Nowadays, mass marketing sometimes gets a raised eyebrow from marketing professionals. But that doesn't mean traditional advertising media like television, radio and print media can’t deliver great results for your advertising dollar; the key is to choose the right message for the right media and the right audience.
Before choosing your media, develop your media plan:
- Design a media plan. Analyze your target market, products and services, and determine which media - television, radio, newspaper or the Internet - best fit your needs and strengths.
- Gather information. Gather data about your audience/target market, competition, and the features and benefits of your products and services. Also, look at the various local and national media available in your marketplace. Determine their audiences and demographics, while gathering budget information.
- Develop your message. Write your key advertising messages and stick to them.
- Form an action plan. Develop a list of tasks that fit your media plan using the information you gathered and the messages. Implement the plan.
- Evaluate. Gather statistics about the results generated via each medium and measure your return on investment.
To determine which media to pursue, here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:
While network ratings are down, overall television audience numbers remain strong. The market has become increasingly fragmented, meaning one network or station is unlikely to have the same "power" it once had. While that is unfortunate, at least for media companies, that can also create opportunities for business owners. Many niche stations now exist; if your product is perfect for that niche, your advertising could turn out to be highly targeted and therefore cost-effective. Many golf-related companies, for example, have benefited from advertising on golfing-related stations.
In addition, many local cable providers can provide advertising on national shows – but for the local audience. If you wish to advertise during an ESPN broadcast, for example, your local cable provider may be able to sell advertising time during that broadcast, but only for a specific geographic region. The key, like with any advertising, is to determine your target audience, their interests and behaviors, and how best to reach them. Used wisely, highly-targeted television advertising can still be a great advertising tool.
Radio stations have also lost listeners as a result of the explosion in Internet radio and multimedia streaming. But local radio is still able to reach a local audience, especially if you choose to advertise on stations that reach your target demographic. First, think about your audience: age, gender, income levels, etc. Then match your audience profile with the demographics for stations in your area.
Radio sales reps can provide a wealth of information about their listeners: buying habits, listening habits, disposable income, etc. Don't assume stations you like are your best bet; your listening habits may be much different than the habits of your target audience.
One key to effective radio advertising is frequency. The more often your message is broadcast, the more likely customers will hear it and that it will make an impact. Research indicates listeners are most likely to act after hearing a message at least three to four times. Work hard to provide meaningful deals, sales, or promotions and include a call to action.
Newspaper readership is down. In some cases, print magazine readership is down as well. Just like with radio and television advertising, the key is to choose a print outlet that matches your target audience's interests and reading habits. For example, if you primarily sell products to a younger audience, advertising in your local newspaper is unlikely to pay dividends, since research shows a small percentage of teens read newspapers. But advertising in a local music magazine may be a smart choice (or consider radio or web advertising instead). On the other hand, if you sell products to an older demographic, the newspaper could still be your advertising medium of choice.
For most businesses, web advertising is a given. After all, your company website is a form of web advertising. So for starters, make sure your website promotes your business effectively.
Consider pay-per-click advertising to reach a broad range of customers. You can restrict your ads to a local audience or open up the possibilities to a national or international audience. If you only sell products at local outlets, national advertising does not make sense. On the other hand, if you also provide products through e-commerce, limiting your pay-per-click ads to a local audience will only restrict sales.
Your website can and should also serve as a complement to mass market advertising. Print, radio or television ads could direct potential customers to your website for more information. The key is to first understand your customers and then choose the right means of reaching those customers. Traditional mass market advertising can still be effective; choose the right medium for your message and your audience.