Media Advertising: Is It Worth It?

When the term media advertising is used the discussion typically revolves around billboards, television, radio and newspapers. Is anyone of these methods more effective than the other? Answer: it depends on where a company’s key demographic is. The key in determining whether a conversation is even necessary about media advertising is whether or not the company’s demographic can be targeted through one of the media outlets.

But what does media advertising accomplish? Should it be expected to generate sales instantly? Or should it provide the business owner with a positive brand in the minds of consumers. This is an important question to answer, because the same measurements applied to any advertising method must be applied also to media. Basically, how much in promotional expense is being spent and then how many leads and/or prospects come as the result of this spending?

Media advertising is designed to do two basic things: 1) it’s generally designed to create an ongoing positive awareness in the mind of a potential prospect. Marketers call this an equity position. In other words, your company will have purchased access to those that see or hear the media through which you promote.

2). It is designed to determine for the potential buyer what your position is in the marketplace. Whatever your unique selling proposition is, media advertising should solidify it with the customer.

The most important factor for small businesses to come to grips with when using media advertising is that for either one of these goals to convert customers, there must be repetition of the ad.

In other words, a media advertisement will have to run and be witnessed several times by the potential buyer in order for any measurable effect to take place. Scientific studies indicate that it takes seven times for an advertisement to be seen before a viewer will recognize a specific fact outlined in the communication.

This is what makes media advertising a difficult method to use to promote small businesses. Once there is a sizable budget for media advertising, it can be effective. However, most small to middle market businesses, don’t have the necessary budget to run their commercial advertisement multiple times in order to get their customers to see and hear their message several different times.

Therefore, in cases when media advertising is done by small businesses, they will need to pick their times carefully and focus on selling direct to their viewers. Therefore, specific mentions of discount pricing can be beneficial in bringing more customers to the store.

This kind of commercial message should carry elements of ‘direct marketing’. The communication should be one-to-one and should have elements that require the viewer to make an immediate decision as to whether or not they will come the location.

These elements are common sales and copywriting tactics: the headline, story, proof, social proof and scarcity. This will mean of course that the commercial is doing less brand building and USP reinforcement than it is creating urgency.