Dentists undervalue traditional media and overrate digital
Dentists undervalue traditional media and overrate digital
The report examines 10 channels: direct mail, magazines, newspapers, online display and more.
June 28, 2018

You should read a report commissioned by the commercial radio industry body Radiocentre called Re-Evaluating Media. It’s striking. Even though it’s Radiocentre’s job to make a case for commercial radio, it couldn’t conceivably have expected Ebiquity, the analysts who made the report, to come up with more compelling data.

This research is brand new — carried out between October 2017 and January 2018. The key takeaway is that, despite a massive surge in online media paid advertising (51% of advertising spend in 2016), advertisers are not getting return on online investment, while radio and other traditional mediums, while perceived as less effective, are actually most effective on the five most important media attributes for growing a brand in the longer term. These are:

  1. targeting the right people in the right place at the right time
  2. increasing campaign Roi
  3. triggering a positive emotional response
  4. increasing brand salience
  5. maximising campaign reach

Here’s what Ebiquity found: “Judged against these TV and radio are top overall. Combining our evidence scores from all 12 [media] attributes firmly places TV as the best performing medium, followed by radio, newspapers, magazines and out of home.

With the exception of TV, advertisers undervalue traditional media, especially radio. They overrate the value of online video and paid social [my emphasis].”

This fits with my opinion, in fact it’s comforting to see empirical evidence of my own hunches and experiences. Media channels like radio and newspapers are dismissed far too easily by my peers in favour of digital channels and cool new tools and platforms.

The findings give a sense of the cost attached to blindly following marketing trends. Remember that good old fashioned targeting is vital to advertising success, and while everyone agrees that targeting is the most important media attribute for growing a brand, what appears to have happened with the surge in online advertising is that the individualised, addressable (and easily reportable) targeting it facilitates has hypnotised the people making decisions.

The report examines 10 channels: direct mail, magazines, newspapers, online display (non-video display and banner ads), online video, out-of-home, radio, social media and TV. Radio is perceived as bottom of the pile for targeting but comes top for actual targeting ability because it’s the most flexible — it can be used to engage audiences by geography, demographics, content, time of day, day of week and, to some extent, addressability for listeners on connected devices.

I continue to believe that the advertising mediums you use should depend on your strategy. And when I say strategy I mean four things: your target segment, strategic objectives, brand position and budget. Only last month I was arguing against a sponsorship campaign in favour of moving money into digital advertising because it made more strategic sense.

I guess my point here is that, despite what a bunch of dental marketing experts and consultants might tell you about digital being the only way, synergy beats specialism. The power of a good campaign has always been in the combination of different channels to get the job done.

There is a bias among dental marketers towards digital media and against so-called traditional alternatives. When you are committing most of your budget to digital tactics it’s hard to step back and acknowledge that you might have made an error. Instead, your behaviour drives your perception, which structures your reality.

But if I told you a recent “traditional” targeted door drop campaign costing £4k delivered £100k of treatment or that a blended multi-channel approach had added £600k of revenue to a practice over three years, would you still be so dismissive of old-fashioned channels?

There are bargains to be had out there in traditional media land. If you would like to discuss this further and perhaps consider a marketing diagnostic day to measure the impact of your marketing and build a new strategy, get in touch on 01872 300232 or email us at

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Luc Wade Marketing Director
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