Archive for April, 2007

Integrated, Multi-Channel Media Buying Comes of Age

Tracking the media ratio and return on investment (ROI) of a DRTV or radio campaign has always been a key aspect of the media buying process. Through all stages of a campaign, from initial focus group testing to network testing, tweaking and rollout, direct response marketers know the value of good data, analysis and careful media buying. The best marketers are those who literally “measure twice and cut once,” working closely with their media buying partner to evaluate each market and each test before signing off on a campaign.

With this kind of rigor, it is often surprising how few direct response companies analyze all of their marketing channels for overall performance. Very few execute integrated, multi-channel campaigns where the media plan includes TV, radio, online, on-demand, print and other channels in one comprehensive package.

Online and on-demand TV are often the poorest planned and least understood of the above channels, especially by traditional marketers who view new media as more of a sideshow. With the dramatic rise of Internet advertising and the disruptive promise of video-on-demand (VOD) and digital video recorders (DVRs), this mindset will have to change.

What is needed is a new approach to direct response media buying and planning that not only treats online and on-demand TV advertising as serious channels, but also provides for integrated, multi-channel planning and reporting. This solution would include media ratio and cost per action (CPA) calculations at the media category level as well as an overall performance calculation.

Media Buying Research

It’s important to work with a media buying agency that has the capability to do research that helps identify the best media vehicles to efficiently reach the target audience. There is a wide range of media research tools that can be utilized by a media buying agency, in order to develop a targeted media plan.


Experienced media buying firms often review a combination of research tools, such as competitive media schedules, Nielsen ratings and data that identifies the networks watched most by people in the target audience, who have purchased a similar product or service.


Direct response television (DRTV) media buying firms also look at their database of results from campaigns for other products in the same category. Some DRTV media buying firms utilize a combination of traditional advertising metrics, such as ratings and impressions and combine that information with DRTV measurements to create a hybrid DRTV campaign. DRTV media buying firms for direct marketers looking to both sell product and drive retail sales often develop these types of DRTV campaigns.

The Value of Branding for Media Buyers

I started my career in marketing working in brand management on the Heinz Ketchup business. Working on a brand that was a household name and that had over a 50% market share provided me with an appreciation of the value of a strong brand. In the direct response media buying industry, many marketers overlook the power of branding and the value it can create for your company.

In the direct response TV industry, the marketers that understand the power of branding seem to be the ones that are most successful and have the longest running campaigns. Brands such as Bowflex and Proactiv come to mind when I think of successful direct response brands. Having a well-known brand can dramatically increase the value of your company. Just look at Orange Glo. I’m certain the reason the Church & Dwight was willing to pay $325 million to buy Orange Glo was because of the company’s profitability and the value of the OxiClean brand.
Direct response marketing provides marketers with the opportunity to both sell and brand their products simultaneously. If you can establish your brand as the leader in the drtv marketplace, it can help differentiate your product from the competition and it makes it harder for competitors to gain market share. For example, my company works with the leading ladder product. In only a few years, that product went from nothing to the leading brand in its category and knock-off products haven’t been able to gain traction. This was accomplished through effective media buying, branding and marketing of the product.