Media Mix by Generation Article on Clutch

Media Mix by Generation Article on Clutch

Buddy Vaughn, Managing Partner at DX Media Direct, contributed an article to Clutch, exploring which advertising mediums to choose for a given target audience.

The article highlights differences in media consumption among baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials. After examining the media habits of each of these generations, Buddy Vaughn makes recommendations about which media mix to use when reaching these audiences.

Visit Clutch to read the full article.

Top Advertising Agency 2019

Top Advertising Agency 2019

Here at DX Media Direct, we specialize in direct response advertising to help companies achieve a measurable return on their investment. Our result-oriented approach has garnered significant client satisfaction. As a result, we have been recognized in Clutch’s 2019 report as a Top B2B Advertising & Marketing Company among the top ad agencies in Texas.

Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews platform. Based out of Washington, D.C., Clutch helps businesses make decisions when hiring a company to solve their firm’s challenges. The platform ranks companies according to verified information including client reviews, past work, market presence, and specialization in a given service. Our profile has a score of 5/5 on their platform.

Having a direct response marketing strategy is vital to the success of a growing firm. It is necessary to assess the results of your marketing strategies in order to effectively direct resources. Clients who have trusted us with the task of guiding their initiatives have expressed their satisfaction:

Our ability to deliver great value has established our rank on The Manifest. As a sister site of Clutch, The Manifest features company profiles alongside business news and how-to guides to help firms create positive growth.

To help you visualize the quality of the work we deliver, be sure to take a look at the Visual Objects shortlist. Like Clutch, Visual Objects features top B2B firms such as ours but also showcases their portfolios.

We are thrilled to be named a Clutch Leader. Our clients’ success is at the core of our business. How can we help you achieve your marketing goals? Contact us today!

Increase Sales By 35% in 6 Weeks or Less: 5 Direct Response Advertising Tips

Increase Sales By 35% in 6 Weeks or Less: 5 Direct Response Advertising Tips

As a Direct Response advertising agency, we have executed hundreds of campaigns over the last 25-plus years. We have seen that creating a solid Direct Response campaign can increase sales immediately. Usually clients see an increase in response by 30% to 40% in just a few short weeks, transitioning from branding to direct response. Here are some tips to help you do the same.

1.) Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes. See how they feel. Then take them off, look at them, smell them and ask yourself what’s really important to the person wearing them. The heart of Direct Response is communicating “what’s in it for the customer” in tangible ways that garner attention and action. Where branding campaigns are usually trying to build positive recall and feelings toward a brand, direct response campaigns get to the heart of why a potential customer should act now and explain how the product or service provides the solution they need. When you are creating your ads, it’s crucial to put yourself in the mind and heart of your target customer. Your creative should answer the following questions.

  • How is this product or service going to benefit me or make my life better?
  • Why should I trust what this advertiser is saying?
  • How can I find out more if I am interested?
  • Why should I act now and not put off my decision any longer?
  • Will this product or service benefit me more than others I have heard about or seen?
  • What am I risking? (time, money or both) Why is this worth the risk?

2.) Make it easy for your customer to respond. So many advertising campaigns today are very creative but are confusing. How many ads have you seen that left you asking, “How does that relate to me?” or “What was that even about?” With Direct Response advertising, you should tell your customers how to respond along and why they should respond. Here are some tips to do that:

  • TV Ads: Put the call to action on the screen within the first two seconds of the ad.
  • Radio Ads: Repeat the call to action at least three times.
  • Digital Ads: Use an action button that leads to user-friendly landing page.
  • Digital Ads: Shorten the response form to the minimum number of fields possible.

3.) Negotiate or hire a media buyer to get 35% or more ad time for the same investment. With broadcast media like national and local cable, national and local radio, streaming services and podcasts, there are typically two different rate structures depending on the type of advertiser you are. There are branding rates and direct response rates. A straightforward tactic is to create a Direct Response ad and then request the Direct Response rates for placing your media. Typically, you can save 35% to 50% off the standard brand rate card and sometime much more.

You need to know this about the Direct Response world: Your ads can be bumped if someone outbids you. However, a good media buyer knows the rates you need to be at to make the buys profitable for you. Sometimes it’s ok to sit on the sidelines if another advertiser is willing to pay a premium for a short amount of time. The Direct Response strategy is to deliver a positive ROI on your media day in and day out… week in and week out.

