These are the only reasons for advertising. But when it comes to selling semiconductor equipment, there is really only one left. There are few cases where advertising is needed for lead generation, because there are so few customers. It is far better to just visit them. So that leaves only brand building. It is hard to build a brand by just visiting the customer. This is because brand building is much more about having an impact on the subconscious than it is having one on the conscious. When done properly, it gives just enough advantage at the customer’s decision point so that they ignore the higher price and choose the brand. This is why the generic sections of most stores are far smaller than the brand name sections. The next time you pick up a branded product, stop and ask yourself why? Is it really better, or is it the power of repeated exposures to advertising? Most likely, it’s the latter.
The advantage of having subconscious mind share, it that it reinforces actions by the conscious mind. Ads are as much about generating repeat business as they are about new business. There is often post-purchase depression and always a questioning of “did I make the right decision.” You don’t want unhappy buyers complaining, because word-of-mouth recommendations are the most powerful. Ads that show a sports car or motorcycle zooming through the hills are done mainly to get the buyer past this. Ads that tout the technology dominance or service capability of an equipment supplier have a similar purpose. Advantest and Applied Materials are masters of this type of advertising.
It is hard to get into the subconscious with face-to-face meetings because customers always have their guard up. It takes repeated exposure to gain real mind share and this can only be done when the buyer is relaxed and off the selling battleground. This is why advertising is so powerful.