Advertising can be described in simple terms as a way to get information about a product or service to potential or existing customers. Advertising also helps promote a product, service or event to its target audience.
A target audience is the portion of the general public that products, services or events were created for to fill a desire or need in the marketplace.
There are several mediums used to deliver advertising messages. A few of which including: television, radio, newspaper, magazines, word-of-mouth, the internet, and billboards. Generally, advertisements are usually placed anywhere an audience can easily and/or frequently access.
Television advertising is the most preferred way to advertise these days. Even though it’s an expensive form of advertisement, most entrepreneurs prefer to use it because, with television adverts, viewers have the opportunity to see the various features and uses of the product. This makes television advertisement the most famous form of advertising.
There is also print advertising, which can also spread a lot of information. The main elements of print advertising are pamphlets, leaflets, brochure, newspapers and magazines. It is important for every entrepreneur to take appropriate interest and advantage of print advertising.
Another important mode of advertising is radio advertising. The number of people who listen to the radio on daily bases keeps growing, thus, radio advertising is very important for spreading mass awareness about a product.
Radio advertisement also reaches a large population at a particular time.
Outdoor advertising is another important means of advertisement. Outdoor advertising includes various types of promotional displays, banners and highway billboards which are also geared towards communicating a message to the public.
Outdoor advertising is a very effective mode of advertising, and as such, business entrepreneurs must invest good amount of money in it.
The internet is also an important tool in communication in recent times. Internet advertising helps in increasing sales since it is gradually becoming easily accessible. People these days can access the internet at the comfort of their homes and even on their mobile phones.
When considering advertising in any of these mediums, one needs to ensure that the advertising will yield the desired and quick results.
Because the service is regarded as expensive, there’s the need for entrepreneurs to focus on a very specific target market when advertising their products.
This means reaching out to specific prospects most likely to be interested in what you offer.
It must however be noted that advertising is very different from personal selling, in which the customer is guided by a sales person.
But in advertising, the advertisement is shown to the customer and the decision is in the hands of the customer. This makes advertising very effective for all kinds of products.
Sharing his opinion on the importance of advertising to entrepreneurs, George Minta-Jacobs, Executive Director of Empretec Business Forum, said advertising is very important to the growth of every business.
He said without advertising, it’s like doing business in the dark. “Advertising is just letting people know the kind of product or service that one is engaged in.
So without it, it becomes difficult for people to have enough knowledge about what you do.” He said some small business owners do not tap into the power of advertising to grow their business because they believe it’s expensive.
He said often, we hear people say, “I would advertise but I can’t afford it. It’s just too expensive.” He added that some people even see it as a waste of money.
He said this may be true to a certain level, but it is important for entrepreneurs to understand that however expensive advertising may be, its impact on their business can be enormous, in terms of increase in profit. “The more they advertise, the more people patronize their product or service.”
If most people engaged in small businesses believe that advertising can be expensive, how then do they market their products without advertising?
According to Mr. Minta-Jacobs, most entrepreneurs in the small sector rather prefer word-of-mouth advertising. This form of advertising, he explained, relies on personal recommendations to promote their product or service.
He noted that many of such entrepreneurs often rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising to sell their product or service, because it produces good results at a very low cost.
“They believe that if you tell someone how much you like a product or service, that word of mouth endorsement doesn’t cost the business any money.”
He therefore advised entrepreneurs to choose the right advertising tools to suit their purpose.
Michael Mensah, an entrepreneur who is into the production of beauty products, said because there’s so much competition in the industry, advertising is the best way to go. He indicated that he advertises both on radio and the newspapers.
He stated that he was yet to go into TV advertisement because of the cost involved, but explained that advertising has really grown his business, because initially, it was quite difficult for people to accept his product because of similar products that were on the market as well as their reluctance to use it.
“But after constant advertisement, people are gradually beginning to like it, and this is really increasing my sales.”
There are several benefits that entrepreneurs can derive from advertising. A few of which include: remind customers and prospective ones about the benefits of a product or service. It can also establish and maintain a distinct identity, enhance a product or service reputation, encourage existing customers to buy more of what you sell, and attract new customers and replace lost ones.
However, it must be noted that advertising cannot cause an immediate sharp increase in sales or solve profit problems. It will definitely increase sales, but will be at a gradual process.