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Merits and Demerits of Advertisements

In: Business and Management

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Choosing the Right Advertising Medium for Your Small Business

For a small business, every dollar is precious. Small businesses do not advertise for the sake of advertising. Instead, they want to get the most return for their investment. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of each advertising medium that you can use to provide your business the winning edge.

by Lyve Alexis Pleshette PowerHomebiz.com Staff Writer

259

If you are ready to get the word out about your business, one of the steps that you need to do is to select the right media where you will advertise and promote your business.

For a small business, every dollar is precious. Small businesses do not advertise for the sake of advertising. Instead, they want to get the most return for their investment. Your advertising campaign should translate to greater sales, more profits and healthier bottom line.

While there are a number of venues where you can promote your business, you need to ask three important questions:
Where are my target buyers?
What is the best medium to reach them?
Can I afford to launch an effective campaign using this medium?

An important step to developing your sales and marketing plan is to select the right media to send out your message. There are no hard-and-fast rules as to which media is better. The right media for one business may be wrong for another.

Below are the relative advantages and disadvantages of the advertising media most frequently used by small businesses:

Pay Per Click Advertising (Search Engines)

As the Web becomes a must-use daily medium today, pay per click (PPC) advertising has grown by leaps and bounds. PPC advertisement is a form of advertising where ads are run and shown in search engines (including their partner sites). PPC ads allow advertisers to pay for visitors on mostly cost per click basis, though some options for cost per impressions are available as well.

Advantages
Pay only for results (clicks)
Ability to select where your ads will be shown, giving a better chance to reach target audiences
Can generate immediate visibility, as ads go live immediately
Ads can be easily modified, adjusted even deleted instantaneously depending on the results
Allows for quick, easy tracking of the effectiveness of the campaign allowing you to better analyze the return on your investments (ROI)

Disadvantages
Broad match, the default option where the ad is shown and automatically matched against a broad array of related queries, can result in ads that are irrelevant to the intended search.
Bid price inflation as more advertisers compete for the keywords and bid the prices up for the terms
Bidding war could also result where competitors can bid a higher amount than your bid, lowering the position of the ad and decreasing its visibility
Click through fraud where users maliciously click on the adverts, from disgruntled competitors to website owners who earns from ads shown on their pages
Requires constant monitoring; otherwise, outsource to a PPC management company which in turn will increase the cost of your advertising campaign

Social Media Advertising

As Web has evolved into a medium that fosters social connection, social media has experienced an astounding growth in the last few years. Social media consists of both social networking sites and social bookmarking sites and includes blogs, video sharing sites such as Youtube, microblogging platform Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon and the like.

Advantages
Social media sites are great for building customer relationship and offers an incredible reach and the opportunity to connect with customers in an entirely new way
Offers a wide reach, with its potential for viral marketing
Traffic generated can be extremely targeted
Social media tools are relatively inexpensive

Disadvantages
Targeting is so low because of the diversity and breadth of audiences, resulting in low ROI as visitors do not convert
Visitors mainly go to social media sites to socialize, and are not interested in advertising
Traffic is typically in the learning stage of the buying process; hence it is more important to inform and teach than sell outright
Social media can be a hard branding tool for small businesses, and it is not easy to build awareness, create appeal and generate traffic

Banner Advertising

Banner advertising is one of the dominant forms of advertising online. It entails the display of a graphical advertising unit, with the typical size the 468x60 banners. However, it also includes buttons, leaderboards, popups, popunders, interstitials, and flash banners. Banner advertising can be run for cost per impression, cost per click or even cost per action.

Advantages
Prices (CPM and CPC rates) have gone down through the years
With good placement and design, banner ads can deliver above-industry average click through rates
Banner ads are good branding tools
Easy to track with the available ad serving tools and tracking tools
Banner ads can bring in targeted traffic interested in your offerings

Disadvantages
Some types of banner advertising -- e.g. flashing banners, popups, popunders, interstitials -- are often seen as annoying and highly intrusive
Growing usage of popup and ad blockers that prevents users from seeing the ads
Click through rates have significantly declined, due to poor banner design to accumulated bad experiences of web users
Oversaturation of banner ads leads to ad blindness

Newspapers

Newspapers are one of the traditional mediums used by businesses, both big and small alike, to advertise their businesses.

