Tag Archives: understanding media

Keeping Advertising yearly commitment in check

I wrote this post for the company I work for – MMT – it is also posted on their blog

Every year in June we hear about the Upfront market in the US, and this COVID year, particularly as it, could not happen in its normal sense. But the other markets or media are not exempt from this seasonal exercise: the negotiation of yearly advertising is a global practice of the industry and exists for all media. Let’s clarify what these are, who they benefit, and why it can make sense. 

What are media yearly commitments? 

The idea behind yearly media commitment is for advertisers and agencies to commit to a level of spend for the year with a specific partner. Long term plan of media investment is signed as a contract with publishing houses, tv channels, web giants, and so forth. The contract is binding and disengaging has consequences – usually financial – to guarantee respect for the conditions: spend per quarters, level of visibility, etc. 

What are the benefits of yearly commitments? 

An essential reason for commitment is visibility: it keeps publishers able to provide the quality content that brings the quality audience to tune in. 

In return for their engagement, advertisers benefit from:

  • Discounts: promising funds offer great discounts rates on top of agency ones. 
  • Beat yoy inflation: As part of the discount, there is also the engagement of not applying year on year inflations. Long term partnerships have led to some advertisers having discount rates off the charts. 
  • Visibility: it guarantees the impressions and can also include the placement quality 
  • Mention: it is the unofficial part of the deal where editors accept to mention or not mention brands as part of their “support” to the publishing house. It is very important in the fashion industry in the female magazine industry
  • Access to data: Data from WG are so scarce that advertisers are trading data as part of the commitment: “tell me who are interested in my product and I engage more”. 
  • Free services: As part of the package, Publishing houses can offer a strategic recommendation, community management, content production, insight, and so on. 

The goal is to secure as much budget as possible from the advertisers and new revenue streams for the teams

What are the cons of committing?

Advertisers are legally bound: they actually have to spend! You are committed to an entire year; so change of market – like 2020 –  requires a lot of negotiations to maintain flexibility, goodwill, and rates. That requires a lot of creativity in the way of building the right balance between benefits and engagements

There is no reason for any publishers to not try to help you remain competitive and accept to modify when commitments cannot be met. But this requires an investment in resource and time, strong negotiation skills, and grit!

Which type of clients are recommended to engage in yearly commitment? 

Any advertisers investing over 300,000€ on a single partner may consider negotiating extras by committing their budget. Obviously, this commitment makes sense when there is a clear correlation between advertising and sales volumes / ROAS and financial flexibility is not in discussion.

Also, when premium visibility/positioning is a priority and guaranteeing presence around key events, long lead time helps to secure these spaces. 

Finally, when budget performance is your priority, it can push the needle an extra bit for ROI results. 

How does it work in practice? 

As a newcomer, you benefit from new business negotiation rates/agency rates if you use one. Generally, major advertising investors (two digits million euros) are organizing these sessions to gain the benefits mentioned above. 

German market negotiations kick in in October for all media publishing houses, OOH, audio, walled gardens and so… The objective is for everyone to maintain a form of visibility on a base level of investments. Obviously, advertisers do not have to engage all budgets in commitments, they can decide to keep some “buffer” for last-minute deals.

Right message at the right time – why is timing important ?

« there is a time and a place » for everything …

Over the last two months we mentioned the evolution of media and the importance of the message to be heard in a fragmented space. We now need to approach another important point of communications. Timing !

The Status quo is simple : No one can live without habits or our brain would be overloaded with permanent choices to make, a study says that we make 35,000 decisions per day that we need to prioritise. Everyone builds habits, patterns they follow in their daily routine, and that includes the media they trust to provide information and news.

When talking business and time together, we all have in mind « time is money » about the financial trade in general. It is not completely excluded of Communications as well, we can define for reasons for which time as to be taken into account for any marketing plans:

The objective of your communication influences its timing:

When one knows that the actions led by a communication will take a long time and will require planning to execute (for instance offline sales vs. online phone based registration), it is essential to understand the best timing for your clients to act – for exemple catch them on the way to the shop on the radio, with a SMS in front of the shop, or online when they search for ideas.

Modern platforms offer opportunity to adapt the message to the time of the day and the context

TV has always offered day-part copy rotation, digital communications increased a great level of flexibility including contextual adaptation. Morning advertising for a restaurant can push breakfast menu where evening could present today’s dinner special’s adapted to the type of audience.

Communicating all the time is expensive, observing right timing create efficiencies.

If your business have opening hours and your communications objectives if for people to call you, you may consider advertising during your opening hours only, or change your company client support system to adapt to the marketing campaign.

Catch your audience at the right moment for them to be open to receive the message.

Attention span is shorter, people are over exposed with thousands messages a day. It is necessary to cut through the clutter, but with what? If you have bigs bucks, the sprinkler approach works : you communicated all the time, which reach in mind to guarantee high repetition. If you do not have big bucks : choose your moment.
There is a space in which your place can be found in the routine, which would instil the message your company wish to pass.

Need any help to create efficiencies in your marketing plan?
Get in touch.

Stay tuned and do not hesitate to request more details.

What is Media vs Message ?

After a conversation on communications strategy with one of my clients, I realised it is not generally clear to businesses what the pillars of communications – media and advertising – are.

These are two distinct but intertwined elements that we are going to discuss over the next few posts covering:

  1. What is media vs. message ?
  2. The right message at the right time – what is the right message?
  3. The right message at the right time – when is the right time?

Just to clarify – let’s start with definitions :

‘Medium’ (singular of media) is the vehicle through which information is transmitted.

Any type of vehicles that carry information can be considered media that can influence our view of the world: publisher platforms, social media, word-of-mouth, goodies, branded content, sponsoring, endorsement, influencer program, video games… The number of media vehicles available not only have increased but their « quality » -or trustworthiness- vary greatly.

Graph of the evolution of media offer – based on a Perspective graph edited by Carat in 2008

Where ‘Message’ is the content that is transmitted.

Messages can take the form of news, educational content, stories, anecdotes, satires, propaganda, advertising, and so on…

What are the characteristics of Media?

  • Shelf-life: Each medium has a length of time impact: where an outdoor poster can stay up for a month to be seen 60 times by commuters. A social media post would have a few hours – if not minutes – of impact to be seen once by an audience.
  • Memorizing stickiness: Each vehicule needs a number of repetition before the message sticks, where 75% of cinema goers remember an ad in one shot, TV needs of 3 to 4 to reach the same.
  • Engagement: Each vehicle can instil specific action or response; like create curiosity, provoque a reaction, searching about a product, participating into a poll, keeping an information top of mind for a few hours, or just build trust.
  • Image: Each vehicle has a perceived image by the public: trustworthy, statutory, specialised, entertaining, the choice of media and so on..
  • Reach: Each medium has a particular capacity to reach an audience over a limited period on time.
  • Message complexity: Each vehicle carries a specific depth of details: where print permits long explanations, display ads allow only short headlines.

The combination of these characteristics plus the study of the audience to address is the basis for the media strategist to advise on the best vehicle to use for a specific communication objective.

Nowadays – with the fragmentation of media channels – it is sensible to involve the media agency into the creative process to ensure that the message is related in the relevant way for the environment.

This will be the topic in our next post, stay tuned.