Business owners know a smart marketing plan is essential to brand development and to the conversion of viewers into clients and customers. One aspect of a marketing plan is advertising. Digital media has expanded advertising from traditional print, radio and television options. There are advantages and disadvantages inherent in using each advertising mode.

Print Advertising

Print ads are anything printed. This includes an ad in a newspaper, magazine, direct mailer, school newsletter or church weekly. Print advertising is a traditional advertising venue that businesses can use to microtarget a specific demographic or reach a widespread audience.

A key advantage of print is that, in general, the market has a longer attention span and reads through material completely. This means they spend more time looking at your product or service if the ad does a good job of catching their attention. Print also offers the opportunity for companies to advertise in a range of budgets, small and large. A school's newsletter ad is much less expensive than a national magazine layout.

A disadvantage of print is the limited reach is has compared to other avenues. While smart campaigns target demographics to buyers, using print exclusively eliminates potential buyers who might find you in another advertising method with a wider reach.

Radio and Television

Radio and television is a dynamic method of advertising. Businesses are able to tell a story in 15-, 30- and 60-second spots. Catchy jingles and catchphrases engage audiences across a wide demographic. These are all advantages. Radio is less expensive than television and both have the ability to target local or national audiences.

Radio and television commercials are daunting to produce and usually more expensive than other advertising methods. Finding the sweet spot for distribution times and channels to hone in on the desired audience also can be expensive. Plus, the modern era of streaming television gives viewers the ability to skip commercials entirely.

Digital Media

Digital media advertising includes search engine ads and sponsorship ads on targeted websites. Businesses are able to work with various marketing budgets of all sizes. Digital formats are more forgiving than print and television and require less costly graphic design and production costs. The ability to create campaigns quickly and inexpensively allows businesses to split-test different ads to find the top converting ones.

A major disadvantage of digital media ads is competition. When it comes to search engines, the major brands bought keywords that get the most views from the target market. This makes reaching the desired audience difficult despite all efforts to target specific groups.

Social Media

Social media advertising comes in many forms, depending on the social media site itself. While being less expensive than other forms of marketing, these promotions can easily pinpoint the exact demographic a business is trying to reach. The quick turnover and fluid concept of social media make this type of advertising ideal for small and independent businesses.

Social media advertising is so easy and inexpensive that it's tempting to overdo it. Too many ads on the same site can create a condition known as ad blindness, in which the ads become like wallpaper and readers completely ignore them.