Ads are everywhere. You turn on the TV, open up an internet browser, or walk down a street and you’ll see ads. They’re all clamoring for your attention and – ultimately – your money. Ads can be annoying, but what would the world be without them? Here are ten reasons why advertising is important to businesses and society at large:
#1 Advertising is a crucial part of marketing
Many people use marketing and advertising interchangeably. Marketing identifies what customers want, encourages them to buy, and engages with them afterward to retain their loyalty. To get their attention and let them know you have what they’re looking for, you need advertising. Advertising is like the fish hook while marketing is the whole fisherman’s tackle.
#2 Good advertising tells a story
Narrative advertising has gained traction in recent years. If you look at ads from the past, many of them describe a product or service. As an example, an old Chevrolet ad shows an illustration of the car. It’s surrounded by text detailing different aspects of the vehicle, such as its wide tread and handling ease. Today, most car ads focus more on the people driving the car than the car itself. A recent Chevrolet ad features a montage of actors in various life scenarios, such as moving away from home. The car’s features – like parking assistance and the size of the trunk – are still highlighted, but they’re not front and center. Consumers respond better to more narrative-style ads.
#3 Advertising lets you target specific customers
Being strategic about advertising helps a business reach out to the customers most likely to buy from them. In the past, that meant advertising things like health products in fitness-focused magazines and running ads for toys during children’s TV programs. Thanks to digital marketing and analytic software, businesses can get very specific about who sees their ads and who has bought their products before.
#4 Advertising helps retain customers
Experts say ongoing advertising campaigns are key to keeping customers. A consumer might buy a product from a business and not think about them again, even if they were satisfied. If they keep seeing ads, however, they’re reminded that this is a company they like. Running consistent ad campaigns is especially important if the business isn’t doing well and needs returning and new customers. Thanks to modern forms of advertising (like ads on social media and SEO optimization), businesses can run ads on small budgets.
#5 Advertising helps businesses stand out
In a sea of businesses selling their products and services, how does one set themselves apart? Good advertising. A company can sell something as basic as soap and do better than a competitor simply because they run ads that consumers like. The soap obviously needs to do its job, but with cleaning products, there’s usually not a massive difference in effectiveness. It comes down to branding and advertising.
#6 Advertising tells customers if a business aligns with their values
Consumers are getting pickier about the companies they chose to support. Research shows corporate responsibility matters a lot to people – especially younger people – and they want to buy from businesses that align with their values. Advertising tells consumers who a business is and what matters to them.
#7 Advertising affects a brand’s reputation
How a business represents itself can draw customers in or repel them. There are many examples of businesses running ads that backfired. In 2017, Dove uploaded a short video of a Black woman lifting a shirt over her head and appearing to transform into a white woman. This woman then removes her shirt, revealing a Middle Eastern woman. The ad’s intent seemed to be representation, but consumers were not pleased and Dove apologized. This isn’t the first time Dove has gotten in some hot water, which shows how essential ads are to a brand’s reputation.
#8 Advertising affects sales
Advertising impacts a brand’s reputation, but does that translate into a difference in sales? Sometimes. One big example is an Oldsmobile ad from 1998. The campaign tried to appeal to younger buyers. Their slogan: “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” It did not do the trick and also insulted their older consumer base. While it’s probably not accurate to say this ad killed Oldsmobile, it certainly didn’t increase sales. On the flip side, when Wendy’s released their “Where’s the Beef” ad in 1984, their sales hit a record profit the next year.
#9 Advertising impacts the economy
Spending on advertising is increasing worldwide. Experts estimate that in 2024, advertising will hit over $630 billion. That translates into more jobs, more buyers, stronger competition, and increased GDP. Advertising is good for the creative industry as well. Companies often need photographers, animators, musicians, fashion designers, and more to help with ads. This all plays into economic growth.
#10 Advertising transcends its campaigns
Advertising affects more than just a company’s bottom line and the economy. Ads can transcend a product and change cultural norms. De Beers is a good example. For many years, it wasn’t common for people to buy diamond engagement rings. In 1948, De Beers released an ad with the slogan “A diamond is forever.” Ring sales went up as young men obeyed the ad and took advantage of good diamond prices. Today, newly-engaged couples are expected to have at least one ring between them.