a national information resource for value-added agriculture
Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

Evaluating Alternative Types of Advertising*

Reviewed August 2009.

Don Hofstrand                                                                                  
Co-director, Ag
Marketing Resource Center
Iowa State University Extension


Advertising, when properly understood, is a powerful tool for marketing. It can be most effective with products that can be differentiated from similar products based on consumer-accepted quality differences. However, regardless of the quality of a product’s advertising, it is important to remember that a product has to compete on its own. For example, brand preference cannot be established if the product fails to meet consumer expectations.

Below are forms of advertising you may want to consider:

      1.  Newspapers

    • Advantages – short lead time, flexible, reaches large audience, community prestige, intense coverage, reader control of exposure, coordination with national advertising, merchandising service, segment consumer by geography.
    • Disadvantages short life span, may be expensive relative to other media, hasty reading, poor reproduction, lack of creativity.

    2.  Radio

    • Advantages – audio capacity, short lead time, low cost relative to other media, reaches demographic and geographic segmented audience, reaches large audience.
    • Disadvantages – don’t have visual capacity, fragmented and inflexible, temporary nature of message.

    3. Magazines and Journals

    • Advantages selectivity for demographic and geographic segments, high in quality reproduction, lasts as long as magazine is kept, prestigious advertisement if credibility of magazine is high, extra services, issue may be read by more than one person.
    • Disadvantages – long lead time, lack of flexibility in gaining attention, often limited control over location of advertisement.

       4. Outdoor Advertising

    • Advantages – inexpensive relative to other media, quick communication of simple ideas, repetition of exposure to customers, ability to promote products available for sale nearby.
    • Disadvantages brevity of the message, short exposure time, cannot target customer, public concern over esthetics.

     5. Television

    • Advantages impact mass coverage, repetition, flexibility in getting attention of consumer, prestige, visual and audio capabilities, short lead time.
    • Disadvantages temporary nature of message, high cost relative to other media, high mortality rate for commercials, evidence of public distrust, lack of selectivity, hard to target customer, requires production specialists.

     6. Direct Mail

    • Advantages – flexibility in reaching target audience, short lead time, intense coverage, flexibility of format, complete information, easy to personalize.
    • Disadvantages high cost per person, depends on quality of mailing list, consumer resistance, may be considered as junk mail, may be difficult and expensive to access mailing lists.

Bygrave, William D., The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1994, p 108.
Marketing Concepts, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University.


USDA Rural DevelopmentPartially Funded by USDA Rural Development
...and justice for all.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Many materials can be made available in alternative formats for ADA clients. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964.

Iowa State University

The names, words, symbols, and graphics representing Iowa State University are trademarks and copyrights of the university, protected by trademark and copyright laws of the U.S. and other countries.