Category Archives: Broadcast

How to get the best from DRTV

Published / by Simon Foster

Many advertisers are returning to Direct Response Television (DRTV). Whilst the goal today is to maximise web response as opposed to phone response, many of the rules of traditional DRTV remain constant. Here’s a summary of how to get the best from Direct Response TV:

  1. Remember all DRTV begins with the offer. Whilst issues around DRTV performance are often seen as “creative” or “media” we need to remember that the proposition to consumers is key to DRTV success. If you are offering free Ferraris you will not need to think in terms of creative or media optimisation. The offer will work. Equally, if you are offering a poorly differentiated product or service, you will find it difficult to sell. Your problems will be exacerbated further if you are in a mature market packed with established offers.  So ask yourself the “so-what” question against every line of copy. If you wouldn’t buy it, no-one else will.
  2. Develop compelling DRTV creative. DRTV seeks behavioural change, and consumers need to be given good reasons to stop what they’re doing and do something else. You need to talk in terms of meaningful benefits. There are certain category rules that are helpful. If you’re selling a financial product don’t use jokes. For most people, talking about their hard-earned money is not a funny business. Concentrate on explaining what the product is different, what it offers that is new and why your target audience should find out more.
  3. Be careful with emotional sales messages. Most mainstream advertising seeks to build emotional connections between people and brands. For many brands this is the right approach, but if you want to sell off the screen, stick to promoting the benefits that make you different and giving good reasons to buy.
  4. Make sure the creative identifies your target audience. Everyone watches broadcast media. The trick to making DRTV work is to create a sense of identification between you and your target audience. Show people and situations that your target audience will identify with. Create the impression that your target audience belongs in the ad.
  5. Understand the economics of broadcast media. TV companies use every possible device to maximise the yield on the audience they are selling. Yield is the revenue generated by advertising over the cost of attracting that audience i.e. producing or buying the programming.  High quality peak programming is expensive to produce or buy. More people are at home available to view during peak viewing times (5pm to 11pm) so audiences are higher. So TV companies put their highest cost, highest quality programming into the times of day when most people are available to view.  Moreover, ad agencies want high reach, so there is high demand for high quality, high audience programming. All this makes peak airtime expensive both in terms of unit cost and capital cost. The premiums embedded in peak mean it sells at rates that rarely work for DRTV advertisers. But off-peak airtime is an entirely different matter….
  6. Unlock the benefits of off-peak airtime. Everybody watches off-peak TV; young, middle-age, old, affluent, less well off, single, married, students, working people and those who’re retired. People take holidays and have days off. But most importantly, the homemaker watches daytime TV and the homemaker is often the person who researches and makes financial plans.  Daytime can be ideal for reaching family decision makers. Daytime can be ideal for reaching students and it can be ideal for reaching affluent grey markets. Off-peak is the place to test your product in DRTV.
  7. Test, measure and learn. DRTV is direct response marketing and the lifeblood of direct response is quantified planning and control. Using BARB data it is possible to match minute by minute audience data with your minute by minute click traffic. This allows advertisers to build a response database which matches TV audience with web response. Each spot can be defined by a number of planning variables that can be controlled: day of week, time of day, channel, proximity to previous spot, length of spot and creative execution. All these factors can be combined and used to optimise future DRTV media buys.

What is a TVR?

Published / by Simon Foster

This is a question that many marketers don’t want to ask, especially when they are halfway through the agency’s TV presentation. The trouble is, the agency team have been talking about TVRs for about 20 minutes, the coffee’s gone cold and you daren’t chip in to ask “exactly what is a TVR?”

Put very simply a TVR is a TV Rating point and it means a given percentage of a base population watching a TV programme where that base is defined as 1) a given target audience in 2) a given TV region or area.  What’s important here is that because we are talking percentages the bases from which those percentages are taken can change, and this can mean huge differences in the volumes of audience actually seeing an ad. Let’s look at some examples of the effect of different base criteria when establishing TVRs.

If a TV spot runs across the UK TV network and delivers 1 Adult Network TVR how many people will see that spot? The base criteria here are 1 TVR, meaning 1% of a) the UK TV Network and b) the adult demographic population base. If there are 49 million adults in the UK i.e. across the whole UK TV network, then 1 Network Adult TVR is 1% of 49 million. That’s 490,000 Adults.

But we could also have 1 Adult TVR in the London ITV region; these are very different base criteria.  If there are 9.5m adults in London then 1 Adult TVR in London would be 1% of 9.5m – that’s 95,000. So we can already see that 1 Adult Network TVR equates to more than 5 times the audience volume of 1 Adult London TVR. Remember 1 TVR against one set of base criteria is not the same as 1 TVR against another set of base crieria. In other words, not all TVRs are equal.

Then we can look at different audiences. The UK media industry breaks audience down from all Adults 16+ into a number of sub-groups refined by age and socio economic group so we might have ABC1 Adults or Men aged 25-44 or ABC1 Women or Women aged 25-54. Each of these sub-groups (sometimes called “demos”) has a different size of population base.

