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What is Business Advertising?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Business advertising is promotional material that is prepared and placed for the purpose of generating sales revenue. The main goal of such advertising is to inform and encourage potential consumers to purchase products or service. Major forms of business advertising include television and radio advertising, newspaper and magazine advertising, and now online advertising as well. In order to put together a truly marketable brand, coming up with an integrated advertising strategy is often encouraged.

Although many may deplore business advertising, or think of it as being overbearing and too intrusive, the fact is - it does work. If advertising did not work, the advertising business would not be an industry worth multiple billions of dollars. In many countries, this advertising underwrites not only newspapers and magazines, but the common television shows that people rely on for entertainment.

Magazines may be a form of business advertising.
Magazines may be a form of business advertising.

Those who have developed an integrated advertising strategy will take their business advertising to a higher level. For example, a jingle that becomes popular on the radio or television will soon be included in print advertisements. It may also be placed on product packaging. Fast food companies often put the slogan of the ad campaign on their bags and food wrappers. All this reinforces the idea the advertising wanted to get across - that buying the product is a good choice. It also further reinforces the brand in the customer's mind.

Businesses may place ads in newspapers.
Businesses may place ads in newspapers.

Business advertising agencies will work with different media outlets to develop a comprehensive strategy that includes multiple ad spots targeted at specific audiences. Whether this is a display ad in a newspaper running more than one day, or a television commercial running many times during the month, these redundancies provide a number of benefits. First, it gives those who may have missed it during a previous run a chance to see it. Second, if the same ad is being used, it saves on the production costs of producing an entirely new ad. Third, it gives both the advertiser and media outlet a chance to budget appropriately for the expenses and income being generated.

Agencies specializing in business advertising will create comprehensive strategies to target specific audiences.
Agencies specializing in business advertising will create comprehensive strategies to target specific audiences.

In print advertising, there are a number of different strategies that can be employed. In fashion advertising especially, it is often common practice to offer free sample kits for makeup, or put the scent of a perfume or cologne into an ad. This gives the potential buyer first-hand knowledge of the product. Coupons are another common strategy. They can be very helpful because it is very easy to track where a coupon is coming from, and thus offers insight as to which publications are producing the most results in different geographic areas.

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Discussion Comments


@lighth0se33 – My best friend is an ad sales representative for a newspaper, and she says that they get a lot of prefabricated ads from big chains. Major companies often do their own ads, and they don't get charged as much to run them because of this.

I have noticed that these ads seem to tie into other areas of advertising. The same slant that I see in the company's ad on television or hear on the radio will be offered up in the newspaper. If the ad features a model, she will also be present in the print ad, wearing the same clothes as she did on TV.

I think this is wise, because it gets in your head. You associate certain phrases or looks with that company, and just the fact that you think about them at all might lead you to shop at the store.


I work as a graphic designer at a newspaper, and we get most of our revenue from local business advertising. At certain times of the month when we run special sections or around holidays, there is more than enough ad building work to keep me and the other designer very busy.

I think that many local businesses see the value of advertising in the newspaper. A lot of the residents in this town are retired, and many of them would rather read the newspaper than look online for their news. Our small town is one of the few places where people really do still look at the newspaper, and advertisers know this.

When someone wants to run an ad with us that they have previously run, they get a special pick-up rate, since we don't have to put time and energy into creating a new ad. Many advertisers take advantage of this and milk their original ad for all its worth.


@sunshined – I'm with you on the free samples being a good form of advertisement. You see a lot of this around Christmas, because stores are hoping that if you buy something for yourself and get a free sample attached, you will try it, love it, and come back to buy it as a gift for your friends, as well as for yourself.

One of my favorite cosmetic brands sells a makeup kit full of goodies around Christmas. I always end up getting several free small products in the bag, like miniature tubes of lipstick or small bottles of anti-aging cream. I once even got a small vial of expensive perfume for free.

It worked on me, as it probably does on many people. I loved the perfume, and so did my best friend, so I ended up going back and buying a small bottle for each of us.

