Effective marketing and strategic advertising are key to the success of any kind of business, more so with small/medium ones. Whenever a new product is launched in the market or when a business desires to grow, companies begin advertisement campaigns. The other desirable objectives are to make its presence known to its competitor, when there is a dip in the business profits or when a misconception exists among the potential customers regarding the product/services.
Once you have decided who your target audience are, it becomes easier to select the medium of advertisement. For instance, if you are aiming at teenagers, then the best way to reach out to them is through radio and selective television programs, else you can put up posters in schools/colleges and youth centers. However, if your target is business executives of a specific industry, then it is wise to uses professional journals to publish your advertisement. Whether your business is a global or a local brand, there are certain small business advertising laws that you need to comply with.
Comply with Advertising Laws
Advertising Laws were drawn by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and it is this agency that enforces the advertising and marketing laws to protect the consumers against deceptive and tall claims made by certain companies. It is mandatory that all business houses follow the advertising and marketing rules as a matter of practice. Failing to do so would lead to civil penalties and lawsuits.
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The three important points under Federal Trade Commission Act include –
(a) Advertising should be truthful and not deceptive - An ad campaign is considered to be deceptive if it contains any untrue statements or if it omits any important information that is likely to mislead the consumers under any circumstances.
(b) Advertisers should have proof to back up their claims – When you launch an advertisement, the claims should be supported by proper evidence. For instance, if a pharmaceutical company makes a statement that “Four out of five doctors recommend XYZ Pain Reliever”, the advertisement campaign should have tangible and reliable scientific proof to support it. (Recently, a prominent shoe brand was penalized for misleading consumers)
(c) Advertisements cannot be unfair - That is the company cannot offer false hopes to attract gullible customers. FTC considers an ad campaign to be unfair when it has a probability of causing bodily or other kind of injury to the consumer which will happen under any circumstances. The degree of harm caused should not outweigh the tangible benefits accrued to the concerned consumers.
Contact FTC to check the credibility of a certain small/medium/big business, and whether they were the subject of past punitive action. However, FTC will never divulge whether it is currently scrutinizing an ad campaign for suspected misdemeanors.
Remember that an advertising agency of the guilty advertiser cannot escape legal culpability for misleading claims in advertisements, and are duty-bound to independently verify and substantiate the asserted claims.
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