Posts Tagged ‘ media planning ’

What to Know About an Annual Media Buy

When attempting to take your media in-house or when offering media services for others, it’s important to know that media can be purchased in several ways, such as by flight, monthly, quarterly or annually. The trick to being a successful media planner and buyer is knowing which structure works best for you and your clients.

A flight can be from a short as one week to as long as several months. It is a continuous buy, which usually serves to bring attention to one specific promotion.

The structures for buying media on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis are pretty simple – as they follow the standard definition of the time lapses listed above. Though you have to choose which structure is right for you, an annual buy, which is achieved by the media buyer placing the entire annual media plan at once, does have advantages over buying monthly, quarterly or by flight.

Listed below are the top 5 things you need to know about an annual media buy:
An annual buy will definitely give a buyer leverage to get the best rates, especially with television, cable and radio buys.
Due to the volume of the buy, the rates will be more negotiable and generally lower than if placed monthly, quarterly or by flight.
The closer the media buyer is to the beginning of the schedule when placing the buy, the higher the rates will likely be. If the media is sold out, the rates may need to be high enough to bump another advertiser’s spots.  At times, it may be so close to the flight that the station does not have any space available to sell. Neither of these situations is in the best interest of the client.
With print, if you know what you’ll be spending within the year, a media buyer can usually negotiate a contract to buy a certain number of column inches or spend a certain amount of money. This is harder to do if the buy is not purchased annually, as there can be short rates if the contract isn’t met. This isn’t good for either the agency or the client.
Annual buys can always be adjusted, moved and or canceled if necessary with sufficient notice to the media vendors, so you will not be locked into any media that isn’t working for you. Media can constantly be adjusted to give your clients the best outcome possible.

Annual buying is great for many clients, and with its adjustability, you’re really in a win-win situation. Not only do you get the best deals for being prepared and coming to your rep with a well-thought out plan, but you also get flexibility in order to meet your client’s needs.

With our ever-changing marketplace accelerating at such a rapid pace, new tools, trends and types of marketing are being introduced every day. Due to this fast-paced way of life, many believe that you should steer clear of annual buys – because you never know when something will change. Not true.

Annual buys can be bought in a way that is adjustable, allowing you to bump up or bump back spots, make changes to material, swap your :30 radio spot with a :60, etc. – you just have to know what you’re doing.

As we have seen lately in the marketplace, sometimes there are other situations with annual buys that need to be addressed, such as the programming change that moved American Idol from airing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to airing Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you bought a good spot on Thursday during a popular show with a competing station – and now because of a programming change, you have to compete with American Idol – there would be a problem. This is when you contact your rep and discuss your options. By doing so, you’ll learn just how well your leveraged your annual buy in the first place.

Media planning and buying are complicated processes, so before beginning a plan, make sure to do your research on the different buy structures. If you need guidance, feel free to contact evok advertising at 407.302.4416.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Broadcast News Interviews

Having the news media interview you or someone from your company sounds like a dream come true, huh? What many people don’t realize though, is that interviews can make or break you. A single interview can determine how the public perceives you and your company. As we all know, perception is reality – so how about grounding yourself in reality – crossing your fingers and hoping for the best isn’t going to cut it.

But alas, there are training courses on how to give a good interview, literature available online and books that you can buy to help you out. Problem is, many interviews are unexpected and on the spot.

To you, we give our top 10 tips for interviewing on camera for edited broadcast news features, clips or segments. Take this whitepaper as an overview, an outline of what to do, how to act, and more importantly, how to say what needs to be said.

1.    Do Dress Accordingly – When attending any event or company gathering, where there will be news cameras, dress accordingly. No flashy colors, weird hairstyles, bulky jewelry or overdone makeup (like cat-eyes). Depending on where you are, you might need a full suit and tie. For many casual events, consider wearing a polo shirt with your company logo on the breast. Picture being on camera from the sternum up, but don’t discount the slacks!

