I spent this week where the rubber meets the road-literally-with car dealers in Atlanta, Georgia. In front of Dodge, Saturn and other domestic and foreign dealers. Rising gas prices are taking its toll on car sales and also on media sales, especially "above the line" media-TV, Radio and Newspaper. The days of business owners frivolously spending money in media hoping to track the consumers who saw or heard the message, is coming to an end. Why? Consumer behavior influences have changed.
When radio and TV first came out, people actually sat in front of the radio-circa 1930's & 40's and TV in the 50's to listen or watch the radio or TV. Recently, I found myself sitting in a hotel room with the TV on-in the background-working on the computer and at the same time, doing a phone interview with a prospective salesperson for a radio station. Had a TV commercial come on that had no sound, I would have noticed that commercial-as it would have upset the sound waves of the room. Last week I walked in on a room of 5 people, ages 9 to 41-2 females and 3 males. They were fixed on the TV almost in a mummified state. What TV program were they watching? Oprah? No, they were engaged with Rock band-4 of them were playing the guitars and drums and one was watching. They were playing an 80's song. Thats a whole other story.
What does this mean to us in marketing and advertising? You need to have an engagement element attached to your advertising as normal top of mind awareness-regular branding commercials are being scrutinized now because of the lack of any tracking mechanisms.
Above the Line: We are now evolving from traditionals way of measuring and buying media:
- Reach, Frequency, and traditional gross rating points.
- Demographics, geographic, income and gender
- Branding (focus groups, message carry-through, brand association and consideration)
- Spray and pray-shotgun approach to advertising and marketing
Below the Line: Marketing that has engagement and behavior specific action influences:
- Engagement: Directional traffic to web site. Measurement of ad recall and session time.
- Hoof and Mouth: Messages that are carried through word of mouth-or word of mouse and is passed along and measured.
- Real impact on purchase cycle (did they go to retailer/store, product trial, referral, repeat customer)
- Actual listenership and viewership (unique viewers, click throughs, ad preference ratings)
- Emergence of new media, Internet, iPods, DVR's, Torrent, mobile phones
- Marketing accountability, Return on Investment (R.O.I.) and Return on Conversions (R.O.C.)
In those meetings with car dealers this week, all of them demanded measurement and accountability. Are you prepared to have your media property measured? Below the line is engaging your audience and influencing them to take action and then measure it. Prime example is having an Automall element on your property. You direct your audience to your own web site that has a program that has uploaded cars from dealers on your web site. You get the credit for the unique viewers and clicks and the dealership can measure the conversion ratio if they are asking that click-through for an appointment to come into the dealer. Times have changed-businesses still need "Above the Line" broadcast mediums because you still build top of mind awareness. Now, those businesses also need "Below the Line" marketing on your property where you engage your audience into specific action. It's 2018.