What's on Tap...

A brew of marketing and advertising news for your insatiable knowledge palette

Why You Should Include Native Advertising in Your Digital Strategy

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 @ 11:22 AM

As the digital landscape has continued to grow and shift and new strategies have emerged, one has become the darling of digital media planners everywhere: native advertising. And yet, with all of its recent popularity, native advertising is probably the least understood digital strategy used by publishers, marketers and agencies alike, who have all embraced it without knowing exactly how it can be used effectively or even if it’s right for their brand.

What is Native Advertising Anyway?

Native advertising has proven to be a difficult concept for many to grasp, as definitions of the strategy seem to differ from publisher to publisher, advertiser to advertiser. Some define it as “sponsored content” or featured content that is brought to the consumer’s attention by a particular brand. The key feature of sponsored-contentnative advertising, however, is that it blends seamlessly with website editorial in an attempt to engage visitors. Native ads can take the form of promoted Tweets to branded feature articles that live somewhere within the Huffington Post. In essence, effective native advertising combines the best of display ads and content marketing, leveraging the ease of paid distribution channels and the power of valuable content.

Are native ads effective? According to a study conducted by IPG Media Lab, consumers look at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads. Because of their seamless integration with editorial content, native ads registered a 9% higher lift in brand affinity and an 18% higher intent to purchase response than traditional ads.

The Benefits of Native Advertising

Here are nine reasons you may want to consider integrating native ads into your digital media planning strategy:

They Combat Ad Blindness

At this point in time the digital landscape is cluttered with display ads, and consumers have become increasingly adept at completely ignoring them while they browse. In order to combat this ad blindness, advertisers must be able to deliver content that naturally integrates into publishing layouts. In other words, these ads aren’t intrusive, and they don’t “trick” consumers into interacting with content, but rather engage them in a way that’s mutually beneficial.

They Leverage a Publication’s Authority and Brand Loyalty

Paid media allows you to reach millions of consumers you might not otherwise have access to, and, like advertising in newspapers and magazines, native digital ads allow you to leverage the authority of someone else’s publication and use their brand to bolster your own.

Native Ads Have the Potential to Go Viralbuzzfeed-native-advertising

Another advantage native has over display is the potential to go viral. According to a study conducted by Sharethrough and the IPG Media Lab, which surveyed 4,770 consumers on their responses to native ad formats, nearly 1 in 3 said they would share a native ad, while less than 1 in 5 said they would share a banner ad.

These results support the main contention of companies like Sharethrough, which helps publishers distribute their native ads across various channels and platforms, by illustrating that readers are more likely to pay attention to marketing messages that aren’t intrusive and resemble the editorial content around them.

Not only do native ads get more attention, they are also easily shared because, like editorial content, they tend to have unique URLs and can be quickly reposted on social media sites with one simple click of a button. Sponsored Tweets and Instagram photos are able to include hashtags that make them more discoverable. And, most native ads exist in formats that allow for live engagement with consumers such as entertainment and news media sites, lifestyle blogs, Facebook posts and Instagram photos, which all contain comments sections allowing consumers to interact with a brand directly on the ad.

Stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll list six more reasons why you may want to integrate native advertising into your digital media planning strategy.

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Why You Need to Embrace Multi-Channel Marketing

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 09, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

Over the last few years, a considerable number of businesses have shifted from a single-channel advertising approach, where the focus is solely on highlighting the product or service, to a multi-channel approach that focuses on the needs and preferences of the consumer and engages in a two-way conversation with them. Although multi-channel marketing is more complex and campaigns require longer development time, the effort is worth it when you consider its ability to reach customers through their own desired medium, which makes the desired conversion much more likely.

Consider the Numbers

According to a recent global survey conducted by Forrester research, 97% of marketing decision-makers said they had experienced increased revenue which they attributed to their multi-channel activities. Forty percent of these same respondents indicated that improvement was greater than 15% in specific areas Why You Need to Embrace Multi-Channel Marketingsuch as ROI, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and a reduction in customer acquisition costs.