2.    Do Think in Sound Bites – Wherever you are, you should be able to produce a short,
9-second sound bite for the camera. Include: Name, position & company, where you are, what is happening and how this is beneficial to the community and/or the company.
For example, “I’m Jennifer Johnstone, public relations manager of evok advertising. I’m out here with the Florida Tuskers football team today as they celebrate breast cancer awareness and honor 10 local survivors on the field.”

3.    Don’t Forget Key Points – I’ve seen it dozens of times – the person being interviewed gets in their sound bite and then stares blankly at the camera. As a true advocate of your company or organization, you should be able to produce a few key points that will keep the camera on you a little longer. The better the points, the better the coverage. Hopefully your cameraman will continue asking you questions to keep you on your feet, but don’t take the extra help for granted, it doesn’t always happen.

4.    Don’t Kill the News Values – Most broadcast news interviews are used and reused over a 24-48-hour cycle. That means you may be interviewed on a Thursday and not make your big TV appearance until Saturday. Even though these segments can be edited, try not to mention the date and time that you are being interviewed. This will kill the “timeliness” of the interview, and you don’t want to mess with the news values! Also, referring to the cameraman by name is not a good idea. Broadcast news segments will stick an anchor in front of you to introduce your interview. Say his name is Tom, and throughout the interview you are referring to Bill. It won’t sound right and the public will sense something is off.

5.    Do Play the Game of Bridge – If you are a person who stays in the moment, you may start to realize that the cameraman, or even the interviewer, is not asking the right questions. Bridges serve as a nice way to acknowledge what the reporter is saying, but to link the question back to your key points. After answering a question that is close to allowing you to reach the heart of the matter, but misses the mark, throw in a bridge.
Here are some examples:
•    “Great question, but the heart of the matter is…”
•    “I would say that … is more to the point.”
•    “Another thing to remember is…”
•    “Let me add that…”
•    “…but in addition…”

6.    Don’t Speak to Your Co-Worker – When you are giving an interview, remember that you are speaking to the masses. Don’t use jargon that only your co-worker would understand, and don’t over complicate simple things. Be wary of acronyms as well. One of our clients is NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association), but in an interview I would use the full name frequently. The rule about using the whole name first and only once, only works for print. What if the media edits out the one time you said the whole name? Chances are they will, especially if it’s true that once an interview goes on, the interviewee gets more comfortable and sounds more natural.

7.    Do Take Your Time – Rushed answers are the worst! They never will have the same effect as a well-thought out answer. When you are interviewing, remember to take pauses to think about things. Because of your adrenaline, a pause will feel like an eternity to you, but will really only be a few seconds in your interview. Also, long pauses can be edited out of the final piece. Another tactic I use when thinking of a great answer is repeating the question.
For example:
“And what strides have you made in the community thus far?”
“Well, our strides in the community have been numerous during our eight years in business. Most notably, our recent…”

8.    Don’t Play Goggly-Eyes – Before I even get into body language, let me first address the question I get most often – where do you look during your interview? There is a person, and there is a camera. What if the person is holding the camera? And the camera – what if it’s next to their face? ALWAYS stare at the person when they are holding the camera. Looking at the camera will make you nervous. If the person is holding the camera on their shoulder, it will create the illusion that you are looking at the camera. If there is a reporter on camera with you, keep your stage presence in mind. Talk to the reporter directly, but it’s okay to occasionally look at the cameraman as if they are involved in the conversation, like you would with an audience. Though you must make sure that you are not giving only half your body to the camera. Stay open.

9.    Don’t Smile Just to Smile – Everyone says to smile when you are on camera. But, be careful with this rule. I don’t want the President of So-And-So Financial Company smiling on camera as he tells me that their stocks have gone down and I’m out over 50%. I don’t want to see a giddy, smiling face make an announcement that their local mom and pop shop can no longer survive since the big guys moved in next door. I’m not saying you need to cry about it, but be sure to keep serious news, serious.

