We sell our services to a very wide variety of clients who vary greatly in age, economic status and location – we’ve been advised that external media would suit but need to maximise our limited marketing budget?
Ask Silver Bullet: August 2016
This goes straight to the heart of marketing – how to maximise your Return on Investment (RoI) given that you have already identified your clients and profiled them, albeit in very broad terms, so that we’re now left with what message can you send them and how?
External media certainly does have some inherent advantages with the foremost being that it is there 24/7, unlike broadcast, or printed media which probably explains why it’s used by the vast majority of top advertisers. The average person now spends some 70% of their time outside the home where they are receptive to a wide variety of media whether this be billboards, bus and rail media, street furniture, taxis or other media. When it’s also remembered that outdoor accounts for only 10% of total media spend nationally, there is evidence of a powerful conversion to success rate.
Outdoor advertising is not only highly visible by its very nature but can also be placed exactly where you decide – a busy Metro platform or bus shelter, for example, is a perfect place where your potential customers are unable to avoid repeatedly seeing your advertisement whilst roadside poster sites will also be seen by the same people that travel that route every day.
Outdoor advertising is also much more affordable and cost-effective than generally perceived – just because it’s used to launch the latest Hollywood blockbusters nationwide, doesn’t mean it can’t be used on a regional scale with smaller budgets. But, and it’s sometimes a big but, the initial production fee for traditional media can be considerable and becomes more affordable if the media is taken for a reasonable period.
Here in the North East we have a wide variety of outdoor media which includes the bus and Metro networks, numerous printed billboard sites, some very high profile digital sites (Northumberland Street, Central Motorway and Pilgrim Street in Newcastle alone, for example), pitchside hoardings, waste bins and other street furniture and some of the first building wraps which have showcased some superb creative ideas.
Whilst the relatively high production costs of traditional outdoor media meant it was usually only considered for long term brand awareness campaigns, new technology, particularly digital sites are rewriting the rules here – consider, for example, the effectiveness of the Sport Direct ‘flash sale’ offers on digital hoardings at St James Park when matches were globally broadcast last season sending specific messages via Sky TV to a huge audience. Moreover these messages can easily be changed, whereas a fully wrapped bus, for example, is a far longer term project with the production costs meaning this should only really be considered for a long term campaign.
Innovation is crucial to outdoor media with brands now able to create stunning installations that have become viral events in their own right from scent squirting billboards for Estee Lauder to augmented reality bus shelters for Pepsi and motion and weather sensitive billboards for McDonalds and French clothing retailer, La Redoute. Your own company may well have a more modest budget but the lesson of creativity in everything you put out shouldn’t be ignored.
Of course outdoor media has its limitations like any other platform but its very diversity in both location and type means that there will be a platform that will reach your particular audience, but I personally believe it works far more effectively if it can be combined into an integrated campaign that combines other platforms, particularly PR and digital media.
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