February, 2002
You Tell Us
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

A different take on advertising


To the editor,

The author of the article “Advertising a small business” (November 2001) made several assertions and assumptions in his article that need to be clarified. I have over 30 years of media sales and management experience, and presently run a regional media consulting firm, as well as a home inspection service.

First, no market in the U.S. has a newspaper that reaches “almost every home. . .” They wish. The sad truth is most market newspapers reach 40-50 percent of the households or less. And when one considers the fact that usually only
one adult “reads” or scans the newspaper, while the other adult in the household reads sporadically, if at all, the net result is that less than a third of the household members in a market actually “read” the newspaper.

The newspapers’ general demographic reader profile is that of primarily white, older, white collar, better-educated and higher income adult, as compared to the typical market profile. One cannot reach the majority of the markets’ consumers with the newspaper, and one cannot effectively reach the younger and the middle and lower middle class, working family with the newspaper.

When you factor in the fact that only approximately 5 percent of the adult population is in the house hunting market at any point, the newspaper becomes a bad investment for the small home inspection businessman. If the newspaper has a special real estate tabloid, maybe!

The subject of magazine advertising also needs some further clarification. Most general interest magazines and certainly all national magazines, regional edition or not, are inappropriate for the home inspection service advertiser. Think about the 5 percent who may be in the house buying market. Potential homebuyers will check out the local real estate guides. These are used almost exclusively by homebuyers and sellers, as well as real estate agents. These magazines do reach the home inspectors’ prospective consumer market.

The primary consideration or guideline for all media selections is how well that medium reaches my specific target customer or potential customer. And along with that thought one should consider how much wasted media usage is present.
Readership, position, size, color, cost effectiveness and other print issues were not covered here, but I hope the points outlined above will help clarify some items in
the article.


John Baggio, ASHI Member
President, HOMETEAM Inspection Service
Virginia Beach, Va.