The Forrester study respondents also held a number of common observations about the value of a multi-channel approach:

  • 86% believe successfully integrating multiple channels under a single integrated marketing strategy is critical to long term success
  • 66% believe a multi-channel customer is worth much more than a single-channel customer
  • Half of the respondents indicated a negative customer experience is affected by inconsistent treatment across channels

Let’s take a look at some of the specific benefits:

Better Tracking and Measurement

With a traditional, single-channel advertising strategy, there is very little scope or data for measuring a campaign’s performance. This kind of strategy is pretty much like throwing messaging against the wall and hoping it sticks. A multi-channel approach, on the other hand, is measurable because it uses intelligent data to answer questions related to how the campaign is being managed, the return on investment, and how you would allocate ad spend for future campaigns.

Less Costly in the Long Run

It seems counterintuitive that targeting multiple channels costs less than targeting just one, but this is easily recognized when you consider all the combined financial benefits of multi-channel marketing. For starters, integration of different marketing efforts into a single platform often helps lower training and support costs. Shared segmentation helps get the most out of marketing time, which leads to higher productivity. All this is to say you get more with the same amount of resources.

Higher Revenue

Leveraging multiple channels gives you access to customer data from all channels at the same time. Why is this significant?  Because having access to this invaluable data helps you categorize your customer base and identify your target audience, which leads to higher conversion rates and higher revenue.

Faster Campaign Execution

In today’s competitive global marketplace, the most effective strategies are those that can be executed quickly and stay up-to-date with the latest trends. A multi-channel approach offers greater effectiveness and efficiency than a single-channel marketing strategy because it reduces creation and execution time. And, because it is more dynamic than a single-channel campaign, it offers real-time response and customer feedback.

A Consistent Consumer Experience

When executed strategically, an integrated multi-channel marketing approach ensures a consistent consumer experience amongst your target audience. This ability to maintain consistency across all channels and campaigns can boost the effectiveness of your strategy and improve your brand identity.

consumers-handsPuts the Choice in Consumer’s Hands

A multi-channel approach means you give customers and prospects the choice of how they will interact with your business. When consumers have the choice of which channel to receive your message, your chances of completing conversions dramatically increases.

More Touch Points

More touch points in your marketing funnel gives you the ability to collect more data and better understand which of your promotions are working for you and which are wasting your advertising budget.

Consumers are increasingly using more channels to interact with businesses. Once you understand how customers and prospects are interacting with your brand across multiple channels, you can optimize their touch points, deliver relevant messaging, and help ensure they stay with your brand while interacting through various channels. You can also measure how your campaigns are performing and make sure you’re spending your advertising dollars wisely.

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Tags: integrated marketing, multi-channel marketing

Best Practices for Local Digital Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 02, 2014 @ 12:04 PM

Businesses who are looking for a cost-effective way to connect with customers and prospects in their local market should consider advertising digitally if they’re not doing so already. Consumers are spending an increasing amount of time online, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, and local digital advertising allows a business to have an online presence 24/7. Local digital advertising also offers precision targeting and a faster and wider reach.

For those businesses looking to digitally connect with their local audience, there are some definite best practices to follow:

Claim and Optimize Your Profile

All businesses should claim their free local ad spots by logging into Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local and walk through the verification steps. Once this is done, descriptions, titles and categories should be optimized for specific keywords that will help customers find them.

Emphasize Why Local is BetterBest Practices for Local Digital Advertising

Too many local businesses create ads putting emphasis on proximity only without telling the prospect why doing businesses with local merchants adds real value to their lives. For instance, a pizza shop that advertises as “Your Neighborhood Pizza Joint since 1988” tells the consumer nothing about why they should buy pizza from that joint instead of the other joint on the next street over. But an ad that says “We use locally sourced ingredients on our pies!” tells prospects much more and gets them in the door.

Use Real Photos in Ads

One of the reasons consumers choose a local business over a national brand is because they don’t want to give their money to an impersonal corporation. Many of these larger corporations will use stock imagery on their websites and in their ads. Local businesses should leverage their location by including real photos of their business and customers in every piece of messaging.

Make Your Ad Visually Appealing

For ads to be effective they must be visually appealing; local ads are no exception. Written text should be balanced with attractive visuals and information shouldn’t be crammed in. Negative space – that space around the words and images – is just as important as the rest of the ad.

