Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.