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Building a marketing funnel for your local business: How your choice of marketing medium affects “receptivity”

Building a marketing funnel for your local business: How your choice of marketing medium affects “receptivity”

In a previous article, we talked about how your choice of marketing medium impacts how qualified your leads are. In this article, we want to bring up something else that determines the effectiveness of your marketing. We’ll call this “receptivity”.

Merriam-webster defines “receptivity” as such:

Able or inclined to receive; open and responsive to ideas, impressions, or suggestions.

And this suits our purposes almost perfectly. We can take it a little further, and break it down into two principles that really matter for the purposes of marketing:

1. Attention

2. Retention

The effectiveness (and, thus, cost effectiveness) of your marketing is dependent on the receptiveness of the viewer. When choosing your marketing strategies, cost effectiveness is everything. You need to be able to get the most sales for each dollar you invest.

Cost effectiveness is, of course, a measure of cost and effectiveness. And receptivity is an important part of effectiveness. So when you’re weighing cost against effectiveness, consider the receptivity of your audience.


Think about what the consumer is doing when your marketing message reaches them. People often listen to music radio as background noise, while talk radio commands more of their active attention. Likewise, TV is an activity of passive consumption, while social media requires a little more action on the part of the consumer.


Retention is a product of attention, but just because a consume is actively engaged with their current task doesn’t mean they are devoting attention to your marketing. Additionally, retention is the kind of thing that depends heavily on repetition and on how content is structured. That’s why radio/TV advertisers have relied on jingles for so long. A catchy tune sticks in your mind, and brings with it feelings of familiarity.

The advertising industry has long held that the key to retention is repetition, while branding wisdom tells us its important to have a clear, concise message that is easily understood and retained. Don’t make your audience have to think, because most of them just won’t.

How the medium affects receptivity

Let’s explore how some of the more popular marketing mediums can impact how receptive your audience is to your message.

Print ads (Newspaper or magazine)

Reading a newspaper or magazine demands more of your attention than say, watching YouTube or TV. Its essentially impossible to multi-task while reading. Mediums like TV and radio are often used as background noise. But even when they are they primary focus, they simply demand less of the consumer.

Another advantage of print ads is they’re less disruptive of the program that brought the reader there in the first place. TV commercials effectively hold the viewer hostage to bombard them a message. But print ads can be read at the reader’s own pace.


The most you can expect out of a billboard is that passersby will get stuck in traffic and take a moment to read your message to hedge their boredom. Chances are they’ll only be mildly interested, and they’ll forget as soon as traffic moves and they have to turn their attention back to driving.

The upside to billboards is that you can expose people to repetitions as they drive by over and over again on their way to work, or to the grocery store, or wherever they regularly drive.

Branded Apparel

Branded apparel is an excellent medium when it comes to receptivity. The sources that have the most credibility in a consumer’s mind are the ones they personally know and trust. Additionally, a trusted contact wearing the same brand over and over provides repetitions.


People are probably the least “conscious” when they watch TV or listen to the radio. The upside is that you can expose them to lots of repetitions. The downside is that you’re interrupting the content they actually care about.

Since long term repetitions are your best strategy with TV/radio, and that comes at a high cost, we call TV/radio a relatively expensive way to create some receptivity in the mind of a viewer.

Popup/Display Ads (Google AdSense, Facebook)

Popup and display ads are somewhere between print and TV. They’re probably less annoying than TV, as they don’t hold you hostage, but they do follow you around the internet and remind you that you’re constantly being watched. They also clutter up digital spaces.

An advantage they have over TV is that they’re presented to your audience during an activity that requires them to do more than hold a half-empty beverage can and drool on themselves. The ads are typically well-targeted, too. This means they’re more likely to get the user’s attention in the first place.


The user types in a search query, looking for a specific product or service, and a solution magically pops up right in front of their eyes. If you’re targeting the right search phrases, and your meta tags are on point, you can expect to score well on attention and at least reasonable on retention. The downside is that you’re not getting much for repetitions.


Users are extremely receptive to messages on your website. They’ve navigated there voluntarily, under the belief that you are able to provide them with some value. Or, to put it more simply, they’re there for information.

Your most important messages should be boiled down to a few slogan-like reiterations that they encounter throughout your site (just not so frequently that it gets in the way of anything else they might be looking for).

Email marketing

Expect your leads to be highly receptive to well-done email marketing. An email can be the most thoughtful, personable way to market. Additionally, the people on the list have voluntarily given their email with the understanding that you are going to send them information.

Don’t abuse this trust by bombarding them with relentless pushy messaging. Instead, focus on relationship building and providing value, whether its just information, or a new addition to your products/services.


This is your most powerful and important marketing strategy. It is, in our humble opinion, when your leads are going to be most receptive to your brand, because they’re hearing about it from a trusted source.

Every other medium involves you talking about your products/services, and they know you want their money. But WOM involves somebody with nothing at stake recommending you.

Best Mediums for Receptivity

In summary, we’d put TV, Radio and YouTube at dead last for receptivity. Display ads and popups are slightly better. All of these rely heavily on repetition to “create” receptivity. Meanwhile, other, more personal mediums like email and WOM are the mediums where your audience is going to be most receptive. Your website will also speak to a highly receptive audience, and should be taken advantage of. You can use branded apparel to strengthen your WOM, and PPC to drive more traffic to your website.

Note that this doesn’t mean that other mediums are worthless. When building your marketing funnel, all of your strategies need to work together. And there are other important factors to consider besides “receptivity”, like “qualification” and total people reached.

Ultimately, you want to build a funnel that costs less to run than it brings in. Factors like receptivity and qualification help us understand cost-effectiveness. And depending on your products/services, traditional marketing strategies like billboards or TV might be worth the investment.

Our experience is that marketing is an entirely different game for local small business than for Big Business. WOM and the internet together can help you build a funnel that is cost-effective, scalable, and targeted. You can discuss strategies for marketing your small business by contacting Todd at (360)294 8310 or by clicking right here to fill out a contact form.