Influential Language, Imagery, and Claims in Print Advertising: An Abstract
- 7 Downloads
Despite the ubiquity and importance of print advertisements in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, academic research on the content of current B2B ads is limited. Researchers have acknowledged that B2C marketers often value content design of print advertisement more than their B2B counterparts (Bellizzi and Hite 1986). With notable exceptions (Bellizzi and Hite 1986; Bellizzi et al. 1994; Lohtia et al. 1995; Lohtia et al. 2003; Turley and Kelley 1997; Clark and Honeycutt 2000; Baack et al. 2016), the investigation of content design elements in B2B advertising has received less attention.
The purpose of this investigation is to compare three elements of content design—influential language, imagery, and claims—between B2B and B2C advertisements. Specifically, we examine (1) how does the use of influential language, imagery, and claims differ in B2B versus B2C, (2) how does the use of these tools differ among B2B advertisers, and (3) how should researchers and B2B advertisers proceed to improve B2B print advertising.
The results of a content analysis of 270 print ads showed that B2B ads lag behind B2C ads in employing some persuasive elements. B2C ads showed a higher frequency of influential language such as taglines, slogans, spokespeople, humor, and links to other media. When employing imagery, B2B lagged behind B2C ads in employing dynamic images of products, images of products in use, and showing spokespeople. B2B advertisers did not lag behind B2C advertisers in the use of claims.
The results should provide researchers and practitioners with a clearer view of print ad content development. These insights may help researchers target important ad elements and practitioners take better advantage of little used tools of persuasion. The results may also facilitate improved management of ad creation. The framework developed for classifying influential language, imagery, and claims in ads may be adaptable to classifying content in digital and other advertising to facilitate integrated marketing communications.