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Article : Direct ResponseTelevision Advertising  

::  Fort Worth Dallas Texas based • Local, Regional and National Services ::

Read Part I - Direct Response Marketing - The Crucial First Step: Testing

A Guide to DR TV Marketing - Part II

How to Buy DR Television Media Time : Our Approach

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 out”.

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, etc.

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 you air.

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 quickly.

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.

In summary:

Test at each point in the process.
Set up control systems and procedures.
Shore up areas that need attention early.

Read Part III: Get the Best ROI from Call Centers

Written by Linda E. Yarbrough, The Media Mix. May be reprinted with author byline and URL intact.

About the Author

Read the rest of our Media & Marketing Strategy Articles:

Guide to Direct Response Marketing & Advertising

Part I :   Direct Response Marketing - The Crucial First Step: Testing

Part III : Getting the Best ROI from DR Call Centers

Coming soon: How should my website tie-in to my direct marketing TV campaign?


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