Advertising 101: Exploiting the Information Gap

marketingYou are setting up advertising for your business. Seems simple. You have a budget, and you know what you need. TV, radio, print, maybe some Facebook and Google. Then it hits you: I know that I need advertising, I know how much I have to spend, but I have no clue as to what will work for me.

You let this slip to the first ad rep. (Sorry, they call themselves account executives.) Not surprisingly, the person on the other side of the table has a ready solution.

Spend it all with me, and I’ll help you get what you need.

You’re soon bedazzled with an array of numbers that make no sense to you, but sound quite impressive. Unique readers here, market share there, impressions. Numbers don’t lie, right?

Maybe not, but they can be made to serve a nice story that may or may not be true.

Ad reps, account executives, whatever you call them, are not there to actually help you do anything other than spend your money with them. That’s not an indictment, just the facts. They know that you don’t know how many actual readers or viewers or listeners they have, and how that relates to how many readers or viewers or listeners the competition has, and how much it costs to advertise through one medium versus another, and how to compare and contrast across the platforms.

You don’t do this, advertising, marketing, for a living. They do, and that’s where they’ve got you.

A business launching an advertising strategy without knowing all the particulars as to what the numbers mean is like a general going to war without a map.

Column by Chris Graham, president of Augusta Free Press LLC. AFP works with clients to develop broad-based advertising and marketing strategies. Contact us today at More information on Augusta Free Press services, including website design, graphic design and video production, is online at


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