Say 'Buy-Buy' to Media Buying Woes! Even If Your Bank Has Only a Modest Advertising Budget, You Can Spend Your Dollars More Effectively through the Services of a Media Buying Professional
Lewis, Deborah Cover, ABA Bank Marketing
Community banks that start advertising in a new media, such as cable TV, sometimes try to save money by doing their own media buying. However, this tactic won't necessarily save money. If you put your advertising dollars into media vehicles that don't reach your target audience or don't deliver results, you could end up wasting more than you save.
Broadcast media is highly negotiable, depending on availability and demand.
Professional media buyers from ad agencies or media buying firms are like stockbrokers: They are in the marketplace every day, and they know what the going rates are and when certain radio or television stations are close to selling out. If you don't know what you're doing, you can pay much higher rates than necessary.
Or even worse, if you wait too long to place your broadcast buys, you could get shut out altogether. In addition, some print publications have advance deadlines. If you aren't on top of it, your ads might not ran. This could be a major problem if you have a branch opening or a special rate offer to promote and you can't get your message on the air or in the newspaper.
So many choices--so little time
Planning and placing advertising can quickly turn into a full-time job--even if you're only responsible for a few branches in one market. Once media vendors realize that you are placing your own advertising, you'll be deluged with phone calls. You'll hear from media vehicles that you didn't even know existed. If you try to meet with all of them, your workday will soon be filled with meetings that will be a total waste of your valuable time. On the other hand, if you don't at least hear what some of them have to say, you could be missing a great opportunity. This reason alone is why many advertisers hire a media professional, someone who can take all those calls and let the client know which opportunities are worthwhile.
When you do meet with salespeople from any medium, it's important to always remember that their only objective is to make a sale. Good salespeople will make a very compelling case for why you should buy their station, newspaper and so forth. But in order to get the whole story, you need to ask the tough questions. Media buying professionals know what those questions are, and they ask them every day. Many times advertisers are uncomfortable asking questions or saying "no" to salespeople. It's not fun to be the "bad guy." Let your media buyer do that.
Advertising salespeople can be a valuable source of information about your market and what other banks in your area are doing. (But remember that they're also providing information about you to your competitors.)
In these days of media fragmentation, it's more important than ever to have an experienced, independent professional telling you where to spend your advertising and marketing dollars. You need someone who is familiar with, and has access to, all the available media research and knows how to use that research to fine-tune your advertising schedules. There are more places to advertise today than ever before, and people's media-usage habits are changing.
Consumers are spending less time watching traditional broadcast television stations and more time watching cable networks. But you need to know which cable networks reach your target audience. There are dozens to choose from. Newspaper circulations are declining in almost every market in the country as more people look to the Internet for their news--especially younger adults. If you try to reach those "twenty-somethings" when they are establishing their banking habits, you probably won't find them reading the headlines in the local newspaper.
Use a rifle not a shotgun
The first question you need to ask before you look at spending any money in any advertising medium is "Who is your target audience?" The key word here is target. Too many advertisers try to reach everyone with their message. …