Part 7 in a series
The beef business probably has more trade publications per capita than any other industry. At last count, there are at least 100 to 120 publications that devote some or all of their editorial content to the cattle business, which can seem overwhelming when it comes to placing your ads.
But there are significant opportunities, too. In fact, the wealth of media outlets enables seedstock producers to be very selective in their ad placements, allowing them to identify publications that offer them the best return on investment.
When identifying which publication can do the best job, producers should measure them against three factors:
1) Is the publication well read? Select magazines that are well written and designed, that offer readers timely and interesting information. Even in a magazine that has the lowest advertising rates and tremendous circulation, if it's a poorly constructed product, your advertising investment will never be realized.
2) Does a high percentage of the publication's readers represent a viable market for your cattle? To answer this question, refer back to your marketing and advertising plan. Who is your target audience? Does the publication reach a significant portion of the same audience?
3) Which of the publications that meet the first two criterion are the most cost effective? Top-quality publications that reach a high percentage of your customers and do it at the lowest cost per reader will maximize your advertising dollars. The lower the page cost, the more pages you can purchase. By calculating the cost per thousand (CPM), you can quickly determine the one-time cost for a full-page, black-and-white advertisement, multiplied by 1,000, and divided by the publication's total circulation:
Page rate × 1,000/Circulation – Cost per page per thousand (CPM)
This calculation can be extended to cost per reader:
Page rate/Circulation – cost per reader
Other considerations include demographics of a publication's readership. Does the publication mail to a select group of readers, such as Angus breeders? Or, is its readership more diverse, representing producers who raise a wide array of cattle and breeds? A multi-breed magazine will go to a variety of people who may or may not be interested in the breed of cattle you're trying to sell. But, it may also be read by cattle producers ready to switch breeds – if you can convince them to do so -- or try a different breed in their commercial programs.
On the flip side of the equation, a single-breed publication ensures a dedicated audience but there's oftentimes more competition among advertisers because the producers they're trying to sell are similar.
It's important to use facts to help you select the publication you advertise in – and you should ask every publication you're considering to provide you with as much information about their circulation as you can – everything from certifiable circulation numbers to demographic information on their readers.
Going by the numbers will increase your confidence level in your advertising program. It also justifies your decision when you evaluate your marketing program each year and insures a better return on investment.
A final component of the equation, however, is your personal satisfaction with the publication. Does its staff offer the kind of service you like? How willing are they to help you develop and place your advertisement? Will advertising your sale in their publication entitle you to ring service for your auction?
Keep in mind, too, that advertising is a year-round proposition, and that the most successful seedstock producers invest heavily in keeping their programs in the limelight – even when their sale is months away.
Doing your homework ahead of time will help you prepare an effective advertising campaign and stretch your advertising dollars the farthest.