Advantages
Allows you to reach a huge number of people in a given geographic area
You have the flexibility in deciding the ad size and placement within the newspaper
Your ad can be as large as necessary to communicate as much of a story as you care to tell
Exposure to your ad is not limited; readers can go back to your message again and again if so desired.
Free help in creating and producing ad copy is usually available
Quick turn-around helps your ad reflect the changing market conditions. The ad you decide to run today can be in your customers' hands in one to two days.

Disadvantages
Ad space can be expensive
Your ad has to compete against the clutter of other advertisers, including the giants ads run by supermarkets and department stores as well as the ads of your competitors
Poor photo reproduction limits creativity
Newspapers are a price-oriented medium; most ads are for sales
Expect your ad to have a short shelf life, as newspapers are usually read once and then discarded.
You may be paying to send your message to a lot of people who will probably never be in the market to buy from you.
Newspapers are a highly visible medium, so your competitors can quickly react to your prices
With the increasing popularity of the Internet, newspapers face declining readership and market penetration. A growing number of readers now skip the print version of the newspaper (and hence the print ads) and instead read the online version of the publication.

Magazines

Magazines are a more focused, albeit more expensive, alternative to newspaper advertising. This medium allows you to reach highly targeted audiences.

Advantages
Allows for better targeting of audience, as you can choose magazine publications that cater to your specific audience or whose editorial content specializes in topics of interest to your audience.
High reader involvement means that more attention will be paid to your advertisement
Better quality paper permits better color reproduction and full-color ads
The smaller page (generally 8 ½ by 11 inches) permits even small ads to stand out

Disadvantages
Long lead times mean that you have to make plans weeks or months in advance
The slower lead time heightens the risk of your ad getting overtaken by events
There is limited flexibility in terms of ad placement and format.
Space and ad layout costs are higher

Yellow Pages

There are several forms of Yellow Pages that you can use to promote and advertise your business. The Web version of Yellow Pages (and its many competitors online) have been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, with many foregoing the traditional Yellow Pages supplied by phone companies. But you can also check out specialized directories targeted to specific markets (e.g. Hispanic Yellow Pages, Blacks, etc.); interactive or consumer search databases; Audiotex or talking yellow pages; Internet directories containing national, local and regional listings; and other services classified as Yellow Pages.

Advantages
Wide availability, as mostly everyone have Yellow Pages
Non-intrusive
Action-oriented, as the audience is actually looking for the ads
Ads are reasonably inexpensive
Responses are easily tracked and measured
Frequency

Disadvantages
The Internet has led to the decline in the usage of the Yellow Pages, as users find the Web to be an easier, faster and more comprehensive
Pages can look cluttered, and your ad can easily get lost in the clutter
Your ad is placed together with all your competitors
Limited creativity in the ads, given the need to follow a pre-determined format
Ads slow to reflect market changes

Radio

Advantages
Radio is a universal medium enjoyed by people at one time or another during the day, at home, at work, and even in the car.
The vast array of radio program formats offers to efficiently target your advertising dollars to narrowly defined segments of consumers most likely to respond to your offer.
Gives your business personality through the creation of campaigns using sounds and voices
Free creative help is often available
Rates can generally be negotiated
During the past ten years, radio rates have seen less inflation than those for other media

Disadvantages
Because radio listeners are spread over many stations, you may have to advertise simultaneously on several stations to reach your target audience
Listeners cannot go back to your ads to go over important points
Ads are an interruption in the entertainment. Because of this, a radio ad may require multiple exposure to break through the listener's "tune-out" factor and ensure message retention
Radio is a background medium. Most listeners are doing something else while listening, which means that your ad has to work hard to get their attention

Television

Advantages
Television permits you to reach large numbers of people on a national or regional level in a short period of time
Independent stations and cable offer new opportunities to pinpoint local audiences
Television being an image-building and visual medium, it offers the ability to convey your message with sight, sound and motion

Disadvantages
Message is temporary, and may require multiple exposure for the ad to rise above the clutter
Ads on network affiliates are concentrated in local news broadcasts and station breaks
Preferred ad times are often sold out far in advance
Limited length of exposure, as most ads are only thirty seconds long or less, which limits the amount of information you can communicate
Relatively expensive in terms of creative, production and airtime costs

Direct Mail

Direct mail, often called direct marketing or direct response marketing, is a marketing technique in which the seller sends marketing messages directly to the buyer. Direct mail include catalogs or other product literature with ordering opportunities; sales letters; and sales letters with brochures.

