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Who are the Advertisers?

By this time it should have been clear to you that the advertiser is the puppeteer in the puppet show that is advertising. The entire business starts with the advertiser. The rise and fall of advertising business depends solely on the expenditure incurred by the advertiser. It is the advertiser that maintains the total complex of services and organizations that constitute the advertising business. The expenditure on advertising is a measure of the growth of the economy and the nature and direction of that growth. This is because the advertiser is the sole buyer of advertising and the content of advertising is an expression of the basic character of the economy. Which section of the population does advertising speak to? What message does advertising carry? Answers to these questions provide a picture of the state of the economy and its basic character.

For instance, it is obvious, from the advertising that we are exposed to every day, that India is fast moving towards a consumer society. The major advertisers are the manufacturers of consumer products, particularly consumer durables and elitist consumer services. From the audio-visual impact that advertising creates in India today, it is evident that the advertiser is the big manufacturer or the multinational corporation. It is true that they are the largest spenders, but the buyers of advertising are numerous and diverse. Not all of them use the services of advertising agencies, nor do all use the wide range of media available. Buyers of advertising extend from the individual to the massive conglomerate of a wide range of industries and services with production facilities and markets dispersed in different continents.

It is worth having some idea of the different kinds of advertisers, because there might be job opportunities, which, even though not concerned primarily with advertising, might involve buying advertising. Hence, some knowledge of, or training in, advertising can be an added qualification. You might find yourself in the position of a retailer, a trader, running a mail order business, proprietor of a small business establishment or employed in it, or any other individual assignment that might involve buying advertising regularly or infrequently. In this category one might also include executives in business enterprises, which do not maintain, or need to maintain, specialized staff for handling their advertising, or an advertising department. You might find yourself in the position of a sales manager or a branch manager. This is quite common in some organizations, which do not manufacture goods, but are selling agents for goods manufactured by others. They are marketing organizations and market a variety of products. The sales manager for each product might be called upon to handle the advertising of that particular product.

In many such cases the individual responsible for buying advertising might use freelance services of a copywriter and an artist and even the various services available for the production of advertising material and then go in directly to buy space or time in the media. Such a person might even use the services of the designing facilities available with the media. Others, placed in such a situation, might prefer to use the services of an advertising agency. Such business enterprises might well do without trained advertising staff or a full-fledged advertising department. What I am trying to get at is that it is possible for you to fulfill your desire to be in advertising even without getting a job in an advertising agency or in the advertising department of an advertiser. Job opportunities in advertising are not limited, because the buyer of advertising is practically everywhere in commerce and industry, in government and even in non-commercial social service organizations. This is because everyone who wants to make known what one has to _offer for sale, or even voluntary service, and what service or product one wants to buy, has first to buy advertising. You might create it yourself or get the help of experts on payment.

How does an advertiser deal with an advertising agency? One does not necessarily have to maintain specialized-staff or an advertising department to be able to deal with an advertising agency, depending on the size of the business enterprise the task of advertising could be the responsibility of someone directly connected with sales or marketing. This person could be the proprietor of the enterprise, its marketing director or one of the marketing, commercial or sales managers or executives. This is' how one would expect a relatively small enterprise to operate.

In a commercial enterprise, where advertising is a major component of its varied commercial or marketing activities, it is usual at least to have one person solely responsible for advertising. This person would usually be designated advertising manager. Some organizations prefer the title publicity manager. Depending on the amount of work involved, usually related to the number of products marketed, some firms have an advertising department presided over by the advertising manager. The bigger the enterprise the bigger the department and the entire hierarchy, one would find such persons as marketing director, sales manager or product managers and the advertising manager. In some cases all these roles are combined in a single person, who is an executive director and thus part of the board of directors, or the top management of the company. Thus, there is no single pattern.

The advertising manager, or however one might be designated, might be responsible only for advertising or even for other related activities, such as public relations, sales promotion and merchandising and, even in some cases, marketing and market research, the bigger the organization, the more the division of responsibilities. For a broad definition of an advertising manager, one might accept the one provided by the Incorporated Advertising Management Association of the UK, whose membership is open to "persons responsible for advertising, publicity, sales promotion, marketing and public relations of commercial, public and other undertakings." This definition is broad enough to cover the various combinations of activities that a person might have to undertake in a business enterprise, depending on its size and range of activities. For our purpose an advertising manager is one who handles the advertising requirements of an organization, whatever might be the person's designation or other responsibilities.

Depending. on the size and range of .activities of an enterprise the activities of the advertising manager would vary. This person could be called upon to act as the representative of the enterprise in dealing with the advertising agency and in buying other advertising or advertising related services. This is mainly an administrator's job. It would, however, require some understanding of advertising and, of course, marketing.

The advertising manager could also be in charge of a department, coordinating and supervising the work of the staff in day-to-day working relations with the advertising agency, or with even creating the company's own advertisements. Such a person could also co-ordinate the activities of a number of junior advertising managers or product managers or branch managers, responsible for the marketing and advertising of one or a particular group of products.

Whatever the type of organization and structure of the advertising buying operation, the responsibilities of the advertising manager would more or less be the same. Obviously this person, when not working on one's own, would have to work closely with the top management of the company or the policy-makers and particularly the marketing and sales personnel. The advertising manager would be responsible for organizing the testing of a product in a limited market, before it is universally marketed. This would involve also the marketing strategy, the advertising strategy, etc. Of course, in the case of a large enterprise, the advertising manager would work as part of a team, including Marketing executives and marketing research personnel. In a smaller set-up it would obviously be a single person affair, may be aided by the advertising agency, if its services are utilized.

Moving from the internal to the external sphere, the task of the advertising manager is to brief the advertising agency or the other service organizations related to advertising. This is possibly the most important responsibility. This involves not only a profound understanding of the policy of the enterprise concerned, but also the ability to interpret it clearly to individuals who do not have direct access to the processes and compulsion of policy formulation. The advertising manager must not only be able to share the knowledge and understanding gained over the years through association with the organization, but also share it in such a way as to enable the agency to translate the requirements of the advertiser into the most effective marketing communication programme or advertising. This calls for good communication ability and an understanding of the requirements of an advertising agency to perform its task effectively.

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