Egelhoff (2006)

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Media buying basics

Getting the best buys for the buck
By Tom Egelhoff
If you have a big marketing budget and/or you live in a larger city, you may have an advertising agency that will take care of media planning and buying for you. But if you’re a smaller store and/or do business in a small town, you’ll probably have to do it yourself. And even if you work with an agency or media buyer, you need to walk in armed with your own goals and objectives. You also need to be able to oversee what they’re doing with some intelligence, so a grounding in the basics is always a good idea.

14 SleepSavvy • May/June 2006

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urniture and bedding retailers are tempted to advertise in all available media – after all, everybody needs furniture and mattresses. But small businesses can seldom afford saturation advertising. You must be selective in the media that reaches your customers. So first figure out exactly who your target market is. You’ll want to be noticed by the largest segment of your target market with the limited dollars you have. Decide on your media objectives. For example: My ads should reach at least 75% of my primary target market an average of 20 times a week and at least 50% of my secondary market an average of twice a week. Once you know what you want your advertising to accomplish, you can start to make specific media decisions. Here are the steps I recommend: ● List and review as many possibilities as you can for reaching your target audience. Don’t be concerned about cost at this point; you want a list of as many ways to reach your market as possible. One of the best ways of finding out where your customers get their information is to ask them. Most people enjoy talking about themselves. They don’t need to know you’re doing research. Have them fill out a Satisfaction Report Card. ● Get a media kit from each potential medium and study it. A media kit will have all of the necessary information about the readers or audience. It should contain the demographic information you need to match your target customers. How do you know the numbers are accurate? Each media uses independent outside sources to conduct audits. For TV, it’s the Arbitron and A.C. Nielson. Magazines use Business/Professional Advertising Association (BPA). Newspapers use the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). ● Form relationships with your advertising sales reps. These are the people who have the greatest influence as to where your ad may be placed or when it’s aired. In small towns, the sales rep may also be the general manager at the radio or

TV station. They can help you; make friends with them and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Although most reps are paid on commission and are always trying to sell you more than you may need, they can often provide special deals and promos that may cut costs. ● Assess the frequency and exposure you’ll need. Ads in the daily newspaper often end up on the bottom of the bird cage before the day is done. Conversely, people tend to hang on to magazines that are devoted to their interests and the ad stays around a little longer. So advertising in a daily newspaper requires higher frequency. Above all, be consistent. Placing an ad three times in the same media in the same place has a much better chance of being noticed than the same ad once or twice. Six to nine times and things can really get exciting. Many marketing books will tell you that running an ad too many times in the same place will lose impact. I disagree with this thinking, because as a society we are constantly on the move and we dismiss many of the thousands of daily messages that bombard us. As long as your ad is producing customers, let it run. ● Evaluate the costs of each advertising option. Advertising costs are going to vary depending on where you live and the competition. The way sales reps typically look at the cost of advertising is the good old price per 1,000 listeners/ viewers (“CPM”). Your interest should be in the cost...
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