The advertising game has changed drastically over the years. 2010 was the first year in which advertisers spent more on digital marketing and online advertising than print. There are a number of successful ways to advertise online, but there is still a place in print, radio and TV advertising if the fit is right. As an owner of a small business, it’s imperative that you figure out which medium to advertise in to most effectively market your company without overpaying.


The big debate on whether print is a dead or dying industry has been rampant over the past few years, especially with newspapers slimming down and sometimes going out of business. The key word though is debate as many in the industry feel that the reports of the death of print are gravely exaggerated.

Print does offer something that no other medium can, and that’s the actual, physical interaction that people have with the publication. While many newspapers have seen a drastic decrease in the amount of quality content, the same can’t be said for a number of magazines that are still alive and well. Some magazines have much longer shelf lives than most other mediums such as in places like doctor’s waiting rooms, libraries or hair salons.

An article in USA Today lays out the reasons why print advertising can still be effective by noting that it is highly targeted, does not disappear and is great for branding. Granted, USA Today obviously has their own motives for wanting to keep print advertising strong, but they make some valid points.

It’s a lot tougher to target your audience as precisely with other forms of advertising. Magazines are very specific to the types of people and the demographics they attract. Therefore, it’s easy to market your company to the right audience.

Magazines tend to stay around offices, public places or homes for weeks, months and even years. Newspapers as well tend to lay around for at least a few days in most homes and offices. Web pages come and go and it’s often tough to tell which pages are going to drive a lot of traffic.

Having an ad in print generally fosters instant credibility. Moreover, a number of businesses like to get a nice print of their advertisement to place in their store. This is something that can’t be done with online advertising for obvious reasons.

Print advertising is not for everybody, but it can still be an effective tool for businesses with a very targeted audience. Moreover, they can be used as a great way to market your company better than other advertising platforms.


Advertising on the radio can be very expensive. Companies often have to buy a lot of spots in order to have a successful radio campaign. Moreover, with the advent of podcasts and satellite radio, advertisements on the radio are becoming less and less effective. That being said, choosing to advertise over free airwaves can still be a good fit for your business if done right.

Just like with print advertising, it can be easier to market your products or services to the right demographic. Radio audiences tend to stay about the same for each station per time slot, so it’s fairly easy to choose where and when to advertise. Keep in mind that the demographic of your customers is most likely different from the people who work at your business, so don’t just advertise on stations that you like.

Deciding how long to make your radio promotion is also important when trying to keep costs down. Radio ads are most often 15, 30 or 60 seconds long. 15 seconds may be too short to get your message across unless you are just reminding people about a particular sale, but most need not be longer than 30 seconds. Make sure to be concise and to the point in communicating the benefits of your company to potential consumers.

Producing a radio advertisement can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want. Most of the money goes towards hiring voice talent and covering music royalties. If you decide to write and voice the ad in-house and use royalty-free music, you have already cut down on part of what makes radio advertisements seem so costly.

At the end of the day, radio advertising is probably not the best way to go with a number of pundits saying that it is effectively dead. Nevertheless, with a focused, targeted campaign it can still work to your company’s advantage.


It’s a lot tougher to get people to sit through TV advertisements in the age of YouTube, Hulu and DVR. Some people will gladly wait to watch their favorite show until well after it has started so they can skip through all the commercials. Plus, with so much content readily available online, the demand to watch shows in primetime is steadily decreasing.

Nevertheless, TV is still by far the dominant medium in American culture. Almost all homes in the United States have some form of cable and it’s fairly cheap for what you get. People will keep watching television, and your advertisements will be seen.

The entire structure of TV advertising is expected to stay relatively the same for a while. If nothing else, just for the mere fact that advertisers have become so familiar with the 30-second network TV spot and don’t want to break away from convention. Simply put, TV advertising still works, it’s just a question of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, times are rapidly changing as the Internet continues to grow and offer more content. However, for the time being, television is still king.

Because of the cost of TV advertisements, however, it is smart for small businesses to pick their spots much more so than larger corporations. Pepsi doesn’t have to think twice about dropping over $3 million per Super Bowl spot. Needless to say it’s a bit different for your company. Instead of going after networks it’s wise to attack cable TV when starting an ad campaign, as the rates are much cheaper.


Allan, Alice. "Print Media: Dead or Just Dying?" Property Ad Guru. 18 Mar. 2010. Web. 01 Aug. 2011. .

East, Alec. "Is TV Advertising Really Dead?" CharityMash. 26 May 2009. Web. 01 Aug. 2011. .

Fine, Jon. "Why TV Advertising Isn't Dead Yet." Businessweek. Bloomberg, 30 Apr. 2009. Web. 01 Aug. 2011. .