Include Local Details

Local businesses can convey their trustworthiness and value in a few different ways:

  • By including feedback and reviews from local customers in their ads
  • By mentioning any awards they have won as well as community events with which they are routinely involved
  • By including a phone number and address, which proves to prospects they are conveniently nearby

Use a Variety of Tactics

Just because a business is small doesn’t mean they have to think small when it comes to filling a customer funnel. Local marketers must integrate paid, earned and owned media channels into their mix to be able to drive direct response and organic traffic, retarget existing audiences, establish long-term engagements with customers and create more brand ambassadors.

Keep Local Pages Up-to-Date

Search engines prefer to rank websites they feel are current and relevant to users. One way business owners can appear current and relevant is to regularly add fresh content to their sites through an attached blog, create new sub-pages and refresh content on local webpages by adding new photos or video.

Engage with the Local Community

Many business owners still debate the efficacy of social media for local markets. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter aren’t usually a good source for conversions, they can be a great source for getting Best Practices for Local Digital Advertisinginvolved with the local community. Having active accounts on Google+, Facebook and Twitter is a great way to see what community members are talking about –what they care about – and what their current concerns are. Getting involved in events through social media is one of the best ways to make a positive impact in the local community.

In an increasingly global marketplace, where large, faceless companies have traditionally dominated, small businesses can now compete and stand out as viable options for consumers. When combined with other tactics, local digital advertising offers small business owners a cost-effective way to reach potential customers in their own backyard.

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Improve Your ROI with These Magazine Advertising Strategies

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 @ 11:22 AM

Magazine advertising has been around for a long time and for good reason: it’s a highly effective way to get your message in front of your target audience, an audience who is interested in hearing from you.

Here are just a few benefits of advertising in magazines:

  1. A magazine’s strength lies in the active way in which readers choose and use the medium. Magazines are an active medium and the reader is in control.
  2. Magazines deliver receptive readers. Often the positive brand image of the magazine is transferred onto the advertisements.
  3. Readers find magazine ads relevant and valuable. And, since readers are in control of which ads they interact with and when, magazine advertising is not considered an interruption.
  4. Magazines allow advertisers to easily target their message with precision and without wasting their ad spend.
  5. Readers tend to take action after seeing magazine ads.

Follow the four strategies below to create and launch successful magazine advertising campaigns.

Improve Your ROI with These Magazine Advertising StrategiesChoose the Right One

Not all magazines are created equal, and not all are the right channel for your message. You’ll first need to determine which magazines fit your target market segments, that is, the ones that will most likely be read by this audience. If you sell organic cloth diapers, it makes little sense to advertise in a hunting magazine. Determine who your ideal prospect is and then think from their POV to determine what kind of information or form of entertainment they are drawn to.

Determine Reach

Once you’ve selected the magazine that makes the most sense to advertise in, you’ll want to determine its reach. Ask the sales representative for the magazine’s circulation numbers and pay attention to the number of direct subscribers to the magazine’s circulation ratio. This is important because many magazines sit on the shelves of book stores and grocery stores and are never purchased.

You’ll also want to inquire about which states the magazine is distributed in, its cycle, pricing and market image.

Knowing market image is important because this is the subscriber’s perception of the magazine’s quality and content. Magazine A might have a lower circulation rate, but if it has a better image than Magazine B, it has a greater chance of being read by your prospective customers who will then view your ad and place more trust in it.

Determine Placement

Next, decide where to place your ad within the magazine. According to Starch Advertising Research published by the Rochester Institute of Technology, placing ads next to the table of contents offers the best reach. If your budget doesn’t quite allow for this, placing your ad next to an article or editorial related to your offer is also a good option. For example, if your ad is offering a free consultation on window Improve Your ROI with These Magazine Advertising Strategiesreplacements, you could place it next to an article about home winterizing.

You may also consider piggybacking and place your ad next to another prominent ad. Leverage someone else’s budget and claim a spot right next to those big ads so the reader’s eye will naturally be drawn to yours.

Make Your Budget Work Harder

You should always ask your sales rep for a media kit that lists all the rates for the various ad sizes. When placing your order, be sure you understand how the magazine’s scheduling and readership and your business cycle all work synergistically to reap the greatest rewards.

