It can be said that advertising is a subset “promotions” in the marketing mix decisions and promotions put simply involves the mass communication of the product offering to the target market (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). Other than the obvious reason of persuading customers to make purchases, it is imperative to promote the product offering in order to create an image of the product which becomes one of its differentiating factors (Doyle and Stern, 2006). Furthermore the promotion of a product offering is important to reinforce the information the customers already have about the product (Doyle and Stern, 2006). As mentioned earlier, advertising is one of the components of promoting a product offering and thus it is defined as “the paid presentation and promotion of products or services through mass media such as television, radio, newspapers and the internet”(Doyle and Stern, 2006). Traditionally, advertising is carried out on the television, radion and in newspapers however disruptive technology like the internet and the phenomena it has made possible has changed advertising and the effect it can have on consumers particularly where it concerns their purchasing decisions (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). Illustrating this point, Google and Facebook have created new environments which are part of the networks to which the planet belongs and which operate at break-neck speed (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). Furthermore, the internet and social networks have also changed the way individuals communicate such that advertisements do not inherently have to be paid â€“ a good review from one consumer to a group of others can be all the advertisement that a company would need (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). In addition to this, advertisements can now be interactive in such a way that the information on the product passed on to the consumer is more targeted and customised (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). Thus this paper will be exploring the impact of online advertisements on consumer purchasing behavior first by outlining the theories of how advertising works, then examining the effects online advertisements on consumer purchasing behaviour .
There has been considerable debate on how advertising works however the general consensus has been that there can be no single all embracing theory that explains how all advertising works because they have varied tasks (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). For example advertising that attempts to make an instant sale by incorporating a return coupon that can be used to order a product is very different from corporate image advertisements that is aimed at reinforcing attitudes (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). Nevertheless, the competing views on how advertising works are the strong theory of advertising and the weak theory of advertising (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013)â€“ both theories are based on how they affect customers and their end results. The strong theory follows that a customer passes through the stages of AIDA â€“ awareness, interest, desire and action. This theory argues that advertising is strong enough to increase public’s knowledge and change their attitude and as a result it is capable of persuading new customers to purchase a brand (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick,
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