4.) Build trust. Building trust is one of the cornerstones of Direct Response advertising. Depending on the type of product or service you offer, trust may appear in the form of independent reviews, real customer testimonials and rating services like BBB and Trustpilot. No amount of good creative can overcome distrust on the customer’s part. Trust must be an integral part of everything you do. New customers are going to be looking for reasons to trust you. Give it to them. Let them know it’s safe and wise to do business with you.

5.) Limit risk. The ability to build trust gives the customer comfort in doing business with you, while limiting their risk helps motivate them to act. There are several ways to limit the risk for potential customers. Take 14-day, risk-free trials, for example. Many subscription-based companies give potential customers the ability to try a product or service for two weeks to see if it’s a good fit. From weight loss to meal prep to supplements, you will see this strategy implemented because it’s very effective. Offering a money-back guarantee is another risk-lowering strategy. Some companies even offer to cover shipping. Make it clear and make it easy. Free information is used often for higher ticket items that take more time to explain than a typical 30-second spot can convey. It can be a white paper, brochure or educational video. Free is one of the most powerful words in Direct Response advertising. Use it to your advantage.

These five tips can help you realize an immediate increase in response and sales. Use them and reap profitable rewards.

Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know and How to Make It Work for You

Podcast Advertising: What You Need to Know and How to Make It Work for You

An Introduction to Podcast Advertising

Research shows that the amount of time people spent listening to Podcasts has doubled in the last four years (Edison Research). From comedy to mysteries to sports and relationships, podcasts give listeners access to fresh content focused on the subjects that interest them most.

Typically, your advertisement is integrated into the program and voiced by the host, co-host or producer of the podcast. So, your brand gets instant credibility and trust among the listeners.

You can buy pre-produced spots at a lower rate, but you need to know you will lose the endorsement effect that has made podcast advertising a valuable and powerful source of new leads, customers and sales.

One of the most important aspects of podcast advertising is how convenient it is for listeners to consume the media. Once they subscribe, the fresh podcast is available automatically on their smartphone and they are alerted as new content is available. Since the talent of the program is reading your ads, there are no up-front production costs.

Here are some eye-opening podcast facts to consider:

  • Podcast audience has grown to 73 million listeners a month (Edison Research).
  • 81% of podcast listeners say they pay attention to podcast ads.
  • 60% of listeners have purchased something promoted in a podcast.
  • 93% of podcast listeners are active on Social Media.
  • Podcast hosts endorsements bring instant credibility to your brand.
  • Podcasts audiences are extremely loyal. They hand-pick the podcasts they want to consume.
  • Your brand gets a positive halo effect of the program you associate your brand with.

It’s important to note that even though you pay for a 30-second or 60-second spot on podcasts, many times your ads can run much longer. We have seen talent go on for three to four minutes about a client because they related a personal story to the sponsor.

You will get alerted the day that a show is available and get a link to how your spot ended up sounding. Be advised that even though you send the exact same script, the spot will sound different if the host is doing a “live” read. That’s because show topics change from program to program, and hosts usually try to bring relevant content to your spot.

This is one of the reasons that podcasts are so valuable in today’s distracted world. Because your target audience is extremely focused on what is being said in the program, they are engaged. And there are usually not many other sponsors right next to you like there can be in radio spot sets that last 5 to 7 minutes long.

Types of Podcast Advertising

Pre-roll spots are ads that air before the program actually begins—like the inside cover of a magazine. In this case you may have three to four sponsors in the pre-roll section of a podcast. It airs somewhere in the first minute or two of the show. The audience hears the introduction music and then the pre-roll spots air before the host begins talking about the show’s subject for the day. We suggest avoiding pre-roll.

We like to position clients in mid-roll. Mid-roll can be more expensive because it delivers more results and is in higher demand. Mid-roll is usually positioned in the middle of the podcast. The talent is heavily involved in the content of the program, and then your advertising is delivered and highlighted. Sometimes the show’s producer or co-host will read your copy. This normally happens in podcasts where the host is not allowed by contract to be seen or heard endorsing a product (for example, national news anchor such as Anderson Cooper). Since each podcast varies in length, it’s difficult to know exactly when the mid-roll spot will air. However, because your ads are embedded deep into the content of the show, it sounds like it’s actually part of the program versus just being a sponsor.

There is also post-roll, which comes at the end of the podcast. You will hear “this program has been brought you by” and then a list of sponsors. The show ends with the post roll sponsors.

