Techniques to use to stretch the value of your media buys.
The other day, a retailer called me because he noticed that his store was drawing customers from remote communities outside his usual trading area. In fact, customers were coming from more than 100 miles away to shop. He wondered what media we were purchasing for him that was able to attract that kind of attention.
To add value to his media buy, we bought cable and broadcast. On the broadcast portion of his buy, we bought both newscasts and prime time programming. As many of his customers lived in an area outside of the normal broadcast range, we checked our cable providers to see if those areas were covered. The cable range was even further out than what we would normally buy, however, this extra range gave this retailer an entirely new audience he had never counted on previously. This media choice was reaching customers from areas that did not have a television station in their market, and who relied on cable to provide them with various broadcast networks. All of the major networks from this retailer's city were being picked up by customers in remote areas. This is added value.
Most retailers add value to their media buys by using promotions, tie-ins and close associations with various television and radio stations, cable outlets, magazines and newspapers. With fewer people reading the newspapers today, television probably demands more and more of your budget. A number of techniques can be used to add value to your television buys and so stretch your advertising dollars.
For instance, recently one of our client's partnered up with a television station, a major indoor arena and a radio station to bring the Boston Pops to their city. The various associated media and sponsors promoted the event for over six months. For our client, they were promoted constantly by a television station and a major radio station. They gained in-stadium announcements from the partnered arena. In all, our client received over $25,000 worth of mentions over a six month period. And, it didn't cost them one dime. That's added value.
Associations with home builders can also add value. They are always looking for a major home furnishings dealer to assist them in selling a project or development. It is a good idea to insist that the home builder you work with, BUY the furniture and the furnishings from you. No consignment. No renting. No partial use of the product. Also insist that in order for them to use your name, they must commit a certain amount of their advertising budget to you. In essence, all of their promotional messages must at least mention your store. Furthermore, a certain dollar amount must be dedicated to television and radio, again with those mentions. Doing it this way, everyone wins. The home builder has a nicer product to offer. You, the home furnishings dealer have your sale... and, the use of television, provides the project with traffic. That's added value.
Why so much concern about "added value"? One of the reasons is that retail advertising budgets are shrinking every day. Media costs are going up. Margins are decreasing. "Added value" enhances the limited opportunities retailers have to effectively reach customers.
There is another good way to reach additional customers by getting to know your out-of-home audiences.
Out-of-home audiences come in all shapes and sizes. They deliver advertising impact to your media budget. Out-of-home audiences are, in fact, a "bonus" audience. Industry calculations reveal that the average adult audience increases approximately 5.1% above the viewership numbers reported by Nielsen's in-home surveys. For instance, we know that "Friends" delivers great numbers. But in a college town, "Friends" can deliver up to 41% more viewers than your local NBC station quoted. These numbers come from dorms and off-campus residences. Other out-of-home audiences come from hotels/motels, restaurants and bars, and strangely, the workplace.
The largest out-of-home audiences routinely come from primetime sports events such as the Super Bowl, Monday Night Football and World Series telecasts (as much as 9.3% greater). Daytime serials also deliver this audience (+8.1%).
Out-of-home audiences are a natural extension of television's evolution from a "family medium" with everyone crowded around a single set in the living room of the early 50s, to the personal set, solitary viewer situation that is now the reality in so many of the nation's multi-set homes.
A word of caution: so far, these increase estimates rely too heavily on respondent recall and willingness to cooperate, without sufficient steps to monitor their responses, define viewing adequately and obtain representative samples. However, the Nielsen diaries can be accused of the same thing. One thing we do know... there are out-of-home audiences out there and they are significant. This is an excellent way to get more bang for your buck when you are trying to make your advertising dollars work for you.
Lance G. Hanish is the President of Lance Benefield & Co., Inc. Worldwide, a leading marketing communications firm serving home furnishings retailers. Questions on any aspect of television media management or production can be direct to Mr. Hanish care of FURNITURE WORLD Magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org.