The starting point in any planning exercise is one of setting the goals or objectives .In evolving an advertising plan, objectives have to be set as they help in measuring the performance of an advertising campaign .It is important for the strategist, to know how the strategy fared and the only way to know is how far did it go to achieve the objectives. Objectives or goals are also necessary to justify financial resources that are required for an advertisement campaign. The only way to counter skeptics s to state what it would cost to achieve a specific objective ,say a 20% increase in awareness in the target audience.
Objectives are also required for coordination purposes .As we have mentioned earlier ,advertising is just one of the communication tools and to achieve desired marketing objective of sale or market share all elements of communication mix must be coordinated .Each element should have both, a short term and a long term goal.
So ,to be meaningful, advertising objectives have to be measurable and communicated .Measurability is important or else performance cannot be evaluated.
Let us consider a few objectives for advertising.
Marketingâ€™s prime objective is to increase the firm or brandâ€™s sales, market share and profits .Hence marketing activities have to be directed this goal. By the same logic, the advertising goal should also be to increase sales. This goal gives credibility to advertising expenditures and may even subdue the complaints that 50% of advertising expenditure is a waste of money .But this goal for advertising has a problem. As we mentioned, sales is a function of a firmâ€™s marketing mix, competition activity and consumer behavior Hence ,to attribute increase or decrease in sales to advertising alone is like attributing success or failure in a game of football to just one single player, when it is really a team game. Besides, the effect of advertising on sales is lagged one ,in the sense that an advertisement may continue to have a demand pull even after it has been withdrawn. It is never that sales start and end immediately after the campaign has got off the ground or comes to an end. In other words, the impact of an advertising campaign may not be known for certain until considerable time has passed. According to one of the researches for frequently purchased consumer non-durable products like soft dinks, tea ,coffee toiletries, etc, the effect of an advertising exposure can take upto nine months to get dissipated.
Typically, an advertising campaign mat attract new customers to the brand, or it might help develop more positive attitudes in the target market towards the brand or may even generate trial purchases. All these together will lead to an increase in the brands; sales. Isolating these effects and conclusively show that the advertising campaign has led to an increase in sales is a difficult proposition.
In case of financial instruments advertising or the direct marketing campaign or even individual classified advertisementsâ€”the kind one often sees in the print media ,the results are more tangible.
Thus ,but for the above situations ,it is perhaps incorrect to define advertising goals in terms of sales.