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Advertising can be defined as a method of communication for marketing. It is used to persuade or encourage an audience such as readers and listeners, viewers or a specific group to continue or to undertake some new action. Obviously, the anticipated result is to drive the consumer behavior as far as a particular commercial offering is concerned. Nevertheless, ideological and political advertising are also common. Advertising is a way of reassuring employees or stakeholders that a company is moving in the right direction (Clow and Baack, 168). Sponsors pay for advertising messages. These messages are viewed through various traditional media such as newspapers, television commercials, magazines, outdoor advertising, radio commercials or direct mails. Current media include blogs, websites or text messages.
Almost every business, organization, institution or firm does advertising. It is directed towards business sales increment. Advertisement is non-personal. This is because they target a mass audience as opposed to an individual. Most interestingly, advertisements are associated to their sponsors. This makes them different from propaganda or publicity. Commercial advertisers seek to spearhead increased consumption of products and services through branding. This involves repetition of an image in an attempt to link certain qualities with the brand in consumers’ minds. On the other hand, non-commercial advertisers spend money to promote items as opposed to a product or service. They include interest groups, political parties, governmental agencies and religious organizations. In addition, non-profit organizations depend on free persuasion models such as public service announcements.
The main agenda of an advertisement is to make sales of an idea, product or service. It focuses on establishing an advanced communication between consumers and producers. Advertisements play a vital role in preparing ground for a new product in the market. The products yearn for introduction in the market because the potential consumers have never seen or used them previously. This gives the product a platform to create awareness in the minds of consumers. Advertisements create demand. This follows when they create favorable conditions for maintenance of sales improvement. Customers need to be reminded about the existence of a product or service and the brand. It may succeed to attract new customers by informing them of a product’s quality. The customer’s mind is a subject to change. Therefore, advertising is done to face competition in the market.
Advertisements help build the image and brand loyalty. When potential customers develop brand loyalty, it proves hard to alter their mind. Large scale advertising is adopted to create and enhance goodwill of a given company. This increases market responsiveness of a particular product while helping the salesmen to win customers with ease. Advertisement informs consumers of any change that affected a product or a service. Such changes may be done to improve quality, weight, size, packing, brand and appearance among others. They also neutralize the competitors advertising. Neutralizing is achieved by creating an advert after the competitors launched theirs. To help prevent newcomers from entering the market, products image and brands are made strong through advertising. Generally, advertisement aims to benefit the producer, educate the consumer and supplement the salesmen. In other words, advertisement represents a link between the producer and the consumer.
Importance of Advertising
Advertising broadens the consumers’ knowledge. It is through advertisement that consumers are able to purchase items without time wastage. This quickens the product sales, increases labor efficiency in distribution and reduces the costs of selling. Logically, without stimulus of vigorous advertising, consumers would wait for years for products to be evaluated. This shows the potentiality and value of advertising as far as modern marketing is concerned. To help understand the benefits of advertising, it is vital to analyze the different sections of the market.
Advertising is very influential to manufacturers. This is because it increases the volume of sales by developing attraction towards the product. New products are easily introduced in the market through advertising. Manufacturers use advertising to create an image and reputation of products, producer as well as the advertiser. This helps in creating goodwill for the manufacturers. Retail price is maintained through advertising where the promotional strategy available is price appeal. Advertising helps to establish a direct contact between consumers and manufacturers. It increases the demand for a product or service thereby saving it from seasonal fluctuations. Manufacturers enjoy a high responsive market that quickens the turnover resulting to low inventory. Product’s selling cost per unit is reduced significantly because of the increased sales volume. The mass production and sales help reduce products overheads. Advertisement equips employees with a feeling of pride in their specific jobs. Consequently, it enables the executives as well as the subordinates to improve their efficiency. Survival is for the fittest. In a competitive market, manufacturers fight for survival through advertisements.
Wholesalers and retailers are also beneficiaries of advertising. They enjoy easy sales of products that advertising has already introduced to the consumers. Advertisement increases the stock turn-over rate because the demand is high. Therefore, the selling activities are supplemented by advertising. The reputation obtained is shared by both the wholesalers and retailers alike. This is because they do not have to spend much for the advertisement of products that are already advertised. Advertising facilitates economical selling by reducing the selling overheads. Wholesalers and retailers obtain product information through advertisements. Consequently, their major role is to supply products close to the consumers who are already aware of their existence.
