however not be confused to be the only source of information to assist clients making appropriate choices; there are several sources that serve the same purpose. But is acknowledgeable that advertising only exposes the consumer to a product being offered by a particular organization.
Advertising is also not a guarantee of popularity because sometimes consumers can choose to ignore adverts placed in various media platforms. The same consumers can decide to purchase instead products in the market offered at a lower price. Customers have various strategies of making purchase decisions. There are those who buy a service or product because of its affordable price compared to the rest in the marketplace. Since there is no guarantee of success after spending substantial amounts of money on advertisements, competing companies that have not spent even a single coin still manage to harness a large number of customers. These organizations choose to focus their energy on ensuring the quality of offerings is superb (Ghose & Todri, 2015).
Advertising can play a role in attracting and sustaining demand, but if this was the case the consumption of illegal drugs would not be so high throughout the globe. More importantly, these drugs are not advertised in any mainstream media but statistics reveal that many people use and abuse the drugs. The presence of many companies in several industries results in many independent market surveys and studies. If the surveys demonstrate an increase in demand, many of the firms would engage in fierce advertising in a bid to attract a large share of the market as possible. The volume of adverts will definitely grow in reaction to the growing demand for the advertised product (Zhang, 2015).
One may argue that advertising increases consumption, since many people will get to learn about the existence of the product as well as its unique features. If this was the case, the reduction in advertising, say, forbidding it ought to lower the popularity of the products advertised. The banning of alcohol in America in 1974 provides a better example of the effect that is supposed to emanate from banning adverts on certain products. Advertising remained legal in the Alberta province as the Manitoba province witnessed a ban in advertising of alcohol and related products. Comparing the consumption of alcohol in the two regions did not produce significant variances but just demonstrated that advertisement is not the only influencer for consumption (Stephen, 2016).
Advertising and the product’s life cycle
As mentioned above, advertisement has been said not to contribute so much to the consumption or demand of a product. Then one would ask, why do firms have to commit so much money towards advertisement? The answer is very simple, a huge amount of money is spent to try and capture the largest share of the market from their competitors. Marketing specialists identify four stages through which a product has to pass; that is, introduction, growth, maturity and decline. In the introduction stage, the product does not have a developed market and therefore, advertising serves the purpose of informing prospective consumers of the availability and presence of the product. It is through advertising that the unique features of the new product are made visible to consumers (Ghose & Todri, 2015).
In subsequent stages, the product has gained a substantial share in the market and therefore, further investment in promotion is concerned with trying to cover as much customers. As the product progresses through the growth, maturity, and decline stage, the amount of advertising incurred largely depends on the specific goas and objectives that a marketer might have. For instance, the maturity stage, the product is expected to be facing stiff competition from substitutes therefore to remain competitive, the company has to advertise to remind consumers of its presence. In this stage and subsequent ones, an organization is left with two strategies; differentiating its products through extensive marketing as well as introducing new features to make the products attractive.
Additionally, when the product reaches its decline stage, several brands emerge and therefore the organization offering the same aim at creating a share for each brand. Promotional and advertising activities at this point of product development only makes an impact in apportioning every brand its respective portion. Brands are significant in distinguishing organizations from their competitors. As a product enters the subsequent stages in its lifecycle, it has to stay distinct from competitors in order to command customers’ loyalty (Zhang, 2015).
Advertising is primarily concerned with increasing the share of the market for a specific brand or product of a company rather than developing one for all. The paper has demonstrated that advertising performs among other functions such as informing people of the choices available. Apart from the choices available, adverts do expose consumers to the unique features and characteristics of new and existing products. Once the company meets its end of the bargain, the consumer reserves all it takes to make informed decisions and choices on the product after closely examining its offerings. An organization planning to advertise has to therefore come up with an innovative and creative alternative that will outdo its competitors (Stephen, 2016).
Besides informing, adverts are used to differentiate one organization’s products from another’s through the image created. The advertising sector is therefore a game where one has to lose while the other gains with the level of consumption remaining constant irrespective of who wins or loses the fight. Additionally, the study has made one important revelation; advertising depends so much on the input contributed by professionals who in turn add some economic value to the whole system. These professionals require appropriate motivation and provision with necessary material to realize organizational objectives. Organizations exist to create value to the shareholders as well as offer solutions to problems facing humanity in a bid to satisfy their needs.
Public policies that may result from change of regime have also an impact on advertisement and its effectiveness in creating awareness of a product. For instance, Canada had introduced a ban on alcohol in one province. But instead of the demand going down, it continued to be as high as nothing had happened. The consideration of this case produces one important conclusion; advertising is not the only determinant for demand of a certain product. Advertising rather complements other factors that affect the level of consumption of various products in the marketplace.
The study has also concluded that, the product life cycle elucidates different kinds of advertising strategies to propel the popularity of the introduced products. Across the four product development stages, different levels of advertising are employed. For instance, during the introductory stage, the product needs to be strongly advertised so that customers can get to know of it. The purpose of intensively investing money into initial advertising is meant to cut for the product a considerable share of the market. However, as the product nears decline, organizations do engage in little advertising as much of the energy is focused on popularizing the different brands offered by the organization. By this time, the company shall have been able to identify which brands are aggressive. Such brands acquire the attention of advertisers who would later utilize in making informed purchase decision.
Fransen, M. L., Verlegh, P. W., Kirmani, A., & Smit, E. G. (2015). A typology of consumer strategies for resisting advertising, and a review of mechanisms for countering them. International Journal of Advertising, 34(1), 6-16.
Ghose, A., & Todri, V. (2015). Towards a digital attribution model: Measuring the impact of display advertising on online consumer behavior.
Stephen, A. T. (2016). The role of digital and social media marketing in consumer behavior. Current Opinion in Psychology, 10, 17-21.
Zhang, Y. (2015). The impact of brand image on consumer behavior: a literature review. Open journal of business and management, 3(1).