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GRATIS: Free Advertising Advice to One and All. [And It’s Really Good Too!]

Why Buying Media Is Like My Mom’s ‘76 Sock Purchase

“We have an agency promising to reduce the cost of our current Broadcast Media by 15-25%- how?”
A question from TSJ, Triad NC

One word. Rotators. Vertical and horizontal broad rotators are cheaper than buying a specific spot in a specific timeslot. Vertical rotation runs throughout the day – say 6 a.m. to 12 midnight. Horizontal rotation runs weekly. A Broad rotator runs at a very low rate in a specific day, daypart, or as a bonus spot. They are great- but cannot be relied upon as more than 25% of your schedule.

It sounds like this agency is selling you on their ability to get the cheapest rates and negotiating the lowest “cost-per-point” as their measure of a successful media buy. CPP is important but so are ratings regarding your real buyers. Rotator-only schedules work to a degree for stores like Target, Wal-Mart, businesses that sell a bit of everything and have 500 thousand to Millions to spend monthly. Even these stores know to buy specific timeslots though for specific products/genders/ etc.

If if you sell cars, trucks, vans and SUV’s; banking services, fine art etc., you are looking for a specific target audience per brand, per model, per banking service, per print or price point for an original painting. What really matters is reaching this more precise person with your message – and rotators simply do not do this effectively. [This week I saw a local Ford Truck ad running during “The Real Housewives of Atlanta’. Unless this was a freebie it was a sad waste of money.]

I think of it like this: I remember my wonderful Mother buying a huge bag of socks from a store called Towel Town in Lexington, NC when we were kids. It looked like a great deal- extremely cheap and there were several kid’s sizes for my brother and me…. But some had holes, a few of the bands of color didn’t quite match up, some matched but had more tiny stripes than others, and still other socks were stretched out at just the one toe. Weird… But we ended up with maybe 18 wearable pairs out of 200 socks. [Now that I write this it sounds like a David Sedaris diary entry - though I don’t think there was a Towel Town in Raleigh...]

Point is- if my client is paying for 100 ads, I’d better see 100 correctly-targeted audiences these ads are hitting when I see the schedule. Not 18 out of 100. And Mom decided to buy Hanes. You really do get what you pay for.

Westokes Advertising buys a combination of rotators [that we have thrown in for 68 cents to $5 - and most rotators are added for free to our schedules because stations know we know rotator spots do not run if another buyer is willing to pay a few cents more for that timeslot] along with specific programming, to achieve the reach and frequency we know from experience works best for our clients. It takes strategic thinking, planning and true knowledge of our client’s target audience or multiple audiences- to spell success. This makes a rotator-only schedule, regardless of price — too expensive.

Unless, of course- we find a client who wants to sell everything to everyone at any price.

On that point, we’ll keep you posted.

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