The ONLINE MARKETING man does not need to have a detailed knowledge of advertising theory and practice; but he does require an understanding of its basic procedure. He needs to know how to engage the services of advertising practitioners, what to expect from them and, above all, how to calculate, with reasonable accuracy, the amount of his company's money which should be spent on the promotion of the products for which he is responsible.

It should be remembered that advertising, alone, does not sell either goods or services. At best, it can only stimulate interest.

This interest will have to be converted into a buying decision by means of other ONLINE MARKETING tools: good salesmen; good distribution arrangements and good packaging appeal. I

The 'Brand Image'

We have seen already that few consumer products, whatever their intrinsic qualities, can hope to hold their own in a highly competitive market, without the support of a superimposed and individual personality-known in ONLINE MARKETING parlance as the 'brand image'. This is because competitors are watching one's product constantly. Any improvements one makes will be equated rapidly. If it becomes impossible to advance the sale of the product by means of quality or utility, there is, of course, the alternative of reducing one's price. However, this, also, may be matched quickly by the competition. A round of price reductions which is unrelated either to reduced production and distribution costs or to increased sales and output can easily set one's company upon the slippery slope towards bankruptcy.

The 'brand image' method of solving this dilemma sets out to create certain attitudes towards the product in the minds of consumers. These can be summarized as follows:

A. Awareness of the-existence of the brand.

B. Recognition of the brand in retail outlets.

C. Persuasion to try the brand by making a purchase.

D. Retention of loyalty to the brand by making repeated purchases in the future.

Perhaps the most important factor in consumer advertising is the creation of brand loyalty. It provides the manufacturer with a means of protecting the demand which he has established for his product from the attack of his competitors. Brand preference is a delicate flower. It is likely to wilt easily in the fierce heat of competitive pressure unless it is irrigated regularly by means of a constant reminder of its virtues This is the essential function of brand advertising: to create and to maintain a favourable image of the product in the mind of the consumer. The ultimate effectiveness of one's advertising campaign can be judged only when the housewife, hesitating before a supermarket's display of several competing brands, decides to buy your product because it is the one which has achieved the most lasting impression on her mind.

The creation of a successful 'brand image' is not the result merely of intuition or inspiration on the part of advertising experts. Consumer research, aided by the discoveries of experimental psychology, has established certain behaviour patterns to which the majority of men and women conform. These patterns, when studied and systematized by advertising specialists, provide a ready guide to the likely response one might reasonably expect from a given advertising theme or 'platform'.

What next? - Marketing and The Sales Department

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