Continuing its mission to bring international marketing expertise to South Africa, SPARK Media recently hosted a seminar with keynote speaker Dr Virginia Beal of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing, who explored how brands can effectively make media strategy work for their growth.
Media helps in getting a brand’s advertising in-front of consumers. “Advertising works by connecting with the human brain, through memory, refreshing and occasionally building memory structures,” Beal explained.
She touched on four areas of marketing during her presentation: who to target, when to target consumers, where to reach them, and how to engage with them.
Mass reach is critical
On the ‘who to target’ front, Beal said it was essentially all category buyers in the category your brand operates in.
Other factors do need to be considered, including geographic reach, but forget about targeting a consumer group with specific characteristics, everyone is fair game, she said.
The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute’s research showed that the majority of category buyers are light buyers (Negative Binomial Distribution), and brand buying follows the same pattern (as they have polygamous loyalty to brands). This is critical, because light buyers should be focused on (for maintaining brand size in the market and helping it to grow), while focusing on heavy buyers don’t make much difference to sales.
Concluding this section, Beal stated, “Short-term activations are useful nudging mechanisms that work best on those who have already noticed your brand.”
A continuous presence through spreading out advertising
Brands need to reach consumers with recency, continuity and maximising unique reach.
“You want to aim as close as possible to where the point of purchase is going to occur … We talk about this idea of being there to catching or to be in-front of as many purchase occasions as possible. The best way to do that is to create a continuous presence with advertising,” Beal advised.
Spacing out adverts helped reach light media users more, led to higher recall, and brought brands to the forefront of consumers’ minds again, as brand purchase propensities faded over time.
Tactics to increase media reach with your spend
1. Stretch out the campaign: twice as many weeks; half weekly weight
3. Cross channel advertising (use all big channels)
4. Continuity across days of the week
5. Continuity across day-parts
Choosing the right media platform
In terms of picking the right media types to showcase your adverts and your brand, Beal cautioned that “there is no one size fits all, easy answer, but there are fundamentals to keep in mind”.
The Double Jeopardy Law of Brand Buying (which states that the lower market share brands in a market have leads to both far fewer buyers in a time period and also lower brand loyalty) also applies to media type and brand advertising. Bigger media types (large reach media) reach out to more people and interact with them more frequently, as opposed to smaller media types, meaning these are used more frequently for brand advertising.
Choose a big reach media platform as your primary one and then use additional media to increase the cumulative reach. Aside from looking at the media types, also take the time to explore the audience quality and the characteristics that they possess. All audiences are not equal. Size is not everything, quality also matters.
“There’s huge variation in people’s beliefs around conversation rates from opportunity to see (OTS) to exposure across different media types. We do see that online has a lower belief in terms of its conversion as opposed to the more traditional media platforms,” Beal explained.
She revealed several factors that brands needed to take into consideration when picking a media type:
1. How much it costs and how OTS is measured and what metrics are used
2. The environment around the media type and the prominence of the advert in it
3. What devices people will be consuming the advert on
4. The avoidance behaviours are occurring in the environment
Any spend is only as good as the effect!
“Spending a lot on your media can be like having a huge expensive party that nobody comes to. What you put out on the media type is critical,” Beal stressed.
She advised that brands need well-branded adverts that contain distinctive assets, creative advertising that grabs attention, creates an emotional response and ties in with consumers’ memory structures, and advertising that is easy for light buyers.
She recommends that a brand creates fewer, quality adverts, rather than a large number of average quality ones.