Which Advertising Medium Is best?

Television gives you an opportunity to speak to a captive audience that is more apt to fully tune into an ad. In a similar way radio offers an improvement over print in that the listener is captive to the message unless they switch stations. On the other hand, Newspapers are typically scanned by the reader. If an ad is seen at all, the headline will be glimpsed and the copy largely ignored. Readers tend to peruse magazines more carefully than they do newspapers, but the ads are flipped by.

Maybe we can gain more insight into this issue by looking at people’s views of the different media. A 2005 post-election survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed television far outstripped newspapers as a primary source of information. In a Boston Globe article Lance Morrow, a professor of journalism at Boston University, argued that print is a thinking medium and the visual is not. While Thomas Cooper, a professor of media arts at Emerson College said viewers can get more complete news with the explosion of available television channels. Does this mean print or TV is more involving?

A few years ago, the Wharton School of Business at Penn did a study to track the return-on-investment experienced by small businesses as a result of advertising. The businesses were monitored and measured for seven years, but only three conclusions were reached: 1. There is no direct correlation between dollars invested and results gained. 2. Results are inextricably linked to the message. 3. Results increase with repetition. The study found that ads that speak to the heart of the customer and touched a nerve were the ones that turned little companies into big ones. Everything hinged on the message. Is it predictable and boring? Is it believable? Is it relevant? The study also found that once you identify a message that generates a positive response repetition works – with study participants seeing double and triple growth in years two and three (Williams, 2009).

The Wharton study doesn’t tell us which media to use, but it does tells us that success all hinges on your message. And I believe the same applies to new media.

Is New Media Killing Traditional Media’s Star?

Because of it’s newness and measurability new media seams to get a lot of hype in the marketing industry. But I believe smart marketers should not expect a blog or viral video to market an entire brand. Traditional advertising still has its place and does things that social median cannot. Brands communicate most effectively if they send a unified message through multiple media – integrated marketing communications.

Bryan Einsenberg from ClickZ tells us what social media can do. It is good at relationship building, creating goodwill, and improving customer service. It can also help your company communicate with early- and middle-stage buyers and push them closer to a sale. On one hand, it helps your customers communicate with you and everyone they know. On the other hand, it helps you listen to what potential buyers are talking about. Social media helps you find opportunities to please customers and helps keep you focused on their needs.

But social media does have its limitations. If marketers think putting up a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page will build huge traffic and sales overnight, they’re kidding themselves. Relationships need nurturing and social media can’t drive hundreds of thousands of new qualified visitors to your website or store. It doesn’t enable them to control the messaging and dialogue about their company. And it cannot be their primary channel for marketing.

A recent Forrester research report talks about the importance of choosing the right media mix to create awareness and drive purchase. Americans use many different media — from TV to blogs — some media help drive brand awareness and some drive loyalty. Some media have a young, urban audience and some have an older, rural one. To create effective marketing it is important to have the right media mix targeted to the right audience to give you the best returns.

Will new media kill traditional media or is there room for both?