We all know the phrase “what people don’t know won’t hurt them.” And we may even quote or laugh about it from time to time. But as a business owner, you may suspect that that idea is a bit antithetical to your goals as it might undermine the importance of advertisement. You have great products or services and you need customers and clients to know about them. Customers who don’t know about them are missing out on a great thing—obviously.
The importance of advertisement
We can think of the goal of advertising as pushing back against this state of “not knowing” in potential customers or clients. It’s as though your advertising is a way of fighting to inform people about ways you can help them fulfill their needs and wants. What people don’t know might hurt them. And if you have something they need to know about, then, by all means, take your information to the streets.
Advertising statistics to get you excited
Let’s start with some numbers to lay the foundation for the importance of advertisement.
According to Statista:
- “In 2016, more than 190 billion U.S. dollars were spent in advertising in the United States.”
Obviously, a lot of money is changing hands here. But a major question to ask — is advertising making money for advertisers? That calls for a look at ROAS, which stands for return on ad spend. It measures how much you get back compared to how much you put out when it comes to advertising.
Let’s start with out-of-home advertising or advertising that your customers will see when they’re not at home (i.e. it won’t be on their TVs or smartphones). According to Statista, in 2018,
- “For each dollar invested in OOH advertising, U.S. advertisers gained 5.97 U.S. dollars.”
But that’s not to say that advertising on TVs or smartphones isn’t a good idea. As far as TV goes,
- “In 2018, it has been projected that U.S. television advertising revenue will total 71 billion U.S. dollars, while by 2022 the forecasts see a modest increase to 74.9 billion U.S. dollars.” (Source: Statista)
Smartphones have their own role to play in modern marketing. According to eMarketer,
- “By 2019, mobile ad spending will rise to $65.87 billion, or 72.2% of total digital ad spend.”
Big picture advertisement thinking
So, it’s easy to see that if you have something that someone else needs or wants, you’ll have to find a way to get it to them. And how would you do that without using some form of communication?
A communication spectrum
If we think of communication as ranging from the subtle to the overt, then plenty of advertisements would fall at the overt end of the spectrum. If you’re the CEO of a multimillion-dollar breakfast cereal company, then eating your favorite cereal in front of guests could be a subtle kind of communication—they’ll get the message that you like the cereal. We’ll class that as subtle communication.
On the other hand, a more overt kind of communication could look like a major sports star’s face splashed across a billboard featuring your new cereal. Alongside the star’s name there’s the copy:
He loves Wonder-O’s. So will you.
That sends a pretty obvious message.
The nitty-gritty importance of advertisement
Thus, advertising is simply a way to communicate. You have something great that you think customers/clients will want. By letting them know about it, you’re connecting them with products and services they desire.
Naturally, some products and services will require more advertising than others. If you’re rolling out a new soda and you have plenty of competition, you might have to work hard to get consumers to purchase. On the other hand, let’s say you’re a hospital, and you’re the only one within a 100-mile radius. Then, you’re probably not going to have to plug too hard for your emergency department. People will come when they need you.
Questions to ask
As you get started on your advertising journey, stimulate your thought process with these questions.
- What product or service am I offering?
- Do consumers already know about it?
- Will they buy it whether or not they see an advertisement for it?
- What media will most effectively get the product in front of consumers and convince or remind them to buy?
Once you’re convinced of the importance of advertisement, the work doesn’t stop there. In fact, it might be only the beginning of great projects and campaigns to come. You might decide to dig deeper into the psychology of advertising. Or you could elect to increase your advertising knowledge by studying other successful advertising campaigns. On the other hand, if you’re planning a sign for your advertising, you can always learn from our 6 Elements You Must Include On Your Sign | Tips On Layout & Design.