These days, anyone who wants to market their product has a broader range of potential media platforms at their disposal than ever before. However, every media platform engages prospective consumers in a completely different way. What’s more, mass digitalization has led to significant changes in customers’ spending and purchasing habits – for example, consumers are more likely to seek out and research products on their own. So, what are the modern effects of advertisements on consumer behavior? What are customers doing nowadays that they wouldn’t have done in the past?
Let’s take a close look at this topic:
Consumers like to be entertained
What’s the first advertisement you remember? Something humorous, interesting, or unique, right? Commercials need to entertain consumers and create an ad that’ll stick in their heads. Several studies have shown this. Chang, 2006, for example, found that commercials that entertained the viewer increased their satisfaction as a consumer. This interaction positively influenced their buying behavior. Even if they don’t immediately buy the product based on the commercial, a funny or exciting ad will stick with them and keep people discussing the product for years to come.
Familiarity boosts sales
Do you know how people habitually put butter on a sandwich or drink juice at dinner? Where did those behaviors come from? Maybe it’s a time-honored family tradition. But most likely, the behavior came from an advertisement years ago.
You’ve probably seen old-timey, vintage commercials telling you to put a particular butter brand on the table or use a specific baking powder or soap. And who can forget more modern examples, like the Oreo brand’s “Twist it, lick it, dunk it” campaign or Coca-Cola being featured on many a dinner table? Advertisements like this, making you associate a product with something for years to come, can set your product choice decision in stone for a long time.
Better ads leave consumers expecting more
Is it true that the amount spent on advertising directly correlates with how much customers expect from a product or brand? Consumers think heavy, frequent advertising shows that the business is investing more in its brand. This familiarity leads consumers to believe that this business offers a superior quality product. Just look at recent iPhone commercials on TV. The glossy campaign only tells you that the new iPhone is available in a particular color through a luscious visual analogy – nothing of the product’s functionality or features is mentioned even once!
Sell a lifestyle, not a product
Don’t you hate it when commercials just explicitly try to sell you something? These days, marketers have such a repertoire of advanced, high-brow skills for selling a product that it’s no longer effective – and frankly quite annoying – when they simply tell you to buy something!
Advertisers know this, so they try to sell you a lifestyle, not a product. Sure, most commercials give you an idea of how and when to use the advertised product. They’ll show you the product being used, if possible. But then, either while or after using the product, the commercial will show the product user having a good time. Countless deodorant ads show a person magically becoming brilliant at sport after a spray or two or having a great time at a party. These are prime examples of advertisers selling you a lifestyle rather than overtly marketing their product. You’re not buying a deodorant because you sweat; you’re buying it because you want to be a part of that scene in the ad.
Think of the Rolex brand. Expensive, luxurious watches, the same price as – but significantly less useful than – an Apple Watch? How do they get sales? Through careful advertising, of course!
A Rolex watch is not very useful. They aren’t typically waterproof sports watches, nor are they suitable for deep-sea diving or remarkably accurate. But people feel pressure to look and act a certain way. Rolex knows this. Placing Rolexes in glossy magazines and on certain soap characters’ and wealthy celebrities’ wrists has caused the consumers to associate the brand with luxury and richness, a world that they may want to be a part of. In fact, the Rolex brand barely needs to advertise anymore overtly, so embedded in the public consciousness they are.
Use the right medium
Commercials during a TV show try to match the people who would watch that show. You see ads for cereal, toys, and candy when the cartoons are on, while you’re more likely to spot commercials for insurance during primetime shows. Equally, some advertisements deliberately stick to a much smaller audience. You might only hear about a particular concert on country music stations. Or, a local plumber may only advertise in a small newspaper. This is because it pays to reach the right people simply.
But it can also be challenging to prevent word from spreading in this day and age. There’s many a tale of offers and deals accidentally spreading farther than they were intended to, with disastrous consequences. For example, some of Starbucks’ first free reusable festive cup promotions caused widespread negative publicity due to word getting out and stock running low immediately. So, if you’ve got a deal or product to spread the word about, be sure to pick the correct medium.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Repetition is how many of us learn in our lives or develop new habits. We practice these skills over and over again.
Advertisers know this and use it to their advantage. You probably have some memorable ads. How much did you remember after seeing them? Research shows that a customer has to see an ad several times before it impacts them. This means spotting the ad on TV, billboards, and buses before taking it in.
Equally, seeing a commercial several times in the same format is enough to get a customer to follow through on their purchase. For example, seeing the ad several times on TV may make a consumer purchase the product. This is why repetition is so important.