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Guru Search Results: 252 matches were found

Thursday, October 09, 2003 #6195
What is the correct process for analyzing comparable period retail sales? Specifically, we are working on a project that would not only compare comparable sales periods (year over year), but also compare a sale window to a pre-sale window. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 13, 2003 ):
The Guru assumes you mean to compare advertising performance in these periods. The simplest approaches are comparing budgets or weight (GRP). Many refinements are possible as to media mix, reach. frequency, etc.

Thursday, October 02, 2003 #6184
Hello Guru, Could you tell me what's the difference between communication objectives, advertising objectives and media objectives? What's the difference between advertising mix and media mix? Thanks already.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 04, 2003 ):
To address these in a logical order:

  • Advertising objectives are broader and will include such details as message content and strategy
  • Media objectives are more specific to media planning and buying, including media budget, target, seasonality, geography, ad environment.
  • Communications objectives are narrower stiil, addressing such issues as reach / frequency levels and flighting

Advertising mix includes media plus direct mail, collateral materials, promotion, etc. Media mix is a narrowed focus encompassing items like TV, Radio, Print, Online.

Monday, September 29, 2003 #6180
Dear Guru, This is further to my question on having a classfieds section in a marketing magazine with a niche readers community (i.e specifically from advertising/media/marketing/PR). The reason I asked this question was regarding Classfieds section, the advertisers you would be targeting would be very low budgeted and it happens that they are not aware of your magazine and its readership, as a seller, you know that you are going to provide the right kind of audience, but these advertisers generally do not get convinced or at times doubtful about advertising in a classifieds section with a frequency of monthly! how do you suggest to market it? or your opinion to have a classfieds section in a monthly magazine where the readers take their own time to read?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 04, 2003 ):
You need to assume that potential classified advertisers are either
1) your readers or
2) are interested in your readers.

The first group will be reached by in-book advertising. The second perhaps by listings in Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) and the like.

Friday, September 26, 2003 #6178
Dear Guru, How do you see the future of Digital Signage aka narrowcasting industry? Will it be able to grab a significant segment of the advertising market? What parts of traditional advertising budgets will suffer as a result of budget reallocation in favor of digital signage? What are the main obstacles to its advance?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 28, 2003 ):
Digital signage is likely only to displace a portion of out-of-home. Installation may always be too expensive to make it a true mass medium, although the impact in certain high traffic locations can be great.

Saturday, September 13, 2003 #6156
what is a media brief? wht are it components?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 14, 2003 ):
A media brief is a document, usually from the account group or advertser's marketing staff, providing the information a planner needs to create the objectives, strategies and media selections of a media plan. Details such as budget, seasonality creative message, target, etc. are included. See the Guru's Parts of a Media Plan as a guide to the information needed.

Thursday, September 11, 2003 #6150
I have a client that wants to run two totally different creative executions concurrently--on a limited budget I'm not really sure of the budget, but let's assume that it won't be sufficient for message wearout to occur with any one message. Common sense tells me they'd have greater impact running the same message, rather than two different ones, but I can't find any research to substantiate my hypothesis. Any thoughts? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 11, 2003 ):
This is not exactly a media question. It depends more on the message. Are the two executions related variants of the same strategy or very different. It is common to run two versions of the same strategic concept, and wear out is delayed. Two unrelated messages might well confuse the consumer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003 #6149
In regards to buying spot tv and spot cable tv - At what point is it more efficient to plan in network buys to either replace or compliment spot buying? Is it the number of markets client has locations? Our client who places spot buys in 55 DMA's, cannot grasp the benefit of a more efficient buy on network and is stuck on having, what he calls "waste" in markets with no locations. Please help!! You have a GREAT site!!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 11, 2003 ):
Assuming you have the same weight goal (GRPs) in all markets, when the combined cost of your selected markets exceeds the cost of that weight level in network, network is more efficent. On this basis, "the waste" just becomes free advertising that does not matter. It is not a matter of the number of markets. One advertiser might have a budget for 55 small markets that wouldn't cover 10 large markets. If there are no locations in the other markets, ill will might be a problem, especially in consideration of future growth. Efficiency is simply not the only consideration.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003 #6124
We are a small consumer products marketer and are interested in advertising in some national magazines, ie Better Homes & Gardens etc. What's the best way to get the costs of advertising in this magazine and others. Because we are a small company our budget is low and we plan on doing this ourselves.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 13, 2003 ):
Get open rates at MRI+

Sunday, August 10, 2003 #6116
Hi Guru, I have asked to be a freelance media planner and I need your consult on how many commission from media budget a freelance media planner often get.Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 11, 2003 ):
This is negotiable. The range may be from 1% to 15%, depending on the complexity, budget and whether there is a base hourly fee.

Thursday, July 10, 2003 #6074
Do any norms exist for judging the number of media planners and buyers needed on an account based on media billing?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 14, 2003 ):
Averages may be calculated, but that is not the same as norms. An account spending $20million in network TV has very different needs than one with the same budget in national magazines or interactive media and even more different than one with the same budget spread across local media or ethnic media.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003 #6069
i'm looking to find the ideal test market for an energy efficient lighting product. available budget is modest, so i need a market that provides exposure opportunities, yet is media-affordable. we're looking specifically at cable drtv as the main medium.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 14, 2003 ):
Contact SpotCable

Sunday, June 15, 2003 #6018
1. What is your recommended media strategy against very heavy campaign competitor, but our has budget limitation 2. Could you give example about your best media recommendation completely or summary Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 21, 2003 ):
Some techniques versus a much heavier spender include:
  • Outspend the competitor in just one medium, perhaps a medium the competitior doesn't use, but pick one judgfe strong for your market
  • Outspend the competitor in selected geography, then roll-out as you establish success
  • Outsmart the competitor by concentrating in the most powerful medium with editiorial / content opportunities, sponsorships, etc

Thursday, June 05, 2003 #5998
Hi Guru. I'm with a graphic design firm that has been asked to help with a media plan for a small children's museum with a limited budget. Even though we design print ads, we are not usually asked to help with the media selection. I'm looking for sources of cost effective local print media, internet and possibly outdoor advertising aimed at generating visits from schools, families and tourists. Also, if this process is too daunting for a non-media planner, how do you recommend finding and evaluating a freelance media planner or small firm that offers this service and is familiar with our local market?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 07, 2003 ):
This is the work of a professional planner. Possible, but tedious, for others. For the local market, the yellow pages may held find one who can answer e few quesitons on the phone and establish an ability to do the required work. If your AMIC registration is the up-to-date, you may get some suggestions by email.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003 #5993
There has been a major shift in focus of media planning from the "numbers" to the actual "environment" of the medium, especially within print. Why do you think this is so? When are numbers important?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 07, 2003 ):
The Guru sees it differently.
  • In the Guru's experience (30+ years), print has always been more focused on environment versus numbers as compared to broadcast media.
    --In fact, the Guru can remember when some experienced planners didn't even know that print had GRP's, back in the days before everything was computer- dependent
  • On the other hand, over this period of time, the broadcast world has changed from there being three giant network outlets with the big numbers versus few independent stations to a situation of 7 major networks (ABC / NBC / CBS / Fox / WB / UPN / Univision ) just somewhat bigger than several independent stations market-by-market, and 100's of stronger or lesser cable options.
    --Environmental differences outweigh the numbers
    --Or, the compuers handle the numbers leaving planners the environment to discuss subjectively
  • Finally, as you mature professionally, you become more able to deal with enviromental data versus numbers; you are changing, more than the world around you

The media environment in which you communicate is always important, but you must know how much of your target audience you reach and how often and whether you have spent your budget efficiently.

