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Nashville, TN 37217
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Let’s Compare Media

For many large advertisers, buying cable television is just one important component of their “media mix.” Each form of media – whether it’s newspaper, billboards, radio broadcast TV or web banners – have their advantages and disadvantages. But if your budget only allows for one or maybe two media forms, take a look at the chart below and see which ones make the most sense for you.

Newspapers tend to have very loyal audiences who read the paper every day. However, due to the competition for people’s attention, newspapers have not done well to increase their readership in the last two decades. Let’s examine the upside and downside of running ads in newspapers:

  • Advantages:
    • Allows for detailed messages
      (location, hours, prices, credit info, etc.)
    • Variety of creative ad sizes and coloration
    • Ads can be targeted to certain demographic groups through placement in specific sections
    • Readers can shop/compare ads before buying
    • Ads can include a coupon
    • Ability to run special sales advertising inserts (FSI’s)
    • High single-day reach is attainable for target through placement
    • Good for co-op advertising for local/national promotions
  • Disadvantages:
    • Difficult to reach younger audiences
    • Difficult to measure day-to-day readership
    • Readership of all sections happens rarely, if ever
    • Adding color to ads is expensive
    • Reproduction quality can vary greatly
    • Clutter - many competitors in same section at the same time
    • Big dollars “shot” in one day on one ad
    • Circulation ranges from static to declining
    • Difficult to reach new prospects
    • Non-intrusive

For almost every major demographic audience in a given market, there’s probably a radio station or format (news, information, top 40 music, etc.) that caters to them. Radio is a ‘portable’ medium that is at its best during the morning and evening rush hours when most people listen to radio in their cars during their commutes. Let’s take a look at how radio works for you – or against you.

  • Advantages
    • Highly targeted due to variety in station formats
    • Very flexible pricing low cost per thousand (CPM)
    • Portability
    • Immediacy – “Buy now! Only one day left”
    • Low commercial production cost
    • Can initiate a campaign quickly, generally less than 24 hours
    • Usually high inventory for commercial time
  • Disadvantages
    • Difficult to build high audience reach
    • Duplication of formats within a market
    • Generally small audiences at any given time period
    • Audience is disengaged, primarily focused on driving
    • Unable to target small geographic regions
    • Many formats have high clutter

Local Broadcast
Local television stations provide advertisers with a large number of viewers in a given market. Advertising here gives you the opportunity to run commercials during television programs on affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, WB or other independents. Your ads can run during programming blocks that include the local morning news, daytime or during prime time. Let’s consider how local broadcast can work for you.

  • Advantages
    • Provides the advertiser with creative opportunity to demonstrate their product or create a memorable image
    • Reaches mass audiences
    • Competitive CPMs
    • Intrusive; allows for a high degree of creativity: sight, sound, action, special effects, color
    • Audience numbers are measurable compared to other media
  • Disadvantages
    • Prices can be high or can vary greatly
    • Production costs can be high
    • Unable to target specific geographic regions
    • Does not effectively deliver ratings in cable households
    • Growing commercial clutter of spots

National Cable Networks
Cable networks are producing the most entertaining, ground-breaking and innovative programs on television today. They have led the way in strategically developing programs that appeal to specific audiences, rather than ones that try and entertain everyone at once. Recent hits like FX’s Rescue Me or Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, as well as longstanding programs like ESPN’s SportsCenter and Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor, all do well to draw in loyal and passionate viewers. It is these programs that help make cable the force it is with consumers and within the entertainment and media industries. Let’s examine national cable’s pros and cons for you:

  • Advantages
    • All the advantages of broadcast television
    • High loyalty and emotional connections with viewers
    • Low CPMs – efficient to buy
    • Usually high inventory for commercial time
  • Disadvantages
    • National in scope with no local association
    • Difficult to target specific geographic regions or markets
    • Clutter

Fast food chains. Car dealerships. Amusement parks. Even funeral homes. They all love outdoor billboards for their ability to lead you to their destination. And because of advances in technology and consolidation within the industry, it’s gotten significantly easier to get your message onto those “30-sheet” boards along major highways. Unfortunately, cars are moving by billboards faster than ever, and cell phones are now heavily competing for drivers’ attention. Still, billboards could make sense for you. Take a look for yourself:

  • Advantages
    • Size. Colorful large billboards with striking images and brief messages get noticed
    • Location. Ads can be placed on well traveled roadways, or strategically located on the way to stores or malls
    • Effective for building general awareness
    • Usually on display for at least one month intervals
    • On display 24 hours a day if illuminated, 365 days a year
    • Good for supporting ads in other media
  • Disadvantages
    • Short exposure time (6-8 seconds)
    • Must convey simple ideas/messages
    • No ability to target demographically
    • Readership can deteriorate in inclement weather
    • Pricing is arbitrary, sometimes high, sometimes low
    • Audience is disengaged, primarily focused on driving
    • Subject to traffic flow; have to be there to see it
    • Message must be very brief because traffic passes by so quickly
    • Gross impressions are difficult to measure
    • As secondary media, very expensive
    • Outdoor media viewed as “eyesores” in many communities

Direct Mail
The individuals that produce it call it direct mail. The individuals that receive it call it junk mail. Still, this is a very legitimate form of media, as proven by the hundreds of credit card companies and retail stores that market through the mail on a regular basis. Let’s read through what direct mail has to offer you:

  • Advantages
    • Capable of targeting specific groups by location, product use or personal interests
    • Effective for long, complex offers or messages
    • Better coupon prospects than newspaper or magazine can provide
    • Controllable production costs
    • Can cover every household
    • Mailings can be personalized
    • Easily measured response rate
  • Disadvantages
    • Often gets thrown away unopened
    • Expensive on per-response basis
    • Mailing lists quickly become outdated
    • Most direct mail is impersonal, addressed to “resident” or “occupant”
    • Requires long preparation and lead time before mailing

Web Banners/Email
If your company has a web site, then banners or targeted emails can be considered part of your media mix. However, marketing online takes expertise in several areas: creative, direct response testing, site placement, and database management. Assuming you’re ready to take the plunge and build a presence on the internet, let’s click through the good and the bad of web banners and emails:

  • Advantages
    • Banners and emails can draw customers to your website
    • Banners have high creative potential using animation and rich media techniques
    • Both can target specific groups of consumers
    • Both have very measurable responses
    • Both allow you to test different messages and offers
    • Banners can be efficient on a CPM basis
    • Emails can be highly personalized
    • Emails allow for very detailed messages
  • Disadvantages
    • Banner clutter, emails often deleted or filtered out before reaching targets
    • Email lists go out of date quickly
    • Must have a web site to link to in order to be effective
    • Banner placement online is complex to maintain

Source: Comcast Corp.

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