Recovery channel

John Hooper, director general of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers

The marketing of ITV is an enviable task. A task that should be entrusted to a senior experienced marketer who would relish having a brand with 95 per cent household penetration, regular weekly patronage of 90 per cent of the population and which is free.

After all, the stakes may be high but the rewards for success are substantial.

That said, to propose a marketing strategy for any brand, without full knowledge of the facts, is foolhardy, so this particular angel treads warily.

Firstly, since there can be no plan without a strategy and no strategy without an objective, ITV needs a clear, measurable factually-based objective, which is understood by its customers who are advertisers and their agencies.

Proposed objective: To regain and retain a minimum 44 per cent share of all terrestrial viewing.

Proposed strategy: target programming to steal audience share from the BBC, to make ITV the channel of first choice among viewers.

Promote the ITV brand to the public, but accept that the key to audience growth is programmes and that viewers are likely to be programme, not channel, loyal. If the programmes do not deliver anticipated involvement or entertainment, active marketing will not help.

Develop, through research, detailed factual knowledge of the viewer (the consumer) and in particular the core target market – medium, light and floating viewers – and then target programmes to persuade them to watch more and become brand loyal. Focus on selling “event” programmes as trial-gaining opportunities.

Agree to a significant marketing budget that is seen as an investment, not a cost, and that will allow an on-going, brand-building marketing programme.

Broaden non-user reach by consistent and effective use of non-TV media and consumer promotions in conjunction with carefully targeted on-air promotion. Use the regional structure to market test variants of spend levels and media mix.

While placing primary and dominant emphasis on building audience, market the marketing programme to customers – advertisers and their agencies.

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