In regard to production there are two types of podcast ads: pre-produced ads and host endorsements or “live” reads.

1. A pre-produced ad is voiced by a professional talent other than the host or producer.
2. The “live” reads or host endorsement ad is read by the host, co-host or producer.

Podcast Special Considerations

Because there are no strict guidelines on commercial lengths, spots can last from 30 seconds to five minutes. They are usually sold as 30-second or 60-second units, but that does not mean that’s exactly how long your ads will be. In fact, some of the best performing spots are ones where the host takes your basic script and adds his or her personality, personal experiences and input.

Podcasts are not restricted by typical broadcast standards. Which means you need to know in advance if the program’s hosts use language you are not comfortable associating with your brand. Both the topics and language can be considered NOT “family-friendly” very quickly in the program. The title of the podcast does not always reveal the actual content of the program. It’s wise to listen to several programs before sponsoring to make sure you are comfortable with the content of the show.

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on a Podcast?

Podcasts are priced based on the CPM basis. Most podcasts try to get $25 CPM, or $25 for every 1,000 people who download their podcast. So, for quick pricing a podcast that delivers 100,000 downloads is going to cost an advertiser $2,500 per sponsorship per show. If you want to try a pre-produced spot, you could test it for around $10 per thousand.

However, like with all other media, podcast advertising rates are negotiable. DX Media Direct has access to several well-known podcasts at 50% off what other advertisers pay. It’s wise to get a professional media buyer on your side who has tested these programs with other advertisers. They can guide you to safe harbors for best results. While some podcasts promote huge download statistics, we have seen some inaccuracies in the data and results. Be careful of podcasts that have packaged themselves together with other podcasts to boost their reported download numbers. It’s smart to measure the performance of each podcast as a stand-alone. In doing so, you’ll have better insight as to which host, program and content is driving the real results and sales. You can do this by giving a special offer code, using a dedicated tracking number for each show, or both.

DX Media Direct can help connect you to the right podcast audience. Here are some examples of rates and downloads. There are literally hundreds of programs available.

Program Topic# Of DownloadsMid-Roll Rate
60 Seconds
Host Endorsed
NBA Basketball79,000 $1,100
National News78,000$1,100
Business News8,000$100
Conservative Talk250,000$2,205
Rock & Roll Music7,000$90
WWE Wrestling 120,000$1,500
Celebrity Talk400,000$4,500
Crime & Mystery65,000 $825
Financial Talk 8,000$250
Comedy 100,000$2,200
Conservative Host650000$10,500
Political Talk150000$2400
Wrestling Talk17500$350
Celebrity Interviews75000$1,050
Economic & Current Events20000$275
Comedy & Shock Jock30000$385
Serial Killer Crime65000$750
Web Technology show20000$700
Psychology & Philosophy200000$6,500
Work Life15000$550
Car Talk13000$450
News Anchor Podcast140000$1,400
Hot Button Issues550000$7,350
Unsolved Mysteries15000$250
College Basketball6200$95
Football Sports Talk8200$125

(Additional advertising costs can be found in our blog post titled, “How Much Does It Cost to Advertise?“)

How Do I Know It’s Working?

As you can see there are about as many podcasts as there are topics of interest. In fact, some podcast topics have several shows covering them weekly.

As an advertiser, you will want to know how long you should test a podcast before knowing if it will perform for you. We have an answer: within two weeks.

Believe it or not we have found that you get 90% of the results from the podcast within the first week that it airs. Remember that loyal fans are usually waiting for fresh content from the show’s producer. They love the program so much that they have subscribed so they consume the new content relatively quickly when it hits Apple Podcast ad, Google’s Play Music or another source. We have seen same-day results, call spikes, website visits and app downloads on most of the successful podcasts buys. Likewise, for underperforming podcasts, waiting several weeks for results to come in did not help. Time is not necessarily your friend. If results are poor on the first one, then buying 10 more will not help.

Additional Tips:

  • Establish a target goal for results with every podcast buy. If you need a cost per lead of $50 and the podcast costs you $1,000, then you should receive 18 to 22 responses within the first week.
  • Test two podcasts and watch the results for two weeks. Then renew if it performed or search for other opportunities if it does not achieve your goal. It’s not to say you won’t get results after the two weeks. Podcasts do have a nice shelf life. But the consumption behavior that we have observed has shown us to look at the results within the first two weeks of the release date and repurchase the podcast or stop the bleeding right away. There are so many opportunities still available to test, there is no use hanging around and hoping results get better.

