Q: Do some kinds of advertising work better than others?
A: All types will work if they're used properly and not just "tried." The fact that the various forms of media utilize each other illustrates that no one kind of advertising is superior. Radio stations promote themselves on television and bus cards, TV stations list their programs in the newspaper, and newspapers use outdoor billboards to increase circulation. You've probably also noticed the large number of ads by dotcom companies in these traditional forms of media. To use advertising correctly, the following four requirements must be met:
1. Demographics. You must be able to define your customer base according to the standard age and gender groups used by the media to define their audiences.
- Gender: Male, female or adults (includes a balance of male and female).
- Age range: Depending on your business, you may choose more than one of these: 12-24, 18-34, 18-49, 25-54, or 50+
Your customer base can shift with the opening and closing of other local businesses, universities, military bases, or just the natural aging of people in your community, and you need to keep track of these changes. This step is critical because it's the basis of every advertising decision you make. If you're not absolutely sure who your customers are, you can waste money advertising in the wrong places. Which leads us to...
2. Location. Ask your radio, TV or publication reps to define the primary demographic audiences they reach, and spend money only with those that match the demographic groups you've identified as your customers. Never buy advertising according to your own personal taste or because you like a particular rep!
3. Message. You have precious few seconds to tell your story, so squeeze the language. You wouldn't say "Send assistance as soon as possible" when you could yell "Help!" You also need a hook-a reason for someone to come to your location instead of a competitor's. Ask your media reps for copywriting help. Many stations and publications employ copywriters, but a creative media rep can do a great job. Your newspaper, magazine and direct-mail reps will also be happy to lay out your entire ad.
4. Frequency. Without enough frequency, your customers won't see or hear your message. Radio, television and print are three distinct critters and require detailed explanations regarding schedule placement. It's better to place a substantial schedule on one station or in one publication than to spread a small budget out and not achieve effective frequency anywhere.
Whatever you decide to do, don't just try advertising. Use it to get results -Kathy Kobliski