From Advertising Message to Consumer Action–A Framework

This post was originally written for Avenue Right’s blog, but I thought it may be of interest to the folks reading here, too.

As consumers, we’re inundated with advertisements every day, whether on TV, the radio, our favorite websites, the billboards we pass on the way to work. They’re in the newspapers and magazines delivered to our door or piled in the drop-bin at the local coffee shop or grocery store, sent to our mobile phones.

These ads use the visual, auditory, interactive, and persuasive opportunities afforded by their medium to create brand awareness, promote events and ideas, influence perception of product value, generate sales, and increase share of voice in a competitive market.

Advertisers, ultimately, are buying access to the audiences that can help them achieve these goals.

When planning an ad campaign for a local business, beyond hard numbers measuring CPM, CPP, GRP, and other mystical formulas, factors such as the ability for an advertisement—and the media in which it’s delivered—to reach and influence an audience should also be considered in campaign development.

The ability for a media channel to engage an audience at a specific stage in the consumer decision process should be considered relative to its effectiveness as a communication vehicle to inform and persuade.

It’s a balance between media, creative, timing, and repetition that drives results from when an audience has first become aware of product or service through their decision to purchase.

Researchers Demetrios Vakratsas and Tim Ambler put together a framework for how advertising works and ultimately affects consumers. This framework can help advertisers and media buyers understand how advertising (content, timing, repetition) is first filtered by the consumer before bringing about a mental effect such as awareness, attitude, and memory, ultimately impacting the purchase decision.

Today’s consumer can get through the purchase decision-process in three seconds flat, but what seems like an impulse buy may actually be the result of advertising recall, crafted through repetition in media scheduling, in addition to past experience with the product or service.

Optimizing the media mix for the decision-making process of the target consumer depends on messaging strategy, timing and delivery of the advertisements, the product, and the market.

*Vakratsas D. & Ambler, T. (January 1999) “How Advertising Works: What Do We Really Know?” Journal of Marketing Vol. 63 (January 1999), 26-43.


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