Monday, June 02, 2003 #5988
Question wrote at Wednesday, May 21, 2003 #5979: Weve done an AdAwareness modeling and planning for 8 markets. And we require to do projection for other dozens of markets. The objective is to define the budget setting of each market based on our models. Whats the best approach we should look at? The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 24, 2003 ): It is not clear what the result of your "Awareness modeling" is. Does your model give you the weight to deliver by medium? In that case, you just need access to media costs by market. If not, your query needs clarification. The Awareness Modeling gave us the response function and we can do prediction based on the parameters we found (short/long term effect, decay, etc.) Up to now the awareness planning will help us to identify how much weight we need to get certain level of adawareness, and vice versa, how much adawareness we can get with our media weight. We're still consentrating in the aided TV adawareness modeling. The question is, how can we apply our modeling (8 markets) to any other market. As far as we understand, the response function and awareness modeling itself are applied only for the tracked Market respectively. Is there any successful case study for applying awareness modeling into other market which has no historical awareness data?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 02, 2003 ):
If you define your model as not applicable to other markets, you leave yourself with no options.

Try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003 #5979
Weve done an AdAwareness modeling and planning for 8 markets. And we require to do projection for other dozens of markets. The objective is to define the budget setting of each market based on our models. Whats the best approach we should look at?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 24, 2003 ):
It is not clear what the result of your "Awareness modeling" is. Does your model give you the weight to deliver by medium? In that case, you just need access to media costs by market. If not, your query needs clarification.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003 #5978
Dear Guru, Iam doing an assignment on marketing just needed to know What media constitute 'main media advertising'? and what media constitutes 'direct and online marketing'? where I can find some info on main media advertising. Thanx heaps

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 24, 2003 ):
"Main media" may merely be a reference to the largest budgeted media of a plan. It is not a standard media term.

"Direct marketing" is messaging that may use direct mail or print or broadcast ads. In any case, the distinction is that the ad asks for audience response in the form of an immediate purchase or info request back to the advertiser by sending in an included reply form or calling a telephone number.

"Online marketing" relies on message delivery via the internet.

Monday, May 12, 2003 #5967
Hi...our home improvement company advertises on TV, radio and newspaper in 9 markets. We include a phone number in all of our advertising for people to call if they're interested in our products. We track the advertising source for all incoming calls and make all advertising decisions based on which mediums (and individual stations/publications) are producing the phone calls. No annual media planning is done at all (we don't even have set budgets) and advertising is cancelled and ordered haphazardly on a weekly basis based on these numbers. I believe, however, that you can't accurately track this because 1) TV and radio take time to take effect with public 2) people may have seen the ad on 3 different TV stations or 3 different mediums but only report they saw it on one. Do you think there is any merit to this tracking system? I've never heard of any ad agencies doing this and wonder if it's a waste of time and effort, not to mention advertising dollars. Thank you!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 18, 2003 ):
The Guru agrees. At best you track the last ad people saw. Such tracking overstates the impact of Yellow Pages in many cases.

Sunday, March 16, 2003 #5882
Dear Guru: our client (a premium price mineral water with a great brand awareness, although years of absence in communication) is considering 2 different media plan for the relaunch campaign: first based on national tv + press and the 2nd on press+outdoor. The budget is 1/4, 1/3 of the top spender in the market. In tv there is a very competitive arena (200-300 grp's per week). The positioning of the brand should target affluent, dinamic and young women: in your opinion it's better to concentrate the media budget on media less used by competitors (targeted press and outdoor) developing a "great noise" or you think it's better plan tv like the 95% of our competitors, risking to not be visible? thank you very much (sorry for my english)

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 20, 2003 ):
In this case the Guru thinks being big in unique media has an advantage, if you can reach the people you need to reach. But do consumers think about relative frequency within media or are they simply exposed to what they are exposed to?

Can you make a case for one medium being more effective than the other?

Sunday, March 16, 2003 #5881
Guru, our client has a geographically limited retail in 2 italian city, located in the north and centre of the country: he wants absolutely run a national tv campaign: as media agency, how can we convince him that's not the right media strategy? He has no budget problem.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 20, 2003 ):
You need to compare local efficiencies to nationals delivery vs cost in the local area. How much money is wasted in national vs local? Are there any advantages to national for this client?

Wednesday, March 12, 2003 #5874
Hi! I just purchased SQAD Media Market Guide in order to establish CPP goals and determine budget needs for our TV markets. I was told by someone at SQAD that the book would give me information broken down by demo and daypart in each market. It turns out that our demo in not included and that only select demos ARE included! I'm very upset about this...they won't refund me. How can I set CPP goals for adults 35+ in our markets? HELP! :) Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 16, 2003 ):
Obviously SQAD can't give you every imaginable demo. The subscriber selects the demos to be included. Any demographic publisghed by NSI should be available. However, manipulating the available numbers will get you close enough. For example, 35+ should fall between, say, 18+ and 50+. Weighting by ratings averages should allow a good enough approximation.

Monday, February 24, 2003 #5852
i have a situation with a rather difficult client. they expect very low cpp, but with that they expect no preemptions, and a considerable amount of bonus spots and added value opportunities. in some markets i purchase for this client, the budget is such that i have some leverage with stations, but in others it is so low that even if a station is approaching 100% of the buy, their hands are tied as far as how low they can go on rates and how much bonus they can give, if any. i try to be as honest a buyer as possible and do an efficient job in the process. the stations in these markets think i am asking for the world and in some cases cannot come to the table with what i need. i cannot "shut out" these stations. do you have any advice for this situation?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 02, 2003 ):
Only when you are prepared to walk away from the bargaining table can you get more than what's been offered as "final".