10.    Do Correct the Incorrect – While on camera, you may be presented with a question that contains an untrue fact. The goal of a good interviewer is to correct the misinformation before proceeding to answer the question.
For example: “With eight guerilla publicity stunts in only one year, does your agency believe that consumers will no longer find these stunts entertaining in 2011?” “Actually, we have produced 10 stunts this year, and as an agency we believe that as long as they stand out, and create enough hype in the marketplace to go viral, they will continue to be successful in maintaining public attention in 2011.

Is “Re-branding” the New Buzz Word?

We hear the term “re-branding” thrown around a lot lately. It seems if everyone is trying desperately, in a fast-moving society, to stay fresh and yet stay true to their history at the same time. Most recently – YMCA to Y; Tropicana logo change; and let’s not forget about the Gap logo debacle.

The Gap change came in early October of this year. The president of Gap Brand North America for the last three years stated, “We chose this (new) design as it’s more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.” – Sound familiar?

Gap did a soft launch of their new logo and wanted feedback from their loyal customers, so they introduced it through social media. And, did they get feedback! Received so negatively and with such a backslash, it resulted in 1,094 comments from one of their Facebook postings alone.

Creatively, many felt it took a couple steps back and, well…fell flat on its face. The “generic” look that so many companies are trying to achieve didn’t work for Gap. For many, their goal is to make their brand modern and clean, but when executed incorrectly, the result is a generic and drab look. Modern should not equal generic. Gap has now gone back to their old logo.

This got us thinking…when exactly is the right time to re-brand and why? In Gap’s case, they wanted a new logo to reflect the evolution of their clothing line and multiple modern stores. However, what other reasons are there to re-brand? Take our company, evok advertising, for example. We are actually in the process of a re-brand ourselves. So, why the change for us?

Scott Disbennett, creative director and agency partner, said, “Opposed to a national brand that has spent millions focusing on consumer perception, we don’t carry the same iconic weight. We are a mid-size agency that prides ourselves on staying abreast of new technology and new brands, while staying cutting edge, so being current is actually part of the brand. Also, we focus most, if not all, of our marketing efforts B2B so to many, this new logo will be their first experience with our brand. We aren’t facing the challenges that a national consumer brand might face.”

Larry Meador, our agency’s managing partner, addressed evok’s re-brand by stating, “While the old ‘EVOK’ worked well when we were trying to shout our name out there, we have always had a core belief that we should be behind the scenes, behind our clients’ victories, and although just a minor change, going from upper case to lower case with our logo reinforces that belief.”

So, if wondering whether you should re-brand your company, you may want to consider the following criteria. If you can answer yes to most of the items below, maybe it’s time?

Re-brand IF:

  1. New ownership, new partner
  2. A new highly regarded business practice (such as being green, etc.)
  3. Offering new products or services that will move you to a different segment of your market
  4. If your branding was poorly designed when your company was young
  5. New location, if that greatly impacts your business

So, the question remains to re-brand or not re-brand?  Well, the simple answer is, consider the brand! For our agency, yes it made sense. For KFC and the Y (formerly YMCA), yes, maybe? But, maybe not so much for Tropicana and The Gap. If you are responding to consumer input, yes! Remember, the purpose of re-branding is to keep your current clients and customers, but also attract new ones.

Long live the Coppertone baby!

The Benefits of Utilizing a Newspaper Buying Network

Say you’ve got a client that puts out tons of newspaper ads, in tons of markets, like every time you blink they have a new ad, just ready to be sent out. As a media buyer and planner, it’s your job to figure out the best and most efficient way to make large media buys across all selected markets. With a busy, often changing schedule, how do you keep all the pricing straight, the market research on point, and get copies of all the tear sheets to show to your client?

By hoping and praying? Calling every ad sales team in the nation? We think not.

If you have a client for whom you purchase multiple newspapers in multiple markets, you many want to consider utilizing a newspaper-buying network to help. There are actually several, including the Newspaper National Network, the Florida Press Service and others, like Valassis.

