Basics of Advertising

Ignoring advertising requirements is like opening a business but not telling anyone.

Any business is as successful as many customers and clients it can get.

The purpose of any business is to provide products and services that satisfy the needs of their customers. And any business is as successful as many customers and clients it can get, and fulfil their needs. That’s where ‘advertising’ comes in. 

In the most basic sense, advertising refers to setting up your business and telling as many people as you can about it. Although increasing business and sales are central to advertising, it is not limited to these purposes. Advertising done in the right way establishes your business as a ‘brand’ with your customers and beyond. 

What is advertising?

Advertising is the process of communicating a business to potential audiences and masses, which delivers the company’s sponsored and creative message intending to promote its products, services, or ideas and build an image. Any paid form of communication from a sponsor or source that supports a business or its entities comes under its ambit.

It is carried out through various media like newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and external advertising or live email. And modern technology-based media, like search results SEO, SEM, social media networks, websites, or direct messages. The real-time display of a planned advertising campaign in any media, as mentioned above, is termed as an advertisement, ‘ad’. 

It is the exercise of promoting a company and its products or services through paid mediums, marketing is the process of recognizing customer needs and determining how to meet those needs effectively.

Purposes and Benefits

Many purposes are attributed to advertising, of which sales, promotions, and brand loyalty are the most important. It primarily has three aims, which are as following:

To communicate 

It aims to raise a brand’s cognizance of its products, services, and ideas. In this form, new products and programs are launched that let people know about the attributes and benefits of new or existing features. 

To convince 

It seeks to convince customers of a business’s capabilities and the trustworthiness of its products. This form works on boosting the positive perception of a company and improving its image. It encourages customers to take action to try new products and builds a relationship with the brand.

To remind

It aims to remind potential customers about the products and services they might need or the features and benefits that a new product will provide them, which their existing one doesn’t.

Overall, sales and promotion are attributed to the most as the purposes of advertising. The reason for this is the dual purpose that these actions serve. They are used to target potential customers by identifying what the customers are attracted to, where they are, and how the sales can be boosted in that segment and spread information about the business. Promotion and sales activities used for advertising usually comprise events like contests and games, gifts, vouchers, membership programs, etc. The main goal of is to motivate potential customers to buy a business’s products or services.


Advertising is carried out through various media like newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and external advertising or live email.

It is essential to understand what are the Types of Advertising and the multiple mediums that can be used to advertise a business.

Some of the most prominent methods that are universally used include:


Local advertising refers to advertising about a business using tools that can influence the local customers and audiences. It certainly benefits a business, specifically a small business or a start-up. Some examples are:

Pamphlet drops, 
Supermarket boards, 
Leasing advertising space in railway stations, bus stops or on buses, 
Taking out ads in local and regional newspapers and magazines, posters at local doctor’s clinics, etc. 


Internet or online advertising is one of the most widely used advertising and marketing strategies. Advertising on the internet is exceptionally cost-effective and gives a broad scope of reaching large audiences. 

It can be done through:

Your website:  A website gives your business the relevant boost towards increasing sales. It makes your business more easily accessible to your customers.

Other websites: Other websites and online portals that host businesses like yours can be used for hyper-linking your business website and directing customers to your website.

Radio and Cinema 

Even today, many people listen to the radio for music and news, usually when they are driving to work or doing some other task. So, listening to an ad about your business can have a positive impact on potential customers. Local cinema advertising also provides a captive audience with a prolonged impact that your advertisements can have on the audience. 


Outdoor advertising consists of all public spaces that can be utilized for putting up promotional extracts, from static signs like billboards to mobile advertising such as buses. Specific permissions need to be sanctioned from concerned authorities before using outdoor spaces for advertising purposes.

National papers, magazines and TV

The costs for this medium of advertising can be high, but they can help you attract a wider audience. Before implementing it nationwide, you should be guided by several experts who have a deep understanding of readers’ perception of advertisements in print media.

Small Business – Digital Advertising

If you are a small business or a start-up, your business’s best mode is digital advertising. That is because, with traditional marketing, you must have large capital to invest in advertising campaigns and put all the eggs in one basket to rely on some fruitful product. But digital advertising has many edges over almost all the media because it is easy and non-complex to implement. 

Following are the attributes that make the best option for small businesses and start-ups. 


Traditional advertising segments like TV, direct mail, popular magazines, radio stations, local newspapers, and billboards need much large investment and excessive planning.

For example, suppose a billboard is put up for an advertisement. In that case, it can’t be moved until after the contract expires, even if the traffic or people in that particular region stop coming out of a sudden. Traditional advertising has limited scope in diversifying your business ads. 

But small business advertising in the digital space allows them to test and check their ads and determine what’s working and what isn’t at much fewer costs than, say, putting up a billboard and taking out an ad in a national daily. Ad costs go down significantly if small businesses advertise on digital platforms in their initial years.

Scalability and Feedback

When the internet is used for small business advertising, the campaign is started with a lower maximum ad spend, in ascending order. Since digital has a higher reach within a limited period, scalability feedback is quick. Therefore, ad spending can be scaled up or down, depending on the campaign’s performance, unlike the traditional methods where it usually takes longer to get feedback on ad performance.

SEO (search engine optimisation) can be used for planning advertising campaigns as it is an integral part of long-term advertising strategies for businesses of all kinds, be it large, small, new, or old.

Uniform Space for Everyone 

In traditional advertising methods, mega-corporations can make hefty investments and capture the advertising spaces, leaving no room for small businesses. Big companies harm many small and new companies that have constrained their budget for advertising.

But the digital platform gives everyone a similar ground to compete on. Small businesses can put out their USPs in creative and enticing ways using digital media that attract a broad audience despite big players’ presence.


When an ad is created for a company, it is made to impact the target audience. And in the journey of an ad, user feedback is of chief importance to reliably deliver the right message to the audience. Suppose the consumer considers that a particular ad is in bad taste or that some ad claims are untrue. In that case, a regulatory body is necessary with which the discrepancies can be lodged.


If you are a small business or a start-up, your business's best mode is digital advertising.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is the regulatory body in India that oversees the advertising industry and sets the rules for businesses to advertise. It regulates the content of advertising to serve advertisers and consumers. ASCI ensure that advertisements by companies conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires publicity to be: 

Honest and truthful, and 
Not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition.

All media including print, TV, radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet/website, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material, etc., comes under the purview of ASCI and follows the guidelines set by the body.

Thus, every business needs an advertising strategy in order to expand and succeed whilst boosting confidence among its customers and building a brand out of the business.

Read more about business techniques on our website: 5 Ms Of Management and Unique Selling Proposition: Getting All Eyes On You.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alumnus of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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