Also, consider using some of your advertising budget to create professional ads. Depending on what your offer is and who your ideal customers are, a polished ad can mean the difference between seeing a 3% increase in sales or a 7% increase.

No matter what you may have heard about the “death” of print, advertising in magazines is still one of the most effective ways to get messaging in front of a target audience. Magazines reach millions of consumers on a regular basis, deliver ROI, generate positive brand awareness and significantly increase sales. In other words, if you haven’t included magazines into your marketing plan yet, what are you waiting for?

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National vs. Local Newspaper Advertising: Which Is Best?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 @ 10:28 AM

Newspaper advertising is the oldest form of advertising and is still used widely today by many businesses for a very specific reason: newspapers are a chosen media purchased by the reader. In other words, advertising in newspapers puts you in front of a very special group of consumers: those who value and are immensely receptive to the information (and ads) they find inside. When your message appears in newspapers, readers believe the editorial content adds credibility and legitimacy to your brand and offer.

national-local-newspaper-advertisingMany businesses already recognize the power of newspaper advertising, but many more are often confused as to whether they should spend their budget on local or national papers. First, let’s take a look at the benefits both national and local newspapers offer advertisers.

An Audience that Wants to Hear from You

Newspaper readers don’t find print ads intrusive (like they do online, radio and television ads) because they are in control of when (and if) they read them. Beyond this, readers actively seek advertising that alerts them to deals and coupons.

A Targeted Audience

Besides getting your ads placed in the sections of the paper with similar content, newspapers (particularly local ones) can target audiences in other ways by using events such as holidays, or using specific geographic locations such as neighborhoods and streets, and even focusing on specific individuals like parents or ethnic groups.

A Quality Audience

According to the State of the News Media 2013, newspaper readership correlates with higher income levels of $100,000 or more as well as higher education levels.

Leveraged Trust

Newspaper publishers work diligently to create solid relationships with readers and build a loyal customer base. In a sense, newspapers become like a print version of friends and family. Just as friends and family “won’t steer ya wrong,” readers feel the same about their beloved print publications. Consumers believe publishers only do business with solid companies that can be trusted. Advertising within a trusted newspaper that has a loyal customer base means a brand can build a positive reputation in a short amount of time.

Retention

One of the greatest benefits of print is readers can easily keep content close by for future reference. Try saving a radio or television ad or cutting it out and putting it on your refrigerator. Print ads also have a way of “going viral” in that a newspaper can wind up in the waiting room of a doctor’s office and the ads inside will be viewed by many, many people over the course of the week.

Great Flexibility

With newspaper ads you can choose the type of ad and position (classified or feature-section) that will most effectively put your message in front of your target audience. You have great flexibility on the size of your ad, the format, and color so you can achieve the desired impact.

Why Local Newspapers Edge National Papers Outhomepage-image-web

Local newspapers provide a special kind of connection with consumers. While national papers provide a window to a broader world, local papers connect residents to their community and to each other.

According to the 2013 Community Newspaper Readership Study conducted by The Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) on behalf of National Newspaper Association (NNA), about two-thirds or 67% of residents in small U.S. communities read their local paper from one to seven days per week. The study concluded that local newspapers continue to be the primary source of information for consumers living in small towns and cities across the country.

Looking further into the numbers, 94% of responders agreed their local paper was informative; 80% said they and their families looked forward to reading the newspaper; 78% said they relied on their local papers for local news and information; and 72% said the newspapers entertained them. The findings of this study suggest the perceived value of local newspapers and the important role they play in community members’ lives is a true asset to advertisers.

Sure, national ads offer more exposure, more eyeballs on your ad (possibly) but that exposure and those eyeballs may not mean a hill of beans if you don’t get a return on your initial investment. The truth is most small businesses’ ad spend would be much better served in local papers.

Another benefit of local newspaper advertising is the rapid turnaround on production changes. If you need to make last-minute changes to your ad (and it’s bound to happen at some point in your campaign), the newspaper’s advertising department can usually get the job done quickly and not throw you any shade in the process.

As you know, we’re big fans of advertising in the newspaper and know firsthand the benefits print ads bring to our clients. Whether you choose to go national or local, we believe newspaper advertising should be the cornerstone of any campaign.