Some media buyers and planners choose to deal with every paper individually, and this is fine, as it is part of maintaining relationships and is ideal for particular clients. But, if you have either a huge multi-market client and/or a modest media buying department, the services that these buying groups provide can be invaluable.

Benefits of newspaper buying services:

  1. Saving time – and we all know time is money.  With a newspaper buying service, a media buyer/planner only has one point of contact instead of a contact at every newspaper. They now have more time to spend on the strategy of the media plan…or with other clients, for shame.
  2. Coordination of the details – These services not only will research and negotiate media, but will also provide circulation numbers, mechanical specs and space and material close dates.
  3. Accounting savings – There is typically only one insertion order and therefore only one vendor invoice, saving time in accounting. And, in the end, there’s only one check to mail out.
  4. Proof of performance – The newspaper buying service also tracks all the proof of performance so no more tracking down tear sheets or going at a six-foot pile of newspapers with scissors and a dream.
  5. One point of contact – With a buying service, it’s easy to make last minute changes to the buys/plans. Usually, it is one phone call or email vs. one call or email per paper.

While utilizing newspaper buying networks may not be feasible for every client, it is an option to consider for clients with larger newspaper buys that are trying to target a number of markets and because of their buying power negotiated rates, it typically is not at any additional costs to your agency.  Win. Win. Win.

How to Be Worth a Journalist’s Time

Public Relations (PR), at its core, is a special type of communication used to gain earned media in broadcast, print and online channels. When proven professionals are leading the charge, PR is an invaluable component of any full-service agency and a crucial element to an organization’s professional engagement. At times, it can make or break campaigns and is often the best resource in times of crisis, lending itself to third-party credibility.

Many companies develop their own PR in house, some by typing up random contact lists for journalists at publications they’ve never read and sending out press releases through email blasts. Remember, it takes grit to harness the power of persuasion and finesse to win someone over.

To get your news published, you must be worth a journalist’s time. Here are a few pointers when considering taking on the public relations role internally.

  • It’s more time consuming and costly than you’d think. Even a mid-sized company with a 60 +/- employees and a marketing department of less than five, could spend $75,000 +/- per year in salary, benefits and overhead in a mid-sized market, plus approximately $1,000/mo. in management software such as Cision or Vocus, if done right.
  • Personalize – That means no more email blasts. Each email, letter or fax  sent needs to be personalized to the receiving journalist. Get to know their position, what they write about, and take the time to read some of their recent articles to get to know their writing style. Become a resource to the journalists, not a spammer.
  • Be worthy – If you don’t read their publication, your company probably doesn’t deserve to be in it. When corresponding with journalists, show that you know their publication and understand its value.
  • Know their and your audience – Even though many companies can’t accurately pinpoint their audience’s ethnography, the extra effort will need to be made if you want to do your own PR. Does your audience align with viewers of a particular news program or readers of a particular magazine? How do they consumer it? When? Where? Know where your audience is and take the steps to reach them “where they live.”
  • Foster a good relationship – Ruining a relationship can be easier than you may believe. In some cases, all you have to do is refer to your journalist contact by the wrong name, send them something of non-interest to their audience, fax a news release to the wrong department, misspell a word or pester to see if your release was published – and presto, you may have just lost a contact. Their time is very limited, and they look to seasoned professionals to focus the message, especially since the inundation of social media.

Although the pointers above are not inclusive of all that you’ll encounter, it’s time to move on to “your” story. Even if you have the perfect journalist at the perfect publication, do you have the perfect story? Don’t miss the mark.