Sunday, February 23, 2003 #5851
I have been asked to comment on the agency's performance on media buying and planning for their year end review. Can you provide hints on what I should look for or comment on for each discipline Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 02, 2003 ):
Are you commenting as a client or as an agency manager, it might change the questions or priorities? For buying, the issue is delivering the goals specified and measured. I.e.
  • GRP levels specified
  • Media mix specified
  • Pricing
. Media buying performance is driven by planning and the planners' ability to clearly convey goals. That is, don't fault your buyers if someone else claims to get better prices. Perhaps the planners specifications called for some schedule qualities that require higher-priced choices, or budgets were released to the buyers without enough time to negotiate or after the 'good stuff' was sold out.

In other words, look at the whole picture. Evaluate planners ability to translate advertising goals into specific media goals / strategies / tactics. The look at how this was translated into buying goals to assure the buyers delivered what was needed. If prices seem high, did the planners insist on / help buyers' estimating best prices.

If you are agency management, you may also be interested in how the planning and buying interfaces with account management, traffic and production.

Monday, February 17, 2003 #5843
Hello Media Guru... I am working on a account which utilizes a large amount of local print. The advertiser's brand only exists in a handful of markets, and is highly upscale, making local print media a good fit (this is my belief given strengths and weaknesses of local print vs. other media forms). Additionally, their media budgets are very limited, making other high "out-of-pocket" media unaffordable. With local print, reliable research about most publications is limited, as most books are not measured by trusted syndicated research sources. Additionally, it seems that many local books cover similar audience segments, making it very difficult for planners to differentiate between local magazines, and select the most appropriate publication. Finally, unless a planner is planning for a market they live in, they don't have strong "local knowledge" that would help make decisions easier. Do you have any suggestions for local print planners? How should local books be compared? What are the main factors you would use to make recommendations for this medium? We have used circulation, paid vs. non paid readership, editorial synergy (seems subjective in some cases), CPM, added value, positioning, and physical quality of the book to name a few... However, we rarely feel very confident in our recommendations. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 23, 2003 ):
When all hard data fails, and local knowledge is needed, one surrogate method is accomplished by examining a couple of issues of each publication in a market. If you see one local BMW or Mercedes or Lexus dealer or a top-end jeweler or high end audio dealer is a consistent advertser in one of the local media, that is probably a good indication of local opinion and upscale results.

Thursday, February 13, 2003 #5831
Hi Media Guru. I find your website very helpful indeed. I have queries on special advertising supplements in Newspapers. If the supplement focus and topic is relevant to a Client's product. What are the considerations a planner need to justify Should or Should NOT advertise in the supplement. Would missing an ad in the supplement make any difference? budget is not an issue. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 17, 2003 ):
Most importantly, will the supplement add audience? Will it self-select a better prospect? Will its editorial content make the ad more impactfuL?

Monday, February 03, 2003 #5797
Dear Guru: Need your opinion on the following real life problem. Let us say there are about 30 beer brands in my market with some advertising, and about 6 or 7 of them advertise very heavily (about 400 GRPs weekly for a 8-10 week flight). Their flights come one after another and cover the whole season, so that during the season at any time there are 2 heavy advertisers on air. Say I have a similar budget as any of the heavy advertisers. What will happen if I decide to use Recency and spread my 3600 GRPs evenly throughout the whole season? How in this case will my 133 weekly GRPs be able to compete with 800 weekly GRPs of my 2 competitors? I hope my message is not too confusing. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 03, 2003 ):
Just to speculate in the extreme:

Your brand might be #2 all year, while heavy advertiser A is #1 half the time and #20 when not advertising. Advertiser B will be #1 the rest of the time and #21 when not advertising. Who is best off? Perhaps #2 all the time? Realsitically, if you can average 133 while others are much higher, where are you in the competitive set, anyway?

Tuesday, January 14, 2003 #5732
I have heard comments from media agencies that emphasize quality over cost for TV spots. However I am a little skeptical, especially when their compensations are tied directly with the budget. So I would like to ask you a few questions to help me get a better understanding. 1) Does a good relationship between the director of a TV station vendor and the media buyer strongly affect the quality of TV ads (in terms of POD position, etc.)? 2) Does buying above the SQAD mean a bad buy in comparison to others who purchased below the SQAD? 3) Are there ways to measure (quantitatively) the performance of a media buyer? Your opinion would be highly valued. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 18, 2003 ):
The Guru comments:
  1. In any buying / selling situation, a good relationship between the parties is likely to improve the deal as perceived by both sides. This will affect product "quality" for the buyer and quantity sold for the seller.
  2. Buying above SQAD is a pretty reliable indicator of having spent too much.
  3. SQAD is more of a benchmark than an absolute. Once some basics are set, you can tell the buyer has gone wrong if his/her costs go up when SQAD costs trend down, or go up much more than SQAD does. Likewise, a buyer whose costs go down more than SQAD's costs do has made good deals.

A media buyer needs to be given explicit goals against which to be measured. There are no absolute quality indicators of a buy, whether you look at cost, cpm, reach, rating, pod position, etc, unless these goals are set. Undirected, a buyer will probably go for lowest cpm/cpp or his own interpretation of best reach. If you wanted high ratings or heavy frequency instead and didn't make that clear up front, it is not the buyer's performance error when you don't get your secret desires. If you did give specifications and the buyer went a different way or didn't meet goals, then that's bad performance.

Monday, January 06, 2003 #5719
I want to develop a competency grid for my team consisting of senior media planners and media buyers. I want to develop a grid that addresses key functional and general management competencies for both functions - planning and buying.Both planning and buying members have 4 to 5 years of experience and are part of a single large AOR team( of around 12 members) The idea is to have a list of indicators against each competency domain and get each member to fill up such an assessment grid with evidences.This self assessment will then be validated by a panel consisting of me( their supervisor) and my business manager and his boss-the VP on the business. My question is: A.What FUNCTIONAL domains should be included for 1.planning and 2.buying B.What GENERAL mgmt domains should be included for 1.planning and 2.buying Greatly appreciate your feedback and help Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 12, 2003 ):
Current business managment theory seems to be gravitating away from these formaularized assessments. If you must, however, the Guru woul look at


  • Turning input into goals
  • Setting clear goals
  • Clear and persuasive writing
  • Analytical ability
  • Mathematical facitlity
  • Understanding media types
  • Understanding media math


  • Interpersonal ability with teammates
  • Interpersonal ability with superiors
  • Interpersonal ability with clients
  • Interpersonal ability with vendors
  • Managing subordinates
  • Leadership and teaching
  • Setting and keeping work schedules
  • Appreciating company budget/expense
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Contribution to the bottom line

Monday, December 30, 2002 #5707
To set up a rough budget for a prospective client, I need to get adv. rates from 9 cable networks. This is my first pass at this, so I am only interested in 3 day parts-"run of show" (6A to 12A, Mon-Fri), 9A to 6P Sat.& Sun., 6P to 12A Mon. thru Sun. Are these day parts descriptions too vague to get a usefule response? Where do I find the phone #'s for the major cable networks to ask for this information?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, December 30, 2002 ):
The cable networks are likely not to have pricing set up according to your time parameters. However, they will certainly have hours or program unit prices as building blocks with which to construct the averages you want.

