Getting Real About News Marketing Effectiveness

By Graeme Newell 

In last week’s article I wrote about the importance of focus and repetition when filling out the marketing logs each day. The past decade has seen dramatic drops in both the reach and frequency of advertising messages available to station marketing. In these days of tight budgets, marketing schedules have been cut to the bone. Despite this, most stations still market a vast number of different products. The amount of content promoted has vastly expanded in the past few years: new web products, increased sales marketing messaging, mobile platforms, new digital channel programming, and expanded news programming.

The double whammy comes when you look at the total number of available GRPs. Falling broadcast station ratings mean that on-air promo schedules often have HALF the GRPs they had just a decade ago. Add in the increase in ad clutter, DVRs and new media alternatives, and you see the need for a reality check on effective reach and frequency rates.

In order for advertising to break through into a customer’s consciousness, it requires a specific number of exposures. No matter how urgent your priorities, or how many projects on your plate, this doesn’t change. This is an unbreakable rule that has been true for decades.

To get an idea of what’s realistic for your station, take a look at the comments from one of the most trusted advertising researchers:

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offered.

Thomas Smith wrote these lines in his book called “Successful Advertising” — in 1885. It is still widely quoted today.

Only by trimming the herd can your flock stay strong. There just isn’t enough food anymore. Don’t be distracted by all the shiny new products that come down the pike. Choose your priorities, market them hard, and mercilessly shed anything that will distract you from your most important goal.

Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at gnewell@602commu