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5 Ms of Advertising

Advertisements play a critical role in helping businesses develop and grow their market share. They help create demand and build brand awareness. Understanding the various elements of advertising helps business managers understand the limitations and capabilities of advertising and create better promotional campaigns.

It is critical for marketing managers to know about the 5Ms of advertising to effectively use their advertising strategy to grow market share and expand customer base. These 5Ms are like five important elements of advertising requiring critical focus to achieve the desired objectives. Each one of these represents a critical aspect of advertising and its role in terms of marketing. Understanding the 5Ms also helps the marketing function use their resources and capabilities in the most effective manner to promote their products. The 5Ms of advertising include Mission, Money, Media, Message and Measurement. Here is a detailed discussion of these 5Ms of advertising with examples.

The Five Ms of Advertising


There can be various missions or objectives of advertising and promotions. What the marketing function is trying to achieve through advertising is called its mission. Marketers can achieve several objectives through advertising including promoting a product or services, developing a brand or achieving some other company objective like growing sales. Even if a product is not released yet and is undergoing development, companies can advertise to generate interest in that product. In this way, advertising can achieve two missions including informing the audience and generating interest. However, many times, the simplest mission of advertising is to inform the audience. Several times, the main objective of advertising, especially in case of brands already holding market share, is to beat the competition.

In general, there are three advertising objectives, which are to inform, to persuade, and to remind.

Examples of advertising mission:

 The mission of advertising can be to define a product image or positioning a product by attributing a definite image to the product. This is generally the mission of advertising when companies are developing new products or brands. For example, the mission of an advertising campaign can be to define the image or nature of a product before the target audience. Suppose you have a pre-existing audience or target market and you want to position a product that they have not seen before. In such a case, the mission of the advertisement would be to build product image so the audience can connect with it.

At other times, the mission of an advertising campaign can be to update the product line or help sustain the interest of the audience during the product’s development stages, even if they span several years.

If a product line is experiencing diminishing demand or customer interest, then the mission of the advertising campaign can be to rebuild customer interest in the product. Marketers can re-establish the product in the audience’s mind through advertising.


Money is an important resource when it comes to advertising and also a serious limitation that limits how much you can achieve from your promotional campaigns. It implies the budget for advertising. The budget is affected by several factors including the geographic segmentations, target market demographics, type of media being used and also the time of advertising. How long an advertising campaign runs will also affect its budget. The type of product being promoted also affects the advertising budget. The financial aspect of advertising is an important concern for marketers and businesses which mostly requires serious consideration before a company can launch a marketing campaign. Depending upon these various factors advertising can be expensive or inexpensive. However, marketers need to manage their promotional strategy in a manner that they achieve more while spending less. Having the right promotional strategy will help improve the maraketing ROI.


Before designing their marketing/advertising campaign, the marketers will need to consider the budget the company has allotted for the particular purpose. They will also consider the length of the campaign and how long the promotional campaign will run since it has a direct impact on the budget. The longer an ad campaign runs, the higher budget it will consume. For example, a company that has an advertising budget of $6,000 for its product, and is relatively a smaller player compared to competitors, decides to use direct marketing and online advertising for promotions.

Some important factors that will affect the advertising budget also include the level of competition, the brand’s market share and customer base, availability of substitutes, and the frequency of advertising.


The advertising message plays a critical role in the success of the advertisement. Message implies the content of the advertisement which can include video, audio, informational content, and pictures.

Message generation can be completed in the following ways:

Inductive: Consumers, dealers, suppliers, experts and even competing firms can be great source of ideas for message generation. The customers are particularly a good source of ideas for message generation. How they feel about the product, its strengths and weaknesses can provide you enough idea to design an effective message.

Deductive: According to Researcher John C Maloney, the buyers expect one of the four rewards from a product: rational, sensory, social or ego satisfaction. Buyers might visualize these rewards from results-of-use-experience, product-in-use experience, or incidental-to use-experience. Marketers could match the four types of rewards with three types of experiences to generate 12 types of messages.

Message Evaluation, selection and execution:

Marketers focus on the message and evaluate it for alternatives before finalizing. The focus of a good advertising campaign is on at least one core selling proposition of the brand’s products/services. To evaluate the message, marketers can rate these messages based on desirability, exclusiveness and believability. First of all, the message must say something desirable or interesting about the product. It must also include something that is quite distinct about the product or brand and which does not apply to competing products or substitutes. Apart from these things, the message must be reliable or the marketer must only claim what he can prove.

Then comes the message execution. Not just the content of the message but how it is being said also matters in advertising. Advertisements can carry rational or emotional appeals. However, style, tone, format and content must be kept in mind during execution.


A business is selling a food product, let’s say an energy drink. The drink contains an ingredient which is not found in all health drinks and helps overcome fatigue. The target of the message are health conscious people who want to remain fit. The main focus of the message was a health-conscious lifestyle. People are living hectic lifestyles but want to remain energetic throughout the day. Therefore, the company made an energy drink for health conscious and busy people to stay fit and energetic throughout the day.


Media carries the advertising message to the target audience. It is how you communicate the message to the target market.  The use of digital media for advertising has increased in recent years driven by the growth of digital technology worldwide.

The following steps can be followed to decide the right media for advertising:

  • Deciding upon the geographical area being targeted
  • Timings of advertising and media to be used.
  • Selecting a group of available media vehicles to reach the geographical market in the desired time span.
  • Selecting the leading (efficient and effective) media vehicle among the available ones.
  • Decide upon the reach, frequency and desired impact of the media.

For example: A business that has come up with products for university students in an area can target them using digital channels. It can use social media, websites and apps and select the time for reaching the target market. The business uses Facebook and its own website to target its audience and runs a month-long social media campaign to build brand awareness and attract customers. It selects social media because of its reach, effectiveness and being within its budget.


Measurement is a key step since it helps you decide whether you advertising campaign was effective and reached the desired target audience.

Apart from that, it helps marketers find loopholes in their advertising campaign and prevent any wastage of their precious advertising budget.

Marketers can carry out ‘communication effect research’ or ‘sales effect research’ to measure the effectiveness of the advertisement. Communication effect research determines if an ad is communicating effectively. It is also called copy testing and can be carried out before the advertisement is released (pretesting) or after it has been released (post testing). Sales effect research on the other hand, measures the effectiveness of an ad in terms of sales. How much the ad was effective at boosting sales will help the marketer determine the effectiveness of that ad. The sales effect research is generally used less since sales can also be influenced by other factors apart from advertising like prices, packaging, product quality, availability and other factors.


Pretesting is carried out before the advertisement is actually run. Marketers can use various pretesting methods like check list test, opinion test and other types of tests for the purpose of pretesting.

Post testing:

This method measures the effectiveness of an ad after the ad has been run or while the advertising campaign is actually running. It is generally an inexpensive method of testing the effectiveness of advertisements. Apart from that, post testing also allows to answer a wider range of more specific questions.


A company laid an ad and within 3 months it had become the dominant player in its category in the local market. The ad was successful and results showed that the ad was driving higher usage among the target market.  It boosted sales and the company decided to air the ad for longer. The company continued to maintain its dominant market position playing upon the central theme of the advertisement.