Ultimate Marketing Championship Round 3: Posters vs. Radio Ads

Marketing opportunities abound for small businesses, but when you’re on a limited budget it can be difficult to know where your dollars are best spent. All marketing should be considered an investment with an expected return, but some marketing strategies are better than others. This is the third round in our Ultimate Marketing Championship series, which pits two marketing strategies against one another to determine which is best for your business.

This installment features Posters vs. Radio Ads. Let’s weigh in to see which comes out on top.

Message Control

Radio advertising is typically sold in 15- and 30-second spots. Posters can be printed in many different sizes, often 11 by 17 inches, 18 by 24 inches, and 24 by 36 inches. Both marketing strategies require a focused message to quickly create desire and motivate customers to take the next step in the purchasing process.

However, radio spots are limited by the time you are allotted by the radio station. Posters are only limited by the time each potential customer allots to reading your message. Thus, posters offer you the ability to include more information such as customer benefits and a more detailed offer and call to action. Posters also have the visual element that works with copy to create desire and motivate response. With posters, you have more control over your message. Advantage: Posters

Memory

Radio ads are famous for jingles that serve as memory hooks, and it’s hard to argue with the power of a song that sticks in your head. Posters, on the other hand, combine copy and visual cues to help customers commit your message to memory. Both strategies are powerful, but posters offer something radio ads do not: the time customers need to write down URLs, phone numbers and other information so they can follow up. What’s more, posters can be combined with tear-off flyers and coupons customers can take with them for even easier followups. Advantage: Posters

Distribution

Radio ad sales departments can give you a plenty of demographics about their listener base, but they can’t offer a real figure for how many listeners are actually engaged in their advertising. Out of every 1,000 people who have the radio on, how many are paying attention to the commercials, how many are distracted with work, how many have the volume turned down, and how many are even in the same room? Likewise, posters can’t guarantee that everyone who walks by will look at them, but they can be strategically placed in known high-traffic areas as well as those areas your target customer base is known to frequent.

Tear-off coupons and extended, campaign-extended URLs allow you to measure your poster return on investment, which can be more difficult to do with radio advertising because extended URLs require customers to remember more in a very short time. Finally, radio ad repetition can be quite costly, but poster printing is relatively cheap, so you can get more exposure for your message with a lower investment by printing posters. Advantage: Posters

Winner

Poster marketing handily beats down radio ads as a small business marketing strategy that offers an excellent return for a low investment. Radio advertising might be considered a good supplement to an ongoing marketing campaign, but posters can be effective as stand-alone campaigns. If you’re seeking a way to reach a large audience for your small business, posters are the logical choice.

Read the previous rounds:

Round 1: Postcards vs. Facebook

Round 2: Catalogs vs. Ecommerce

About the Author:

Brian M. serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. His previous roles included managing editor for a hometown newspaper and club bartender for a group of quasi-alcoholics. When he’s not writing, he’s usually counting lost follicles and wondering what he ever did with his time before his two children were born.

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  • http://www.finishlinecorp.com Paul

    Another advantage for posters now are the QR codes used by mobile phones. Put one these on a print ad, and the viewer can interact with it using their personal devices. The advertiser can use the QR code to link to a web site, an audio or even a video recording.

  • Brian Morris

    Excellent point Paul! QR codes are great, and AR promises to be even better – something else that posters could be used to deliver. Thank you for sharing!