Even before the recession, traditional advertising media was becoming more fragmented and less efficient. And, for some home improvement contractors, unaffordable. If you're one of those who has turned from media advertising to less-costly face-to-face marketing, it may be time to reconsider. Here's why:

  • Share of voice. Now, since fewer competitors are advertising, you can drive a better bargain with media reps (lower cost per impression, lower cost per lead). And your ad ? even a small one ? is more likely to be noticed.
  • Compelling message. Due to economic uncertainty and the fact that many homeowners are concerned about higher energy costs, if your product line offers energy savings, advertising that focuses on that benefit will resonate like never before.
  • Tax credits. Energy tax credits present an opportunity to put a federal government "seal of approval" on your products and to reduce their cost to customers, moving prospects from idly interested to active shoppers. The downside: it's a "parity benefit," an offer your competitor can also make. But you can get out the message before your competitor does, through media advertising.
  • Timing. Print and direct mail can be effective after Labor Day when prospects are home from vacation and back to work. But after Thanksgiving, growing retail advertising will begin to overpower your print voice.

Then there's broadcast. Because this is an election year, stations are required to sell political advertising to all candidates at the lowest rate the station offers. That means they can't come off the card for you without offering the same price to every politician. You'll find few commercial possibilities available through election day, but after Nov. 2 they'll be abundant up until Black Friday (Nov. 26).

Now's the time to approach dominant stations in your market to schedule run-of-station rotator spots between Nov. 2 and 26 when HUT levels (households using TV) are high and cost per thousand is low. And your energy-saving message will hit homeowners just after the election when carbon tax legislation will be making energy costs top-of-mind.

?John Stevens is a home improvement marketing expert. peterson/stevens .com or Radiaflect Reflective Insulation.