So, for example we might look at a programme that delivers 1 ABC1 Adult Network TVR. As there are 26.7m ABC1 Adults in the UK network area then 1 ABC1 Adult Network TVR equates to 267,000 ABC1 Adults.  If there are 5.8m ABC1 Adults in London, the 1 ABC1 Adult London TVR would equate to an audience of 58,000 ABC1 Adults.

We need to remember that when we measure a sub-group, we are only measuring audience in that sub-group. So, whilst a programme may deliver 58,000 ABC1 Adults, it could still deliver 100,000 Adults in total. 100,000 Adult viewers in London would mean the programme had an Adult London TVR of 100,000 / 9.5m – that’s 1.05 Adult London TVRs.

TVRs are important because they are used to populate models which estimate the coverage and frequency effects of an advertising campaign. As TVRs build so do coverage and frequency. More on that in later posts…

2011 marketing predictions: The death of mass marketing has been greatly exaggerated

Published / by Simon Foster

No doubt there will be many a New Year marketing prediction over the next few days.  The most common theme is likely to be that mass marketing will decline and be replaced by new and emerging channels and techniques. This year, I’m not going to make any such prediction. This year I’m standing in defence of mass marketing and mass media. I predict that mass marketing as a concept will be as strong this time next year as it is now.  I predict that marketing’s big beasts, the jumbo jets, supertankers and super-trucks of marketing otherwise known as TV, print and outdoor will not die in 2011 nor any time soon.  This year I’m flying the flag for the future of traditional mass marketing and the media channels that enable it.  Why? Because I think mass marketing has been tied down by too many critics for too long. Here then is my defence of mass marketing:

  1. Critics of mass marketing argue that it can’t work because it’s so “expensive”. This has to be a flawed argument. How can something not work simply because it is expensive? Things don’t fail because they’re expensive.  In fact, things that are expensive are, in my experience, likely to be of better quality and deliver a better experience. Yes, mass marketing is expensive from a capital perspective, but that’s because it delivers mass audiences – usually millions of consumers several times over in a campaign – at a very low unit cost. In other words, mass marketing delivers mass value. Here’s an example: If you are buying TV audience at £5 per thousand reaching 20m viewers five times then yes, it is going to cost £500,000  – but you will have delivered your message to a huge chunk of the UK population in a medium that builds brand credibility like no other.  The issue is not simply the overall cost of the activity, but whether or not the activity is delivering the brand or sales shifts required.  Unfortunately, not many of mass marketing’s critics understand how this type of value works. How many of these critics have examined the cost structures of mass marketing channels like TV and print?  How many of them know that it costs a tiny fraction of 1p to reach a consumer for 30 seconds on TV? How many of them realise that TV can be less expensive on a unit of audience basis than many online display, search or affiliate channels?
  2. Critics of mass marketing argue that it can’t work because it is “wasteful”. “It’s not targeted” the critics complain, “it reaches people who are not in your target audience” or “you are buying wastage”. But do they realise that the whole point of mass marketing is to sell products that large segments of the population want to buy? Food, drinks, home appliances, cars, computers, toys, mobile phones, holidays, credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages, furniture and so on. Mass marketing isn’t wasteful when used with products that almost everyone might want to buy in the near future.
  3. Some critics of mass marketing argue that it simply “doesn’t work”. But how many of these critics have pored over the results of the many tests, research projects, case studies and evaluation papers designed to quantify the sales effect of mass media? How many have studied the works of marketing academics and thought-leaders like Simon Broadbent, John Phillip Jones, Byron Sharp, Erwin Ephron, Giep Franzen or Colin MacDonald? How many of them understand the relationship between a £500k TV adspend and a 10% category share gain? Here’s an example. If a brand has a 10% share of a £200m category its share is worth £20m. If a mass media campaign costing £500k helps the brand increase share by 10% from £20m to £22m, then the adpsend of £500k has secured £2m in sales.
  4. Of course if points 1-3 fail to help you win the argument, you might want to ask one of mass marketing’s critics which brands they consume in different categories. Do they drink an unknown brand of soft drink, use an unknown make of PC, contract with a mobile phone network no-one has ever heard of or fly on that airline whose name no-one can remember?  No, they drink Coca-Cola, they use Apple, Dell or IBM, they make phone calls through O2, Orange and Vodafone and they fly BA, BMI, EasyJet or Virgin.  If these critics use a well known brand at least some of the time then somewhere along the way, mass marketing has done its job.
  5. If point 4 doesn’t work, you could invite a critic of mass marketing to tell Simon Cowell that TV and newspapers aren’t effective communication vehicles and see what he says. You might need to stand well back.

And finally, earlier this month the Advertising Association/Warc reported that UK advertising enjoyed its best year since 2004.  “In Q3 TV, out of home and internet were the top performers posting growth of 15.8%, 12.4% and 11% respectively. Direct mail posted a 7% rise, its first growth since Q1 2006″.Although the base was low in 2009 and the future remains “clouded by economic factors”, UK advertising expenditure is expected to increase by 2.3% in 2011.

Not quite dead yet then…. Here’s to a successful year for the big beasts of marketing in 2011.