The Most Effective Advertising Medium For Small Business


Afraid, there is no silver bullet to this question. There is no one medium that suits all products or services. It depends on who you are targeting, and the size of your budget. First of all, you need to do some buyer research as to the Who, What, When, and How. Your own sales records should give you the basic answers.

Once you have prepared a basic Media Selection Plan, then it’s time to find the most effective advertising medium. Don’t let personal likes or dislikes influence your decision. Selection must be based on:

Does it reach my Target Audience?

What size is the audience, and is that audience supported by independent sources? Will my budget allow for sufficient repetition of my ad? Of the traditional media options keep these particular strengths in mind;

TV: Is the only medium that offers the power of sight, sound, colour and movement.
Radio: Theatre of the mind
Print/Newspapers: Offers immediacy and pass-on readership

SMEs Should Think Big

SMEs may be small in structure, but you can think BIG in terms of exposure by taking a larger advertisement than the industry norm. Think BIG, even if you place your advertisement every fortnight instead of weekly.

Concentrate on one medium, and hit that medium hard and as often as possible. On the other hand if you’re flush with funds then view investment in another medium as purely support.

Think Outside The Square

It’s a jungle out there with the media making claims and counter claims that may, or may not be accurate. Traditional media of Print, Radio and TV are pretty good in terms of being able to prove their cost efficiency. Social media platforms are now catching up and providing research in regard to numbers of eyeballs visiting sites.

SME’s can be different, and be noticed by thinking outside of the square – why not investigate letterbox drops, outdoor signage (including company vehicles) – even cinema and transit advertising.

Some publishers offer ‘Distress Space’ which means the media are prepared to sell ad space at a discounted rate due to a tight deadline, or a last minute distress situation. Be cautious, as often the deadline is a matter of minutes and you may not have material on hand.

Also be cautious of ‘one off’ advertisements that may fail to have any impact because there is no follow up. Repeat, repeat and you’ll be sweet. Distress Space is perfect for a special, short term event.

Position, Position

As in real estate, position is all important as to where your advertisement appears. On radio, the breakfast time zone captures the largest audience share, and the ad rates are costed accordingly. TV has more eyeballs watching in Prime evening time. With print, a right hand page has the most impact.

Specified positions carry an extra loading, otherwise placement of your advertisement is at the discretion of the layout person, and it could be at the back end of that medium.

The Final Word

There is no silver bullet to the most effective advertising medium. It requires you to put in the effort and time to research your target buyer and the rest pretty much falls into place. Always remember:
Cost Efficiency
Review your Target Audience every six months.

John O’Keefe is a marketing consultant at O’Keefe Communications.

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