There are many options for a business owner to use to advertise their business.  There are magazines, newspapers, internet, radio, tv and more.  There are pros and cons for  all of the different mediums.   Unfortunately for the business owner, there are only two areas that can give the advertiser information (not necessarily reliable).

The first source of information is of course the consultant or the sales rep for the medium.  Let’s be realistic, there are quotas and agendas at stake, neither of which will give the advertiser any objective information.  Many media reps will blind the potential advertiser with industry jargon and statistics showing how wonderful their medium is.  There are options to hire consultants and agencies, however, the budget range for these services can be higher than a new advertiser can afford.

The second source of information is the advertiser’s experience, opinion, and/or bias.  This source will have both pros and cons also.  There are many times when an advertiser’s own opinion may actually lead them away from a very viable medium.  There can also be a negative experience with that medium, which creates an “_____ doesn’t work” advertiser.  I usually ask the advertiser a question at this point.  The dialogue goes like this:

“ Frank – ever been fishing?”


“What is your favorite food?”


“Frank – when you are fishing, do you bait the hook with spaghetti, or do you put something on the hook the fish might eat?”

This dialogue will usually illustrate the point that a subjective opinion on an advertising medium is not useful.  We need to evaluate each medium based on the audience that we are trying to reach, we need to make sure that enough of an audience will see the message to elicit a response, and we need to make sure that we are using tools that will effectively measure that response accurately.

I remember talking with a potential client about an television advertising campaign, she told me that she would never advertise on TV, every time her competitor ran an ad, she got more business than she could handle.  That’s great if it works for you, however, the reason I can remember her, is that it rarely happens.

Remember, use tools to measure your response rates, make sure that your expectations are in line with what the medium can do, and make sure that you are not trying to catch a fish with spaghetti.

Author: Steve Harris