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Weighing the Costs

Weighing the Costs

You have an inventory-reduction sale coming up. Then there’s Mother’s Day, and oh yeah, you’d like to do a smaller promotion for grads and dads, too. Then later in the year, you have a bridal event planned; and before you know it, the holidays will be here AGAIN. So much to think about and so much you’d like to do, but where to get the money? Advertising Age just published an interesting article on what advertising costs. They highlighted the cost of one full-color print ad on the front page of The New York Times at $50,000. In order to acquire this space, the advertiser also has to commit to a certain amount of frequency over the course of the year — in reality making a much larger investment. Conversely, the cost of a thousand impressions on Hulu for standard run-of-site in-stream video ads is $35, with a minimum requirement of two ads per campaign. Granted, these examples are for national campaigns and I’m not here to tell you to go all digital in your efforts. But what I would like to point out are there are ways to get more out of your marketing dollars when you make the switch from print to digital forappropriate initiatives.
  1. First, keep in mind that print ads in a newspaper should be targeted to an older demographic who still enjoy reading their news in this manner. A sale ad to reach the 50+ crowd can still be relevant. However, unless your ad has a strong call to action, is easy to read with lots of contrast, and has a simple message without a lot of clutter, it will still be passed over. People don't read ads like they do regular content. Their eyes skim them over and if they’re interested in what you have to say in the ad, they may retain the information and stop by to see what you have to offer. Newspaper ads are not the appropriate place to advertise to a bridal audience. This audience doesn’t read the news in a paper format; most who do digest news get their information from national websites. Paid search, Facebook advertising, and digital retargeting are perfect ways to reach this bridal audience, and the overall cost to reach them will be significantly less than a print ad. Other advantage digital advertising methods have over traditional print are in are the life of the posts and the cost to change creative. A print ad is a one-and-done tactic to the masses. Spend that money and it’s gone at a significant cost. A Facebook post with advertising support is much less expensive and will reach a targeted demographic within a certain radius of your store. When a friend of the person who sees the ad comments, the ad stays in the Facebook feed and has more time to be seen and absorbed. Paid search is an inexpensive way to get your store front-and-center with your target audience when they’re ready to shop. The shelf life of your digital campaigns and banners are also consistently running and the message can be changed in minutes. Typo in your ad? Not good. But it is relatively easy to correct in a digital ad, versus a print ad where there’s no chance to make it right.
  2. Get rid of the Yellow Pages or other directory ads already. Nobody looks at them anymore. All those fingers that used to “do the walking” are now typing on keyboards to find businesses. By looking at our own clients’ email blast reports alone, a very high percentage of people are opening them on their smartphones while they’re out and about. Ever search a store phone number while you’re shopping and then place the call from your car? Me too. This is how the world rolls now. The only people still looking in a phone book are those who aren’t using mobile phones or cannot access a desktop computer. They are not your target audience. Don’t throw good money to a bad effort.
Examine the costs and methods of advertising you have planned for the year, and make sure you are reaching your target in the most effective way. Only then will you have the potential to meet your goals within a realistic budget. Above all, stay relevant to your target audiences, my friends!
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