Advantages
Your advertising message is targeted to those most likely to buy your product or service.
Marketing message can be personalized, thus helping increase positive response.
Your message can be as long as is necessary to fully tell your story.
Effectiveness of response to the campaign can be easily measured.
You have total control over the presentation of your advertising message.
Your ad campaign is hidden from your competitors until it's too late for them to react
Active involvement - the act of opening the mail and reading it -- can be elicited from the target market.

Disadvantages
Some people do not like receiving offers in their mail, and throw them immediately without even opening the mail.
Resources need to be allocated in the maintenance of lists, as the success of this kind of promotional campaign depends on the quality of your mailing list.
Long lead times are required for creative printing and mailing
Producing direct mail materials entail the expense of using various professionals - copywriter, artists, photographers, printers, etc.
Can be expensive, depending on your target market, quality of your list and size of the campaign.

Telemarketing

Telephone sales, or telemarketing, is an effective system for introducing a company to a prospect and setting up appointments.

Advantages
Provides a venue where you can easily interact with the prospect, answering any questions or concerns they may have about your product or service.
It's easy to prospect and find the right person to talk to.
It's cost-effective compared to direct sales.
Results are highly measurable.
You can get a lot of information across if your script is properly structured.
If outsourcing, set-up cost is minimal
Increased efficiency since you can reach many more prospects by phone than you can with in-person sales calls.
Great tool to improve relationship and maintain contact with existing customers, as well as to introduce new products to them
Makes it easy to expand sales territory as the phone allows you to call local, national and even global prospects.

Disadvantages
An increasing number of people have become averse to telemarketing.
More people are using technology to screen out unwanted callers, particularly telemarketers
Government is implementing tougher measures to curb unscrupulous telemarketers
Lots of businesses use telemarketing.
If hiring an outside firm to do telemarketing, there is lesser control in the process given that the people doing the calls are not your employees
May need to hire a professional to prepare a well-crafted and effective script
It can be extremely expensive, particularly if the telemarketing is outsourced to an outside firm
It is most appropriate for high-ticket retail items or professional services.

Specialty Advertising

This kind of advertising entails the use of imprinted, useful, or decorative products called advertising specialties, such as key chains, computer mouse, mugs, etc. These articles are distributed for free; recipients need not purchase or make a contribution to receive these items.

Advantages
Flexibility of use
High selectivity factor as these items can be distributed only to the target market.
If done well, target audience may decide to keep the items, hence promoting long retention and constant exposure
Availability of wide range of inexpensive items that can be purchased at a low price.
They can create instant awareness.
They can generate goodwill in receiver
The items can be used to supplement other promotional efforts and media (e.g. distributed during trade shows).

Disadvantages
Targeting your market is difficult.
This can be an inappropriate medium for some businesses.
It is difficult to find items that are appropriate for certain businesses
Longer lead time in developing the message and promotional product
Possibility of saturation in some items and audiences
Wrong choice of product or poor creative may cheapen the image of advertiser…...

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...Adver-ties Things In to Everything When people flip through magazines, advertisements are on every other page, but they are quickly overlooked. Advertisements are part of people’s daily lives. This is a big part of what advertisement makers take into account. They need to use certain methods to somehow catch people’s attention in the piles of advertisements that surround everyone. Advertisements are actually mini works of art that take many man hours to manufacture. Advertisements are selling products by use of manipulation on media. There are many parts to advertisements that consumers are blissfully unaware of but affect them psychologically. Many things drive humans to buy goods thinking it will attract a mate, or they think it will fill a need. Advertisement makers are very good at going into a person’s mind and making them think the products they are selling are needed. The makers of advertisements are skillfully weaving masterpieces that a reader will glance upon, but still get a message conveyed to them via imagery, manipulation, and text. The audience of this advertisement might be that of the fashion conscientious. This specific advertisement was found in a 2010 Cosmopolitan magazine. This particular magazine is targeted towards women ranging from the age of 20-40 years of age meaning advertisements in the magazine are also geared towards women in that age group. Specifically this advertisement is most effective when viewed by women who are conscious of......

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