This past week several people in my sample of sales people, broadcast and cable media management, and agency media departments mentioned the same issue to me. They said, in essence, that as the economy has weakened, advertisers are getting increasingly noisy about needing value added extensions to media buys.
The value added takes all forms from complicated promotions to as little as a billboard leading in to the sports news or the weather update. Do they work? Usually they do not hurt but their utility certainly varies.
Radio stations have historically had to do frequent promotions and, as a general rule, are far better at them than TV stations. Also, they have more flexibility with their air time than their TV and cable competitors.
Advertisers are also forgetting than TV and cable enterprises have been effected by this recession too and have cut back staff, sometimes significantly.
So, what should advertisers do? It seems pretty obvious to me. Negotiate hard for price. People need your money now more than ever. And, ask for bonus spots and ask again. With domestic auto spending at historic lows and other categories savaged as well, there is inventory available to reward current advertisers. They can execute it--little staff time is involved to drop in some no charge units. In a previous post, I mentioned that DVR penetration and channel surfing is hurting TV's effectiveness. While this is true, someone will see your bonus spots.
A clever boxer does not need a knockout punch. You can win by pouring on the points with the ultimate value added tool--no charge units. Play to the current weakness of the broadcast and cable marketplace and save your promotional energy and that of the media for better times.
For the moment, our suggestion is to hop off the value added express.
If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, he can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org