The Media Mix
has a different approach to buying direct response
short-form commercial time. And we’ve been very successful
with it. We’ve put our buys up against traditional
DR buys time after time and produced 30 –
300% better results!
For most products, we don’t
buy just pure DR times with ROS schedules. Do they
have a place? Yes. But they also have problems. Clearance
problems. Too often, advertisers are counting
on direct response returns daily and are hearing “the
schedule didn’t clear” or “the schedule got bumped
If someone tells you that it’s no problem because you aren’t paying for it, that usually doesn’t fly. You’ve
got product to move and people to pay and call center staff waiting by the phone and inventory to control. You had a budget because you wanted
to spend the money … and produce sales.
While we can’t share all our planning
and buying secrets of the trade, our greatest success
in direct response media buying is to: Build
a successful model by testing; then expand.
Lay a base of paid position programming
in carefully selected programs (by time period) to
“anchor” the buy. Thorough research and “win-win”
negotiating skills are needed in working with sales
reps to achieve a balance between the most efficient
buy and one that will air as planned. Many factors
come into play: timing, inventory load demand, seasonality,
negotiating experience, budget levels, volume buys,
Lead-time factors play an important
role as does your media buyer: timing of when the
buy is negotiated versus when it will air (often a
longer lead time is best; sometimes a short turnaround
will fall when lots of inventory is available). An
experienced media negotiator will know how to judge
this and when is the right time to “order” the schedule.
Research VPH (viewers per household)
and demographic ratings to take advantage of audience
skewing of programs (age, gender).
Buy efficient ROS schedules to fill in
and work with the stations to clear as many units
as possible. Use strict makegood requirements and
act quickly to replace the weight lost when bumped.
Even if it cannot be replaced that week, having placed
a base schedule, you know the phone will ring everyday
When feasible, build opportunistic funds
into your budget to give buyers the flexibility to
act quickly on “a great deal” that needs to be decided
within 15 minutes (called fire sale inventory: an
advertiser had to pull their spots and cancel at the
last minute, a station was counting on a network special
selling out, etc.)
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Begin testing efficiency of media in spot television
markets; smaller cable networks and national syndicated
programming offerings. Look for opportunities that:
1) are efficient against your target demographic
2) are smaller and less expensive
3) represent your national market
4) are geographically diverse.
CPM efficiencies (Cost
per thousand) can best be determined during testing.
Media is sold on the basis of audience impressions
it is expected to deliver. However, markets are not
comparable in their per capita pricing. Some television
markets are just not efficient and should not be used
during testing. You pay a premium to reach their audience
… and you should not be paying a premium at this stage.
Audience size and demographic makeup of a
spot television market are used to determine cost
efficiency. In testing, we can readily see the CPM
goal that produces an effective Cost per Sale ratio.
We translate program or ROS costs to CPM goals. If
a program doesn’t fit into the criteria, we don’t
buy it. If none of the programming offers fit into
our proven “model”, we don’t buy the station … or
perhaps the market. There are too many options available
to ever “need to buy” any one program … any one station
or any one market.
Work with someone who has their finger on the pulse
of your direct response results.
We require daily log times. And request both pre-logs
and post-log clearance reports. We can tell immediately
what’s working; what’s not. With daily review of the
Call Center Report we know if spots are clearing and
meeting our CPL criteria. We know if a program, time
period, network or market is viable … and can respond
Advanced Testing : Once you know the model
works, you can select 3 test markets at one spot load
level and another set of comparable test markets at
different levels to determine patterns in your Cost
per Lead rates.
Testing of “High Spend Levels” and
“Low Spend Levels” are invaluable. With a working
model in place, you can also then test different price
points if there is any question about product pricing.
at each point in the process.
up control systems and procedures.
up areas that need attention early.
Read Part III: Get
the Best ROI from Call Centers