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Why Aren’t More General Advertisers Applying Proven DR Principles?

By Hank Cohen on July 7, 2016

We’ve all heard the adage that half of advertising money goes to waste – but we don’t know which half. General advertisers seeking effective brand advertising have long struggled with the disconnect between their efforts and bottom-line results.

Enter brand response – an innovative, powerful blend of the principals of brand and direct response strategies.

The Chasm Between Brand Advertising and Direct Response

The historical broadcast planning and buying model coupled with industry guidelines have forced general advertisers to make a distinction between implementing a brand or direct response advertising strategy. The more conservative and traditional view goes something like this:

Brand Advertisers must air the majority of their commercials in high-quality broadcast environments that build awareness, stoke prospects’ needs, with the ultimate goal of motivating them to purchase. This is a premium cost strategy that cannot generally be tied directly back to the cost of the sale.

Direct response broadcast strategies have been seen as only being able to buy low quality airtime that’s highly pre-emptible and yields a much smaller audience. Commercials only air in programming and on networks that brand/general advertisers don’t want to be associated with. The advantages to this strategy are that it is known to have a cost structure that can provide up to 60% lower rates, it provides daily optimization to Return on Investment, and offers 3 day cancelation options.

Quite frankly, direct response media strategies are seen as the wrong side of town for prestigious brands.

But powerful new analytical tools are collapsing these distinctions…fast!

You Can Have the Best of Both Worlds – Brand Response

In a Brand Response strategy the advertiser blends the best of both worlds for the ultimate win. Precise targeting is used to select the programming/content that will reach the best prospects and their look-alikes. Advertisers purchase this inventory on network and cable television with general rates and have minimal preemption. The advertiser also uses this targeting to purchase specific cable networks but utilizes daypart rotators with direct response rates (60% lower than general rates). In order to compensate for pre-emption, an overbuying strategy is used which takes into account market place conditions and additional inventory is booked to make up for anticipated losses.

A general advertiser qualifies for direct response rates if they have a URL within the commercial content, which is common practice today. For this strategy to be effective, an advertiser must work with a company that has the tools to electronically monitor the media placement and clearance of the commercials on an hourly basis and be able to continually optimize the buys. General, or traditional, buyers don’t typically have the training or tools to accomplish this task. Media vendors’ sales forces are structured with a separate sales force for general rate advertisers and direct response advertisers. As this is a relationship business, it is imperative that you have strong relationships and are active with both of the networks’ sales forces.

WindStar Media® has effectively implemented this strategy for categories such as packaged goods, casual dining, retail, drive-to-site, insurance, distilled spirits, franchises, and educational disciplines, just to name a few. This strategy allows advertisers to increase their media presence at the same media spend levels while obtaining a greater ROI from their investment. Advertisers can use 120, 60, 30, 15 and 10 second commercial lengths and implementation is available on a national, regional and local basis.

Why Are General Advertisers Missing the Boat on Brand Response? It’s About Fear of Failure; Risk vs Reward.

After delivering results for clients across many categories, we continue to hear the following:

  • Advertisers think of infomercials when they hear Direct Response: Marketing executives can’t win buy-in from management who still hold the view of DR as only offering steak knives and food processors.
  • Advertisers and their agencies don’t know the real dynamics of buying DR time: The features of DR broadcast time, including inventory being pre-emptive, are key to optimizing your campaign, but most agencies don’t know how to leverage them.
  • Advertisers don’t realize the power of modern attribution: Modern advertising attribution makes it possible to understand what’s working and what’s not, even if prospects don’t act right away.

Windstar Media® has a proven track record in the development and implementation of Brand Response. In today’s fierce and competitive business world, successful companies that travel down unpaved roads to be innovative generally outsmart their competitors and win. With Brand Response, you too can achieve this! Contact Hank Cohen at WindStar Media® to learn more.

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