If you need help creating a script for your podcast, then reach out to us here at DX Media Direct. We’ve written hundreds of scripts that have delivered millions of dollars in sales over the last 30 years. Put our podcast ad agency experience and expertise to work for your brand.

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise?

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise?

20 Answers to the Most-Asked Questions in Advertising

As a full-service advertising agency, one of the first questions we get is how much does (fill in the blank) advertising cost? Whether it’s television advertising, building a website, or running Facebook ads, you want to understand before you start a campaign if you can afford it or not.

Quite honestly that’s one the first questions I ask when someone presents an opportunity to us they want us to try—whether it’s new software or a media opportunity. With over 30 years of advertising experience, we have learned a few things the hard way. We believe in making it easy for our clients to get the answers they want quickly and directly. So here are some guidelines to consider when planning your advertising campaign.

Advertising on Billboards

How much does it cost to advertise on billboards?

Billboards or outdoor advertising are priced based on location, size and amount of traffic the ads will receive.It costs between $650 to $950 to print and install a billboard. Digital Billboards don’t cost anything to produce since there is nothing to print. You simply pay for the monthly advertising costs.

Billboard sizes and costs will range as follows: (based on a four-week period)

Junior Posters: Size 6' x 12 "
Cost: $250 to $1,000Benefit: Impact Urban Areas
Posters: Size 10'5 x 22'8"
Cost: $300 to $1,500Benefit: Local Market Road Saturation
Bulletins: Size 14" x 48' Cost: $400 to $25,000Benefit: Size Commands Attention
Digital Bulletin: 1400 x 400 pixelsCost: $150 to $5,000Benefit: Change Message Often

As you can see, depending on the market size you want to advertise in it will cost $650 per month for a main street in a small town and $20,000 or more per month to be on the Interstate.
It’s important to note that billboard ads get sold out for longer terms than other advertising outlets. Many advertisers lock up prime locations for a year or more. You need to be prepared to take advantage of an opening quickly. There are limited locations and usually high demand.

What’s the minimum length of time to advertise on billboards?

Usually 30 days. However, some locations have a 90-day minimum.

How often should we change creative or art for our billboards?

We suggest every 60 days. Well-crafted creative can help increase results substantially. You will also want to drive your locations to make sure the colors you are using grab attention.

For example, we had a client who wanted to use white as the background color for their billboard. However, the locations we were buying had high desert as a backdrop. The white boards completely blended in with the scenery around the outdoor ads. It washed the creative out and you hardly noticed it was there. We changed the background to black to make the creative stand out.

How do I design outdoor ads to get the best results?

Keep it simple. Limit copy to nine words or less. Use colors that have strong contrast like black and yellow, red and yellow, orange and white, and black and white. Use fonts and images that are easy to read and see. Use an image that grabs the viewers’ attention. Write copy that makes them want the product or service, and make the advertiser name and logo easy to read.
Effective Outdoor Ads

Ineffective Outdoor Ads

What types of advertisers do outdoor ads work best for?

Exit here strategy. If you have a retail location that you want people to exit for, outdoor advertising is very effective.

Advertising on Radio

How much does it cost to advertise on the radio?

Small cities and towns can be as low as $5 to $10 per 60-second spot. Mid-size cities and markets will range from $50 to $100 per spot, and large markets will go for $150 to $750 per 60-second spot. Rates vary based on demand, time of year, time of day, audience size, ranking and ratings of the station. You will get the best value on radio if you negotiate based on the audience size per average quarter hour (AQH). And remember: Don’t pay rate card.

It’s also smart to let a professional media buyer do all the negotiation for you. They do all the hard work–negotiating back and forth. You get the benefit of someone who has the latest audience ratings and insider knowledge of what the market is going for in regard to pricing and demand.

In the following table, we’ve provided sample cities, stations and planning rates. Full disclosure: Rates will vary by time of year, demand on inventory, audience fluctuations and ratings. This information is for planning purposes only, so you can get an idea of how much various markets and market sizes cost.