@golf07 – This kind of business to business advertising can work really well in a small town. My friend had just relocated her hair salon, and she participated in advertising with several local shop owners, benefiting them all.

Rather than place ads in a newspaper or on the radio, she sold a few products from local businesses in her salon. The jewelry store down the street put several pieces on display for sale in her reception area. A clothing store nearby put up a rack of dresses and accessories inside her salon, and they sold well.

What happened was that everyone started asking her where she got her merchandise. She pointed them to the businesses down the street, and that was free advertising for them.

In exchange, the workers at these businesses put up flyers inside

their stores advertising my friend's salon. They also all agreed to

have their hair done by her, so their trendy hairstyles served as

advertising, as well.


@John57 - I agree with the feeling of being overwhelmed with ads everywhere. When I record a TV show, I like to fast forward through all the commercials. Most of them I have seen many times before and it doesn't take me as long to watch a show.

I have always wondered how successful business advertisements on billboards are. Now that more billboards are digital, I would think this would be much more cost effective.

There wouldn't be as much labor involved, and it is much easier to change the ad on a regular basis.

One type of advertising I don't mind is the free samples that come when you buy a product. Recently I tried a new lotion and included on the bottle was a free sample of their shampoo. This is something that leaves me with a positive feeling.

Many companies will also offer great coupons to try a new product. When I see a coupon for 50 cents off, I don't even bother. If I see a coupon for $2.00 off, then I feel it is worth it, and I am more willing to give it a try.


My son is currently going to school to get his degree in business marketing and advertising. He has a knack for this and does very well with this type of work.

Not only does it take someone with a creative mind, but also someone who knows what will be appealing to customers and get their attention.

I get frustrated because it seems like you can never escape tons of advertising. Now you can't even bring up many web pages without a pop up showing some type of advertising.

Most videos on YouTube also have advertising messages at the bottom. When I was looking at buying my first Kindle, they even had a cheaper version if you were willing to have ads on your screen.

I thought this was taking it too far. The last thing I want to see when I am reading a book is an advertisement - no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

I am sure there were many people who were willing to have this advertising just to pay a cheaper price for the device. For me, it wasn't worth it and I would rather pay a few more dollars and have no ads.


@golf07 - It sounds like the restaurant owner had good results with his advertising dollars. Hopefully he will continue paying for advertising that works well for him.

When it comes to advertising for business, you have to remember it must be a continual process. Most people can't have one big advertising campaign and then be done. There will always be new customers to reach.

One form of advertising that seems to pay for itself over and over again is the jingles that they come up with. I think a catchy jingle can help with brand recognition more than anything.

When I was in college, we were given a quiz of many famous jingles and had to come up with the name of the company that matched that particular jingle.

Many of these had been around for several years, and it was amazing how many people in the class knew all of them.

When your mind automatically thinks of a particular company when you hear a tune or words to a jingle, you know their advertising money was well spent.


We have a favorite pizza restaurant we like to eat at once a week. They have some of the best pizza I have ever eaten, and even when we bring friends with us, they comment on how good it is.

Word of mouth advertising always works well, and we have referred a lot of people there. Even so, he was still struggling for business and couldn't afford expensive advertising.

Small business advertising can be too much for an individual business to afford on their own. He ended up pooling his efforts with other small business owners and was able to advertise for a reasonable price in the immediate area.

We noticed a significant increase in his business once he started doing this. He was very excited about it, and was hoping it was just the thing he needed to get more customers.

Once people realize how good the food and service is, they keep coming back and bring more people with them.

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    • Magazines may be a form of business advertising.
      By: Africa Studio
      Magazines may be a form of business advertising.
    • Businesses may place ads in newspapers.
      By: Feng Yu
      Businesses may place ads in newspapers.
    • Agencies specializing in business advertising will create comprehensive strategies to target specific audiences.
      By: Robert Kneschke
      Agencies specializing in business advertising will create comprehensive strategies to target specific audiences.
    • Coupons are a form of business advertising.
      By: trekandphoto
      Coupons are a form of business advertising.
    • Many businesses advertise in the local phonebook.
      By: robynmac
      Many businesses advertise in the local phonebook.