By Cheryline Lawson

Table of Contents
Calculate the Efficiency of Your Advertising Medium 
The Cost-per-Exposure Factor
The Quality-of-Exposure Factor
The Density-of-Prospective-Customers Factor
The Type-of-Medium Factor
Selecting a Medium
Things to Consider



There is advertising. And then there is direct-response advertising. The difference is like night and day. American businesses in general, spend billions of dollars each year to put their names before the public, build an image and create goodwill. That is advertising. The most unique element of direct target response is its built-in measuring stick and being at the right place, for the right people. You wouldn't advertise a "birdhouse" product to "cat lovers" nor would you submit a "weight loss" advertisement to a magazine targeted to a "senior citizen" group.

Finding an advertising medium where your prospects are likely to buy is the key to success in any business. Demographics are the socioeconomic characteristics of prospective buyers pertaining to a geographic unit. However, another tool that is sometimes overlooks is psychographics, which pertain to the prospects lifestyle and attitudes. Specific psychographics include: 1) known fields of interest, 2) patterns of behavior, 3) purchasing habits, and 4) hobbies.

Calculate the Efficiency of Your Advertising Medium 

Let's look at other important factors to take into consideration. The Efficiency of the Medium is determine by the following factors, which can be calculated using a spreadsheet program on your computer:

The Cost-per-Exposure Factor

This is a critical factor in determining the Rate of Profitable Response. A spreadsheet program will show you immediately whether this cost is low enough to make the promotion profitable.

The Cost per Exposure also means the cost per amount of selling information that the prospective customer was exposed to. In the direct-marketing medium, a prospective customer can be exposed to a great amount of sales information. But in a television broadcast, for instance, the maximum amount of time per exposure is usually two minutes. Therefore, the amount of sales information per exposure must be considered. In general, in direct-marketing, the more you tell, the more you sell.

For example, if you are using the medium of direct-marketing to sell a $20-retail-price product which produces a Gross Profit of $10, and your cost to advertise and sell this product - everything included - is $0.50 per customer, your Break-Even Point would be reaching 20 customers to get one order, or a 5% rate of response. However, if you could cut the cost of that advertising to $0.25 per customer, at the same 5% rate of response, you would realize a great deal of profit from the advertisement. In fact, you would double your profit each time you advertise.

The Quality-of-Exposure Factor

Exposure can mean many different things, depending on the medium used. For instance, direct-marketing exposure is much more personal and positive than broadcast exposure. When a prospective customer receives a direct-marketing piece, it holds that customer's attention to a greater degree than a direct-marketing TV advertisement. Therefore, even though the Cost per Exposure in direct-marketing may be much higher than the Cost per Exposure in the broadcast medium, the Quality of Exposure in direct-marketing is usually much greater.

The Density-of-Prospective-Customers Factor

The greater the Density of Prospective Customers in the medium used, the higher the Rate of Profitable Response you can expect. If you were trying to sell a product using the medium of direct-marketing targeted towards Manhattan apartment dwellers, your Density of Prospective Customers would be very low. However, if you chose a marketing strategy targeted towards suburban home-owners who had purchased your product before, your Density of Prospective Customers would be very high.

The Type-of-Medium Factor

The Type of Medium used in a direct-marketing promotion usually fall under the following categories:

1.  Promotion and Delivery Media:

a) Catalog 
b) Electronic book 
c) Newspaper (Classified or Display) 
d) Billboards 
e) TV 
f) Radio 
g) Computer Online 
h) Telephone

2. Product or Service Delivery Media:

a) Postal 
b) Online computer download (Electronic book) 
c) Facsimile

Selecting a Medium

The first step in selecting a medium is to get the best description of the prospective customer you are trying to reach. Do a profile of your prospective customer, as follows: age, sex, occupation, education level, interest, income level and social stature. Now that you have your product and know exactly whom you are trying to reach, you are ready to select your medium.

Online promotions are growing dramatically and if you own a PC, you will find that using the Internet as a promotional medium will be to your advantage. It is less costly and it delivers information at a higher speed and accuracy. Electronic books, for example, are becoming a popular medium of reaching targeted audiences. It is easily downloadable and your targeted prospects can be reading your ad in seconds, after download.

If you have something like an occupational product, you would probably get a higher response by placing a space ad in a related professional magazine. However, there is an added bonus when you are trying to reach a group of business opportunity seekers to advertise where these kind of prospects will be more likely to be.

There are many advantages with getting listed in a directory, for example, especially in a directory that your prospects will likely look. Once you get listed, the person who actually maintains your listing must promote and maintain your listing. This should be done at his or her own expense. If you want, he or she will segment your listing into specific categories and this will increase your rate of response.

Although a medium does not sell products on its own, it certainly does have a big influence on advertising effectiveness. In large measure, your chosen medium determines who will be exposed to your message, how many people will be exposed to it and how often.

The medium also provides an environment that is favorable or unfavorable. Let's assume you are selling a choice steak. Visual appeal stimulates taste buds. You need to see the steam rising off the charcoal-broiled grill..  The inside just slightly pink.. juice running off the fork as you pick up each piece. Because you have a product that requires visualization, you automatically eliminate radio. Television or a photograph in a print medium would be your best advertising.

Things to Consider

In choosing an effective medium for your product and ad copy, you will first want to check four points:

1. Audience - Who are the people you want to reach? Is income a factor? What are their interests? Have they purchased a product similar to yours?

2. Circulation - How many people will be reached through this medium? What is the circulation of the medium you are considering?

3. Logistics - How often will your message reach your audience?

4. Cost per thousand - What is the cost per thousand of reaching your audience? Cost per thousand is the basic foundation in selecting a medium. As a rule of thumb, cost per thousand is found by dividing your total circulation, audience or universe by your total ad cost. Always keep this rule in mind. No medium is an extravagance if it makes profit. This is very important.

The main function of each medium is to give your advertising or product the greatest frequency and time of exposure per dollar of media cost. Volume of profit dollars is most important because that is your goal.

Now you have to consider which medium will put the greatest number of profit dollars into your pocket fastest. You need to look into the advantages and disadvantages of whatever medium you may choose. Do your homework well and keep abreast of the changing world of advertising. Be creative and don't be afraid to try new things. Change is good.

About the Author

Cheryline Lawson is author, publisher, and editor of two excellent ezines and several electronic books. She has introduced a special Targeted E-book Directory that will help businesses reach an extensive customer-base. Get more information by heading over to

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