By Wesley Ngwenya
Over the last decade or so competition among companies, in Zambia, has reached unprecedented heights. From electronic billboards on major roads to television adverts on Zambia’s TV stations. As many new businesses come on the market advertising budgets have equally grown. However, the message in the adverts is often too confusing and the targeted audience is often unclear. In this article, I will address the messages from adverts, how advertisers need to breakdown the demographics before they embark of their advertising campaigns and the effective methods to advertise.
Mixed and Missed Messages in Advertising
As an active consumer of many Zambian products and services, I often pay attention to the various adverts on the market. Advertising agencies or marketing departments of many companies are not doing a good job in sending the right messages to the consumers. Billboards are a great way to reach consumers who spend a great deal of time on the road. Newspapers are obviously for consumers who can read and write and television is for those who have access to electricity.
The above factors need to be taken into consideration when deciding what message to send to the consumers. Oftentimes, advertisers send mixed messages to their consumers who interpret them differently and as a result miss the intended results. There is no need for a billboard to be filled with a lot of information like a newspaper advert. The Finance Bank billboards, here in Zambia, are terrible. They confuse the customer on what exactly they want to communicate. Is it easy banking by “banking at your fingertips?” or is it opening of a new branch by “the lion was spotted somewhere? Stanbic has also this cluttered advert on its billboards with so much writing. The bank’s “Let’s dare to care” billboards are good for print not outdoor advertising. How do they expect you to read so much information if you are driving 60 kilometers an hour?
Breaking Down Demographics in Advertising
Many advertisers in Zambia do not seem to have any target audience in mind. Companies could save a lot of money on their advertising budgets if they narrowed down their target markets. Companies need to identify specific target markets and break down the demographics of those markets. The demographics could be broken down by age, income, gender, lifestyle, education, geography, and even culture. Once these factors are broken down it is easy for the company to tailor advertising to best suit that target market.
Breaking down demographics is essential in advertising because it avoids companies to waste time on reaching untargeted audiences. This cuts down on advertising costs. Most importantly, the results for the company could be impressive.
Choosing your Advertising Medium
Choosing an advertising medium is very important for a company. The choice of medium should take into consideration its effectiveness, the target market, and the cost. Once these factors are taken into consideration then the company can identify that medium and design the messages to communicate, how to do it, and how long.
Many companies in Zambia seem to spend their advertising budgets on unnecessary mediums. There is no need to spend money on television advertising if your targeted audiences are people who don’t spend their time watching TV. If a company embarks on one type of advertising campaign and that proves to be effective then it needs to capitalize on that.
There are questions of ethics that companies need to take into consideration before advertising. For instance, when advertising alcohol products and tobacco, they need to exercise extra caution and select mediums that will unlikely be viewed by children. Zambian companies seem to advertise all kinds of products to children. Little caution is taken which has left children to be consumers of products not intended for them.
Evaluating your Advertising Campaign
Companies need to evaluate how successful or unsuccessful their advertising campaign has been. Keys to success have to be clearly tabulated. Once those goals are achieved then they need to work on a methodology to maintain the success. If the goal was to launch a product, then the keys to success could include the accessibility of the product to the consumers and that the consumers are actually buying or using the product. If the goal was to generate sales through advertising a product, then the keys to success will be the revenue raised from that campaign.
Evaluating your advertising campaign is essential because it helps you determine how effective the method and medium you chose to carry out your campaign. In the next few weeks I will discuss each of these segments in detail. I will explore how to communicate effective messages to your consumers and as well as breaking down the demographics when marketing certain products.