Media strategy is way forward for advertisers

This media strategy thing is nonsense. You’re paying twice for what you should be getting anyway.” #And that was a friend speaking. So has BT fallen for a meaningless fashion or might it have found a way of making its budget even more annoyingly noticeable?

I am positive that what it has done, in hiring New PHD as its first strategic media consultant, will soon be exploited by many other advertisers – if they can find the skills in the market. Good media strategy advice is a large dose of common sense in a media world that has become obsessed with the price of space, and oblivious to the real issue of making sure each ad works properly in delivering its message.

The real savings are to be made by not wasting money on ads that fail to reach their audience.

It’s only common sense. Do you read every one of the 130 ads in each copy of The Sunday Times? Of course not. So you shouldn’t assume your 38 x 6 is going to be noticed either.

How is your TV planned? The average viewer might see 900 ads a month, yet your campaign is probably planned at four opportunities to see against only a proportion of them.

Should you really focus on a small percentage saving or should you also concentrate on thinking how you can stand out from the other 896 TV ads your audience will see that month? The answer is so obvious it is amazing there’s any debate.

BT Business’ task is to sell complex and frightening products called ISDN and Asynchronous Transfer Modes to busy and intelligent business people who have got a million more interesting things to do than read about telecoms. Conventional media planning would analyse the media with the best conversion rates to BT’s audience and it would then ask the creative agency to find a way to help the message stand out through a strong creative idea.

Today’s ad clutter makes that too risky. It’s possible but difficult. Good media strategy actively considers the likelihood of anyone reading BT’s message for anything more than a nano-second and consequently the space bought must be designed to overcome this unwillingness to absorb the story. BT would then work as a team on media strategy liaising with the client, and the creative and media buying agencies.

It has done that with the ISDN campaign running now. It avoided buying one big space, which would have been the traditional route, and instead bought four insertions in one day’s broadsheet newspaper, with only one sentence of copy in each advertisement.

That fits with how busy people read a paper, which they skim through quickly and selectively. They will see two or three of BT’s four ads and, by the time they have focused on it, they will have absorbed the messages. This is known to work because customers are ringing and buying ISDN twice as fast as they did last summer.

The same method will be applied to how radio and TV is bought. BT will again focus on how its audience uses the medium and how to adjust the delivery of the message to make sure it gets through.

By concentrating on the audience, message delivery and on achieving objectives, the company can spend less and to greater effect, thereby saving twice. That is how to save real money on media.

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