Consumers are also beneficiaries of advertisements (Lotz, 110). Quality and prices are stressed by advertisements. This acts as an indirect guarantee of quality and price to the consumers. Store owners are able to sell products at low costs due to the role assumed by advertisements. Consumers’ behavior is a complicated concept. This is because consumers react differently to different advertisements. The interesting features in a particular product cannot be perceived the same by different consumers. This influences their purchase behavior. Advertisements help influence the consumers’ purchase behavior by stressing on product’s quality and value. Advertisements play a vital role in eliminating middlemen through the establishment of direct contacts between consumers and producers. This results in cheaper products and services. Consumers are able to know when and where to purchase various products thereby reducing their shopping time effectively. Advertisements provide an opportunity for the consumers to compare merits and demerits of different substitute products. It acts as a medium where consumers realize the differences and new uses of goods. The current advertisements are highly informative hence critical.
Salesmen operate directly to the customers. Their job is incomplete and unsuccessful without advertising. A salesman uses advertisement as a forerunner in products distribution. Introduction of products and services is made easier and more convenient by advertisements. This is because manufacturers advertise their products to inform the consumers about their quality and their existence. Advertisements prepare the ground for a salesman to start work effectively. Consequently, sales efforts are minimized. The contacts established and maintained with the consumers by salesmen are reinforced by advertisements. A salesperson evaluates the effectiveness of advertisements when he/she makes direct contact with the immediate consumers.
Advertisements are beneficiary to the community. They are educative in their nature. Advertisement brings knowledge concerning important things. It facilitates a large-scale production that creates employment opportunities to the community in direct or indirect jobs. Advertisement creates more wants, and their satisfaction leads to higher standards of living. They also make the newspapers popular and cheap. Therefore, advertisements sustain the press. Moreover, they assure employment opportunities for artists and other professionals. In addition, advertisements give a glimpse of a nation’s way of life and behavior of its people.
Advertisement Prior to the Internet
In Egypt papyrus was utilized to make sales messages and posters. In ancient Arabia signs of political campaigns as well as commercial messages have been found in Pompeii ruins. Papyrus was also commonly used in Ancient Greece and Rome to advertise various lost and found items. Wall and rock painting was also an ancient advertising strategy that is still common in Africa, Asia and South America. The source of wall painting is tied to the Indian rock art paintings of 4000 BC. History convinces us that out-of-home advertising and billboards are the oldest methods of advertising.
The emergence of towns in the middle ages saw professionals such as cobblers, tailors or blacksmiths use images of their products to trade. Fruits and vegetables were sold from the back of carts and wagons. Their proprietors used town criers to announce their presence or whereabouts to enhance consumer convenience. Education became apparent and a pressing need. People desired to know how to write and read. Consequently, printing developed advertisements to include handbills. In the wake of 18th century advertisements started to appear in newspapers. The news print was used to promote newspapers and books which became affordable with advances in medicine and printing press. However, false advertisements became evident. This ushered in regulations of the advertising contents.
The 19th century was characterized by economic expansion, which went hand-in-hand with advertising. In the United States, the growth of advertising led to the emergence of mail-order advertising. In 1836, a French newspaper called La Presse became the first to include charges on advertising. This allowed it to lower prices, expand its readership while increasing its profitability. In 1840, Volney Palmer came up with the roots of the current advertising agency in Philadelphia. In 1842, he brought large spaces in various newspapers on a discounted cost and then sold them to advertisers at a higher rate. The actual advertisement, copy, layout and artwork were done by the advertising company. The advertising agency of N.W Ayer and Sons founded in the late 19th century changed the entire game. It offered to plan, create and execute campaigns for its clients. Eventually, the agency became a focal point of creativity as advertising was established as a profession. In France, at the same time, Charles-Louis Havas increased the services in his new agency. He initiated advertisement brokerage in newspaper spaces.
In the 20th century, there were limited career choices in business for women. Fortunately, advertisement was one of them. Women were the most responsible for purchasing in households. Therefore, advertisers and agencies recognized their insight in the creative process. As a mater of facts, the original American advertising to make use of sexual sell was formulated by a woman. It was promoting a soap product. The advertisement featured a couple and a message saying “the skin to die to touch”. The modern advertising was developed using the innovative techniques applied by tobacco advertising in the 20th century. The tobacco industries were the first to apply mass production with the adoption of Bonsack machine to make cigarettes. The machine enabled production for mass markets of tobacco. The industry required to match the increased supply with demand creation through advertising.
The early 1920s mark the introduction of the first radio station. It was established by radio equipment manufacturers and retailers. They offered programs as a way of selling more radio to consumers. As time went by, non-profit organizations established their own radio stations that included clubs, schools and civic groups. The practice of program sponsoring became popular. Individual programs received sponsorship from a single business in exchange for mentioning the business name at the start and in the end of the show. Considerably, the radio stations realized that they could earn much more by selling sponsorship rights. They opted to sell limited time allocation to different businesses as opposed to one sponsor per show.
