All mediums are not equal

Today’s market conditions are a stark contrast of that bygone era, when a single mass medium was all it took to sway the minds of a passive, uninformed, homogeneous audience. With the increasing segmentation of consumers, proliferation of competitive offerings, and fragmentation of media, it has become quite a daunting task for a marketer to choose the right medium to target and reach their audience with an acceptable degree of precision and effectiveness.

Perhaps this predicament is best captured in John Wanamaker’s poignant wit; ‘Half the money I spend on Advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half’. There are a host of factors that come into play when deciding on the best medium(s) to convey your message in, which can help you get the most out of your marketing budget.


Segmentation has the greatest bearing when determining the most suitable form of medium for your brand communication. It is defined as dividing up a market into a distinctive group that has common needs and will respond similarly to a marketing action. This may be based on geographic, demographic, psychographic or behavioristic considerations. The TV and the newspaper are the most effective choices for a brand that serves a broad undefined market, due to its wide unbiased reach.


On the other extreme, your brand may be serving a segmented market with a well defined target audience. And while a one size fits all message cannot be tenable here, the fragmentation of media becomes a plus that you can leverage on, to accurately target your audience in a way that’s uniquely relevant to them. Magazines and Radio can narrow down and isolate your market based on age, gender, geography, language, values and lifestyle preferences, occupation, or a combination of any of these variables. And with over 100 radio stations and even more magazines incessantly dividing up the market pie, reaching your defined market becomes a simple endeavor, albeit an expensive one.


internet advertising in kenya

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But the medium with the distinction for being the most target specific channel for reaching your customers has to be the Internet. It gives you the ability to narrow down to a particular market segment with astonishing precision, based on a variety of parameters such as a user’s unique IP Address to detect their location, keywords used, user profiles stored in email and social network accounts, browsing behavior (stored in cookies), purchase history etc. With the rapidity by which users are taking to the web, this medium presents a goldmine that every marketer would want to fully exploit.

CPM – Cost Per Mille

It’s good for a marketer to meet their set objectives but it’s even better if they do it with the least amount of resources. Cost has become a crucial factor when determining the best medium for communicating. This is measured using CPM (Cost Per Mille), which is defined by the American Marketing Association as the cost of using the media vehicle to reach 1,000 people or households. The medium with the lowest CPM is ideally the best choice, other factors remaining constant. For instance, while Direct-Mail has much cheaper production costs than a TV ad, the latter has the potential to reach a broader audience, and will therefore tend to have a lower CPM.

ROI – Return On Investment

Another factor related to costs, and just as important when choosing the best medium, is measurement of the ROI. Return On Investment of a given media may be measured qualitatively or quantitatively. Qualitative measurement is mainly used for broadcast mediums such as TV and radio. A sample of the audience are gathered in focus groups and subjected to awareness or recall tests to establish whether the message was effectively delivered. Quantitative measurement on the other hand, involves using a broad range of metrics to gauge the impact of a given medium. The ROI for Direct Mail for example, is easily calculated by comparing the cost of delivering a single unit with its impact on measurable parameters such as the number of coupons redeemed, phone inquiries made, or sales made during the campaign period.

Online marketing


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Its potential however, pales in comparison with that of Online Advertising, which encompasses Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Banner Advertising, E-Mail Marketing, Rich Media Ads and Social Network Advertising. By virtue of it being an electronic medium, the Internet is capable of delivering real-time analytics for almost every interactive session, for example; banners or links clicked, websites visited, or conversions made. With online advertising models such as Pay Per Click (PPC), Cost Per Action (CPA), Cost Per Lead (CPL) etc., every cent spent on funneling one consumer into purchasing a product is accounted for, and so are the results.  Thus, to maximize ROI, more consideration should be given to Cost Per Impact (CPI), which reflects the cost incurred to affect a single person, not merely reaching him. Whatever industry you’re promoting- whether its selling holiday packages in Kenya, or printing services  
or promoting  lawyers in kenya, online marketing works.


In advertising, it’s not just what you say that matters, but how and where you say it as well. A well crafted and memorable campaign not only exudes creativity in conceptualization, but also in execution. Choosing one medium over another can drastically change the way a message is perceived. Take radio for example. Although lacking the Audio-visual capability inherent in TV, a radio spot aptly makes up for this deficiency when sound is merged with imagination to vividly ‘paint’ a scenario in the audience’s mind that would rival that of a TV Ad—at a fraction of the cost.

Magazine Advertising

smartlife magazine advertising in kenya

Magazines too, can merge message execution with creativity with the same amount of brilliance. Touted as the most flexible of print media, they present myriad ways to augment a brand’s message/image. For starters, its unrivaled quality in printing production already conveys prestige to the brand image. Secondly, unlike newsprint, a magazine ad can be adopted to a wide range of formats by allowing it to extend beyond the bleed-line and gutter, or by using a gate-fold to give an ad the impression of grandness that a customer will be compelled to give it all the due attention it deserves.


Media Planning is a complex undertaking and will often involve taking many factors into consideration. However, with the marketing objective as well as past performance as a guide, and with a keen eye on marketplace dynamics, most of these factors can be ranked according to merit, and the result used as the criterion when allocating advertising budget to various mediums. To maximize the impact of your message, a Cross Media Marketing Campaign—one that exploits the unique strengths of more than one medium to get the message across—would the best option to go for, in order to deliver an 360 degree brand experience that is relevant to the audience, different from competition, and cost-efficient to the marketer.

Posted under: Advertising, Brands, Marketing

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