  • Impact – The facts and events that have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people are, simply, the most noteworthy. Include numbers, indisputable facts and figures in your release. Without a tangible frame of reference for the media’s readership, the context may not be fully recognized by the journalist gatekeeper. They want to write about what their readers want to read. Demand is supply.
  • Timeliness – Events that happen recently are more noteworthy. Newspapers are already competing for readership with electronic media, so know when their deadlines are and work to be in front of them with a timely story, not last week’s news.
  • Proximity – Events that happen near the readers or viewers are generally more interesting. Again, context. The reader or viewer has to see or feel the impact of the release, or it may not be newsworthy.
  • Relevancy –Attempt to find a common thread between your company’s news and a current issue. A little hint is to look in the national publications and find a local angle for your company.
  • Human Interest – Stories that play to human emotions may be noteworthy. Remember to target only those writers who have written human interest stories in the past and follow their style.

Public relations is an investment that can yield significant results, yet is often the first to be cut from a marketing budget and taken “in house”–unhealthy for the organization. “Hey doctor, … cut right here?”

Direct Marketing – and why you shouldn’t discount it.

For many companies it’s a real challenge to decide which advertising medium to use, especially in today’s tech-driven environment. One bad decision could cost a company their entire marketing budget, so how do they decide which medium is right? There’s the Internet, newspapers, magazines, television, radio, social media and more. But for some reason, the channel that most seem to discount these days is direct marketing – and well, that’s just crazy.

With social media on the rise, and being significantly cheaper than other mediums, many companies are going for it. Great if you are opening the hottest new club in town, but what about if you’re trying to sell hearing aids? Twitter may not be your best bet! So, when deciding what channel to use, the first step is to identify your target market and the best way to reach them.

Let’s stick with the hearing aid example. Although an increasing number of seniors own computers and are savvy about navigating them, studies show there are better ways to reach them in a more targeted fashion, like by direct mail.

While Internet spending has increased dramatically over the last several years and newspaper advertising has decreased dramatically, direct mail spending has remained virtually flat. Flat doesn’t sound good, does it? But really, this means that it’s a tried and true marketing medium that has stayed consistent throughout the years.

Direct marketing, as defined by Wikipedia, is a form of advertising that reaches its audience without using traditional, formal channels of advertising, such as TV, newspapers or radio. The goal of direct marketing is to allow businesses to communicate directly to the consumer through the use of advertising techniques such as flier and catalogue distribution, mailing of promotional letters, and street advertising.

There are several advantages to direct marketing. Here are a few:

1. It enables you to send your message directly to the consumer, without interference.  For instance, when it comes to TV spots, how many people now Tivo and DVR their favorite TV shows, and skip right through the commercials, blasphemous to an advertiser, but it happens nonetheless!

2. It also allows you to personalize your message to each consumer. “Dear Mr. Jones, we would like to offer you a special discount…”

3. Direct mail also can include a call to action, which allows for tracking. For example, if you ask consumers to “bring this coupon into the store to receive your discount,” you can actually tally up the amount of coupons the store receives to see the success of your campaign. Other calls to action include, “call this number” or “logon to this website.”

4. Although there are many forms of direct marketing – telemarketing, e-mail marketing, door-to-door leaflet marketing, broadcast marketing – direct mail remains the most popular.

5. In a study conducted by The Direct Marketing Association, it was found that 57% of the campaigns studied employed integrated strategies.  Of those, almost half (47%) launched their campaigns with a direct mail piece.

6. Additionally, although we were using the hearing aid company as an analogy marketing to seniors, direct mail can also be used successfully to market to all age and ethnic groups.

Direct Mail and Coupons

For the first time since the Depression, the Gen Y group and their followers, the Gen Z group, are saving more money than any of their predecessors. Although not a definite, this could be attributed to the rise of coupon usage. Where it used to be taboo to use a coupon (think standing in line behind the blue-haired lady in the grocery store, with her handful of coupons), it is now the norm and almost expected. Don’t want to spend the money for your morning latte? Probably will if you have a 50% off coupon. And what better way to receive a coupon that by having it mailed directly to your house?

So when determining how best to spend your precious marketing dollars, first and foremost consider your market and how to reach them, then make sure your messaging is clear and if using direct marketing – consider making your consumers an offer. And don’t discount direct marketing – it’s how many consumers get discounts and they love that, so you should too.