During the World War II, the advertising techniques applied to promote goods and services were used to educate, inform and motivate the public on some non-commercial issues. Such issues included HIV/AIDS, energy conservation, political ideology and deforestation. Advertising justifies its existence during its usage for public interest. Its educational tools are capable of reaching and influencing large audience. To secure a broadcasting license in the United States, radio and television stations have to do a certain amount of advertising. To meet these demanding requirements, they air the bulk of public service announcements late in the night or early in the morning when few people are watching. This allows for plenty of time to air commercials that are highly-paid.
A stiff competition emerged between those who believed that advertisements should be commercialized and those who thought that non-commercials should be given priority. The United Kingdom initiated funding for BBC, which was originally a private company, but turned public by Royal Charter in 1927 (Lotz, 111). This station was to be used for public interest. In other words, it had to broadcast programs and non-commercial advertisements that are interesting for public. The radio and television stations believed in the power of sponsors and happened to value them. However, some sponsors exercised great control as far as the show contents were concerned. Some went farther to write the shows themselves. In 1960s, campaigns portraying heavy spending became more prominent in mass media. For instance, Esso Gasoline Company spent millions of dollars on brand awareness campaign. The cable television and particularly MTV came into existence in the late1980s and early 1990s. This ushered a new form of advertising. Consumer tunes were used for advertising messages as opposed to them being afterthoughts or by-products. As satellite and cable television became prevalent, specialty channels germinated. They included channels that were devoted to advertising such as Shop TV Canada, Home Shopping Network and QVC.
The introduction of ad server encouraged marketing through the internet. This opened new frontiers for advertisers and led to the boom of dot-com generation in the 1990s. Entire corporations existed on advertising revenues only. They offered everything including coupons and free internet services. In the wake of 21st century, several websites including Google started making difference in internet advertising. This was through emphasizing on contextual relevance, unobtrusive ads that are intended to help users rather than inundating them. This created a platform of interactive advertising.
Online advertising is the origin of technical improvement in marketing. It is a category in marketing that utilizes the internet together with the World Wide Web to propagate promotional messages to attract clients. Online advertising came into existence when Hotwire made sales of the first banner ads to a number of advertisers in 1994. The overall revenue from advertising realized by United States in 2001 was $7.1 billion (Wakolbinger and Denk, 368). The emergence of dot-com busted, weakened and destroyed many online advertising industries while reducing the demand for online advertisements. By 2004 the industry regained momentum as the Web 2.0’s model came together. Various businesses cropped up that encouraged trade of advertising space on web pages. Entities that managed web portals used the traditional free-TV model. Most web sites generated their revenue from advertising inventory.
In 2007, a lot of companies in the market were purchased. In addition, this year saw the advertising industry catch the public eye. The sky-rocketing stock price at Google and its forays such as online payments, processing software and mobile telephone attracted significant attention. More than a thousand articles on Google were featured in the Wall St. Journal, the New York Times and the Financial Times. Businesses had begun to use their advertising efforts by making use of social media by 2009. The social media comprises of networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Hi-5. Social news includes Digg Propeller and Reddit while video sharing and social photo tools include Flickr and photobucket. The advantage of using social media advertising is that it allows for proper market targeting. This is facilitated by the demographic information given in the social media. However, social media advertising has a disadvantage in measuring its effectiveness. It is not possible to account on its effectiveness since the number of likes, follows or friends cannot be converted to become actual sales.
Online advertising allows for immediate publishing of content and information that is not influenced by time or geography. In addition, interactive advertising comes with fresh challenges for advertisers who adopt interruptive strategies. Internet advertising creates efficiency as far as advertiser’s investment is concerned. It allows for customization of advertisements including posted websites and content. For instance, Yahoo Search Marketing, AdWords and Google AdSense enable ads to be presented in relevant web pages. The internet has become a wave of progress that seems unstoppable. The internet growth attracts the advertisers’ attention to bring in consumers. The consumers have control over the product. This means that they can choose a product or reject it on personal grounds. Online advertisements offer various forms of animation. It encompasses all sorts of e-mail, banner, in-game and key word advertising. Internet-based advertising uses various ways to publicize and capture a niche audience. It is evident that online advertising has positive results as a growing revenue earner. For instance, the United States online advertising spending stood at $34.5 billion.
