The commercials on television, the banners on Internet sites and the jingles on the radio are all part of advertising programs designed to inform consumers and persuade them to buy products. Before a company can develop an advertising program for a product, its marketing managers make key decisions regarding the packaging of the product, its price, the promotion for the goods and the place it will be offered.
Marketing managers must make a decision regarding the elements that make up the product. A company cannot simply place its product on a shelf in a retail store and expect customers to purchase the item. The product must have packaging that catches the eye of a potential customer, information regarding its contents and a name that is memorable. For example, laundry detergent makers do not place their detergent in a clear plastic on grocery store aisles. The detergent typically has a name like "Zest Xtreme!," and promises to "fight clothing stains without fading clothing colors." Marketing managers decide on these product factors before starting advertising campaigns.
The price point is critical to the success of the product and the profit of the company. If marketing managers set the price of the product too high, potential customers will buy a similar product from a competitor that is priced lower. If the price is too low, the company's profit margin on the item will be too low to justify the cost of production. Marketing managers look at the price of similar items in the market as well as the cost of the item to the company. Managers select a price and use that number for the advertising campaign for consistency.
Marketing managers choose the method of placement for an item when developing an advertising program so that ad dollars are not wasted on useless markets. There are three types of placement distribution: intensive, selective and exclusive. Intensive placement involves placing the product in as many markets and stores as possible for a widespread reach among consumers. Selective placement is when the company has a specific consumer in mind. For example, if you sell high-end luxury goods, you should place the goods in cities with high disposable incomes. Exclusive placement is used when you supply only one customer, such as a niche shop, with your items.
The promotional aspect of an advertising program is the message marketing managers want their consumers to take from the product. The message may be a value proposition, a testament of quality or some other feature of the product. For example, if your product is the lowest priced item in its product category, your job as a marketing manager is to create a statement that touts this fact in a clear, concise way.
Aaron Marquis is a University of Texas graduate with experience writing commercials and press releases for national advertising agencies as well as comedy television treatments/stories for FOX Studios and HBO. Marquis has been writing for over six years.