Those Tricky Cable Buys...

Wow, I don't post for a month and Blogger changes their whole look! Life sure has been moving fast these past few weeks.

Obviously, I've been pretty busy with all the new things going on and haven't been all that interested in writing about it. I thought I would be - but I have turned to more personal types of communication (phone calls, emails, face to face) during my transition to new city, new agency, new friends, etc. But anyway, I'm motivated again to get back to this blog! It was recently put on AdAge's Power list, so I guess it's time to show some new folks how insightful this blogger can get!

Read a cool article in Media magazine during lunch last week. Steve Farella and Audrey Siegel discuss how they went into my version of media planner heaven and basically just played around with schedules on random networks to see if they could get the same reach and frequency. Kind of like media russian roulette. 11 networks at random - how do they deliver? Another 11 random networks - how do they deliver? And so on. Will one of them triumph? Does planning even matter?

At first I was a little uncomfortable with this notion. Because according to them, it didn't matter how much you planned. The average audience sizes all came out the same. The random schedules all looked good on paper. And to an uneducated client, could probably convince them to move to a cheaper media planning partner.

But of course, Farella and Siegel couldn't leave it at that or we would all be out of jobs. I mean, computers could do this stuff for us and we'd all be jobless at home watching 4-hr marathons of Law and Order SVU (hmmm). The main point was that with cable networks, you're planning with the environment in mind, much like planning for radio. So you want to choose networks that your audience will relate to so that they will be receptive to your message.

This would also affect your added value packages, which could actually add more value to your buys than just additional GRPs if they were running on networks that were relevant to your audience. Like, if a shoe company ran an ad for their sale during TLC's What Not to Wear. Then they could have a promotional :10 about how pointy-toe flats elongate the leg line while still being comfortable. "Find the shoes at "XX" and continue watching for more great tips from Stacy and Clinton."

This could also be an argument for creative working closely with media. Just something to chew on...

Image via asa.org.


Jannie "Funster" said...

Congrats on your masters degree, that's really something!

Ben Kunz said...

Nice to have your blog back :)

The little impression experiment you read about is pretty silly. The reason, of course, is that most "impressions" are fiction. MRI studies have shown that most people have a range of attentiveness when hearing or viewing media, so 100 GRPs is not really that, and a $10 CPM that makes 1,000 impressions may in reality only reach 50 people.

So effective media planning, as you rightly suggest, coordinates impressions so they build upon each other. 1,000 impressions split among HGTV, Lifetime and TLC are hitting the same female audience with repeat frequency in a concerted effort to break through the "unlistening" ... and that is much more effective than 1,000 impressions scattered to the wind that reach the same demo.

Saying media planning doesn't work is like saying most advertising is NOT wasted, and we all know that is not the case. Anyone can spend on media. But they need smart media planners, such as yourself, to make that money turn in to people hearing the message.

Hey -- I'm off my soapbox! Cheers.

michelle marts said...

Thanks Jannie :)

And Ben - I agree with ya. I think it's important that planners either specify which programs or formats (in the case of radio) are part of the buy and that buyers pay attention to what they put on their schedules. There is method to our madness!

Heather said...

I had to laugh at your reference to SVU. Funny... because it's true.