It’s an adage we use a lot in the advertising industry, and for
good reason. No matter how convoluted modern marketing strategies may seem,
advertising success continues to follow a relatively simple equation:
Audience x frequency x message = results
Figure out who you need to reach, how many times, and with what message (creative) and you have a proven formula for advertising success.
No part of the equation is more valuable than another. All factors are equal parts to credit (or to blame) for any profitable advertising strategy.
In this article, we will concentrate on the first two factors: audience and frequency.
There’s no doubt that digital advertising has opened up a whole new level of audience targeting. Instead of throwing your message at a wall and hoping it sticks with the right people, you can now only reach the people most likely to use your product or service, thanks to a few algorithms and a lot of big data.
Nothing beats digital when it comes to targeting. Want to reach Mustang fans in one ZIP Code between 5-10 pm on weeknights? Done.
But, it will cost you.
Because media outlets know the value of targeting, too. And data, the workhorse of behavioral targeting, is now a commodity. As behavioral marketing has gained mainstream popularity, the real estate has become convoluted. There is only so much space on a screen, an even harsher truth when buying mobile placements, and audiences often see more than a dozen ads each click.
So, we offer some simple words of advice as you navigate the dynamic world of marketing strategy: Your audience is not a trend.
Think past the medium, and meet your audience where they are… regardless of trends. If your audience loves the look and feel of the printed page, meet them there. If your audience loves the interactivity and instant gratification of digital mediums, meet them there. Don’t try to define your audience with your advertising; define your advertising with your audience.
After you identify your audience, it’s important to identify the next factor: Frequency. Metrics and frequency are often the hardest part of advertising strategy for business owners to understand and utilize.
You know your audience, because it’s your customer base. You know your message, because, well, it’s your business. But do you know the optimal number of times your ad should run before you’re wasting budget?
There is a point of diminishing returns in advertising. Running an ad four times during prime time on the same station is not only foolish, it’s a non-efficient use of your marketing budget.
The same mantra applies to any medium, whether print, digital or broadcast.
When possible, target content that applies to your product/service. Place ads in print issues that have articles pertaining to your brand.
On the digital side, this is easy: Google AdWords campaigns are an easy and effective way to behaviorally market your audience. Google and its network partners allow your ads to “Follow” users that search for a keyword you have selected for up to 90 days (or until the user clears their cache).
Understanding frequency is difficult, time-consuming, and oftentimes the top reason companies hire ad agencies. Trained media buyers are versed in the nuances of placement strategy, plain and simple. They are paid to follow trends and crunch the numbers to make sure rates match distribution.
They have the knowledge and experience to take the guesswork out of your next marketing strategy. And what could be simpler than that?