Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘newspaper

Say that again…and again

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shouting1Having an on-target message is only part of the formula you need for a successful marketing campaign. What good is a solid, well-crafted message if no one hears it? Putting it into the right channels (tv, radio, etc.) to reach the right demographic is crucial. But if you ever have the chance to talk shop with a media buyer, you will hear them talk about reach and frequency.

Reach is putting the right message into the right channel to reach the desired people. If you’re a mom-and-pop business with a small local hardware store, do you really need to spend the money reaching across the entire state or will a local campaign be more effective?

What I wanted to talk about this week is the importance of frequency. It is often the most neglected part of the media buy. Failure in mass media marketing often comes at the hands of well-intentioned, but inexperienced media reps that overestimate an advertiser’s goals or budget.

The narrative often starts with a sales rep that makes a living from selling one form of media and one single channel (one group of radio stations, one newspaper, one tv channel, etc.) and a neophyte business owner. They have been trained and know the power of their particular offering. They have a meeting with a business owner who is looking to grow their business. They may not need to buy the entire coverage area that the sales reps offers, but that’s all the rep can offer. The campaign starts, it’s more expensive than the business owner needs (the business owner is paying a premium for reach without any benefit from it) and pulls the plug on the whole program early, thereby ending all frequency. Even in the areas where the message would have had effect, the ending of the campaign early ends all chance of success.

In today’s ultra-saturated media world, you have to reach your desired audience over and over again just to start to penetrate the clutter. It’s not enough to state your message and disappear. You have to repeat it over and over again. Say it enough times, and people start to recall your message on their own. Say it enough times in a respectable medium and it will have legitimacy.

Say it enough times and it will be effective.

Now I’m an advertiser. What does that mean?

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This past week, I was talking with a friend whom also happens to own her own business.  Recently, she’s been thinking about putting spots on TV which she’s never done before.  One of the questions she asked me was how will that make her look.  Does being on TV make a business look “desperate?”

This is actually a very viable question and one I’ve never really considered before.  Within her business peers and competitors, she was concerned that this would impact how they would view her.  In her line of business, how she appears among her peers is important.

If she has a commercial created and puts it on the air, what does that say about her business?  What does that say about her?

Advertising means telling as large an audience as possible about you and your business.  It’s a very effective way to establish your brand and to create points of differentiation in the minds of potential customers.  Advertising means that you believe in your business enough to put marketing dollars behind it.  Since no business has 100% market share in their segment, every business can increase sales with smart marketing.

All of that said, the key has to be smart marketing.  It starts with the message.  Is it right for the medium you plan to use?  Does it exactly match the image of your business you want to portray?  If not, then you can actually damage your business by releasing that message into the public.

Let’s say you now have a perfectly crafted mass media message that will cut through the clutter.  The job is only half done.  Next is finding the right medium for delivering the message.  As I stated in my series of posts on the various mediums, there are a wide range of media to use for delivering your message:  television, radio, newspapers, Internet, direct mail, and outdoor.  Deciding which to use requires thought as to what type of audience you want to reach, the message you want to convey, and budget.  Then you have to make sure that your placement within that media works for you as well.  Is your print ad buried in the paper or did you get a good placement?  Did the TV station sell you ROS (run of schedule) and then put your spot in Jerry Springer?  Did the radio station give you first spot in break or bury you in the middle of the break?

It’s vital that you talk with a good media buyer before committing to a media plan.  Speaking with a rep from a media company will only give you the perspective of why you should advertise only on their station.  Once you’ve purchased a plan from them and started to establish yourself as an advertiser, then good reps will start to have an eye out for you on other media…and you better still be buying time/space with them.  Media buying firms have the whole picture in mind and generally can secure better rates than you can on your own.  They make their money from ad agency commissions that media companies give for placing buys with them.  If you place the buy directly, the media company keeps that commission for themselves.

The bottom line is advertising is good for your business.  If your competition is already advertising, then by not doing so you will start to lose market share.  If they are not, then you immediately place yourself above them in the public’s mind and will start to reap the benefits shortly.  You should know that by putting yourself out there as an advertiser, you should expect that other media reps will start to call on you.  It’s wise to find a good media partner (buyer or ad agency) that you are comfortable with and are confident that they have your best intentions in mind.

Advertising Media – Part 3: Newspapers

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One of the oldest advertising media out there is newspapers. Since the beginning of distributed printed material, newspapers have shown an ability to reach a large audience.

When newspapers first started to appear on the scene, there was very little in the way of competition for advertising dollars. If you were a business owner and wanted to advertise, you had to use newspapers to reach a wide and varied audience (aside from painting your business name on the side of a building).

Today’s advertising landscape is substantially different. With audiences for any given medium becoming more fractured and the construction of the so-called 24 hour news cycle, newspapers have not only become simply one of many advertising options, the newspapers themselves have dimished value. Today’s readership for newspapers continues to age and dwindle. People in the 25-54 demographic have become accustomed to reaching for television as a source for news. With CNN, FOX News, CNBC, and other cable news outlets, current news is available when you want it. Now that the Internet has become nearly omnipresent from our desktop computers to our handheld devices, instanteous and customized news services push content to wherever we want it, whenever we want it.

That said, newspapers have been around for a long time and as such lend a certain degree of credibility to its content. If you are considering advertising in print, you should keep the following things in mind:

  • Readership is older – if you’re hoping to reach the key 18-49 demographic with your print ad, it’s not likely to happen. If you’re looking to be in front of the aging Boomer generation, then this is a viable option.
  • Advertising is persistant – your audience can stare at your ad for as long as they want. Unlike a tv spot or a radio spot, your print ad isn’t going anywhere. If they wanted to, they could cut out your ad and save it in a scrapbook.
  • Advertising is static – you know how people are sometimes so enamored with tv spot that they saw that they go to YouTube or a similar site and sent the web address to all their friends. Doesn’t happen with print ads. Sure, there are journals with dazzling print ads, but unless you’re in the business, it’s not likely you’ll ever see one.
  • Advertising is unobtrusive – you ad will just sit there on the page. Reader’s brains have been well trained over the years to simply pass over the ads and read just the stories. When you buy advertising in newspapers, you are paying a cost relative to the readship numbers. But who’s to say that the readers are reading your ad…or even the paper itself for that matter?

Written by Jeff York

April 23, 2008 at 2:25 pm