All the major cable nets have websites which should have advertising contact information, for example, ESPN, A & E or USA Network.

For some reason, "advertising info" is typically a link in tiny type at the bottom of a media vendor's home page.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 #5574
Dear Guru, I am interested in the perfect values of the following media parameters for one TV campaign of beer product (May be there is some standards): 1. Number of flights per year 2. TRP s per week 3. TRP s per campaign 4. OTS per campaign 5. Reach 1+, 3+, 5+ per campaign I am interested which are the effective frequency and the effective reach. Thank you very much for your answers.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 27, 2002 ):
There are no perfect answers. Within whatever budget you have, you must consider what is possible. If you can afford 5,200 GRP per year, is it better to have 100 GRP per week every week or 146 GRP for 9 four week flights?

Part of the answer depends on how you set the effective frequency goal. Perhaps seasonality tells you you need the 150 in the summer but only the 100 the rest of the year. What level do the competitors run? What is your brand awareness? What are your awareness goals, sales goals, share goals?

In short, budget, and many circumstances need to be considered rather than any quest for abstractly 'perfect' answers

Thursday, October 17, 2002 #5565
Does the guru have any experience with the effective use of :10 IDs in syndicated programming? In general would it make sense for a limited budgeted advertiser to place 100% of his budget into this media form in order to maximize efficiencies?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 19, 2002 ):
:10s should cost about half of thirties, so the gain in reach and frequency is big. But the key question is whether you can tell the story in a :10. 100 bad commercials aren't worth as much as 50 good ones.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002 #5564
Creative has produced beautiful spots, beautiful footabe, music and no audio i.d. of client. How does this affect retention? If you are not watching closely when client logo comes on screen, you don't know who the sponsor is. Help!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 19, 2002 ):
The Guru thinks you have identified a real problem. Copy testing is cheaper than wasting media budget.

Monday, October 14, 2002 #5560
Dear Guru, may be in many countries the CPP deals are the norm, but in my country we do not have enough experience in the negotiation process of CPP deals with the TV channels. For first time in 2002 we have the real opportunity to negotiate CPP deals with some of the TV channels. So, I would appreciate very much if you can give us more detailed information about the steps of doing CPP deal. How we can negotiate a good deal with the channels? What kind of criterion should be followed?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 18, 2002 ):
CPP = advertising cost rating

Set a goal cpp you want to achieve based on evaluation of pmarket ratings and your budget.
You control the deal if you are prepared to walk away from an offer that doesn't fit your needs.

Friday, October 04, 2002 #5546
Can you provide a concise definition for "non-metro"?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 06, 2002 ):
The U.S. Census Bureau defines 200+ metro areas, in terms of specific counties. These are, loosely speaking, major cities and surrounding areas. Those counties not included in these metros are "non-metro." A DMA may have more than one metro within it, and some non-metro counties as well.

The Census Bureau's detailed definition says, in part

Standard definitions of metropolitan areas were first issued in 1949 by the then Bureau of the budget (predecessor of OMB), under the designation "standard metropolitan area" (SMA). The term was changed to "standard metropolitan statistical area" (SMSA) in 1959, and to "metropolitan statistical area" (MSA) in 1983. The collective term "metropolitan area" (MA) became effective in 1990. MAs include metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), consolidated metropolitan statistical areas (CMSAs), and primary metropolitan statistical areas (PMSAs).

OMB has been responsible for the official metropolitan areas since they were first defined, except for the period 1977 to 1981, when they were the responsibility of the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, Department of Commerce. The standards for defining metropolitan areas were modified in 1958, 1971, 1975, 1980, and 1990. OMB announced the adoption of new Standards for Defining Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas in the December 27, 2000 Federal Register. OMB will apply the new standards with Census 2000 data and will announce definitions based on these standards in 2003.

Defining MSAs, CMSAs, and PMSAs

The 1990 standards provide that each newly qualifying MSA must include at least:

one city with 50,000 or more inhabitants, or

a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area (of at least 50,000 inhabitants) and a total metropolitan population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New England). Under the standards, the county (or counties) that contains the largest city becomes the "central county" (counties), along with any adjacent counties that have at least 50 percent of their population in the urbanized area surrounding the largest city. Additional "outlying counties" are included in the MSA if they meet specified requirements of commuting to the central counties and other selected requirements of metropolitan character (such as population density and percent urban). In New England, the MSAs are defined in terms of cities and towns rather than counties.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002 #5520
Dear Media Guru, 1) We represent a home services marketer that has a budget of $700,000 per year ($55K/month) and the goal is to raise BRAND AWARENESS in the US and Canada. What media would you recommend to obtain the greatest impact on a national level with this budget? The target is upscale working women 35-64, Household income $100,000+. 2) How do we go about securing partners for co-branding ... is there an agency that specializes in this, or a directory you know of? 3) Where can I find someone to help get this service placed in a tv show or movie? 4) What do you know about advertising in hotels, in their electronic on-screen check-out process? 5) Any other non-traditional avenues I might look in to? Thank you very much.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 17, 2002 ):
  1. Understand that $700,000 is a VERY LOW budget for a national campaign. It is the not even a strong budget for a major market. The Guru would begin with network radio and national cable for the target and brand you mention. The Guru would probably recommend not even being national, but selecting a few markets where the budget would have an impact.
  2. Co-branding is not a media issue
  3. Click here to see past Guru responses about in-film product placemnt
  4. Contact the hotel chains for their in-system ads
  5. Consider Welcome Wagon and Telephone company new customer packages.

Monday, September 16, 2002 #5519
I've been asked to find out budget estimates for launching a nationwide print, television, and radio campaign for a hypothetical campaign for a new Toyota car. Do you have any budget estimates for a nationwide car campaign? Or do you know where else I should check?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 17, 2002 ):
Consult CMR (Competitive Media Reports) for budgets of past launches.

Thursday, September 12, 2002 #5516
Incremental Revenue - a SVP at DDB used this term with me stating "Right now we do not have any incremental funds available to participate". What does it mean?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 12, 2002 ):
The Guru presumes this was said in a context of you trying to sell the SVP something, perhaps on top of something you had already sold. It means "there's no more in the budget."

