What Is the Relationship between Consumer Behavior and Advertising?
Consumer behavior and advertising are closely related because the main goal of advertising involves using the behavior of potential buyers. The art of advertising is to use visual images and convincing copy to give consumers a sense of longing or need for products or services. This also ties in with the study of marketing, the means by which advertising is delivered to consumers through networking, advertisements, and other means of communication.
Advertising refers to ways in which marketers, retailers, and other professionals communicate with potential consumers or prospects. It usually involves the use of paid printed media communications, television spots, or Internet radio ads. Marketers must have a good grasp of consumer behavior and advertising of the way the two are connected before an effective campaign can be implemented. Studies of past consumer behavior and public opinion on certain products should be performed well in advance. Advertisers must understand their potential customers in order for their efforts yield a good return.
The goal of any ad is to persuade consumers that they need a particular product or service. To do this, the message of any form of advertising must appeal to the product's key demographic, an ad must speak directly to the person most likely to need or want the product being sold. For instance, advertisers probably wouldn't use slang in an ad directed at investment brokers, nor would they use images of scantily clad women to try and sell to new moms. In this way, advertising is heavily linked to consumer behavior, since no ad will influence a person's behavior if it seems irrelevant to his or her desires.
Studying consumer behavior and advertising is also useful in other ways. Advertisers may go back and study the response rates and reactions to previous ads to determine overall public opinion about them. This may include studies on what people think of a particular brand's image or what they thought about the ad in particular. By determining what consumers respond to best, more effective advertising can be delivered.
The study of consumer behavior and advertising is typically a case of trial and error. Some ads, even when they follow conventional wisdom, simply do not sell products. Many ineffective advertising comes as the result of not appealing to the right demographic. Others bomb because they don't address any demographic at all, but they focus solely on the product or service being offered instead of on consumer needs.
@Oceana – I think that most ads find a way to sneak in a perk for both men and women. I know of a local clothing store that only sells women's dresses, but their ads are quite racy.
This makes men take notice. It also makes girlfriends and wives get jealous when their men are gawking at the lady in the short skirt with her cleavage hanging out. Then, they think, “If I go buy this dress, I will be able to knock him out and show him that I am just as attractive as the model is.”
Of course, it could have the opposite effect for the women. It could turn them away from the store, because they could ban it on principle out of jealousy. It's a risk that the store takes.
I never really noticed that ads don't simply state information about the product being sold until this article pointed it out. Now that I think about it, almost every ad I've seen has a target.
I was considering switching banks after my local branch moved, so I noticed a couple of bank ads in my newspaper. I paid close attention, because I was trying to decide which one would be a better fit for me.
One of them focused on customers just starting a new life. It offered information about loans for new houses or cars, and it was geared toward young couples.
The other ad spoke more to older people. It painted a picture of a bank you could trust, with a longstanding history of satisfaction and security.
Since I'm not young or buying a new home, I decided to go with the other bank. I have yet to see if it can deliver on the promise in the ad, but it sure did sound good.
I have noticed that television ads for household products like cleaning sprays or mops always feature women made to look like typical moms. They are wearing neutral colors, and their clothing covers most of their bodies.
You would never see a women in a bikini in an ad for dish detergent. Even though men who live alone do buy this product, the major audience that the company is trying to reach is women who have a lot of dishes to clean, which generally means they have a big family.
There is one subtle way in which these advertisements may be trying to appeal to men, though. The ladies in the commercials always have attractive faces, and they are never overweight. Their husbands are often unattractive, balding, chubby guys. Maybe this plays into the dream that average men can get pretty wives, though what that would have to do with dish detergent, I don't know!
There is a lingerie store on the square in my city that sells some pretty racy stuff. Most of their customers are young women or boyfriends and husbands buying gifts for them. Their ads are usually geared toward these people.
I remember one time they ran an ad that some people considered risque. They were having a half-off sale on bras, so they took a photo of a model with the straps and top portion of her bra falling off. They placed the slogan “bras half off” at the top of the ad.
Most people appreciated the humor and considered the store brave for running such an ad. Other more conservative people called the newspaper that ran the ad to complain.
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