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Media Buying & Planning Guide: General Ad Dollars Make a Comeback

18 Oct, 2010 By: Nicole Urso Reed Response

Long-form pricing remains low but short-form bargains are a tough find.


An unfortunate reality for long-form advertisers is that lower rates are often indicative of lackluster consumer response. “This is the single biggest factor for rates being lower in 2010,” says Hunt. “As consumer response strengthens, long-form media rates will begin to adjust accordingly.”

When developing a media plan and weighing the pros and cons of long- and short-form buying opportunities, Medved recommends considering the product above all else.

“Long form will always have a place. There are two forms of direct response television marketing for a reason,” says Medved. “If a product is successful in long form, it is almost assuredly not going to be successful in short form, and vice versa. If you’re a hit product in short form, it’s almost assuredly not going to be a hit product in long form.”

Focusing On Hispanic DRTV

General market advertisers often consider whether to add a Spanish-language component to their ad campaigns, and if not, how much money could be left on the table.

According to Moore, who also manages Spanish-language DRTV, short- and long-form Spanish-language media have shown similar trends to the English-language market.

“In the Hispanic market, there are 11 million households. In the general market there are more than 100 million,” says Moore. “Relatively speaking, Spanish is a lot less expensive, but it’s a much smaller universe. On a cost-per-thousand basis, short-form Spanish is very similar to English language and long-form is an absolute bargain. Most of the Spanish cable players are not rated, and as a result they don’t have the ability to push their rates up and it allows us to go in and negotiate hard.”

Alex Agurcia, president of Miami-based Omni Direct, a full-service U.S. Hispanic DR marketing agency, has noticed both short- and long-form prices remain steady throughout the first half of 2010.

“As with short form, we also saw long-form rates remain steady in 2010 and in some instances drop from 2Q to 3Q,” says Agurcia. “As the Hispanic population continues to grow at a faster rate than all other segments, there continues to be a rapid increase in Spanish language networks opening up more availability for long form and other DRTV programming, including five- and 15-minute paid programming.”

Similar to the general market, health and beauty has remained strong despite the economic slump. Moore recently launched Wrinkle Freeze, the first of many products en route to the U.S. from HiLife Health and Beauty, a leading Australian DRTV and retail cosmetics marketer. Engagem3nt will manage the company’s entrance into the United States and will buy U.S. Hispanic media in support of the launch.

“Health-and-beauty is historically the strongest category for the Hispanic market and continues to be the case to date,” says Agurcia. “This year we’ve seen a big push in the fitness category with more marketers targeting the Latino segment with a good amount of success. Also, financial services, particularly debt consolidation, debt repair and insurance services, was a strong category this year — most likely a sign of the times.”

Both Moore and Agurcia believe that running a DRTV campaign in both English and Spanish helps increase brand awareness and return better results

“We’ve found that running both actually increases total sales generated versus only running English or only Spanish,” says Agurcia. “That is, running with Spanish-language creative and media not only offers increased sales through those channels, but it will also improve your English DR channel and retail sales overall.”

Multi-channel Strategies

To help boost response and engage with consumers more effectively and frequently, DR marketers experiment with the ever-evolving multi-channel approach.

“Most of the products and services we market are geared to a 50-and-older audience,” says Andrew Gordon, president of Boston-based Direct Impact Group. “As a hedging strategy against the rising cost of short-form DRTV, we have shifted a significant percentage of our clients’ budgets into remnant radio, remnant print and long-form DRTV for the second half of 2010. I am not sure what other marketers are doing. Radio has always been strong for us — that won’t change. Because remnant print has been a consistent performer, clients will want to keep using this channel into 2011.”

For younger demographics and consumers on the go, mobile advertising is an integral part of many media plans.

“With people spending over 40 percent of their time out of the home and office, mobile marketing is on the rise,” says Sarah Miller, a media buyer at Folsom, Calif.-based Express Media. “Our society currently has more options, so we have to expand our marketing strategies as well in order to be profitable.”

Interactivity is another advantage of marketing to consumers via smart phones and other portable devices like the Apple iPad.

“These devices bring more to the table than ever with new features such as location-based advertising, only marketing to people within driving distances of your location,” says Miller. “While traditional advertising is either saying or displaying something to you, now we can give rich, interactive advertisements where people can get involved in the ad all the way to completing the sale without leaving the advertisement.”

As with any DR media plan, tracking performance is vital, but data can become even more cumbersome in the multi-channel approach.

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