Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘demographics

Say that again…and again

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shouting1Having an on-target message is only part of the formula you need for a successful marketing campaign. What good is a solid, well-crafted message if no one hears it? Putting it into the right channels (tv, radio, etc.) to reach the right demographic is crucial. But if you ever have the chance to talk shop with a media buyer, you will hear them talk about reach and frequency.

Reach is putting the right message into the right channel to reach the desired people. If you’re a mom-and-pop business with a small local hardware store, do you really need to spend the money reaching across the entire state or will a local campaign be more effective?

What I wanted to talk about this week is the importance of frequency. It is often the most neglected part of the media buy. Failure in mass media marketing often comes at the hands of well-intentioned, but inexperienced media reps that overestimate an advertiser’s goals or budget.

The narrative often starts with a sales rep that makes a living from selling one form of media and one single channel (one group of radio stations, one newspaper, one tv channel, etc.) and a neophyte business owner. They have been trained and know the power of their particular offering. They have a meeting with a business owner who is looking to grow their business. They may not need to buy the entire coverage area that the sales reps offers, but that’s all the rep can offer. The campaign starts, it’s more expensive than the business owner needs (the business owner is paying a premium for reach without any benefit from it) and pulls the plug on the whole program early, thereby ending all frequency. Even in the areas where the message would have had effect, the ending of the campaign early ends all chance of success.

In today’s ultra-saturated media world, you have to reach your desired audience over and over again just to start to penetrate the clutter. It’s not enough to state your message and disappear. You have to repeat it over and over again. Say it enough times, and people start to recall your message on their own. Say it enough times in a respectable medium and it will have legitimacy.

Say it enough times and it will be effective.

Huddling the family around the Netflix box

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home_content_box1Remember gathering the family together to sit by the old radio and listening to Amos ‘n’ Andy, The Adventures of the Thin Man, and Fibber McGee & Molly? Of course not. You’re likely too young. Most of that generation is gone.

TV burst onto the screen and as a society and we still participated in that new medium as a family unit. With only a few choices to select from (and many shows ported over from radio), prime time meant prime family time.

Enter cable with the ability to deliver a myriad of programming choices. Now seeking particular demographics became feasible. Audiences fractured. Broadcast, still dominant, sees its numbers dwindle to the point that it may be impossible to top M*A*S*H’s finale even with a Superbowl broadcast.

With the further splintering effects of a society that operates at a quicker pace, family activities prevented a coming together like we had seen in the past. Even the evening dinner came a casualty.

Enter today’s economic predicament. Shaky income situations leads to reassessment of free time and differing choices on what we spend money on. The bottom line, as I wrote about before, does it have value?

At the same time is the development of IP delivered content. Through vehicles such as iTunes, Hulu, and TiVo, we can get the content we want when we want it. And with the ability to connect devices to the big screen TVs we now have in our living rooms, we’re not confined trying to watch the content on a small iPod screen or sitting at our desktop computer. We can now sit down and watch the content where it was meant to be consumed.

So, I pose this question in hopes that it sparks a conversation; if we aren’t going out as much and re-assessing how we’re spending money, does that not invite a return to the days of quality family time? If we’re able to receive content according to both our tastes and time schedules via The Netflix Player or Apple TV, could we not begin to see the opportunity as advertisers of reaching large, demographically heterogeneous audiences again?

Advertising Media – Part 3: Newspapers

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One of the oldest advertising media out there is newspapers. Since the beginning of distributed printed material, newspapers have shown an ability to reach a large audience.

When newspapers first started to appear on the scene, there was very little in the way of competition for advertising dollars. If you were a business owner and wanted to advertise, you had to use newspapers to reach a wide and varied audience (aside from painting your business name on the side of a building).

Today’s advertising landscape is substantially different. With audiences for any given medium becoming more fractured and the construction of the so-called 24 hour news cycle, newspapers have not only become simply one of many advertising options, the newspapers themselves have dimished value. Today’s readership for newspapers continues to age and dwindle. People in the 25-54 demographic have become accustomed to reaching for television as a source for news. With CNN, FOX News, CNBC, and other cable news outlets, current news is available when you want it. Now that the Internet has become nearly omnipresent from our desktop computers to our handheld devices, instanteous and customized news services push content to wherever we want it, whenever we want it.

That said, newspapers have been around for a long time and as such lend a certain degree of credibility to its content. If you are considering advertising in print, you should keep the following things in mind:

  • Readership is older – if you’re hoping to reach the key 18-49 demographic with your print ad, it’s not likely to happen. If you’re looking to be in front of the aging Boomer generation, then this is a viable option.
  • Advertising is persistant – your audience can stare at your ad for as long as they want. Unlike a tv spot or a radio spot, your print ad isn’t going anywhere. If they wanted to, they could cut out your ad and save it in a scrapbook.
  • Advertising is static – you know how people are sometimes so enamored with tv spot that they saw that they go to YouTube or a similar site and sent the web address to all their friends. Doesn’t happen with print ads. Sure, there are journals with dazzling print ads, but unless you’re in the business, it’s not likely you’ll ever see one.
  • Advertising is unobtrusive – you ad will just sit there on the page. Reader’s brains have been well trained over the years to simply pass over the ads and read just the stories. When you buy advertising in newspapers, you are paying a cost relative to the readship numbers. But who’s to say that the readers are reading your ad…or even the paper itself for that matter?

Written by Jeff York

April 23, 2008 at 2:25 pm