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What Print and Digital Ads Have in Common

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 @ 10:54 AM

Back when I used to work out as often as I should (note to self, stop using your kettlebell as a doorstop), I would go to the gym with my friend, Jill. When we’d get there, she would immediately hit the weight machines while I’d hop on an elliptical. After an hour or so, we’d shower, dress and hit the nearest Starbucks for lattes and pumpkin muffins. I know, but we were younger with more cooperative metabolisms.

Jill and I might have had different strategies for staying in shape. I hated lifting weights and she thought aerobics was insanely boring, but both styles of workout had their merits. They also had things in common: they both required movement and commitment on our part if we wanted to see any kind of results.

Effective ads, no matter what their medium, also have things in common – they do the following:

Align with Your Positioning Strategy

What-Print-and-Digital-Ads-Have-in-CommonYour positioning strategy clearly identifies your target audience and the most meaningful features and benefits of your offer. This strategy should also provide enough reasons (or just one really great one) why your product or service is unique and superior to others and it should do so in a way that captures your brand’s personality.

Keep the Message Clear and Simple

Today’s consumers are busy and distracted, so help them remember your message by creating a clutter-free ad. A good rule of thumb is to keep the headline very simple, then have the elements that follow support the headline’s message. The clearer your overall concept, the better chance your ad has of being read and remembered.

Are Consistent

Imagine if Doritos started making round chips. Or the Home Depot started selling light blue buckets. Or Tony the Tiger proclaimed, “Theeeeey’re Wwwwonderful!” You don’t have to be a household name brand What Print and Digital Ads Have in Commonto benefit from staying consistent with your style and personality. Switching things up too often will lead to consumer confusion and fewer repeat customers.

Are Credible and Classy

Don’t be the pizza joint that claims their pizzas are “the best” in town when every review on Yelp complains of soggy crusts and flat soft drinks. Advertising yourself as more or better than you are will not increase business but rather speed your ultimate demise. It’s also a bad move to point out a particular competitor and spew public criticism. Doing so may very well backfire when buyers show support and your competitors sales go up not down.

Tells Consumers What to Do

Successful ads tell people exactly what to do. It’s not enough to say you offer “a huge selection of crafting items,” or give your address and store hours. Your ad must go further and tell the reader to “bring this ad in for a 5% discount” or “call for more information.”

Stand Out from Other Ads

What-Print-and-Digital-Ads-Have-in-CommonWhether you’re planning to advertise in the local paper or on an industry blog, before creating your ad do some research and study the other ads in that space to make sure yours will stand out. Once your ad is created you can test it by using your own personal judgment, or use a small group of target buyers to test your ad for uniqueness, incentive, credibility and stickiness (will people remember it?).

Look Professional

Even if you’re operating on a shoestring budget you can design professional print or banner ads by using desktop publishing software. And, if your budget allows, consider hiring professional designers and copywriters who can take your ad and turn it into something that grabs the reader’s attention and gets your message across.

Print and digital ads have something else in common: they only have seconds to make a good first impression, so be sure yours follow these guidelines to make the biggest and best impact.

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Tags: digital ads, print ads

Are Billboards More Effective Than Print Media Advertising?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 05, 2014 @ 10:53 AM

I won’t keep you in suspense; the answer to the question posed in the title of this post is no, billboard advertising is not better or more effective than print media advertising. If you’re Nike and you have an in-exhaustive advertising budget, and you’re trying to launch your latest and greatest sneaker, then billboards may be a good addition to your overall marketing strategy.  But if you’re a local business owner with limited funds, you need a media channel that will reach your target demographic and deliver a return on your investment.

Here’s why you should trust your budget to print media advertising instead of billboard advertising:

Billboard messages have little staying power

According to Marketing Scoop, the average person will see a billboard ad for about two or three seconds. This means the message has to be incredibly short and to the point. People scan billboards as they drive Are Billboards More Effective Than Print Media Advertising?by (normally at rapid speeds) so the text has to be large enough to scan while in motion. This means your entire ad may be an image with two or three words, max. Hopefully your marketing department is creative enough to come up with a campaign that’s short and sweet and memorable.

Print, on the other hand, allows for various ad sizes to suit any budget. You may have a lot of text or little text, add an image or keep it copy only; the choice is entirely up to you. Print ads also have more staying power. People see the ad, cut it out and keep it on hand. The paper or magazine may even be passed on to a friend or family member who sees the ad and cuts it out to keep it on hand.