Despite being the best advertising option, the internet is associated with various problems. One of them is privacy and anonymity. By hosting the banner image and using the third-party cookies, it is easier to track the browsing of users. Fortunately, most browsers can block third-party cookies to enhance privacy. Advertising operators have refused from options with a generic cookie that stops behavioral advertising. Malware is another problem associated with advertising online. Some advertisements are considered unethical and to some extent illegal. Their external applications interfere with system settings and add advertisements into non-affiliated WebPages. Such applications are at times referred to as adware or spyware. They mask their activities by performing a positive service such as providing search bar. These applications are formulated to dupe users while acting effectively as Trojan horses. They are difficult to uninstall or remove. Many internet users do not have the skills to protect their computers from such programs.
Online advertisement is diverse. Some advertisements are deployed ethically while others are not. Some websites allow a large number of advertisements such as flashing banners that help distract the user. Moreover, some have misleading images formulated to appear like error messages instead of advertisements. Websites that allow online advertisements unethically for revenue do not seem to monitor their content. This enables advertisements to lead the user to sites with inappropriate materials. Some companies use their competitors’ brands to enhance their own ads. The application of Adobe Flash in online advertising has left consumers disabling it using plug-ins like NoScript of Adblock. Sites that use centralized advertising may suffer blockage after being termed as side effects of privacy and security measures. Online advertising can take any form such as e-mail, display, affiliate marketing, behavioral targeting, social network and semantic advertising.
NBA and the Internet
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men’s professional basketball league of North America. It comprises of thirty member clubs. It is considered the premier men’s professional league in the world. NBA was founded in New York City in 1946 and was known as Basketball Association of America. The name National Basketball Association was adopted in 1949 after merging with National Basketball League. NBA has attracted fans from allover the world. The league comprises strong teams that portray rivalry and tough competition. This keeps the fans intact as they enjoy a guarantee source of entertainment. NBA has received media coverage from across the globe. Television programs and sports channels broadcast live coverage of the league’s tournaments.
Broadcasting of the NBA games enables them to earn more fans. It also makes the sport popular as many people are informed about the sport once they watch it on television. Perhaps there are die-hard fans to every team represented in the NBA. There is no difference between football world cup and NBA championships. This is because they receive equal media coverage, especially on Skysport and Supersport. Both have mass follow-up with numerous score predictions and betting. In addition, both of them receive equal publicity in commercial advertisements. The same way footballers’ jerseys are sold almost everywhere in the world as well as those of basketball players. Fans are able to acquire jerseys of their team conveniently at their home town. The wearing of jerseys creates a feeling of belonging to a particular team. Being associated with a team creates enjoyment and sometimes tension when watching tournaments such as the NBA.
The internet has revived NBA advertising making it cost-effective, aggressive and vigorous. The internet has improved almost every operation as consumers receive services conveniently. The quality of information offered through the internet concerning companies or service providers is certified. Generally, the internet has enhanced the consumer experience. It has also provided teams to acquire a competitive advantage over their rivals. The National Basketball Association has its own website called NBA.com. The website was created to offer information to NBA supporters. It contains the latest team news, fixtures, tournaments, results, team profiles and table standings. This gives fans an opportunity to acquire information concerning their team and how they relate with other teams in terms of performance. Fans are also able to follow-up on their team’s development such as knowing the players in and off.
To access full information concerning NBA, the website requires one to register and become a member. It is only members who can bet, predict and offer recommendations for the league’s improvement via the website. Registered members are able to purchase jerseys online regardless of where they are located. Up-to-date information concerning NBA is found on the website. Contrary to mass media advertising, social media manages to capture a wide range of audience from across the globe. The reliability of the information contained on the website creates loyal fans. The website offers live coverage and commentary, which allows fans to watch games over the internet or listen to audio commentaries.
The social media has played a vital role in NBA advertising. Facebook, Twitter, My Space and other social networks provide a favorable platform for NBA promotion. The league has numerous Facebook pages with hundreds of thousands likes. This means that every page has managed to attract quite a big number of fans from across the world. The administrators of these pages give updated information concerning NBA. They also post photos, interview videos and comments to keep the fans engaged. The same is presented on Twitter and My Space. Millions of fans all over the world follow the league’s proceedings at their convenience by just accessing the social networks. The social media is also a platform of NBA advertising. The ads found on Facebook and other social networks are paid commercials. NBA advertises upcoming events on social network ads. This guarantees them a wide coverage especially from the young generation. Moreover, the advertisements are present in almost all the search engines. It is rare to open a page using various search engines and fail to find an ad concerning NBA.
