Types of Advertising

According to one dictionary meaning of advertising, it connotes "public announcement". Expatiating further, the same dictionary says that advertising means to "make generally known, promote (goods and services) publicly, e.g. by a notice in a newspaper, in order to increase sales".

In other words, advertising simply means letting people know about your company, business, products and services for the purpose of driving or increasing sales and profitability.

Therefore, the only proven way to take your business to higher heights is to let people know about your organisation and the nature of your business. The term that is used to describe this marketing strategy is advertising.

The Different Forms of Advertising

Broadly speaking, the different types of advertising can be broken down into just two, viz:

  • Non-formal advertising: Non-formal advertising is the dissemination of information to people without recourse to any rigid formal rules and regulations, just so long as the information is communicated to the people concerned.

    Under this type of advertising is where word-of-mouth advertising falls into. Word-of-mouth advertising is the dissemination of information among close friends, acquaintances and family members.

    This sort of information dissemination is only done from mouth to mouth and person to person, hence the name word-of-mouth.

    Word-of-mouth advertising has a major advantage because it is conducted within familiar grounds. It is also the best form of advertising since it is conducted one-on-one with either a person or a group of people at a time.

    However, word-of-mouth advertising has a major limitation in the number of people that can be reached by word-of-mouth over a period of time. Additionally, information which has been passed from mouth-to-mouth tend to be watered down or even become outrightly false and misleading over a given period of time.

    Another informal advertising method is the use of town crier within a community whenever there is a message to be relayed.

    The town crier advertising is a situation whereby a person appointed and designated by a community as its town crier passes through all the quarters of a community and announces a given message to the people with the use of a talking drum.

    The town crier is the primary form of information dissemination in a typical African community and it is solely used by the ruling class to pass information to the subjects on various matters affecting everyone in the community.

    The town crier method of advertising has its advantages and limitations. Unlike the word-of-mouth method, the town crier method reaches a larger group of people at the same time. However, it has the limitation of not being able to reach every single person in a community.

    Consequently, this leads to watered down version of the message or outright spread of misleading information by those who heard the message to those who missed the message during that time.


  • Formal advertising: Formal advertising is the use of technology and more advanced communication facilities to disseminate information to a larger group of people at the same time. Formal advertising has arisen from the non-formal form of advertising.

    Under the formal method of advertising, there is advertising on electronic media, such as radio and television. There is also print media advertising whereby public announcements are done on the pages of magazines and newspapers, be it daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly newpapers or magazines.

    Additionally, there is advertising on the internet. This type of advertising holds a greater advantage over other forms of advertising because it is not limited by distance or location and it reaches a larger population at the same time, no matter where they are located in any parts of the world.

    The major drawback of internet advertising is that it needs a person to be connected to the internet in order to see the adverts. But, affordable mobile phones which are equipped with GPRS facility are finding their way into the hands of more people nowadays. Hence, more and more people are gaining access to the internet on a daily basis.

    Consequently, this disadvantage is becoming less and less significant in the use of the internet as a type of formal advertising among business people.

    Finally, with each different type of advertising comes its own target audience, peculiarities, marketing strategy and advertising plan. So, depending on the nature of your business will determine the form of advertising that is best suited for your business.

Is Advertising Necessary?

But, you may be wondering to yourself this very minute: is advertising really necessary? This is the question that is considered next on the following web page: Why Should I Advertise?.







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