Market FormatDaypart60 sec. rate each(25 Spots per week)
Weekly Investment
Abilene TXCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Akron OHAdult HitsM-F 6am to7pm$25$625
Albany NYSportsM-F 6am to7pm$10$250
Albany NYUrbanM-F 6am to7pm$10$250
Allentown PACountryM-F 6am to 7pm$40$1000
Anchorage AKClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Asheville NCTalkM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Amarillo TXCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$7$175
Ann Arbor MICountryM-F 6am to 7pm$30$750
Atlanta GAMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$75$1875
Atlanta GANews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
Atlanta GAMexicanM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Auburn ALUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$5$125
Baton Rouge MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$35$875
Beaumont TX Hit MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Birmingham SportsM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
BirminghamUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Bismarck NDNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$13$325
Boise IDSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Bridgeport CTMix MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$125$3125
Bryan TXClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Buffalo NYClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
Cape Cod MASportsM-F 6am to 7pm$11$275
Cedar RapidsAdult Stand.M-F 6am to 7pm$2$50
Charleston SCUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Chicago ILMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Chicago ILNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$200$5000
Chicago ILUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$75$1875
Cincinnati OHRockM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Cincinnati OHA/CM-F 6am to7pm$62$1550
Col. SpringsMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Columbia MOMusicM-F 6am to7pm$13$325
Dallas TXSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$60$1500
Dallas TXNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Dallas TXSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$50$1250
Davenport IANews/TalkM-F 6am to7pm$16$400
Dayton OHCountryM-F 6am to7pm$5$125
Des MoinesCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$20$500
Detroit MITalkM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Detroit MIUrban MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
Erie, PARockM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Eugene ORAlternativeM-F 6am to7pm$7$175
Fayetteville AR MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Fayettville NCMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
El Paso TXTalkM-F 6am to 7pm$22$550
El Paso TXCountryM-F 6am to7pm$5$125
Flint, MIA/CM-F 6am to 7pm$18$450
Flint, MITop 40M-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Ft. Smith ARCountryM-F 6am to7pm$7$175
Ft. Walton FLActive RockM-F 6am to 7pm$13$325
Fresno CATalkM-F 6am to 7pm$42$1050
Fresno CACountryM-F 6am to7pm$25$625
Fresno CATop 40 M-F 6am to7pm$26$650
Gallup NMHit MusicM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
Grand RapidsClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$24$600
Green BaySportsM-F 6am to 7pm$19$475
Green BayMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$21$525
Huntsville ALTop 40M-F 6am to7pm$22$550
Huntsville ALUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$11$275
Kansas CityMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$60$1500
Knoxville TNCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$49$1225
Knoxville TNTalkM-F 6am to7pm$23$575
Lafayette LAMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$15$375
Little RockMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$14$308
Los AngelesNews/TalkM-F 6am to7pm$50$1250
Los AngelesRockM-F 6am to7pm$150$3750
Memphis TNUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$29$725
Mobile ALUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$29$725
Modesto CAMusicM-F 6am to7pm$49$1225
Nashville TNUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$25$625
Nashville TNMusicM-F 6am to 7pm$95$2375
New YorkNewsM-F 6am to 7pm$250$6250
New YorkUrbanM-F 6am to 7pm$45$1125
New YorkCountryM-F 6am to 7pm$95$2375
Okla. City OKHip HopM-F 6am to 7pm$12$300
Peoria ILRockM-F 6am to 7pm$8$200
Peoria ILClassic RockM-F 6am to 7pm$10$250
San FranciscoNews/TalkM-F 6am to 7pm$65$1625
San FranciscoAlternativeM-F 6am to 7pm$32$800
San DiegoSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$14$350
Sirius XMComedyM-F 6am to7pm$50$1250
Sirius XMNewsM-F 6am to 7pm$150$3750
Sirius XMSportsM-F 6am to 7pm$22$550

There are about 6,000 radio stations in the United States. This table provides general prices based on market size and format.

How much does it cost to produce a radio spot?

$0 to $500 depending on talent and script elements. Some radio stations will produce at no charge.

How much do host endorsement radio ads cost?

The talent gets a weekly fee on top of the cost of your schedule. Typically, that’s $250 to $5,000 per week, depending on talent and market size.

How many words are in a 60-second radio spot script?

165 to 170 words. 30-second spots should be 80 words max.

How many local radio spots should I run each week to be effective?

25 to 45 spots per week, Monday through Friday, 6am to 7pm.

How few is “too few” spots to be effective on radio?

