Advertising is generally intended to motivate potential or current customers to behave in the way you desire. The specific messages, and the ways you want them to act, vary based on your current position in the market and the money you have to invest in promotion. Normally, though, ad objectives change over time as your company grows.

Generic Goals

While each advertisement has its own specific objectives, all ads generally fit into one of three generic goals: to inform, persuade or remind customers about your brand or product. Informative ads are used to make customers aware of new products or technologies and to elaborate on the value of complex products. Much of advertising centers on persuasive messages used to motivate buyers to select your brand or product over competing products. Reminder messaging is used by well-established companies to maintain top-of-mind awareness and customer loyalty.

Long-term Communication

Several specific ad goals fall under the umbrella of long-term communication. These include messages from known brands like McDonald's, Walmart, Target and Coca-Cola, which are used to build up and maintain a strong brand image and reputation. Increased awareness of enhanced top-of-mind awareness and more favorable customer attitudes are specific goals related to long-term communication. Growing customer awareness has cumulative effects in that the more people know you, the more customers you attract and the better your word-of-mouth referral opportunities. Favorable attitudes toward your brand contribute to higher price points and long-term loyalty from key customers.


Companies that have a stable, consistent level of awareness and a good reputation can move on to common purchase objectives. Attracting first-time buyers, motivating repeat purchases and encouraging brand switching are common purchase objectives in ads. Free trials and samples or emotionally persuasive messaging can help you attract new buyers or steal customers away from competitors. Once you lure customers in, loyalty programs or second purchase promotions can be used to keep them coming back.

Short-term Sales

While the majority of advertising over time has long-term communication goals, companies use sales promotions intended to generate short-term revenue at times. A company struggling to attract new business, for instance, may use a major promotional event to get customers in the store and to grow their customer base. Getting more revenue and cash flow to invest in new products or equipment is also a short-term intent. Companies with seasonal merchandise also use promotions to kick-off a new season or to clear out products at the end of a season.