Decisions Decisions; which of these two marketing options is better?

On a blog post I wrote last week, I spoke about some of the questions I got at the Global Entrepreneurship Week. If you recall, I mentioned that I was asked lots of questions on marketing and entrepreneurship.

One of the participants, Osman Safdar, a university student, came prepared with four excellent marketing questions.  I will address each question in a different blog post.

The first question Osman asked me was this: which is more effective, publishing ads in magazines or sending out fliers?

Not a bad question.  But there is a flaw in the question, or rather, in the assumption behind the question.  Why assume that one would be better than the other?  Why not both?

The answer to the question is that you measure the results you get from both, and then decide.  If one gets good results, and the other does not, then you stop doing the one that does not get results.

When doing print advertising, you have to use newspapers and magazines that are going to be read by your target market.  To give an overly simplistic example, if you were to sell cars an obvious place would be to advertise in car magazines.  But not just car magazines.  People who buy cars might also read lifestyle magazines.  In fact, they might not even read car magazines at all.

A BMW 5 series buyer might read the financial papers, as well as some industry publications, but might not really care too much for car reviews and 0-60 statistics, and hence never pick up a car magazine.  So you have to measure.

How do you measure?  Ask your customers this simple question “how did you find out about us?”  At the end of the month, tally all the responses.  It really is that simple.

Fliers are generally better with geographic targeting.  Meaning you can’t really choose who receives the flier based on hobby, occupation, or reading interests (which you can more or less with print advertising), so you basically cover a whole area with fliers.  Generally speaking, fliers are good if you’re limited in your budget, as they are fairly low cost compared to print advertising.  And if both the print advertising and the fliers work, then do both.  Never drop something that is working for something cheaper!  You don’t want fewer sources of customers, you want to always make sure you’re adding more, make sense?

Good!  Talk to you soon.

3 Responses to Decisions Decisions; which of these two marketing options is better?

  1. Ahmed Balharith 2 December 2010 at 8:46 am #

    I do second your view Mr. Suhail as the type of ads depend on the product or service being advertised. Moreover, testing the market is a very critical to ensure the success of the used advertising methods. Budget is also an issue and need to be controlled with putting in place an good mechanism to measure the advertisement effectiveness.

  2. Osman Safdar 2 December 2010 at 11:00 am #

    Great insight! I see this approach totally missing from some businesses. The rule they seem to follow is: Buy a shop, put stuff in it and pray that customers will show up!

    What sometimes bothered me was why some fliers end up being stamped under cars and shoes?! But now with the measurements and results mindset, its starting to make sense.

    Can’t wait to read the next blog post! 🙂

  3. Syed Tariq 3 December 2010 at 11:32 pm #

    Technically correct article.

    But don’t you think that the matter of cost-effectiveness and value enhancement of marketing tools is critical for most small businesses today, as their overall budgets become tighter?

    Marketing is definitely an investment decision, and the more you invest, the greater the chances of a return, but except for giant corporates with mammoth budgets everybody has to face opportunity costs.

    The key difficulty is that the two marketing tools mentioned are so comparable in their effectiveness that it is difficult to predict any delta cost-benefit ratio between the two. i.e. Magazine ads if properly placed can generate the more or less the same value per dollar, as effectively distributed pamphlets can.

    In this scenario, the difference in channel of distribution can make a huge difference, as though the magazine’s channel of distribution offers nothing extra, the pamphlet can be distributed using excellent direct marketing tools so that the pamphlet is just a summary of contact details and an overview of products being sold. Hence the gala surrounding the distribution effort is the actual marketing effort, with good individual attention being provided to prospects/inquirers, the brand experience would sell the product, instead of relying on hope that the prospect would read the content of the ad/pamphlet and come over for a sale.

    This technique, alongwith powerful e-marketing tools, is proving to be the oxygen small businesses are looking forward to survive on.

    Cost-effectiveness is key for the small, but given greater insights into human psychology and purchase behavior, it is no longer a question mark.

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