Tuesday, September 10, 2002 #5511
What do you think the broad media implications would be for a brand that has a modest budget (say $5 million to $10 million) that decides to use a very large media buying service after having been at a typical agency (planning would stay with ad agency)? Will this smaller brand get lost in the crowd? Will the $$ savings really be that significant that it's worth the change? What about all the close attention a smaller brand like this gets at a small agency?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 16, 2002 ):
The differences will depend on several factors. Is the media service so much larger than the agency? Are the media service's accounts individually larger, on average than the agency's?

The Guru believes that media services generally buy better than agency buyers, with more attention to price or whatever other specific issues are identified. It's all that the media services are judged by, and gets relatively little attention in agencies. NOte that the Guru's comments about media services refer to the stand-alone media services and not necessarily to the a la carte departments formed by the multinational agency conglomerates.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002 #5488
How do I make a media plan for a public service ad campaign? What are the points i need to keep in mind? What should be my budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 28, 2002 ):
Like any other campiagn, goals will begiven to the planner in regard to geography, target and communications. budget is information provided, not determnined within a plan. Sometime goals determine budgets, but not planners.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002 #5463
I would like to know if there is a general rule of thumb for R/F goals on political/issue advertising for local markets. Also, the politcal strategist running the campaign for which we are buying media has stipulated that we must place 1000 TRPs against each television spot. What are your thoughts on that?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ):
No general rules. Levels should depend on competition, and other specific factors. budget not least of all. Without knowing the rationale for the 1000 TRP, it is difficult to comment. 1000 does not seem at all excessive.

Thursday, August 08, 2002 #5458
Dear Guru, I am the marketing director for an 80 unit restaurant chain with locations in 9 DMA's (2 being top 20.) For us to advertise promotions at point levels that increase sales and are within our budget, we have been forced to use a tiering strategy in our media purchases. By this I mean that we determine what type, weight and number of weeks of media each market will receive based on dividing the cost by market by the number of locations. Are there any other formulas or tools we should use to help us with this proces??

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 10, 2002 ):
Your current method assumes that every restaurant is equal in generating sales or profits. You could allocate according to market sales. Or you could account for efficiency: If market A has half the population of market B and each has 10 restaurants, but the cpp is double in B, do you adjust for this, i.e. spend where the dollars give more action?

Tuesday, August 06, 2002 #5447
In your opinion, which advertising department should develop ad sizes? Do you think it is the responsibility of the media department to develop these? Especially if we do not have a marketing plan or a media budget? Please advise!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 07, 2002 ):
No, determining ad sizes or other copy issues is not a media responsibility. There are many elements of creative not within the media purview. The media department can however evaluate some of the pros and cons of various units. Account services and creative should make the decision based on communications needs and budget, etc.

Monday, July 22, 2002 #5429
I am from the Philippines. We are bidding to get a bank as a client. They are relaunching their housing loan product. Their given budget is equivalent to twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) only. Size of the ad is 7 columns by 40 cms with long copy. A full color (launch) ad costs about $2,600 per newspaper. The sustaining black & white ad costs about $1,400 per newspaper. We plan to use the full color ad only for the first week, while the black and white ad would run from the second week up to the fifth week. This would be at the rate of 2 ads per week within three maor dailies. Is this right or should I use recency and just stretch the budget to 8 weeks at the rate of one ad per week? This is a relaunch and we want the ad to have impact in spite of the limited budget and the long copy of the print material.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 27, 2002 ):
Your answer depends on the reach of the newspapers used and the advertising climate for the industry. The Guru generally favors recency, but circumstances must be considered. You have not stated the relevant facts.

Monday, July 22, 2002 #5427
At my agency, we set media goals for many clients in terms of EF/ER & CPP. The correlation between EF/ER for a specific category/demo we get from past similar campaigns for which we are able to extract the necessary data. But eventually most of our clients judge our performance only on CPP. Yes, cost efficiency is important but so is EF/ER. The fundamental problem arises when our analyzed tv schedule and our actual own do not match in the execution pattern (e.g. portion of primetime vs fring.). My point is as a media planner, the EF/ER be taken into account as well (even if we were off mark on the CPP), right? The problem how to do this quantitatively. Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 27, 2002 ):
The Guru observes:
  • Effective Frequency / Effective Reach are planning goals
  • Cost Per Point is planning input and buying goal
  • Your problems seem to fall into two areas:
    - Educating the client to understand what you are doing, and
    - Educating your buyers in undertsanding your goals / their assignment.

If EF/ER are the communication goals for the plan, then achieving them at the planned budget becomes the primary standard. If this achievement is based on the media mix bought (as it should be) then the buyers must be made to understand that delivering that is what they must do.

Overall, the mistake is allowing CPP to become a goal instead of a tool.

Thursday, July 18, 2002 #5421
Our client, an italian luxury firm, is planning the fall -winter campaign. They need to get results very quickly (sell of products) but also to "rebuild" the brand, which in the past years didn't advertise at all. They would prefer to put most of budget on newspaper to get frequency but in our opinion the magazines should have at least 1/3 of the total budget to help "building" the brand. What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 20, 2002 ):
What are the reasons you think magazines do a better job of building the brand? Articulate them. Is it environment? Reproduction quality? Authority?

Why does newspaper frequency = quick sales? Is there a strong retail trade relationship. Deconstruct the theories and evaluate how the media can be mixed?

Monday, July 15, 2002 #5413
I would appreciate any feedback you can provide on the following....the client is looking for us to make a recommendation on how many print titles should be on their plan. What criteria should be looked at when determining this? I am sure a lot has to do with budget. They will be running in trade pubs in the biotechnology area and their budget is about $300,000. Also, how many times do you recommend running in a weekly publication? thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 17, 2002 ):
The number of print titles isa a result, not a goal. Goals should be reach, or frequency or coverage of specifc arenas, If there are twenty possible titles, there will be reasons to prefer some over others. The budget needs to be viewed in a context of the average ad cost.

There are some rules-of-thumb -- guidelines, not carved in stone -- which suggest once per month minimum in a weekly, every other month in a monthly, but these are about consumer perceptions of frequency. How many arenas do you need to cover?

Friday, June 21, 2002 #5370
Other than SQAD, are there any other ways to understand CPP or cable spot rates without a buying history in the market? I've heard two people tell me that SQAD is higher than market averages, but I don't klnow what they are comparing it to. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 22, 2002 ):
It has often been cited that SQAD runs "x%" higher than actual. It is important to understand that these statements are usually made in regard to regular, ongoing market buys, by experienced buyers with regular budgets. The SQAD database is an average including various oddities, such as last minute buys against low inventory, buys with no previous experience in the market by a given buyer, small budgets, etc.

