Choosing the Right Media

I’ll never forget when I was a fledgling Marketing Manager with Walker International, a top consulting firm. It was my first major presentation to the board of directors. 

“It’s a HOPE business,” our CEO bellowed in my direction. “You HOPE someone sees your ad, you HOPE they call you and then you HOPE they buy something.” Cocky New Jersey Italian that I was (or am, I should say), I was REALLY afraid to give my presentation at that point. Here I was preparing to wax eloquent on the virtues of why our company should start advertising. A 28 year old junior executive in a billion dollar conglomerate about to take on the CEO at changing one of his long-held principles – NO TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING! Tired of reading already? Click here- LISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE. Well I lost that battle but learned a far more valuable lesson. Traditional advertising is not a viable long term marketing strategy. 

We all need to employ some kind of media to get the word out about our company. Yet selecting the most effective media can be a daunting task for most entrepreneurs. Marketing budget dollars are limited and every penny counts. Today the number of media choices through which we can market our company, products or services is staggering. It is difficult to know with any certainty which media will produce the best results. 

The Targeted Media Conundrum
It follows that the most targeted media happens to be the lowest reach media and the lowest cost media. This presents an opportunity and a challenge. The fact that the cost is low gives us the opportunity to test various different messages for a very small investment. Yet since the reach is small, that is the actual number of readers, viewers, listeners or visitors is smaller than broad media it greatly lessens the number of opportunities to create enough impressions and ostensibly enough response to pay for the media. This is the biggest challenge with targeted media.

Targeted Media Solution
So how can we create a successful targeted media campaign? While the audience is, admittedly, far smaller, they participate (read, listen, view, visit, etc) with far greater interest and intensity. On top of that the cost per impression or cost per audience member is far smaller than broad media. 

Suppose you’re promoting a chain of cool new coffee shops in the LA area. You place a small three and one half inch square ad in the LA Times (actually this would be a 7 column inch ad because it is 2 columns wide by 3 ½” deep). This costs about $2,400 to run ONE TIME on any given Sunday. The good news is that you will reach 750,000 people yet your ad will be sandwiched in between a car dealer, a bank, an electronics retailer and an auto mechanic. And that’s if you’re lucky. If you’re like most, they’ll put your most powerful competitor, Starbucks or Pete’s right next to you! Now how many of those 750,000 will even NOTICE your ad let alone read it? – maybe 1%? That’s 7500 people. How many will read it? Let me be kind and say 5% – we’re down to 375 people. Now how many will visit your stores? Let’s say you’ve perfected the art of creative ad development and your ad knocks them dead with another 5% response – you have generated 18 potential visitors at a cost of $133 each. Could you EVER sell $133 worth of coffee to each of them? I don’t think so. Think my response numbers are too low? Double them. Triple them! You’re still losing your shirt. 

Find the Media that Appeals to the Sneezers
Now instead, let’s say you discover by completing your target profile that your best customers are workers from the large office complexes within a few blocks of your stores. You place ads in each of their company newsletters, on their bulletin boards and on their company intranets. All this costs you less than $600 and exposes you to 10,000 people. What’s better you’re the ONLY coffee shop and your ads have top billing. Instead of running ads for one day they run for a month or longer. 

Now because you have no visual competition, more like 20% notice your ads for 2,000 people. Because you are very close to them, the ad is relevant and has credibility and more like 30% read it for 600 people. Finally 10% take action for 60 visitors at a cost of $10 each. Starting to make sense? 

The best part though is that every visitor has a high intent to tell 2 or 3 other people about you. In all likelihood they will bring their associates. In fact they have an even higher capacity to become loyalists and make your shop their first stop before going to the office. The trick is reaching enough people at a low unit cost with a memorable, relevant and compelling message that motivates them to take action.

How to Increase Media Effectiveness

  • Find the media that most closely addresses your target audience.
  • Become the most dominant advertiser in the media.
  • Eliminate any visual or auditory competition.
  • Make a long term commitment to the media.
  • Aim to reach the sneezers.
  • Appeal to the loyalists.
  • Back into your targeted cost per customer.

Attributes of highly targeted media

  • Creates greater influence
  • Communicates with more sneezers
  • Allows you a bigger share of voice
  • Costs less than broad media
  • Lends itself to a message that educates and inspires

Just as with preparing our marketing message, the traditional approach; “using a media that sells as many people as possible on WHY we are the best choice,” simply doesn’t work. Instead we must look for media that exclusively and credibly addresses the most selective audience possible. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the smaller the audience, the better. By using highly targeted media we are able to reach the most influential prospects and to do so in a way that is valuable credible and memorable.

Posted in Effective Advertising, Uncategorized.

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