Tying It All Together


This is Part 4 of what has become a series discussing academia's spin on advertising. It wasn’t my intention when I conceived of the first post in this series, but the last three posts have come together to form a series of sorts that when put together into a condensed form, makes for some really nice takeaways. Let’s start off with a general recap:

  1. There is a general formula that can be used to determine whether or not a specific ad will meet its desired outcome. This formula is Motivation + Ability + Opportunity = Ad Effectiveness.
  2. There are several desired ad outcomes beyond simply getting a consumer to immediately purchase. Ad Effectiveness is thus measured by whether or not it was successful in achieving the individual desired ad outcome.
  3. Consumers go through several stages during the buying process.

Putting a Bow On It

Effective marketing boils down to having more than one strategy and using multiple platforms. Marketing and advertising is not some magic bullet that is all of a sudden going to cause customers to come barging down your door, ads take time to permeate and do their work and more often than not, even if they are effective in making the customer purchase, they won’t purchase on the spot. One last note I should make on this particular subject before moving on, none of this information is useful unless it is followed up with successful sales activity. Marketing does not replace sales, it works in conjunction with it. To reiterate this point even further, here are some academic studies to back me up:

  • Follow up sales efforts generate higher sales productivity when firms have already exposed customers to its product at a tradeshow. Tradeshow exposure reduced sales force expenses by approximately 50% to generate a given level of sales. (Smith, Gopalakrishna, and Smith 2004)
  • Naik and Raman (2003) demonstrate positive interactions between advertising and eventual sales. Also related, advertising effectiveness increases with product quality (Kuehn 1962)
  • Emotion oriented advertising drives online word of mouth recommendations and thus sales (Gopinath, Thomas, and Krishnamurthy 2014)
  • For website driven companies, all forms of marketing, including offline can increase sales dramatically and online ad campaigns can significantly boost offline sales (Naik and Peters 2009)

So Where’s The Actionable Takeaway You Promised?

If you refer back to Post 3 on this subject, I outlined steps that consumers take during their buying cycle or journey. If I were to summarize those steps in one to two words each, they would look like this:

  • Needs
  • Is Aware
  • Considers
  • Learns
  • Likes
  • Will Pay
  • Commits
  • Consumes

Now if you were paying attention, you will also remember that we discussed how it is important to use vastly different types of messaging depending on what stage the customer is in. Now, what if someone created a chart that broke down different advertising objectives and where in the buyers’ journey they should be used? If they did, I’ll bet it would look something like this:


If you were paying really close attention, you will remember that I also included possible advertising channels for consumers in some of the stages. Here is a chart breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of individual marketing channels depending on what stage of the buyers’ cycle the consumer is in: