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THE IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCH IN ADVERTISING AND THE KEY STAGES IN CONDUCTING RESEARCH FOR ADVERTISING
Many companies have developed the culture of advertising in promoting their brands and products to the target audience, it is therefore important to conduct advertising research in order to focus their marketing efforts on the right target audience.

Creative advertising is defined by the business dictionary as the outline prepared by the creative team of an advertising agency for the launching of the advertising campaigner or message. It also goes further to define a creative strategy as a result of team composed of one or more copywriters, an art director and a creative director. The creative strategy generally explains how the advertising campaign will meet the advertising objectives of the business.

Kit Smith (2016) states that advertising research is a specialized from of market research which aims to discover which h advertisements will be most effective with the existing and potential customer base. The advertiser does this through detailed research before a campaign is launched and by analyzing the success of the campaign. Advertising research can also be defined as the systematic gathering and analysis of information to help develop and evaluate advertising strategies, advertisements and commercial, as well as media campaigns. Advertising research, therefore enables the advertiser to capture information that can be used in creating an effective advertising copy and message that the target audience will relate to more positively, in a much effective and efficient manner since they already have the information that is required hence supporting the statement by Berger.

“…the brand management team is responsible for researching whether proposed advertisements stand a good chance of being successful prior to investing money in printing or airing ads.” (Andrews & Shimp, 2013, p 473). This is one of the importance of advertising research that enables the advertisers to justify whether the expenses that are to be incurred in the advertising campaign will really worth it. Accordingly, a significant amount of time and money are to be spent on testing the advertisement message’s effectiveness.

Research in creative advertising enables the marketers and/or advertisers to find out what the consumers’ expectations are – in terms of the product and/or service that they need and how they want it to be made available or delivered to them – as well as to find out what consumers exactly think about the company’s brand and advertising message. This means that it enables the advertiser to understand their target audience as well as their motivations better so that they can produce better advertisements that demonstrate why the advertiser’s product meet their needs. Since the advertisers will have the information that they need regarding the target audience’s needs and preferences, they will be able to transcend the right information into the advertising copy that will attract and influence the consumers to have a positive buying attitude towards the product/service offering.

There has been an increasing demand for accountability in organizations, advertising research therefore enables advertisements to be tested prior to being placed in the relevant media vehicles and then to tested again after the period which they have been printed or broadcasted. As a result, advertising research enables the advertisers to select the appropriate media mic that can be used to reach the target audience more effectively and efficiently. Moreover, advertising research minimizes the risk of committing costly errors, such as, directing your message to the wrong target audience and selecting the wrong media mix for carrying the advertiser’s message.

Furthermore, research in creative advertising is important as it is needed to provide a diagnostic information – information that helps to understand why a particular consequence happened or did not happen – about an advertisement’s equity enhancing and sales expanding ability for the advertised brand. It is also important for determining whether finalized advertisements actually accomplish these objectives. Obtaining information on how to increase the brand equity and the sales of the advertised product is of utmost importance to the advertisers because this will enable them to create advertising strategies filled with the relevant information required to achieve the set objectives.

“The overall purpose of the varying forms of advertising research is to improve your brand awareness and increase revenues,” (Lake, 2017). For these objectives to be successfully achieved, the advertisers should be fueled with knowledge obtained through advertising research in such a way that when they create the advertising strategy and copy, these elements are as if they are writing themselves. There are two primary areas of advertising research; it determines the most effective combinations of media and research is also aimed at increasing the communication effect of the message to be delivered by the media to the target audience.

“The American Marketing Association defines market research as the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services…when market research is directed towards the advertising decision making process, it is usually called advertising research. Advertising research is a subsystem of market research, which gathers information to be used by the advertiser and the advertising agency when engaged in campaign planning.” (Wright et.al, 1982, p 343). The information that is gathered during adverting research enables the advertisers to understand the target audience as well as the market that they operate in so as to produce advertisements that will create positive attitudes towards the advertised products.

Advertising research is important in advertising because it provides an overview of the target customers and enables the researcher to obtain the information that they need to create an effective advertisement. According to Wright et.al there are five basic steps that the advertiser has to follow when conducting an advertising research. The first step is to define the problem that the advertiser aims to address with the research study. The problems of advertising research are the problems of advertising itself, but searching for an answer to a general question, such as “why is brand x outselling our brand?” involves one but several research projects. The advertiser would first have to define the problem that the research h aims to solve and then outline the procedure that would be appropriate in addressing the problem at hand. If the problem is analyzed correctly, the advertiser would have sufficient and relevant information that they can use when advertising the product offerings and the can flow in their writing of the advertisement.

