Can you guarantee the response your advertisers will get on your Media property? This question has been pondered for years and continues to be a hot topic for discussion. The two buzzwords (or phrases) for advertisers are: 1) Return on Investment and 2) Measurement.
We all know how to deal with "Can you guarantee the results?" Our response, of course, is,"We'll give you the same guarantee that any other media gives you." The only problem with that response is that the newspaper has one advantage over other - there is a perceived tangibility that the consumer can hold that ad in his or her hand as they walk into the business. Therefore, it must work. Of course, the ROI in most cases is dramatically lower than the cost per lead or call the advertiser is looking for, but they think it works, based on one person's showing up with their ad.
If you could guarantee a schedule's effectiveness, how would that change things in your sales department? How would it change the way you set up appointments on the phone? Can you imagine one advertiser not wanting to hear your story? Does it work for Digital? The ROII calculator image on this article is specifically built for Digital and gives your the same advantage as working on traditional ROI as you can make expectations dependant upon your clients answers to some key questions.
The key is this: You must get inside your customer's business before discussing any notion of guarantee. I work with one station whose people guarantee its schedules with remarkable success. They're discovering that, in most cases, they are overdelivering on the guarantee!
This station uses a PowerPoint presentation that lays out the plan, using an ROI worksheet. This ROI worksheet defines the expectations and objectives of the campaign, including profit margin, average sale and closing ratio. This requires a through "Customer Needs Analysis." However, this also details the expectations that the schedule must attain. It is important to note that the client is not dictating how to run the schedule. Instead, the station is telling the client how it will run - with a high-frequency schedule (OES-Optimum Effective Schedule or 3.29 minimum frequency per week).
It's also run over a minimum of 12 weeks, which is more than the standard one- or two-week test that is usually thrown our way in Radio. As with any guarantee, yours also includes a calculation if the schedule falls short of what you originally guaranteed - if it does, in fact, fall short.
To this date, this system has never failed. Why not? Because if the worksheet is based on factual numbers, and if you are running a schedule that adheres to the proposed expectations, your reach and frequency is such that it should produce the desired ROI. In other words, you cannot run a weekly schedule of 10 spots for $1,000 with a profit margin of 30 percent and an average sale of $500 and expect to move eight sales. You would need a sale for nearly every spot you run in order to make that work.
However, if the schedule is matching the expectations and the client is involved in the process, wants the campaign to work, and has either talented personnel answering phones or sales reps that can close, I'd go toe-to-toe with any newspaper in the country.
Is a guarantee something you would do for all of your advertisers? Of course not. But imagine those for whom you would do it, and how such a schedule would increase your average sale. First ask yourself, "If I ran a schedule in dollars that was comparable to the cost of a full-page newspaper ad, would I outperform the newspaper in ROI?" My answer is that you would probably double the ROI with your schedule!
Are you ready to put your station to the test? The first and most important step is to determine whether you truly believe in your station and the power of Radio. Of course, one factor that we often fail to address as much as the selling process is the creative copy that will go with the campaign. Roy Williams' and Dick Orkin's recent articles in Radio Ink will give you a great perspective on writing effective selling copy to accompany your schedule.