NBA’s popularity is created and maintained by the internet. The website and social media have played a vital role in attracting millions of fans from across the world. This has enhanced unity among fans regardless of their color, origin or sex. Most importantly, the internet has facilitated the sale of tickets and collection of revenue from fans. The advertising done on the internet manages to reach a lot of people all over the world. This means that the target audience is met and influenced easily. Informed fans will purchase tickets, subscribe to the clubs and the leagues, offer donations and purchase NBA items such as jerseys. NBA sustains fans by engaging them. Engaging fans is done by allowing them to support their teams, participate actively on website or social network activities and through purchase of tickets.
International Marketing and NBA in China
NBA has an established affiliate in China. The affiliate has opened an online store on Tmall, which is the most famous retail platform in China. NBA is the first western sports league to open an outlet on Tmall. This online store offers a complete range of NBA products that are available in China. They include shoes by Adidas, NBA jerseys, collectibles and Spalding basketballs. The NBA retail business in China has turned to internet selling. The popularity of online shopping of NBA products grows rapidly, and shoemakers are doing everything possible to ensure that Chinese fans purchase NBA licensed shoes. Tmall has it that the transactional volume of online sales has increased by 300% in the first half of 2012 as compared to the last year (Kang, 1).
The increasing NBA popularity in China is overwhelming. The country is really a market that cannot be neglected. NBA officials have recognized that China is the world’s largest market of sports products currently. The online store provides a wide range of activities to consumers. For instance, the NBA upcoming games were held in China on October 11 and 14 (Kang, 1). They were made very popular by the internet advertising. Among the feature athletes were Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Blake Griffin. The games tickets were sold online in only two days. To prove the NBA’s popularity, tickets are allowed to be sold by unofficial websites at a higher price. Interestingly, the fans seem to care less as long as the NBA game show is guaranteed.
International marketing is widely facilitated by social media. This is because social media has the ability to spread news to millions of people within a limited period of time. For instance, a newly created NBA page on Facebook is likely to generate a hundred thousand lies in three days. Social media is more of a network. The moment one person likes the page, all his/her friends are notified and if they happen to be interested, they also like it. All their friends are also notified and the process continues. As long as Facebook users are online, there is a guarantee of a rapid response. Social media does not limit networking in terms of nationality. Therefore, people from different parts of the world are free to become friends on the network. This means that information is passed across continents in the blink of an eye. Online international marketing through social media proves successful. Social media have transformed the world into a global village. Considerably, a message posted from a particular location is visible to everybody regardless of where they are in the world. However, misinterpretation of messages on the basis of cultural differences is evident. This can result to conflict and social offenses. Therefore, internet users are advised to consider the language and content of their messages before posting them online.
NBA players are celebrities. This means that they have fans and loyal followers. When they appear in social media, their fans join or follow them closely. They monitor the celebrity’s moves and behavior to the latter. Fortunately, NBA athletes have realized the value of social media for creation of brand awareness. They have opened Facebook pages and Twitter accounts with their names. Their fans from all over the world search their names to trace, follow or like them. Once they like the pages or follow them, they receive updates and information concerning NBA. The athletes use the platform to popularize their name as well as that of NBA championship. Moreover, they market the NBA products and influence the sale of tickets (Rosen, 72). People tend to believe and trust in celebrities. They presume that everything that a celebrity does is right.
NBA professionals use this as an advantage to market their brand. For Instance, a basketball player would post his photos on social media. These photos might have been taken when wearing certain type of clothes such as Adidas sports shoes, Fests and shorts. Immediately they see them, the fans would run to the shops and purchase the same type of clothing. Eventually, the market for Adidas brand widens. Most NBA fans enjoy being associated with professional players. For such a dream to come true, they purchase jerseys with the celebrity’s name written either on the back or in front. Another way of being associated with a celebrity is to purchase clothing similar to that he/she likes wearing. Generally, NBA athletes are brand ambassadors.
Advertising is more of a communication strategy that targets potential and existing consumers of a product or service. It is done to create awareness, inform, insist or convince the consumer on the importance of purchasing a specific product or service. Advertising was historically done through wall posters and artwork. It was later adopted by mass media and broadcasted in televisions and radio. The arrival of internet changed the entire process. Advertisement became convenient, effective, efficient and accurate in terms of information provision. The social media have become the basis of online advertising especially in NBA. Athletes are able to interact with their fans through social platforms. This gives them an opportunity to create brand awareness among millions of fans. China is an example of how social media has influence the popularity of NBA. International marketing has been made convenient by social media. The fact that the world has been reduced to a global village renders international marketing successful.