Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Secret to Using the Most Effective Advertising Media

When you’re selling a product or service, you want to be sure that you’re reaching the right audience and getting the best response. Right?

So just where in the world can you get reliable statistics for different advertising media? 

The answer? Certainly not here. 

But in our defense, you can't really get them anywhere. 

Yeah, it would be nice if there were some Willie Wonka type contraption of whiz-poppery into which you could feed your advertising budget figures and get back what you can expect to see as a result. It would also be nice to have access to a chocolate lake.

But the straight-up answer to that question exists in the same realm as the Chocolate Factory. It’s fiction.

So we want to apologize up front for misleading you with our title. 

The truth is, there really is no secret. 

This was recently proven by the Wharton School of Business after they did an extensive study in an attempt to reveal that same secret. 

It came from a slew of big name companies wanting to know the secret too. Especially where small businesses were concerned. So they collectively invested over a million dollars so that Wharton could track the return-on-investment experienced by several dozen small businesses as a result of advertising. 

It was grueling. These companies were scientifically monitored and measured for seven long and arduous years. The final report filled more than 2,500 pages with information well-suited to induce a coma. And in the midst of those thousands of pages, there was still no secret. None. 

But they did come to three distinct and interesting conclusions.  

1. How much you spend on an ad and what you can expect to see in return are not directly linked by any kind of mathematical equation whatsoever. 

So much for Wonka’s machine.

2. Turns out that results are undeniably linked to the MESSAGE of the ad. 

Go figure. But ads that speak to the heart or touch a nerve in some way are the most successful. Therefore, the objective of your copy has to be far more than just getting your name out there. It’s about finding that message that’s relevant to your audience’s perceived need.  

Think of it this way. 

You can’t draw birds to a bird feeder if you fill it with hot dogs.
(Never mind how logistically disgusting that would be.) But pour in that special blend of seeds and you’ve won them over. Your prospective customers are just like those birds. What have you been trying to feed them? 

3. There is an increase in results with repetition. 

Once you’ve nailed the message, keep it a while. Your business growth in dollars in the second year will likely be twice what it was in the first year. And growth in year three? You guessed it. Triple. After that though, it’s anyone’s guess. Things could continue to exponentially grow, or you could end up jumping the shark. This is typically about the clients though, not the ads. So it’s out of your control.

Okay then. 

So let’s say you’ve found your perfect message. Your clients/customers are google-eyed and delirious over your product or service. Can’t live without it. 

NOW is there going to be an advertising medium that’s more effective than others?

Well, of course there is, silly! But sorry. There’s STILL no simple answer based on a formula or equation. The media that will be most effective will depend solely on the nature of your product or service. 

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of various traditional advertising methods. 

Broadcast television

Also known as the big kahuna. (Not really.) But it should be because this where the big prestige dwells. Regular broadcast television is able to target psychographic profiles. But along with that big prestige comes the requirement of shelling out big bucks to get it. So there's that.

Cable television 

Like the lesser known Baldwin brothers, cable television is in the shadows of broadcast television (Alec). But it does offer the same impact of moving images and spoken words. Plus, it’s cheaper and can easily be geographically targeted. The big drawback? It could end up looking like you shot it in your basement.


As far as stretching your budget, radio reaches the second most people for your dollar. It can’t be targeted geographically, but can be loosely demographically targeted. (i.e. your full line of jerky products would probably be more successfully advertised on country stations than classical). If people are willing to drive a ways to get your product, or if your service allows you to go to them, radio is a great choice.

Outdoor advertising/billboards 

As far as bang for your buck, outdoor is the way to go. These reach more people for a dollar than any other media. But you are limited to a picture and ideally no more than eight words so if your business needs more than that, this will not be effective.


In terms of expense, magazines are the glossy and more static cousins of broadcast television. They are high impact, have tight targeting and create little waste. But if you’re relying on repetition (as highlighted in conclusion #3 above), then magazines are not going to cut it.


If you want to reach customers who are in the market to buy today, then newspaper ads will be an effective medium. The problem with newspapers though is that people not in the market for YOUR specific product or service are less likely to notice your ad than if it had appeared in other media. 

Direct mail

This is as highly targeted as any advertising medium is going to get. And all the way down to the level of the individual. But direct mail must be done right. Otherwise it can be very cost-prohibitive. 

Yellow Pages

Wait. Did someone say Yellow Pages? Well, they might still be good if you provide a service. But nobody uses Yellow Pages for retail anymore.

So see, it's just not so clear cut.

While we couldn't offer enlightenment as to which advertising media will be best for you, we're hoping you're at least somewhat more informed. 

And once again, sorry about the whole secret thing. But we felt it was time you knew.