Billboards are an expensive commitment

You can imagine the time, energy and money it takes to change out a billboard ad, which is why most billboard companies charge so much and require advertisers to enter into long-term contracts. If your campaign strategy requires multiple messages delivered at specific times, billboards simply cannot deliver.

But you know what can? Print. You can request an important change be made to your ad on a Friday and that new and improved ad appears in Sunday’s paper generating sales.

Billboard ads have less impact

Sure they’re big, but that doesn’t mean billboard ads have much impact. Many commuters are subjected to dozens of billboards each day, and after awhile, it becomes all too easy for drivers to ignore them. Even if their eyes notice the ad, it doesn’t mean the person has internalized the message. In advertising, Are Billboards More Effective Than Print Media Advertising?that's a fail.

It is far easier to connect with readers through print media ads because they choose when to view your ad; they are in charge of the communication and when they read your message, it lands.

No niche marketing

There are times being visible to everyone has its advantages, like when you’re the sun. But for most advertisers, a successful campaign means having the ability to target your message to your ideal prospects, something billboard advertising simply can’t do.

But targeted messaging is something print does extremely well. Ads can easily be placed and read in periodicals by people who are the most likely to buy those products or services. That’s niche marketing at its best.

Extensive regulations 

Outdoor advertising is subject to extensive governmental regulation at the federal, state and local levels. County and municipal governments typically have sign controls as part of their zoning laws. Depending on where you conduct business, you may find your local government prohibits the construction of new billboards. Some may allow new construction but only if it replaces existing structures. Generally speaking, advertising through billboards will put you face-to-face with some kind of restrictions whether those refer to zones, spacing or height.

Print media, not so much.

If you have a large budget and your campaign’s focus is on brand recognition, then by all means, sign the long-term contract, deal with the regulation headaches, and hand over your ad spend. If, on the other hand, you need to make every penny count and want your message to be read by only those prospects who are candidates for actual sales, stick with what always works: print media advertising.

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The Top 6 Digital Media Planning Faux Pas

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 @ 09:59 AM

I’ll never forget the time I took my mother to her doctor’s appointment, and as we sat in the tiny room that was too cold and painted an odd yellow-brown color waiting for the doctor to make an appearance, a funny-maternity-shirtnurse cheerfully took my mother’s vitals. Well, this particular nurse was very... rotund, and in an effort to make some friendly small talk my mother asked her, “When are you due?” The rotund nurse explained tomy mother that she wasnt pregnant then quietly left the chilly yellow-brown room. I thought faux pas like these only happened on TV or in the movies, but nope, apparently they happen wherever my mother happens to be.

Faux pas are very unpleasant for all parties involved, so in an effort to help you avoid any unpleasantries when launching your online campaigns, here are the top digital media planning faux pas to avoid:

Living in the Past

Digital media is constantly evolving; new technologies and social outlets emerge almost daily. Any digital media plan that relies on past experiences to deliver future results is dead in the water. Those media planners left with the task of developing and executing digital campaigns need to constantly stay on top of new technologies and trends if they want to provide a return on the investment.

Assuming Anything

Most people who make assumptions do so because they’re afraid to ask too many questions or not enough questions or just one really stupid one. Done correctly, digital media planning requires many questions to be asked such as:

  • What are the campaign goals?
  • What does past research show?
  • What metrics will we use?
  • Who are our biggest competitors?
  • Who is our target audience?
  • Should this be an integrated campaign?
  • How much lead time do we need?

Digital media planners should never be afraid to speak with all team members and ask as many questions as they need to make sure they know the campaign’s objectives and can devise the most comprehensive plan to reach them.

Not Wearing Enough Hats

The role of digital media planner isn’t an easy one to fill. Online campaigns require you to understand numbers, be a critical and strategic thinker, have the ability to analyze various channels and hatsopportunities, and be a clear communicator. Good digital media planning is not taking half the budget and sinking it into an ad network; it’s about developing creative strategies and constantly testing and tweaking them for better results.

