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Ad Types – Pros & Cons: Cable Television

Now it’s time to discuss cable television advertising in my series of posts entitled Ad Types – Pros & Cons. The reason I decided to break out cable television advertising from broadcast television advertising is because there are specific benefits and pitfalls of cable television advertising that are different from broadcast television.

But before I get into those let me just say as an avid television watcher that cable television is a wonderful thing. With hundreds of channels at your finger tips if you can’t find something that piques your interest, well maybe you’re just not interested in enough things. Or maybe you have a life that involves actual interaction with other human beings; you know, kids… family… friends. Oops, sorry, I digressed. But seriously, how cool is it that you can find out how to teach your Shih Tzu to play chopsticks while dressed up like Zsa Zsa Gabor all at 2:30 in the morning!

Anyway, back to the topic. Here’s what I see as some of the big Pro’s and Con’s of cable television advertising:

PRO’S

  • Audience Segmentation – One of the fundamental goals of marketing is to zero your message in on your target market with as little waste as possible. If you are a plumber or remodeler there are dozens of shows on cable that would be a perfect fit for your message. Why is it a perfect fit? Because the people watching a show about remodeling are probably considering remodeling their own house and are looking for some new ideas. What a great time to tell them how good of a remodeler you are!
  • Relative Cost – In some of my other posts I have stressed the importance of analyzing your marketing spend not just by how many viewers/listeners/readers will be exposed to your message; but how many people within YOUR TARGET MARKET will you reach. So you do the math: let’s say you are a dog groomer and you spend $500 to advertise once on a local newscast that 50,000 people will see (250 of them actually being in your target market – or $2 per message to your target audience). Or you could take that same $500 and run an ad ten times on Animal Planet’s The Dog Whisperer that 1000 people will see (250 of them are in  your target market). Youve just reduced your cost down to $.20 per message to your target audience, and you’ve added a huge component to advertising success…frequency.
  • Effectiveness – As with broadcast television advertising, having the ability to get your message across to your target audience using multiple senses (audio & visual) is more effective than using just one sense such as visual only (newspaper) or audio only (radio).
  • Programming – Years ago if you wanted your message to be played in compelling programming that was more than an infomercial, sports or political commentary you had to go to broadcast television. Now, however, cable networks are winning awards for their programming (in many cases beating out broadcast television programming).  And they’ve put these hot new shows on when broadcast television’s new shows are on hiatus. So while the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy is four weeks away TBS is premiering Saving Grace and stealing audience share.

CON’S

  • Changing Viewing Habits – Similar to broadcast television advertising, people have changed the way they view their favorite shows. Now through the use of a digital video recording device like DVR or Tivo people are catching on to the fact that they can record their favorite hour long show and simply wait 15 minutes after it started to see the whole show without commercials and still have it end at the same time. Short of football’s “Big Game” (sorry, can’t say Super B***) you’d be hard pressed to find someone who would prefer to watch commercials if given the choice.
  • Production Cost – Some of this is repetitive from my broadcast television post simply because it’s the same medium. But that does not take away from the fact that producing a compelling television spot is more expensive than a newspaper ad, radio spot or banner ad combined.  And, it’s more difficult to change if you want to move away from one messaging focus to another.
  • Audience Fragmentation – Having so many choices in programming to choose from is great for targeting (see Audience Segmentation above) but it’s also a double edged sword. More choices mean more options. And because we have the attention spans of a five-year old at Disney World, it’s extraordinarily easy to find something else to watch once a show goes to a commercial break.

OK, between this post and the broadcast television post I think I’ve beaten the “television” horse to death.  I’ll move on in my next post!

Ad Types – Pros & Cons: Newspaper Advertising

January 11, 2010 1 comment

Over the next several weeks I’m going to be presenting a series of posts that identify the pros and cons of a number of different types of advertising.  The intention is to provide a base understanding of both the benefits and pitfalls of the particular advertising channel.

This series of posts is not necessarily meant for other marketing gurus.  It’s meant for the small business owner who spends 90 hours of the week working on their own product or service and who doesn’t have time to become a marketing guru.

Let’s get to it.

Newspaper advertising has been a staple in the marketing arsenal ever sense the first person to print a newspaper decided they needed a little help paying for all that paper. However, over the years there has been an erosion in the effectiveness and value an advertiser receives from newspaper advertising.  Let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s so you can judge for yourself:

PRO’S

  • For those people who read one on a regular basis, a newspaper is a valuable and trusted source of both information and advertising messages.
  • Newspapers remain highly ranked when it comes to consumer attitudes toward advertising media.
  • Newspapers are very timely (you can change your ads daily if you’d like – although I wouldn’t recommend it).
  • Portability and comparability – very easy for readers to take along with them or compare one ad to another.
  • Very transactional – reasonable medium for specific transactional messaging as opposed to general branding messaging.

CON’S

  • Readership erosion – according to the Newspaper Association of America 81% of adults in 1964 read a newspaper regularly, in 2007 that number was down to 48%.
  • Targetability – unless you want to pay a significantly higher rate for your ad, you do not have the ability to choose where your ad will run.  Nowadays marketing is all about your ability to target your message to your very specific prospects.  The last thing you need is your ad for a retirement annuity account to run next to the obituaries.
  • Cost – compared to some other advertising channels newspaper advertising can be very costly (and here’s the important part) to reach your target audience. Don’t be fooled when your new account-rep-of-the-week comes in and shows you sky-high circulation numbers or effective readership numbers.  Ask yourself of those 100,000 “readers” how many are actually in the market for your product? 1%? .5%? Now do the math. That $1000 ad doesn’t look so cheap now, does it?
  • Demographics – if you’re not targeting an older white audience…forget about it! Accoring to the Newspaper Association of America a whopping 77% of single copy buyers during the week are white (79% on Sunday). Actual subscribers are a staggering 89% white during the week and 88% on Sunday.

There you have it.  A few pro’s and con’s of newspaper advertising as I see them. There’s so much more that should come in to your buying decisions but I hope you use this information to help guide you in your decision process after that pesky newspaper account rep has left your office.  And remember that no one advertising channel is the end-all-be-all.  It’s the mix of channels that will determine the success or failure of a campaign.  That’s where having a true marketing professional on your team can really payoff.

Watch next time for my take on television advertising!