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It is safe to say that we now have more potential choices for advertising media than at any time in the history of marketing. Most of the traditional channels now have their online analogues, and the audiences of either type are not necessarily the same. Due to their relative novelty, online marketing channels have been in demand for over a decade, and these channels continue to evolve as the Internet itself assumes new forms and functions. Which medium is the right choice for your marketing message?

A business man thinks about the best advertising method

Each advertising medium has its own advantages and shortcomings. For example, a television commercial allows you to speak at length about your product or service – longer than the space afforded on a billboard. On the other hand, a motorist driving down a barren highway will surely notice your billboard, while DVRs have given TV-viewers the ability to opt-out of television ads. Magazine advertising can enable a business to target its message on an audience that is specific to an interest, hobby, industry, or even age group. And though magazine circulation may be experiencing a general decline, a 2014 study from Condé Nast has found that print magazine readership is actually rising among millenials. A savvy marketer knows to examine carefully the trends in these media, and can advise you of the utility of one over another.

First things first: some obvious, yet very fundamental questions must be answered before you should pay for advertising :

What is the objective of your message? Are you hoping to build name recognition? Are you introducing a new product? Are you wanting to inform your customers of a philanthropic endeavor that your company is sponsoring? Some advertising media are better suited to specific types of messaging. For example, a billboard may be a good choice for brand recognition, while a mention of your company's recent volunteer work at the local food pantry would be well-placed on a social media channel.

What is the nature of your audience? Who are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? Many more related questions could be listed here, but let us take a look at one example of applying the answers to these questions to your advertising approach. Let us say, for example, you are able to determine that the people you want to reach are forty years of age or older, and many of them commute a long distance to work. Radio ads, played during rush hour, can at least be expected to reach some of your audience. However, once again, the nature of the message must be right to produce results.

The fundamentals of an advertising campaign will always be critical to its success. Yet there are several more issues that you should consider when deciding on the right advertising medium for your message, and we will be discussing these issues in subsequent posts, so check back often to benefit from our full body of knowledge!

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