At some time in the history of any advertised brand, it is appropriate to look at the way it is being marketed in terms of prospects, consumers, light users, heavy users, etc., who are likely to purchase the brand or, in fact, actually purchased the brand. Over the last decade or so, there have been more and more cases where mass marketing is rejected as a strategy and the brand (even a new one) goes to a targeted marketing approach. In fact, even when mass marketing is used as a strategy to either launch or maintain a brand, there are subsets of the marketing/media plan that call for targeted segments of the population to get increased emphasis via special messages or increased advertising weight. It is unlikely that any advertiser would argue with the statement, “The best advertising is one-on-one advertising.” That’s why telephone marketing, direct mail marketing and direct response advertising work and continue to get significant support. The problem with one-on-one marketing, however, is that it remains prohibitively expensive. Were that not the case, you would see a line of people outside your door ringing the bell and waiting for their turn to sell you something. With the goal of many marketers being to get as close to one-on-one marketing as possible, targeting becomes a surrogate for this effort. It is essential, however, that you do the math before creating a targeting strategy. This means you should multiply the amount of people in each of the targeted (and untargeted) segments of the population and look to see if appropriate assumptions about the level of consumption can sustain the brand and/or achieve the desired business growth. This means that you need to apply the number of units that each segment of the population is likely to purchase during the calendar year, add those units together and see whether the brand’s objectives for the year have a chance of being achieved. It is important to make sure that the “best” target group is not expected to purchase and consume vast amounts of the product or service to the point where they do little else in life other than using it. Put another way, it is important to make realistic judgments regarding each population group’s volume of purchase, by purchase cycle, to truly have an expectation of realistic product or service sales achievement. All of this may sound like important, if not essential, exercises for the marketer to go through. It is also useful and thought provoking if the media salesperson does the same thing. Targeting builds advertiser relationships; it shows an interest in the advertiser’s business and a recognition of some of the basic statistics and habit patterns that drive that business. There is yet another kind of targeting that may be politically expedient and, perhaps, even essential to selling in the marketing/ media plan. This is targeting the key advertising and media decision makers within the advertiser organization. It is a means by which to impress these key people with the astuteness of the media buy. It requires a little investigation as to what their media habits are and making sure that a portion of the media plan is allocated to these media properties. There is, however, a caution to be considered. That is, if you put too many ads (commercials) in the particular medium that the advertiser watches, chances are the advertiser will then complain about too heavy a concentration in one place. So, this technique has to be used with a fair degree of common sense. Another approach is to reach advertisers through a geographic intercept when/if that is appropriate. I remember one situation in which we wanted to impress an advertiser with the astuteness of our media buy and, consequently, we bought outdoor billboards on the route that he took to and from work. However you do it, targeting is truly the name of the game. It turns efficiency into effectiveness. It can be done demographically as well as geographically, and sometimes, in fact, quite often, with a mixture of the two. Getting as close to one-on-one marketing is indeed the goal and the opportunity to utilize media in a more scientific fashion. Joe Ostrow recently retired as president and CEO of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau and is now a consultant to that trade organization.

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FCC Seeks Comment on NAB NextGen Petition

The FCC Media Bureau is seeking comment on NAB’s petition regarding the treatment of multicast streams under the NexGen TV local simulcasting rules.

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