Article Date: 7/1/2005

extreme practice makeover
Choose the Right Media

One of the most perplexing choices that an advertiser faces is the choice of media. The right choice cost-efficiently delivers the message to the right people at the right time. The wrong choice can be ineffective and expensive.

The "Marketing Makeover" program recently placed Dr. Scott Mann's advertising messages on both radio and billboards. The two media work well together, especially in the summer when people tend to travel in cars more often.


Pictured are each of Dr. Mann's three billboards.

Billboards build recognition

Billboards offer large coverage of local markets because they can be posted in high traffic areas on commuter routes, as well as in closer proximity to the office. As billboards are usually lit, they offer around-the-clock exposure. Billboards build brand recognition with a large number of potential customers in a relatively short period. Because they must deliver the message in a few seconds, effective billboards use striking graphics and few words.

Radio speaks to your patient

Radio also reaches a large number of people, but due to the programs and music, radio can isolate a specific patient. It's almost a guarantee that a radio station in your area caters to a specific audience, whether you want soccer moms, sports-loving men, or head-banging teens. (Visit www.ideopia.com/makeover.asp to hear Dr. Mann's ads and for detailed information on defining target markets and choosing media.)

Tell the radio salesperson as specifically as possible who you want to attract to your practice. See how the station matches that audience. Ask your rep for "rankers," Arbitron ratings that rank all stations in a market according to audience definition. The rep should be able to give you numbers of listeners for every hour of the day.

How to economize

In major markets radio can be expensive, but carefully choosing the times that the spots run can save money. Most commonly, the highest cost times are called "drive time," the rush hours between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. If your practice is located where traffic is not a major issue, you might try to purchase radio time later — for example from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Often stations will adjust their rates for off peak times. With these stations, a 7 p.m. spot may cost a fraction of a daytime spot, but that's because the audience is usually much smaller.

A lower-cost way to advertise on the radio is to buy traffic, weather or sportscasts. These spots are usually 10 to 15 seconds and while your message can't be detailed, it can build name recognition. If you have a local public radio station, explore underwriting. Underwriting is a lower-key radio ad, but public radio audiences tend to be loyal and more affluent than most commercial audiences.

SCOTT MANN, O.D., OPERATES INVISION WITH OFFICES IN SALEM AND CHRISTIANSBURG, VA. HE IS THE WINNER OF THE "EXTREME PRACTICE MAKEOVER CONTEST," SPONSORED BY HAAG-STREIT USA, IDEOPIA AND OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT MAGAZINE.

MS. ABRAMOVITZ IS PRESIDENT OF IDEOPIA, AND ADVERTISING, INTERACTIVE AND BRAND STRATEGY AGENCY WITH A SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE OPHTHALMIC FIELD.  VISIT WWW.IDEOPIA.COM /MAKEOVER.ASP FOR INFORMATION.



Optometric Management, Issue: July 2005