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.

How to Get the Best ROI from DRTV

How to Get the Best ROI from DRTV

What is Direct Response Television Advertising?

Basically, Direct Response Television Advertising is advertising that is presented on television and asks viewers to respond directly to the company by calling an 800 number or by visiting a website. It can be either a short form which is a 60 second, 30 second or two minutes in length commercial. Or a long form that is usually 28 minutes and 30 seconds long. It very often creates both interest and demand of a product and quickly turns that interest into an impulsive and immediate sale.

Advantages of Direct Response Television Advertising – DRTV

Since Direct Response Television Advertising is presented on television, understanding brand and converting consumers into buyers is primary. According to thinkbox.com, television is an excellent way to create success for brands over the short-term as well as over the long-term. Let’s look at some of the advantages of TV advertising presented by thinkbox.

  • TV is Best at Generating Profits: Of all the forms of advertising, TV generates higher volumes of sales than all the other forms, and at the same time delivers the best ROI.
  • The Scale and Reach of TV is Unbeatable: The capacity of television to reach over 71% of people with a plethora of programs and channels in just one day can’t be beat by any other form of advertising. Additionally, Event TV programs reach even larger audiences including the viewing groups that are hard to reach such as men between the ages of 16-34. Therefore, TV is unique and superior in getting brands to appear bigger than they are, building a stature and authority sense.
  • TV Creates Fame for Brands:The most famous brands have been made famous by TV brands. Looking at the past 27 years impartially, we can see that TV makes advertising campaigns more effective and outperforms all other channels of media.
  • TV Ads are Usually Direct Response Ads: Since marketers are well aware of the fact that the advancement of technology over recent years has made it increasing easier for a person to respond to television. The result of this has caused the key objective for most advertisers to be driving viewers to do something. It might be anything like voting for their favorite reality contestant to buying something online. This is where Direct Response Television Advertising becomes part of the big picture.

How Direct Response TV Advertising Works

Direct response TV ads are best for businesses with a big budget and a product that a demonstration would benefit. The typical cost ranges from $40,000 to $600,000 based on the length of the ad, the location of the business and whether a celebrity is in the ad as well as other things. There are ways to produce ads for as little as $2,500 if your product or service can use voiceover and visuals.

Direct response TV ads can be a short-form ad, long-form ad, or live shopping on channels such as QVC and HSN. The design of these commercials is based on a repetitive reinforcement format. Demand is created by persuading consumers that they want the products being demonstrated or shown. That demand is then converted into sales.

The short-form ads are usually aired but not specifically given a slot of time at the time of purchasing. This type of airing is what is called “run of station” or “run of schedule” (ROS). They can be aired anytime during the day and/or night. However, long-form ads usually are aired overnight at explicit time slots. The slots are usually between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. and in the course of weekends with the program guide reading “Paid Programming.” Long-form ads can be offered during daytime hours on some independent stations.

Long-form direct response TV ads provide sufficient time to fully explain or demonstrate your product or service. If your product is new or coming on the market for the first time, time is an important advantage for you. If you have a limited budget and your product can be easily demonstrated, then you should start with short-form. Production costs are less and testing the creative is much more cost effective. Long-form ads cost between $60,000 to $120,000 to produce. That costs come before you place the first ad. So you need to be well-funded to venture into long-form advertising.

Setting Up Direct Response TV Advertising

Setting up direct response TV advertising can be more complicated than you might think. Usually, the best route to take is to use a Direct Response Agency. If your budget is sufficient enough to consider direct response TV advertising, you most likely have the budget for a professional company to handle it for you.

Details such as setting up a toll-free number make it obvious that you need a professional. Scripts must be written that will maximize both leads and sales. If they don’t work, they then must be rewritten. Operators who answer your toll-free phone number must be thoroughly educated about you as well as your product. They must clearly understand your offer. In addition, the calls should be monitored so you are sure they are professionally handled. Tracking call volume is essential in order to be sure you have sufficient numbers of operators to handle the call load. All of this is just a sampling of everything you will need to have done to run a direct response ad.

Companies that offer direct response TV advertising have developed relationships with station contacts, and for that reason they can help you if scheduling problems should occur.

Your direct response TV ad should be tested to see whether it is successful. If it isn’t, the commercial would have to be both re-worked and retested until it reaches a satisfactory level of response. This can be costly. Therefore, using a professional company can actually save you money in the long run.

In addition, a professional direct response advertising agency can save you time and money because they have a history of knowing which stations or networks perform best for a wide variety of products. Plus they have relationships with the media outlets that give them more favorable rates because of the buying power they have by bringing the stations and networks more than one client.

If you are thinking about Direct Response Television, contact us and we can help you from start to finish to make sure you get the best possible return on investment.

How Many Households Does Each Cable Television Network Reach?

How Many Households Does Each Cable Television Network Reach?

If you want to know the total households by national cable network, here is run down of some of the top performers.

Number of Million Homes by Network:

FXX – 74 Million

ESPN2- 97 Million

NFL Network – 73 Million

Lifetime Movie Network – 82 Million

Investigation Discovery – 87 Million

History Channel – 96 million

Esquire – 70 Million

Tru TV – 92 Million

Comedy Central – 93 Million

Fox News – 97 Million

H2 – 71 Million

OWN – 83 Million

UP – 70 Million

ABC Family – 95.7 Million

CNN – 97 Million

HLN – 97 Million

BET – 88 Million

TLC – 95 Million

USA Network – 98 Million

If you need cost-effective rates to test any of these networks, please contact us. We are here to help. Call 940-323-1101 ext. 1 or buddy@dxmediadirect.com.

Iconic Brands Use Television Advertising to Drive Sales and Web Traffic

Iconic Brands Use Television Advertising to Drive Sales and Web Traffic

A new study published by the Cable Advertising group found that television helps build iconic brands and drive massive sales results. Iconic brands like Oxi Clean and Snuggie used television advertising to drive sales and become part of American culture.

So what was the secret media mix? What drove these former no-name products to become so desired? The report revealed that of their budgets, 97% went to Television Advertising and the remaining 3% went to Print, Internet and Radio. Of the 97% television advertising budget, 82% was spend on National Cable. Many advertisers think they can’t afford national cable. But that’s because they don’t know how to get the best rates and positions.

Using a professional Direct Response advertising agency like DX Media Direct can turn your unknown brand into a household name.

3 Ways to Increase Response from Your Television Advertising Campaign

3 Ways to Increase Response from Your Television Advertising Campaign

Here are 3 simple ways to improve the overall response from your TV campaigns.

1.) Put the call to action up during the entire length of the ad. If it’s “Call now for a free quote” or “Visit our website,” give the viewer the most opportunity to respond to your spots.

2.) Make sure your advertising is benefit-driven and not feature focused. People need to know what’s in it for them right away. If you focus on being the #1 furniture store or car dealer, that does nothing to make the viewer want to respond. However, if you say “We guarantee upfront pricing. Save time. Save money. And rest assured you are getting the best price,” then that speaks to one of the benefits the customer may be looking for.

3.) Don’t pay too much for the spots. Advertising time is a commodity. It’s supply and demand. Many times all you need to do is turn down the first offer from the station. And rates will come down. You can also hire a professional agency that knows the rates that will perform. The can protect you from paying too much.

Buddy Vaughn
Managing Parter
DX Media Direct