SQAD is a very good indicator of cost patterns, i.e. ups and downs, so it is most useful when compared to your experience in a market.

If you believe what you hear, simply approach your buy with a goal 15 or 20 or 25% below SQAD and demand that of the vendors. Some will play ball and some won't.

Monday, June 17, 2002 #5354
I'm not in an ad position, but I have to do a report for our Board about placing ads about our company targeted at Company CEOs, Owners, and top management. How do I find out what these top level executives reading habits are and the best publications to target them? The Board has a very limited budget so I'm trying to sway them towards PR instead of ad placements, but need some back up on my decision. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 17, 2002 ):
Your best resource might be The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study. If you are in the technology arena, Intelliquest would be helpful.

PR and advertising serve different purposes, and should probably not be regarded as simple pricing alternatives.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 #5301
In one of your responses to advantages of media mix and multimeedia strategies u have mentioned "Better distribution of frequency of exposure" as the advantage of using a media mix Can u pls elaborate on this Thanks for the help

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 23, 2002 ):
Each medium has heavier and lighter users. The heavier and lighter viewers of each medium duplicate at random, so that heavier print readers may be the lighter TV viewers. Consider the graph below, comparing a TV + print plan (1) to an all-TV plan (2). At the same budget, Plan 1 had a reach / frequency of 89.5 / 6.7 while plan 2 achieved 78.6 / 5.7.

Not only does plan 1 have better total reach and average frequency, but the portion of the target exposed to each number of ads (in the bar graph) is greater for plan 1. The proportional margin increases as number of exposures grows.

Thursday, May 16, 2002 #5287
Dear Guru, I was presenting media new business pitch recently and an AE chimed in and said somehting that puzzled me. We were discussing buying power and clout and he said that smaller agencies (such as ours) are better at buying because larger agencies buy huge amounts and give the larger accounts the "better" spots and that smaller accounts at large agencies get the dregs. I have always ourchased space on a per account basis and never a bulk buy. Do large agencies just by a bunch of space and hope their accounts stay with them? Also, I always thought that it was illegal to make clients purchase through you in order to get rate deals. I thought that the whole issue of clout stayed with the client because it's their money. Any insight? I want to straighten him out if he's wrong. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 18, 2002 ):
  1. AE's should be told to shut up during media presentations, rather than relating their favorite old wives' tales
  2. No one should ever contradict a selling point being made by someone on their own team during a presentation
  3. The theory is ludicrous, because:

    *If a large agency had so much clout, maybe their worst spots would be better than a small agency's good spots

    *On a given network, particular spots are not essentially better or worse except by virtue of total audience; different advertisers want different targets and program types

    *Why would a big agency want to treat smaller clients that way, anyway?

  4. It is probably true that a smaller client will get better service at a smaller agency where they matter more, but if you extend this theory, then the smaller agency's smallest clients get dumped on too, and so on.
  5. Networks do sell spots to CLIENTS through the agency, not TO the agency. The agency does not have the right to resell or reassign the spots to another advertiser.
  6. Large agency buyers do have clout by virtue of the amount of business they do with a seller, but this does not neccessarily mean it shows in the schedules. A skilled buyer can outperform a less skilled buyer who has a larger budget
  7. Because pricing goes throughout a large advertiser's buy, the size can act aginst best pricing. Networks do fear that a great price may let too much inventory go at too low a price, so on any given day a smaller advertiser may get better pricing than a larger one.
  8. In spot advertising, there are some time banks available for resale, but forewarned is forearmed
  9. Tell your AE to go back to his used car lot.

Thursday, May 09, 2002 #5274
If we are planning to introduce a new product to the mass market and want to achieve 30% awareness in the first year, What would be a good assumption in the planning budget for cost of advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 12, 2002 ):
There are too many variables to answer this simply. Assuming the right creative and media mix and target and product, $10 million might be enough. Or $50 million might not be. It's much more than a media question.

Monday, April 29, 2002 #5256
For a class project,I am doing a marketing research and advertisment project for a local community college. I have a 650,000 budget for advertising. I am in search for accurate costs and figures. Sincerley Justin Roloff

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 30, 2002 ):
Start with SQAD

Friday, April 26, 2002 #5249
Hello guru i'm working on a motor manufacturer's dealer campaign and need to know if you have any research regarding the ideal retail media mix? also, any case studies on dealer media strategies?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 29, 2002 ):
There are no useful ideals for generalization. budget may dictate the best blend between tv / radio / print / outdoor, etc. Geographic needs may change the picture. The socio-economics of the target may change it as well. The manufacturer may have case studies from various dealers.

Sunday, April 21, 2002 #5237
Hi Media Guru, Our product is a toy box and our primary target is mothers of young children between 1-2 years of age. Our secondary target is grandparents and children. 1. What's the best way to reach our primary target? 2. Should we allocate media budget to target kids through cartoon shows on TV although the purchase takes place when they're too young to influence the decision? 3. We do not have access to either Simmons Choices II nor MediaMark, what would be an alternative to support our choice of titles/channels and to get reach and frequency data? 4. Is there a standard way to split the budget between priamry and secondary targets? Thanks Amal

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 28, 2002 ):
The Guru's recommedations:
  • Forget targeting 1-2 year olds. As you say, " they're too young to influence the decision"
  • Your target may be reached in any medium, and efficiency against the target will tell you something, but parenting magazines and web sites are probably most effective.
  • The media you might buy will have access to Simmons or MRI and should be happy to provide these data
  • One way to split budget is in proportion to your assessment of the portion of sales which might be made to each target.

Thursday, April 18, 2002 #5229
Dear Media Guru, Do you have any research or date that studied ideal budget allocation between main media and sub media? Or, How much of budget is good for sub media in order to maximize advertising impact?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 20, 2002 ):
One common rule of thumb is "use the primary medium up to the point where it becomes inefficient to add incremental reach." This rule works in reach oriented plans. Another might be ". . .until the submedium adds reach __% faster than more money in the main medium." A frequency or tonnage plan would have a different approach.

In any case, the rule will be based on media delivery measures, not some abstraction of budget percentage. The budget percentage split which results will vary greatly depending on the main and submedia involved, and the communication goals that define "impact".

Thursday, April 04, 2002 #5197
is there a standard ratio between media spend and media tools? said another way, does spending on media research tools typcially represent x percentage of media budget? i am a media planner at kenneth cole. we are a small in house agency with no research tools and i am trying to figure out if it is cost effective for me subscribe to telmar and mri. thank you, joe andrews

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 05, 2002 ):
The Guru doesn't believe there is a standard. The pricing of research reaches a cap well below the totola billings of some of the giants, so averages would not be meaningful.

