An advertising objective is a goal of an advertising campaign, selected at the start of the campaign to keep it focused on a specific end product. Companies use objectives to set goals for their advertising and may use assessments to determine whether goals are being met. These can allow companies to adjust their advertising, consider new advertising ideas, and set new goals for long term sales, growth, and development.
There are a number of different areas that a company may choose to focus on with an advertising objective. The one most consumers think of when they hear “advertising” is a persuasive objective, where the mission is to make consumers buy a product. This could include incentives to switch brands, appeals to specific demographics, and a variety of other tactics. After encountering persuasive advertising, consumers should want to buy products, and may also want to encourage friends and family to do the same.
Awareness can be another advertising objective. In this case, the goal is to make consumers aware of a brand, but not specifically to sell products. The company might use ads to project an image, enter the consciousness of consumers, and build up associations with a specific brand or product family. While such ads don't explicitly tell people to buy a product, they may be recalled at the grocery store, or in the course of researching a new purchase, and the customer may turn to what is familiar, and gravitate toward that brand.
Other advertising objectives include reinforcements and reminders. In reinforcements, companies tell consumers that they made the right choice by purchasing a product. A car company might have a messaging campaign aimed more at current owners, for instance, to make them feel good about their buying decisions. In reminders, companies who want repeat business remind consumers of their products and services. A classic example can be seen on commercial flights, where a cabin attendant usually says, “We hope you fly with us again” at the end of the flight.
Companies can use tools like surveys, market observation, and sales analysis to determine if they are meeting an advertising objective. If not, they analyze their ads to determine why and develop a redirection plan to hit the target goals. A car company might discover, for instance, that persuasive ads aimed at a given demographic aren't working because they don't reflect the attitudes and beliefs of that demographic.