Which is the Best Marketing Medium?

September 2016 Blog – Art Hyde and Company


Which Marketing Mediums Are the Most Effective?

I’ve been in the marketing, advertising and public relations business for over 43 years. When I started there were far fewer marketing mediums than there are today. In 1973 there was no Internet, search engines, email, social media, smart phones, fax machines, Pandora, etc. And, even though many believe it is more demanding to market products and services today, one thing still remains the same; clients still want to get the most for their money as they spend to attain increased traffic, new customers, more repeat business and an increase in gross profit.

I have participated in literally thousands of national, international and local client meetings discussing marketing goals, objectives, strategies, and the works. Every one of those meeting had one thing in common. What was that one thing you ask? Well, that one thing was that the client expected our agency to be the MARKETING EXPERTS who could do magic with the marketing dollars. These meetings were followed, of course, by our agency devoting hundreds of collective hours on research, planning, writing, media analysis, and creative brainstorming. And when the perfect marketing plan had been created our team would make its way to the client’s conference room to perform our amazing dog and pony show. Nearly every time we arrived at these meetings our team was bursting with excitement as we unveiled our SUPER PLAN, designed to reach the most selected target(s), the right number of times, the DMA, and therefore generate enormous product/service enthusiasm that would lead to goals and objectives triumph. Of course it also included a statement about how we did the utmost in spending the client’s money cost-effectively. We always included a segment about research, which described how X% of targets should flock to the client’s business, providing they did their part in providing adequate fulfillment of the expectations set by our agency, and the SUPER PLAN. Somewhere near the end of each meeting our team usually presented the plan’s creative genius, designed by our most talented writers, artists, and videographers. Once the proposed plan and creative presentation had concluded, it was usually followed by a Q and A session. This was often the point where the client’s perceptions, and our SUPER PLAN played tug-of-war. Yet, it was always the creative part of the plan that seemed to best bring client and agency together in understanding how the plan was designed to work. (I have always been amazed by this phenomenon.)

Today’s client is much more savvy. He or she knows more about marketing mediums and has access to volumes of Internet information. This can help or make it much more difficult to sell your proposed strategies, tactics and creative ideas.

So, does the almost limitless number of marketing mediums make it more difficult to develop a marketing plan that can hit it out of the ballpark? I believe the answer is NO. That is if CMOs, agencies, and persons who have the marketing responsibilities of their employer’s best interest at heart, and best use of the marketing budget in mind. The basic elements of marketing plan development and tactical (medium) selection have not really changed all that much from 40 years ago. A great marketer still needs to know the determined marketing goals and objectives, and the business-to-customer philosophies of his client. And, just like in the past, an accurate, comprehensive profile of the target(s) he is mining. In addition to these, he or she will need to know where the target(s) live, work, play, and HOW TO REACH THEM IN THE MOST COST-EFFECTIVE WAY.

So, what’s the bottom line in choosing the best marketing mediums? Simply look for those mediums that can provide the “most” selected target(s) for the “least” amount of money. What about radio or newspaper? Who listens to standard broadcast radio in 2017? Do people still read the newspaper? It doesn’t matter how many people listen to the radio or read the newspaper. All that matters is that a certain number of selected target(s) read or listen to radio station WXXX or ABC newspaper. Then, what the determined cost of reaching these targets is, and that the cost is lower than other mediums on the tactical shopping list. If the targets are there and the medium cost is lowest, buy it. The most difficult thing will be to convince your client that you did so based on cost-effectiveness, and that additional dollars will be saved, allowing him or her to purchase synergy with other mediums that make more sense to them. Note: If you want to increase market share you can do it more effectively/efficiently if you reach more marketing segments via more mediums. E.g., The total of a 4% increase in female Millennial targets/mediums, a 2.9% increase in X Generation targets/mediums, and a 2% increase in Baby Boomer targets/mediums is greater than the total of any two groups alone.

In the last few years I have had an increased number of younger clients insist on spending most of their marketing dollars on digital, and little to none on TV, radio and traditional advertising. It took a big effort to convince them that the target(s) they were seeking could more cost-effectively be reached by including traditional mediums. The client still spent the majority of their budget on digital marketing and more contemporary mediums but reached many more potential shoppers/buyers by adding mediums based on cost per thousand in all age segments rather than one of two.

I know this blog will seem too simple, or old school, to some marketers. The truth is that many entities like Procter and Gamble, Ford Motor Company, and Harvard Business School are just realizing that the newer communication/marketing mediums didn’t replace all the older and more traditional ones, they just made the mediums pie have more pieces. The more established mediums like direct mail, outdoor, TV and radio will be around until the persons who connect with them are no longer with us. And, if the marketing target(s) your client wants to reach are included in these, so be it. All of us who market for a living should step back and acknowledge that the mediums palette has many more colors on it than just the newer ones – and we can be better stewards of our client’s marketing dollars if we use them when applicable.



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