You need to look at the media decisions you will make, and the cost of potential errors or misjudgments that could happen without the tools. Particularly with a concentration in print, the tools you mention should easily pay for themselves.

To keep costs down at first, begin with the pay-per-use option of our parent company's eTelmar.

Friday, March 29, 2002 #5182
How much of a marketing budget should be spent on media. I know that it will differ with each individual client and industry, but is there a "rule of thumb" for budgeting purposes?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 30, 2002 ):

Friday, March 22, 2002 #5168
I am trying to find radio CPM/CPP rates by radio station in the Los Angeles area. I have looked at the SQAD data, and it only aggregates the rates for all of LA, and not by station.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 24, 2002 ):
Market guides, like SQAD, are useful are practical because they follow predictable, broad trends and reflect surveys of recent, actual activity. However, individual stations experience much more variation in audience from quarter to quarter and are much more subject to marketplace forces, varying budgets and inventory pressures. In a market like LA, it is far more difficult than it's worth to track realistic, individual "cost per ___" prices for the many possible demographics.

The only practical solution is to contact and negotiate with the smaller group of stations with which you might actually do business and talk about the one or two demographics in question.

In most cases, you will find that Katz or Interep handle enough stations that one or two contacts cover your needs.

Sunday, February 24, 2002 #5111
What is the most effective advertising to reach a Senior Target - Adults 55 and over with Income under $17,000/yr. The product is apartments, the market is Greenville County, South Carolina. The budget is only $10,000. What do you recommend other than Sunday Real Estate Newspaper Ads that will be efficient and effective?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 25, 2002 ):
Even assuming that your prospects are all local, the budget doesn't seem serious. You might afford 200 GRP of radio or a similalry indeaquate local cable scehdule. If your prospects might be northerners looking for retirement homes, which seems unlikely at that income level, small space national magazine ads in smaller, senior-oriented magazines might be effective.

Bottom line, you need a real budget, or you're stuck in the real estate section and maybe pennysavers.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002 #5095
Hi, Guru. I am Media Director at a very small agency but came from a mid-size media buying service that had all of the bells and whistles you need to plan, buy, etc. I don't have any of those things anymore. So, mostly I rely on the internet and data that I can gleam from reps. Other than reading your forum and reading various trades, what do you suggest is the best way for me to continue my education in the media world? I've been in the biz for 8 years, but I feel like our agency's lack of large budget clients is reducing my ability to plan and buy media effectively (particularly broadcast). I've become the Queen of local marketing, but feel that I've lost the edge when it comes to the "big stuff".

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, February 19, 2002 ):
There are texts, of course, but to stay current, read the trades and meet regularly with reps of various media to discuss what's happening.

Friday, February 15, 2002 #5088
Dear Guru: i am media planner in Colombia and Im trying to convince a client (femenine protection) to use RECENCY planning, but i have some doubts, i wonder if my brand have many products (8) that use the same brand name i can plan Recency for the whole brand? i mean, the trps i use for each product can i cummulate them assumming is for the general brand? I have a very good budget, i have 19.000 trps for the whole brand, and is enough to be the entire year. 2. Do you know some case study about a brand in femenine protection that has used recency?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 15, 2002 ):
With 19,000 GRP ( 365 per week), the Guru doesn't think recency will be a brand issue.

There is a judgment to make outside of media issues regarding whether the relationships between the various products form haloes around one another or if their messages are so different that they need separate communication goals.

If the products were entirely complementary, for instance, napkins, belts, panty liners, douche and deodorant, then they could be considered complementary. If they are more competitive, e.g. tampons vs pads, or have very different targets, e.g. teens versus women 50+, then the rub-off is less valid.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002 #5083
I am an advertising student and I have to do a media plan for Crayola, which media would you suggest I use?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 13, 2002 ):
What's your target? What's your budget? What are your goals? You won't learn much if the Guru does everything.

Monday, February 11, 2002 #5078
Hi - My client wants a general guideline for scheduling strategies for a maintenance versus a launch campaign. The obvious answer is continuity versus burst, but could you advise on the number of weeks on and off air for both approaches? Including ideal GRP levels? Thanks a lot!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 11, 2002 ):
The primary factor here is budget. With adequate budget, continuity is always better even if levels vary at specific times. You need to determine what is an "adequate level" which you might define in terms of reach, or frequency or media mix, etc. For additional guidance, Click here to see Guru comment on recency.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002 #5061
I'm looking for some research/formula that will help with determining communications budgets between mass media and direct efforts based on where products are within their lifecycle.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 10, 2002 ):
Try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002 #5060
Creating a media campaign. Target group: Children from 3 to 7 years. budget is not sufficient for the whole year advertising. What would be the best period of the year for advertising then?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 10, 2002 ):
The advertising season will depend on the selling season in your category. If you adrfe selling ice cream, it's summer, soup in winter. Short pants in summer, snow suits in winter.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002 #5053
I am looking to step into the Direct Response TV world with an Infomercial. I have a 100K budget. A few companies have said that they can pull off a good production for me along with a decent amount of airrings on that budget. My question is what type of sales results can I expect. None of these companies will give me any kind of projections. Is that normal? Should I be able to get projections and if so what levels of sales? Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 10, 2002 ):
The variables of your product's appeal and pricing are just as important as the production. Nevertheless, the company you work with should be able to give you their history, in terms of the sales success of others by category and price, as a guideline.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002 #5012
I am in high school, and i have to teach a class period on the topic of advertising. What are some good websites to go to just to find the basics of advertising? or statistics of advertising? (ex. what were the top 10 television commercials for 2001?) ...Thank you!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 17, 2002 ):
Try The U of Texas, Austin.

"Top 10 commericials" is not an 'advertising basic'. How would you define "top?" Most often seen? Most watched? Best remembered? Most award-winning? Most expensive to produce? Biggest media budget?

Tuesday, January 15, 2002 #5006
I have been asked to provide the impact of advertising by medium, for a multi-media retail plan. The advertising consists of TV, Radio and Outdoor. The percentages are: TV 80%, Radio 14% and Outdoor 6%. The communication is both branding and price/item. During the TV campaigns the creative split is 60% branding/40% price & item. The radio is almost exclusively price and item and the outdoor is 100% branding.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 17, 2002 ):
First you need to define the 'civilian' term 'impact'. Is it
  • Sales contribution
  • recall
  • awareness
  • or something else?

    Are the percentages budget, impressiosn, reach contribution or . . .?

    This is not a reasonable question.

