How Ads Affect Your Search For Information

A decision to purchase is reached after you must have gone through a series of processes which begins with the identification of the need for the product. The usual thing is to embark on a search which can be internal, external, or both. The internal search focuses on your memories while the external is market dominated or personal and interpersonal, inadvertently making organizations to score high on ads and branding.

Your memories which stem from the knowledge you already have of the product are ultimately based on exposure, attention, comprehension & acceptance, and retention.

1. Exposure

Exposure is based on the contact you have previously had with a brand and to embed such a brand in your mind, organizations resort to pulsing ads. Pulsing combines flighting and continuous scheduling by using a low advertising level all year round and heavy advertising during peak selling periods.

This will not work for all products or services and is basically fit for product categories that are sold all year round but experience a surge in sales at intermittent periods. For instance, there is no point pulsing the ads associated with Christmas hampers all year round because they are only of interest for a short time frame. On the other hand, umbrellas sell all year round but more in the monsoon season.

2. Attention

Ads are designed to grab and maintain your attention. Usually, a lot of creativity is enmeshed in the process in order to score on you.

It’s woven around what you will find interesting and captivating. What will make you stop and listen, watch or read the said advertisement Brands are also very mindful of the fact that at some point, the captivating effect starts to wear off and you will stop finding that particular piece of copy interesting and switch off. What the brand does at such a situation is to launch a new campaign.

3. Comprehension and acceptance

Ads are crafted in such a way that you will instantly get the message and wholly accept what it’s passing across. Most times they take into cognizance the smallest bits of differences that may border on your culture and religion.

For example, an ad that depicts a girl clad in a bikini will go down well with customers in the U.S. but will be frowned at and rejected in most Arab countries. Dove’s $4.1bn toiletries brand was one of the first brands to embrace ‘femvertising’, but its body-shaped bottles have been roundly ridiculed.

4. Retention

The message most stick and for this purpose, it’s made as simple as possible. Jingles and branding are employed also to ingrain the message. The whole effort is to ensure that you recall especially the high involvement product once the need arises and if not, to recognize the low involvement one any time you set eyes on it.

You, however, embark on external research when you have no prior knowledge about a product, which then leads you to seek information from personal/interpersonal sources (e.g. word of mouth from friends/family ), public sources or third party independent organizations (e.g. online forums, consumer’s Association surveys), and marketer-dominated sources (e.g. salespersons, advertising).

1. Personal/interpersonal sources

The salesperson you meet in a retail store shores up your interest in purchasing a product. Your friend or family member who possibly has made use of the product can convince you into purchasing. Any of them is an instance of word-of-mouth (MOW) as an information source to break the threshold level faster.

With the advancement in technology, however, brands are progressing into what is known as virtual word-of-mouth, where electronic bulletin boards are used to convey information to you.

2. Public sources/third party independent organizations

This brings into focus the idea of the virtual community, where people from different walks of life but usually with common interests and needs come together online. These communities will have significant and growing buying power as well as influence on your purchasing behavior. They tend to exchange information on the price and quality of various goods and services.

Other sources of information that can also influence your purchasing behavior are public institutions such as the American Marketing Association (AMA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the American Consumer Council (ACC).

These institutions often come up with surveys, researches, and studies that have telling effects on consumers’ behavior.

3. Marketer dominated sources

Brands do a yeoman’s job in ensuring that you are converted. They come up with scintillating ads and campaigns usually targeted at you. With the availability of copious amount of data on you, they know how to come at you. According to studies, by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.

They will be able to train models more effectively and also use your data to come up with ads that recommend products to you with more precision.

Words like ‘new’, ‘improved’, ‘better’, or ‘power’ packed are used in ads. Change in packaging, design, and color, periodically helps to push information through. Ads (internal or external) work on your sensibilities, stimulate, and generally push the information through the threshold level so that purchases are expedited.

Photo Credit: Hugo-90 Flickr via Compfight cc

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About John Ejiofor

John Ejiofor is a curious life-researcher, whose quest to finding answers to life's pertinent questions has led to founding Nature Torch. This blog aims to debate and explore many questions about our earth -- including those a lot of people are uncomfortable with asking. He has been published on some of the internet's most respected websites, which you can find online.
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