Mass Media Advantages and Disadvantages

Media buying – whether it’s magazines, radio, whatever – is a science and an art. Get advice BEFORE you buy! For instance, a client paid $600 for a fractional ad that was done in-house. The ad was actually good, but the media buy was terrible (they did it before Interline was hired). You must use everything you can to your advantage, including tapping experts for advice.

Direct mail brochures. Direct mail is one of the most cost effective media. But, talk about one-to-one communication and cost effectiveness! Targeted direct mail is an extremely cost-effective vehicle.

Telemarketing. Many people associate this term with the calls that come in when having supper. But telemarketing, used properly, is one of the best ways to connect with your customers and prospects (so much so, Interline has a complete Guide on this topic!). Think of telemarketing as personal conversations with your customers and prospects, and you’ll use it to your full advantage.

Internet advertising. From Google words to sponsorships of email blasts, be sure to really look at what you are buying – and what the deliverable will be, both in terms of exposure and leads.

Email. How many emails do you receive? How many do you read completely? How many have you programmed through a rule to go right to your junk mail folder? Using email as a media isn’t just buying “Constant Contact” and blasting away. It’s a strategic decision and the sustained use of applied pressure. Too much, no good. Too little, no good. What is the right amount? No one can tell you that secret! Keep testing until you find it for yourself. Then get ready to re-adjust.

Special events. Everything from open houses to trade shows to panel discussions requires planning to get results. Besides making sure you have objectives in order, go the extra mile and plan the event, adding extras where appropriate. For example, rather than just doing a regular “open house,” plan on having someone “greet” each person as they enter the facility and ask a few questions in order to guide them “through” the event. Conduct a “post event” survey to see what you did right – and what you did wrong. Work the event!

E-commerce. Services are especially difficult for E-commerce, but “white papers” on your service are not! E- commerce isn’t just a product thing. In fact, if you have people fill out a form to get more information from you, you’re doing E-commerce! For example, a client purchased two websites, one for  business, and one for their town with the word “designers” in the name. That was a wonderful opportunity to create a “hub” of businesses for that town involved in interior design – a revenue opportunity for that sharp designer!

Point of sale. Point of sale is usually reserved for thinking about what happens at a checkout. But, the point of sale can be any “point of contact.” Re-think your point of view about this word. Then re-create your idea of what those points are. For example, in a direct mail piece, your point of contact is each time your target “touches” or “sees” the piece – from the outer envelope, to the letter, to the brochure, depending on what you send. Each “point” is a build up to the sale of your service.

Personal selling. While teaching adult education early in my career, one of the topics covered was resumes. Students were stunned to learn that the resume is a sales tool – and that you should use it as such. But like any sales tool, answering “who is your target” is the key to personal selling. A resume in a pile of 400 resumes has to stand out – just like you do when you sell your service. If you believe you are unique, then use that uniqueness always and you will be personally selling all the time!

Television. Television reaches more people than any other medium, but it costs the most, too. Cable TV is more effective because it can break the “national” audience into chunks, but it still costs money. Talk to experts before you buy.

Radio. Radio can hit an audience with a higher frequency (people generally drive to work at the same time, so you benefit by hammering your message repeatedly to the same audience). Hit the right demographic, and you benefit from a very effective media buy (i.e., targeting rush hour commuters on a business radio station). The best way is to also “test” (see Interline’s Direct Mail Survival Guide) because testing is always a good thing, even in radio. Make the radio representative who calls on you, sell you the air time. The representative should DEMONSTRATE their reach to you with proven statistics. Then ask for a list of current advertisers that you can call to find out how their buy is working for them.

Newspapers. Newspapers have been dropping in both circulation and in number for awhile, but they are still a viable way to reach people geographically. You can usually pick the section you want your ad to be in (i.e., remodeling or home and garden), but the expense can be quite high. Here again, testing is important in terms of size of ad.

Magazines. The communities you live in have magazines. These are very good vehicles as they usually are left at places or delivered to people who have discretionary income. Here, better graphics are perfect to showcase your work, and depending on the distribution, very cost effective. One of Interline’s new clients bought an ad in a local magazine. She couldn’t find it in the issue she purchased! When asked if she received the magazine, she said, “No.” “Why did you buy it?“ we asked. “I don’t know,” the client said. “I don’t know” is a BAD STRATEGY!

Billboards. So why would a designer buy a billboard? Normally, they wouldn’t. But what if…You see, “what ifs” are how you have to look at media (i.e. imagine doing a design for a builder on a spec home, and then finding a billboard opportunity on the same block with the headline, “You HAVE to see this inside…it’s designed by (INSERT YOUR NAME).” What exposure!

Internet. The advantage of the Internet is that it is open 24/7, and it’s YOU! And, it’s your best capabilities brochure to the world!