Nine to 12 local radio spots per week. Save your money if you can’t afford at least 15 spots per week.

What if I have limited radio budget?

Buy fewer days of the week and fewer weeks of the month, but don’t scrimp on frequency. Focus your spots on Wednesday through Friday or Saturday and Sunday. But make sure you have at least four to eight spots per day.

Advertising Online

How much does it cost to build a good website?

$2,500 to $3,500 for 10 to 15 pages. This pricing does not include a shopping cart function.

What’s the average cost per click on Facebook?

In the US, the average cost per click on Facebook is $1.17. CPC will vary by target audience and quarter.

How much does it cost to produce a video for social media?

$500 to $3,000 depending on elements, animation, voice work, and talent.

Advertising on Television

With cord-cutting does television advertising ever work anymore?

Yes. It’s harder than it used to be. But you only pay based on the audience that’s left. It still works. Especially for audiences that are aged 45-plus.

How much does it cost to produce a television spot?

Depending on the elements of the spot, it will cost $1,500 to $50,000 or more. Some cable outlets will produce at no charge.

How much do television spots cost?

Local cable spots can be as cheap as 75 cents to $5 per 30 seconds, per network, per zone. National networks will run $500 to $12,500 per 30-second spot depending on daypart, audience size, audience ratings, time of year and demand on inventory.

When is the least expensive time of year to advertise?

January. Most companies spent their budget on Christmas advertising. The networks don’t have as much demand on inventory and are more willing to negotiate.

What are the most expensive months to advertise?

May, October, November and December.

Media Buying: 5 Steps for Developing a Successful Plan

Media Buying: 5 Steps for Developing a Successful Plan

There are smart reasons to advertise. In today’s competitive environment your advertising has to work even harder to break through the clutter, gain market share, create buzz and beat out the competition. However, cost-effectiveness and ROI begins with the right approach to media buying.

According to the RAB, here are 10 reasons why advertising is so critical:

  1. Advertising creates store traffic or web traffic.
  2. Advertising attracts new customers.
  3. Advertising encourages repeat business.
  4. Advertising generates continuous business.
  5. Advertising is an investment in success.
  6. Advertising keeps you competitive.
  7. Advertising keeps your product, service or business Top-of-Mind with customers.
  8. Advertising gives your business a successful image.
  9. Advertising maintains morale.
  10. Advertising brings in big dollars for your business.

While there are great reasons to advertise, the question becomes “How do we advertise wisely? What does it take to develop a successful media plan?” Or more often than not, the question we get asked is “How much should I budget? Or “How much should we spend to have our advertising be successful?”

These are absolutely the right questions to ask because you don’t want to spend too little and never know if your advertising would have worked if you would have invested just a little more. And you don’t want to spend too much and waste money.

You don’t need more advertising options. There are so many it can be distracting. You need to know which of the advertising options are going to give you the maximum Return on Investment. So here are some steps to consider when developing a media plan and how we at DX Media Direct begin to establish the right-sized media plan for clients.

Step One: Establish your target metric for results. Make it measurable. Make it specific. Make it count.

The first step to developing a successful media plan is to know exactly what you want or need from your plan for you to consider the advertising investment a success. This looks different for every company. If you are a retail location, then you would like to see more customers, foot traffic, and same store, same month, year over year sales increases. If you are a web-driven company, then it could be visitors and purchases from your site.

One way to help clarify what you need to get from your advertising is to finish this statement: If I spend $1,000 in advertising, I need this _______________ to happen. Fill in the blank. You answer could be a number of new customers, number of sales dollars, number of prospects, increase in store visitors, number of unique visitors to your website or follows on social media. Then you need to consider how many opportunities you need to convert to the specific number of sales to make that $1,000 a profitable investment.

For example, if you convert 10% or 1 in 10 prospects into a sale and you make $500 per sale on average, then your advertising needs to deliver 20 prospects for you to break even on your media. That’s because you create two customers on average based on your conversion ratio. So, you gain $1,000 in sales for every $1,000 you invest. That’s also known as 1 to 1 Media Effectiveness Ratio. Most companies are looking for a 2.5 to 1 or 3 to 1 Media Effectiveness Ratio.

What you fill in the blank with is the foundation and metric that every part of your media plan must achieve to continue being part of your media plan. That’s your benchmark. That’s your target metric. It’s also known as a KPI or Key Performance Indicator. Once you have established your Key Performance Indicator, then you need to review your sales process and develop a plan for measuring the response rate, conversion ratio and lifetime value of your customers.