Not Following-Up

The person in charge of developing a company’s digital media plan may think once the plan is in place their job is done and it is now up to other team members to execute that plan. But this is a faux pas waiting to happen. Media planners need to stay involved during the initial launch of the campaign to make sure there are no under-performing placements in need of attention. They should also be on hand to analyze any data reports so they can adjust the campaign as needed and use the information as a way to provide feedback to the publishers with whom they work.

Launching When No One Cares

You wouldn’t think digital media planners would allow campaigns to be launched on, oh, say a Friday or during a major holiday, but it actually happens all the time. The digital landscape is far too competitive to let the ball drop over something as important as a campaign’s launch date.

Not Learning from Your Mistakes

I can tell you for certain, anytime my mother and I were around rotund women who could potentially not be pregnant I was on guard, ready to interrupt with a line about the weather should my mother even start to utter the words, “When are...” I had learned my lesson.

Digital media planning requires constant learning. And not just from things that did work, but from those that didn’t as well. Those planners who don’t find the lesson in their failures will have more of them.

Digital media planning isn’t just about placing ads online; it’s about determining how, when and where to reach your target audience while being ever mindful of ROI. The fewer faux pas made, the better the results.

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Newspaper Advertising vs. Radio Advertising – And the Winner is....

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 @ 10:33 AM

In any economy, especially one that continues to limp along, advertisers are looking for solid results in exchange for their ad spend. Many local business owners have recognized that digital media isn’t necessarily the holy grail of advertising, and that tried-and-true marketing channels such as radio and print are still very viable and effective at getting their message in front of an audience.

But, between newspaper and radio, which channel offers the most advantages? We’re glad you asked.

Radio Advertising

When meeting with a salesperson for your local radio station you will no doubt find their pitch to be creative and enthusiastic. They may even play a spec ad on tape and show you graphs of listener demographics and maps that show how far their signal reaches. It is all very convincing and will most likely raise your expectations enough to hand over your allotted budget.

But let’s look a little closer at the limitations of radio advertising.

What is the actual market share offered?

If you sit in your car and tune in all the FM and AM stations in your local area, you will find that, even in small markets, there will be 20 or more radio stations with a listening audience. This means the market share is split up into small numbers for market penetration even for the biggest radio station. There may be 50,000 households in your market, but the station you are working with may only reach 1,000 of them.

Radio-NewspaperWhy is the radio on?

Why do people listen to the radio? They either listen to be entertained or simply to have background noise while driving or doing household chores. For those who listen to be entertained, advertising is considered an interruption. For those who have the radio on simply for background noise, the advertisement goes completely unnoticed.

Satellite radio has taken off in the last five years because people are willing to pay extra to avoid the dreaded commercials. Many new cars, in fact, have satellite radio built right in.

The radio industry itself recognizes listeners don’t want to have their music interrupted by advertising, which is why many stations promote themselves as the station that “plays more music, less commercials.”

More competition drives up ad prices

The peak time for radio listening is obviously during the morning and evening commute. So, though there may be 24 hours in a day, there are really only about four to six hours where your ads might possibly be heard. Consider the fact there may be 20 – 30 local businesses all vying for the same airtime and you quickly realize why radio advertising can be so expensive.

Who makes up your audience?

Radio stations often throw numbers around and claim 75% of households are listening during the day, but who is making up this listening audience? Are you sure it’s the demographic you’re trying to reach? Many stations’ core audience is made up of 13 – 21 year olds – are these the customers you’re trying to sell to?

How much lasting power do radio ads have?A radio ad plays for 30 seconds and then it is gone

A radio ad plays for 30 seconds and then it is gone, never to be thought of again. And forget including a phone number or email address in the ad; unless you expect your audience to pull over on the side of the road and jot down your contact information, chances are they’ll never remember (that’s if they actually listened to the commercial and didn’t hit the TUNE or SCAN button first).

Newspaper Advertising

Newspapers have had their fair share of ups and downs since the emergence of digital media, but despite this, they have steadily maintained their local readership base and strength for local marketing.

Let’s take a look at the many advantages of newspaper advertising:

  1. Advertising in a newspaper is not seen as an interruption. In fact, numerous surveys have shown one of the reasons people buy newspapers is to view the ads for their local stores and businesses. Consumers do want and need to be exposed to advertising; they simply want ads on their own terms.

