Sight, Sound and Motion. Still the most powerful selling medium in advertising. But which is right for you? There are several factors to consider when making that choice. The first consideration is the geography your business draws from. Broadcast generally covers an entire market. If your business does not draw from a substantial portion of the market then you may have a lot of waste, and cable will be more cost-effective. If you only do business from a county or two, cable is wiser, in large part because of the way cable is zoned.

The second consideration is your target audience. If you have a highly defined audience with particular interests, cable may be the best place for your ads. Because of the large number of diverse channels, the programming is more varied, so you can find programming for women interested in fashion and men interested in hiking, and everything in between. However, if you have a broad audience and want to reach large numbers of people in a hurry, broadcast will achieve your goal.

As with any advertising campaign your budget will influence decisions. Cable is less expensive on a cost-per-spot basis. But because cable serves more specific interests the cost per thousand viewers (CPM’s) are much higher than broadcast. Broadcast TV can be a very efficient reach vehicle, being seen by many people at a relatively inexpensive CPM. However, an effective broadcast schedule requires a larger overall budget.

The goal of your advertising should also figure into the medium you choose. Both cable and broadcast do well in brand-building and general awareness campaigns. Both drive traffic to events and sales. However, if the focus is Direct Response or Lead Generation, broadcast usually has the advantage. The ROI of a Lead Generation campaign is directly tied to the cost of reaching each viewer. Because broadcast has much lower CPM’s it is more likely to cost out or have a better ROI than cable.

No matter which media you choose, do not skimp on your commercial production. Nothing kills a well thought out media plan faster than poor creative. You don’t want your commercial to look like it was filmed with your uncle’s camcorder. Spend a little more for attractive, intelligent advertising and you will see the pay off in your bottom line.