Step Two: Match your media mix to the way you sell.

How you sell and who you sell to (your target customer) determines how you advertise. Delivering optimal advertising results is specific to your organization. When, where, how and who your customers are will guide you to your optimal media mix. Each company has established a sales system that works for them because of how they connect best with their target customers. It could be leads from a website to an in-house sales team. It could be you sell best 100% online. If you have retail outlets, then you want more opportunities for face to face customer interaction. Every media type has strengths and weaknesses. For example:

  • Radio is great at driving response from M-F, 6am to 7pm.
  • Facebook has certain times of day that are stronger for results because more people are free to look at it.
  • TV is dominant in Primetime and weekends.
  • Outdoor is excellent for “Exit Here” strategies.

At DX Media Direct, we work hard to make sure the media mix matches the highest conversion rates for each specific company and the way they sell. Write down your responses to the following statements. This will guide your agency or media buyer to determine the best media mix and plan for the maximum results.

  • I convert more prospects to sales at this time of day and these days of the week.
  • My best salespeople work during these hours and days of week.
  • My sales system is this. Be specific on how you handle responses from the start of the selling process to converting a customer.
  • Seasonality impacts my sales. Yes or no?
  • My worst sales days are these.
  • I’m closed these hours and these days.
  • My best customers are age, gender, income and psychographic segmentation, which means dividing your market based upon consumer personality traits, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.
  • My best customers really seem to enjoy ___________.
  • Most of my customers live ______________ miles from our location.
  • Location is not a factor in how we get business.
  • My customers say they purchase from us because ________________.
  • My customers are web savvy, shop and compare all the time. Yes or no?

Your agency should begin to see which media should be included in your media plan once some of these answers come to light.

Step Three: Create a test plan to measure how the initial media plan performs before a complete rollout.

Once you have your target metrics, how you sell and when you sell the most, then a media plan will begin to emerge. A good media plan usually has a mix of media because customers now research and respond in several ways. They search you on their smartphone, look up reviews, check you online, see if your website answers some initial questions for them, look up your Facebook page and even stop by your retail location or call. There is a best-in-class strategy for each media you use.

The key is to test the initial media plan, review the results and refine the plan before you roll out more budget. We usually recommend three- to four-week tests initially. Your media should be delivering at 65% to 75% of your stated goals within the first test phase. If certain media outlets are only performing at half of goal, or 50% of your target, then this media needs to be eliminated or re-analyzed to see why it’s underperforming.

Step Four: Make sure you get enough frequency to move prospects through the purchase funnel: “Awareness, Interest, Desire to Action.”

In broadcast, you will want to target a minimum frequency of three times. Erwin Ephron writes in his article the rule of three, “Exposure No. 1 is a ‘What is it?’ type of response. Anything new or novel—no matter how uninteresting—on second exposure has to elicit some response the first time… If only to disregard the object as of no further interest. The second exposure response is ‘What of it? Does this have relevance to me?’ By the third exposure, the viewer knows he/she has been through the ‘What is it and what of it?’ phases. The third exposure becomes the true reminder.”

For radio we suggest a minimum 25 spots per week Mon.-Fri. from 6am to 7pm. Optimum Effective Scheduling, which helps you determine the number of spots to achieve a frequency of three times on radio, is based on the formula Cume / AQH X 3.29 = OES or Optimum Effective Scheduling. This gives you the calculation for the number of times your message needs to air to reach your target audience at least three times in a week.

Optimum Effective Schedules will direct you to much higher frequency weekly, but you can save on budget by advertising fewer weeks of the month to deliver a greater yield than if you had a low number of spots spread out for 52 weeks. Again, your agency and or media buyer should help guide you to the most efficient way to execute the test.

Step Five: Let the Data drive you and take the emotion out of the media plan.

When you start advertising and planning your media, it’s easy to let emotions drive you. A customer comment, a salesperson’s input, and anecdotal observations can drive you crazy and get you off target. Once you begin to execute the media plan, then evaluate the performance based on the results each media buy accomplished. As long the media is performing you can create other campaigns that are similar in target audience, CPM, reach and frequency, and results. There will be ups and downs, but they should be manageable.

Paul J. Meyer writes: “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” When you have built a smart media plan, you will harvest solid, stable results.