  2. A newspaper ad can be cut out and saved for later. This means your coupon or contact information can and usually will land on someone’s refrigerator or in their wallet or purse.

  3. Unlike radio, whose market share is often far less than first calculated, local newspapers consistently deliver to 50% or more of households. And they do it 365 days out of the year.

  4. Unlike radio, which is often playing in the background and not really heard, newspapers can deliver true consumer engagement. When a person reads an advertisement it’s because they choose to do so. They give their full attention to your message and will remember you when they need your product or service.

  5. You’ve probably heard newspaper subscriptions and readership have dropped in the last five years or so, and that’s somewhat true, but not to the extent that many would like you to believe. The other side of that coin is, the readership of the online versions of newspapers is growing rapidly, much faster than the 7% or so losses in the physical subscriptions.

You can see why many advertisers are steering away from radio advertising and back into traditional print media. Ideally, newspapers shouldn’t be your only medium of advertising, as a mix of channels always works best, but print media is a solid foundation on which you can build an effective marketing plan that will give you the greatest return on your investment.

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How to Create Effective Direct Response Newspaper Ads

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:23 AM

One of the smartest ways local businesses can create a new customer base is to design a compelling newspaper ad. Sadly, many local advertisers are greatly confused by what makes a newspaper ad compelling in the first place. Open any local paper and take a look at the ads. Most of them will be nothing more than a larger version of the company’s business card; you know – company name, what they do, contact information.

The late and great advertising executive David Ogilvy once said, “Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn't sell much of anything.” It’s not enough to put your company information in the paper, and it’s not enough to have an image of your product front and center. What advertisers need to be focusing on is creating messaging that elicits a direct response from prospects. The business-card-as-advertisement method will do nothing in the way of compelling people to buy what you’re selling.

How to Create Effective Direct Response Newspaper Ads

Direct Response Advertising to the Rescue

The sole purpose of direct response advertising is to get the reader’s attention, interest, and desire immediately, and then get them to take some form of action. Effective direct response ads get the reader’s attention through a compelling headline. They create interest by manipulating human emotions (in a good way) and touching on the reader’s problems. Desire is then created by offering solutions to those problems and the call-to-action follows through by making that solution highly desirable and an absolute no-brainer.

Direct Response Ad Breakdown

There are various components to an effective direct response ad, but for the purpose of this post, let’s focus on the big three: the headline, the offer and the call-to-action.

Headline

Extra! Extra! What makes a compelling headline? Well, let’s first discuss what doesn’t make a compelling headline. We’ve already discussed that a company name does not a compelling headline make. The reader (A.K.A. prospect) could care less what you call yourself; all they want to know is what can you do for them.

The reader will use your headline to decide if they want to read further and know more about your offer. In a way, you could say your headline is an ad for the ad itself and will communicate clearly to the reader that reading the rest of the ad will benefit them in some way. So make sure to craft your headlines with the reader’s problems and ambitions in mind. Don’t know your prospects’ pain and ambitions? Then you need to do more research on your market and come back to the headline when you know more about your audience.

Offer

Your offer will never be effective unless the body copy of your ad makes an incredibly convincing case as to why someone should want your product or service. Then and only then should you offer to sell the reader a solution to their problem and at a specific price.

Compelling offers are simple and don’t confuse the reader with too many choices of pricing or components. In order for your offer to be effective, simply state what benefits the buyer receives when they purchase the product or service, what results they can expect because of this purchase, and finally, mention the price at the end.

How to Create Effective Direct Response Newspaper Ads - CTACall-to-Action

This is the RESPONSE in direct response advertising. Your call-to-action must force the reader to respond to your compelling and appealing offer. More often than not an advertiser will create copy that has given all the information necessary to make a buying decision, but in the end, the ad failed to tell the reader exactly how they needed to respond. The call-to-action puts the “How” in “Howdy!” Tell your prospect exactly what you want them to do and be as clear as possible. If you’ve written the rest of your ad right, then you’ve earned your right to sell and a good many of your prospects will buy.

In advertising, nothing else matters but results. Creating a brand may be okay for the big shots with the big ad spend, but for local businesses with tighter budgets, it is more beneficial to create reactions and get responses.

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Image credit: Instant Income

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