Gathering all information pertinent to the problem that is already available either from the internal records of the advertiser or from external sources is the second step in research procedure. Sales records, for example, should show the geographic distribution of buyer, seasonal fluctuations amongst others. Examination of available data and of the results of internal interviews with some people who have some knowledge about the product and its market is sometimes called situational analysis. The usefulness of secondary data is limited by two important factors; possible bias – the parties that are involved in the advertising research have interests in what they have invested – and possibility of obsolete data. Secondary data, for example, can show market trends as well as past purchase behavior of consumers. This therefore provides the advertisers with an insight of the market and consumer’s purchasing behavior hence they will be able to capture the information from the records in their advertising strategy. As a result, the advertisers will be fueled with knowledge and flow in their advertising since they will be having all the information they need to tackle the advertising project.
Data can be classified into two categories, that is, primary data and secondary data. If the existing information – secondary data – does not supply adequate guide to advertising decision making, the advertiser can conduct its own advertising research, that is, collect primary data. The collection of primary data is the third step in the advertising research procedure and there are three standard or traditional methods of collecting traditional data; firstly, we have direct observation whereby the researcher observes and records the behavior of the sample audience. The second method of data collection is through experimentation, which involves some type of test operation. Lastly, the researchers can also collect the necessary data by asking questions in order to get firsthand information from individual respondents through conducting surveys and through the use of questionnaires.
Before conclusions can be drawn, it necessary that the researcher compiles the research findings and also tabulate it for critical comparisons with those of existing data. Careful examination of the research findings serves two important findings. Firstly, it eliminates errors by either correcting or rejecting inaccurate or doubtful replies from the respondents as some may misunderstood the question or the instructions. Secondly, compiling and editing the results prepares them for tabulation by standardizing responses reported in easily understood manner. If the researchers tabulate the responses in a more easily accessible way, it will be an advantage for the advertisers because they will easily understand and retrieve the information so that they can fueled with knowledge for advertising and the comprehension of the advertisement could be achieved.

The final step in advertising research is the interpretation of the findings. The data which has been collected and compiled has to be evaluated to determine whether the objectives for conducting the advertising research has been achieved or not. “The statistical findings reached in the data compiling step are not the objective for which the research was undertaken … they are merely evidence to be evaluated and interpreted in terms of the alternative courses of action if the research is to aid the decision making process. After the data has been evaluated and interpreted, the advertisers will have more insight on the subject matter that they are write an advertisement on, as a result, the advertisers will provide a more comprehensive approach on the advertising strategy.

According to Andrews and Shimp (2013, p 473) advertising research is a process whereby the brand management team researches whether proposed advertisement stand a good chance of being successful prior to investing money in printing and airing advertisements. Andrews and Shimp also stated that there are four stages in advertising research. Firstly, the advertisers have to develop an advertising copy, that, is copy development. In this stage, the initial ideas are developed from the creative brief – a document that is used in the development of an ad campaign and its execution – which consists of six elements. The elements of the creative brief include the advertising objectives in which the initial question, ‘why are we advertising?’ is addressed and the target audience, that is, the person whom the advertising message and the product offering is intended for. The creative brief also consists of the motives, thoughts and feeling of the target audience as well as the brand positioning and personality of the product, amongst others.

The second stage in the advertising research is when the ideas are screened in focus groups, that is, a rough stage. In this stage the ideas for advertising that have been developed through the creative brief are screened for viability through the use of focus groups, where the ideas are then developed into something tangible. The third stage in advertising research is copy testing, that is, the advertising copy is tested by the consumers in the target audience to determine whether the ad will create any positive effect or will induce the consumer to actually purchase the product that is being advertised. This stage is also called pretesting. The final stage in the advertising research process tracking. After appearing in the media, the ads are tracked using surveys, usually measuring recall, attitudes, intentions and behavioral data. Conducting advertising research will enable the advertiser to flow when writing the advertising copy because they will be fueled with information about the consumer’s preferences as well as create the best advertisement that will motivate to consumer into purchasing the company brands.

“Creativity is critical to effective advertising. Many brands have used creativity to build brand images with greater meaning of the basic capabilities of their products. The creative concept is basically the story behind the messages presented in advertisements and it is developed by the creative team. The creative concept ties together the characters and elements in an advertisement, as a result, helps to convey a memorable and effective message that will create a purchase desire in the minds of the target audience.” (Kokemuller, 2018).

REFERENCES
Actionable Strategies 2015, OC Marketing Strategies, viewed 19 April 2018, https://www.analyticsoc.comAndrews C.J, Shimp T.A (eds.) 2013, Advertising, Promotion and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications. 9th edition, Cengage Learning, South-Western.

Ha, L (2012). Online advertising Research in Advertising Journals: A Review, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, vol 30 no.1. Viewed 17 April 2018, www.researchgate.net.

Kokemuller,N 2016, Creative Advertising Concept, Heart newspapers, 6 september, viewed 17 March 2018, https://www.smallbusiness.chron.com/creative-advertising-concepts-18561.htmlLake, L 2017, The Marketing Definition of Advertising Research, viewed 19 April 2018, https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-is-advertising-research-4043416.htmlSmith, K 2016, How To Conduct Advertising Research, Brandwatch blog post, 14 December, viewed 14 March 2018, https://www.brandwatch.com/how-to-conduct-advertising-research-18451.htmlWright J.S, Winter W.L, Zeigler S.K (eds) 1982, Advertising, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

www.businessdictionary.com/definition/creative-strategy.html

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