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The Advertising Communication Process - by Norton E. Warner

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    November 13, 2020 6:49 PM PST

    The Advertising Communication Process

    From the book by Norton E. Warner:

    David Can Still Beat Goliath; Radio Advertising is David's Slingshot

    Advertising's only function is to communicate with the prospective clients. What it communicates (compelling messages) wins or loses the battle for the customer’s mind. As you know, businesses will lose 20% of their customers every year...unless they make consistent "radio sales calls" to make up for this loss. Consistent, long-term radio advertising can overcome "out of the customer's mind is out of business."

    Advertising communicates

    “In our economy, advertising is the chief means by which businesses communicate with the customers about their products or services to bring about an exchange,” claims Neil H. Borden, professor of advertising at Harvard University. Communicate is the key word. Hold it in your mind when planning your client's advertising campaign.

    The advertising communication process

    Communication experts generally agree on the stages of the communication process: unawareness, awareness, comprehension, conviction and, finally, action. These stages are the basis of what I call the Advertising Communication Process. Awareness has been changed to top-of-the-mind awareness, comprehension has been changed to develop an understanding, conviction to create a preference or trust, and action to motivate to buying action.

    Creating awareness is advertising’s easiest job and may be quickly accomplished. Advertising forces move prospective customers from unawareness to awareness of your client's business, product, or service. At first, awareness is vague: with aided recall, consumers may say they have heard of your business. Advertising strengthens such vague impressions into a top-of-the-mind awareness. However, a simple awareness is generally not sufficient to lead to a buying action.

    Developing understanding requires more advertising effort and considerably more time. With consistent advertising, the prospective customer advances to an understanding of who you are, what you do, and what you stand for, as well as your distinctive characteristics.

    Creating preference or trust takes even longer. I always ask advertisers whether making a sale or getting a contract would be easier if prospective customers trusted them. The answer is always a resounding “Yes!” When trust is achieved, your client stands an excellent chance of attracting new customers and establishing a consumer franchise.

    The desired outcome of the Advertising Communication Process and your client's other marketing efforts is to motivate the consumer to the buying action—making a purchase or becoming a customer. Advertising is complemented by internal selling, customer mailings, referrals, and positive word of mouth from satisfied customers.

    At the same time your client is applying advertising forces to move prospective customers through the Advertising Communication Process, there are counteracting forces at work. Your client's competition is wooing the same customer. Memory lapse, perhaps one of your greatest enemies, induces people simply to forget. Death and transfer account for the loss of other customers. Product priority changes alter consumers’ purchase plans—tonight’s carpet shopping is deferred when the car engine conks out on the way home from work.

    Another counteracting force is negative word-of-mouth, which can neutralize trust or preference that has been building for years. It is estimated that disgruntled customers each share their dissatisfaction with an average of eleven other people.

    How troublesome are these counteracting forces? Every year, they will rob your client of at least 20 percent of his/her current customers. These customers must be replaced just to stay even.

    The Advertising Communication Process illustrates the need for consistent advertising pressure on the battlefield of the customer’s mind. To defeat Goliath, the force of your advertising must exceed the counteracting forces—not necessarily by outspending the competition but by spending more effectively. This book will show you how.


    To be a great radio advertising salesperson, you MUST understand exactly how radio advertising works and how to use it effectively to grow businesses on any size budget. Know your product! The book, David Can Still Beat Goliath, contains the concepts, principles, and strategies for using radio. It was written for your advertising client. With the invasion of national chains and online shopping, local businesses need your help. "David Can Still Beat Goliath" will give you confidence that you know exactly how to help the business owner beat the Goliaths. FREE Offer: Receive Chapter 1 of "David Can Still Beat Goliath; Radio Advertising is David's Slingshot" delivered to your e-mail box – Free. Go to:

    This post was edited by Rebecca Hunt at November 20, 2020 7:07 AM PST