The realistic way to view TV in your marketing mix

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

The most common measurement of the TV spot has been the number of viewers it delivers. In ancient times, when there were only three stations, this made sense. Today, that measurement no longer applies. This continued line of thinking has helped erode the standing TV once had in the marketing mix of many marketing officers and brand managers. But, in reality, all is not lost. In fact, if you view TV differently, you’ll see that it still is relevant and can have powerful influence in the social media arena.

It used to be the size of the audience was the measure. Now it’s what subset of that audience talks about their ad or product and was it a positive or negative conversation. The “myth” of the more word-of-mouth and buzz you have, the less advertising you need. An independent research study by the firm Keller Fay shows why this idea is a myth. The study included over 700 consumers every week, totaling 36,000 a year since June of 2006. Respondents were asked to take notes on conversations they had in 15 different categories over a 24-hour period. A few days after, they were called again to report what brands and companies were discussed in any of their conversations. They were able to track how many mentions and the media outlets that influenced the conversations. Here are some highlights:

• Over 7,000 brand mentions per week, 350,000 per year

CNN found that its network viewers most daily mentions was about Lexus.

• Lexus utilized both TV and web properties of CNN. This resulted in generating 4-times more mentions during conversations than marketers who only utilized one media outlet.

ESPN found that brands who advertised on its NFL and college telecasts scored consistently higher levels of word-of-mouth than those who didn’t advertise.

• The study shows were influencers are getting their content to talk about:
Advertising – 26%
Programing/editorial – 14%
Point of sale – 10%
Promotions – 8%
Web sites – 8%
Direct mail – 5%

To me, there are two main points:
1. Word-of-mouth is not a silver bullet. In fact, word-of-mouth by itself is short lived. It needs fuel to feed the fire to get it started AND to keep it going. Other marketing strategies such as advertising and web marketing feeds the buzz machine. The influencers need to get their content from somewhere. Since they don’t get paid, it’s not their “job” to promote you, so they talk about things that find them. And you can’t find them if you’re only fishing in a single pond.

2. Judge TV differently. It’s no longer about size of audience. The true effectiveness of TV is advertising on the right niche shows and provide creative and interesting content that’s worth talking about. It’s the second half where I see many marketers fall short. Their advertising is boring, unimaginative, and uninspiring. No wonder they think advertising doesn’t create buzz. It’s not worthy to be buzzed about. But, if your advertising agency can develop that core message that hits emotionally and is presented in a unique way, advertising is a very powerful tool. Combine that with the online tactics and social media, then you’ll have a message worth spreading and a brand worth talking about.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.


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