The Big Four in Marketing Communications

By George M Callanan, Jr., President

There are many elements and considerations that go into a great 

advertising campaign. The professional who develops the campaign has 

to think in terms of the “Big Four,” which are: the offer, the 

delivery system or media, the frequency of the commercial, and last 

but not least, the creative presentation.

In many respects, “the offer” is the most important and here is why: 

People— or should I say buyers— have been trained to look at 

products or services as a commodity. This can be attributed to the 

great recession, dollar store retailers and the Internet, which has  

presented better offers than you can find through traditional media or 

at bricks and mortar retail locations.

These days everyone is confronted with a multitude of delivery system 

or media options, should we send an email blast, do a TV commercial, 

do a banner ad, run a radio spot, utilize outdoor advertising, run an 

ad in a magazine or in the newspaper, or consider various other media 

to run our ad. The bottom line is the offer must be affordable enough 

to separate you from your commodity competitors. For example. Two for 

one deals, 25% or more off will get the buyers attention. Now, if you 

ran two ads, one in the newspaper illustrating a product sale for two 

days where you get 40% off, but on Facebook your ad stated 10% off 

which ad will drive more people to buy? The newspaper ad will.

However, if you flop the media, the Facebook offer is 40% off and 

newspaper 10% off. The Facebook ad will produce greater results.

Older people grew up with TV, radio, magazines and newspaper. Younger 

people are growing up with mobile ads, social media and digital 

advertising. However, when an offer is an outstanding deal, the word 

gets around. Either the young tell the old or the old tell the young.

The delivery system or media selection process is controlled by the 

budget and the target audience. No one medium should take the entire 

budget. Whichever media has the programming and audience that 

represents the closest match to the people who will buy is where you 

should invest. Testing of media is OK, some will produce and some will 

fail. Adjust the media according to where you get the most leads and 

the most results with the most sales being paramount.

Frequency of the message in the ad or the commercial is absolutely key 

to the success of the campaign. A great ad that runs infrequently is 

not talked about. A bad ad that runs a lot is talked about as being bad.

The creative presentation must aim for excellence. People remember 

clever ads. Some of the best commercials of all time utilize one or 

more of these strategies: humor, sex, testimonial, children, animals, 

fear, technological superiority and the customer as king or queen.

So, when you consider your next campaign, remember the Big Four in 

Marketing Communications. Good luck and we hope you move a whole lotta 


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