Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Media Pressured to Prove Their Ad Effectiveness

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Media Pressured to Prove Their Ad Effectiveness

Article excerpt

A HOT TOPIC nowadays in the advertising world is ad effectiveness, and media are under pressure to prove just what advertisers are getting for their money.

While it can be proven that newspaper advertising gets results, the perceptions advertisers hold about their return on investment for newspaper ads need to be addressed, a panel of newspaper executives concluded.

At the recent Newspaper Association of America's Research, Promotion and Marketing Development Conference in New York City, the panel presented studies and discussed how newspapers can compete in this area.

What Advertisers Think

Virginia Dodge Fielder, vice president, research for Knight-Ridder Inc., presented the results of a survey her company did in conjunction with Beldon Associates. The study was conducted from 1989 to 1991 to measure advertisers " perceptions of the effectiveness of newspaper advertising.

With an annual response rate of about 30%, the study included 6,000 retail and 5,500 classified accounts from all of the company's 25 newspaper markets. The top 50 advertisers, as well as a random sample of 350 advertisers from each newspaper, received a four-page questionnaire.

While the Knight-Ridder newspapers received high ratings in terms of overall satisfaction with service, advertisers gave lower ratings on how well their objectives were being met when they advertised, on the advertising and marketing information provided, on the concern of newspaper management with the needs of the advertiser customers, and the cost to advertise in the newspaper compared with the results.

"We get decent marks on what I would call the easier stuff, on answering requests in a timely fashion, in giving good information about circulation trends, readership patterns and consumer purchasing habits" Fielder said.

"Sales reps traditionally have done less well on those aspects of the job that require the most training, knowledge and skill;" she said.

Those aspects, she said, include helping the clients with advertising layout and design, knowing the advertisers' needs, providing relevant advertising and marketing information, and suggesting ways to improve the effectiveness of newspaper advertising.

Classified and retail customers indicated that they want more management support helping them to develop more effective advertising and are looking for innovative programs and vehicles to meet their needs.

The study had advertisers compare the effectiveness of other media with newspapers by saying which single advertising vehicle they depend on most other than the local paper.

Radio, direct mail and yellow pages were mentioned most often by retail advertisers, followed by non-daily papers, local television and local magazines.

Yellow pages, non-daily papers and local magazines are used most often as alternatives by classified advertisers.

Newspapers do very well in geographic coverage and demographic coverage compared with other media; about par on reaching current and potential customers, but less well on generating sales and return for ad dollars spent, the study showed.

"As long as advertisers continue to rate our newspapers and competitive media about the same or worse in reach and coverage, they will continue to shop for viable alternatives to placing ads in our newspapers," Fielder said.

"Advertisers must be convinced of the value of our newspapers as an advertising vehicle if they will continue to be regular customers."

She suggests that newspaper salespeople learn to think in terms of the advertiser's business needs and work actively to incorporate into ads ways to demonstrate the effectiveness of newspapers.

What Newspapers Can Do William Huney, manager of sales development and newspaper relations for Gannett's National Four Color Network, suggested some proactive things newspapers can do to demonstrate their effectiveness. …

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