Sunday, January 06, 2002 #4980
What is the total dollars spent, or budget, for advertising by the Information Technology sector? Broken down by media type?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 06, 2002 ):
See CMR (Competitive Media Reports)

Sunday, January 06, 2002 #4979
How can I estimate response rates to ads for a new product in a given region in various media (print and radio primarily) based on known data such as population, reach, etc. I need to make forward projections for marketing budget decisions.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 06, 2002 ):
There are too many variable with this vaguely stated question. Industry average for comparable products are the only reasonable quide.

Friday, December 07, 2001 #4933
Is there an industry standard for the ratio between the Media budget and the Advertising Production budget (Creative & Production). I'm specifically interested in this ratio for a B2B client who is proposing a $1 million budget spilt 50/50 between media placement and ad creation.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 08, 2001 ):
No standard, there are too many variants. A $10 million national budget might be sepnt in radio with $20,000 production, or network TV with $1 million procution or local print with a middle amount. Small buget magazines have a relatively high ratio in porduction. Clients rarley seem willing to balance ad qualitiy ( size ) against the capacity to communicate the ad to targets.

Saturday, November 24, 2001 #4906
Dear Guru, We are working for a big car brand. For the moment we are working out the whole media plan for the year 2002. Can you advise me with some subjects that we surely should treat? For example with the launching of a new model, advertising for the whole scale, promo-advertising... Thanks already!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 25, 2001 ):
This appears to be a school project, not a real work assignment. In the real world, a media planner would receive marketing input with budgets and strategies delineating which of these areas must be addressed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2001 #4885
We're attempting a TV DR campaign. Our DR company is a little nervous about giving any hard facts and I was hoping you could help. (1)What is the life cycle of a typical direct response campaign for unsuccesful, moderately successful and highly successful products? 2) what type of results are considered successful to unsuccessful? (3) Typically, how much as a percentage of revenues are spent on the media buys? This is the best way for us to estimate promotional expenses. It is easiest to benchmark it according to sales revenue. (best case, worst case etc??) Thanks for any help in advance!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 14, 2001 ):
  1. The beauty of DR is that you immediately know what is or isn't working. Life cycle is therefore directly dependent on "success."
  2. Successful = profitable ROI. The variables are advertising expediture and selling price versus cost of goods. The same advertisng budget might be put behind a $29 item that cost $10 to make and sells in enromous volume or a $290 item that costs $225 to make and sells many fewer units.
  3. Similar variables apply to the revenue/media spending ratio. It's all a crap-shoot and you rely on the expereience of your DR people. If they have the experience, they will show you case studies, but possibly not rules-of-thumb

Try Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Wednesday, October 31, 2001 #4854
Dear Guru, I have an super affluent target and want to recommend the use of selective national TV vs. print and other media given my budget of $2MM. I know print will deliver a higher reach, but can a case be made for TV given the impactfulness of the medium?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 01, 2001 ):
There is no argument that TV is the most impactful of the media. But where is the trade off? For your target tv may so much less efficient that it can't deliver its impactful messages to enough people. The Guru would far prefer to reach 2 million target people with good impact than reach 100,000 with great impact and that may be the degree of difference you face. Try to quantify impact vs audience to really evaluate.

Thursday, October 25, 2001 #4830
Guru, We work with several healthcare & medical product related clients. In planning for next year and allocating advertising/marketing budgets, we are seeking a documented source that details "general guidelines" on advertising/marketing budgets for healthcare facilities? We have first-hand knowledge indicating the 3-5% range from our particular health clients, but would prefer some documented info. Any insight you could provide would be appreciated. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 25, 2001 ):
The trade media for the industry is likley to have discussed this. Or the industry associations may have data. Try Healthcare Industry and Management Systems Society

Tuesday, October 09, 2001 #4767
Are there any studies on the effectiveness or radio as well as radio ad recall vs. television. All studies seem to favor television. Is this a correct statement.. Can you please share you thoughts?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 09, 2001 ):
The trouble with such studies, when done from a certain angle is they compare and ad to an ad. It should be apparent that an ad with 'sight sound and motion' would outperform an ad with only sound. However, in the real worls, a radio campaing for X dollars includes more units than a TV campaign for the same budget, all else being equal. The comparison needs to be equal dollars in each medium, and radio can win in such as scenario.

For research, try The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Thursday, October 04, 2001 #4755
industry wide -- what percentage of a media budget is going towards online? do you know the percentage in the travel industry?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 08, 2001 ):
Probably less than 1%. Check CMR (Competitive Media Reports)

Wednesday, October 03, 2001 #4754
Is there an "equivalancy" formula comparing the effectiveness of one newspaper and and a television commercial that appears "x" times for equal recall?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 08, 2001 ):
No standard formula. Once you set your units, you mught compare awareness or other measures. The right comparison should allow common budgets, not compare unit to unit.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001 #4749
where can I go to look up how to put together a sponsorship package for a large event? budget target is $2.5 million. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 03, 2001 ):
Look at packages for other comparable events.

Thursday, August 30, 2001 #4685
Guru, I have this client in the Wealth Mgmt/Financial industry who has been using natl. print solely over the past 3 yrs. There budget is only $3 million. According to Monroe Mendleson, our campaign reach is around 70% against the super affluent. The client would now like to switch gears to Natl. TV and sponsor/own one program with a high concentration of their target. I don't believe they could achieve the same reach as with print, but am not certain how to present the differences. Can you help?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 04, 2001 ):
Any program with a high composition of your target is likely to have a very tiny rating and little reach development. Monroe Mendelsohn should provide the data to analyze this.

Monday, August 13, 2001 #4654
Dear Guru, If you only had 5M to spend for a national campaign for a comsumer product introduction, which media vehicles would recommend (it's a household product aimed at Women 25-54)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 14, 2001 ):
The Guru would probably not consider national media at that budget. In national network, you might only be able to afford 5 or 6 weeks. National print might be just as weak.

A lot more than target and budget go into selecting media, such as competition, message type, etc, but the Guru would begin with local media in a geography where your budget might buy effective levels of communication.

Friday, August 10, 2001 #4649
hello sir,myself prasad is a student of advertising & public relations management student i am at my initial plz tell me wht is exactly media planning is..? wht is ad budget..?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 11, 2001 ):
Ad budget is the amount of marketing money allocated to create and place advertising within the advertsing objectives.

Media planning is deciding where to place it to best achieve the advertising objectives.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001 #4603
I was wondering if you have any ideas were I may be able to find some sort of template for RFPs that involve media buying like requesting C.P.P. or reach & frequency? We have been working on many media bids for a department of the state and they do not request specific media numbers so the media buyers are only submitting the information that makes their plan look the most favorable. We wanted to reccommend something to them so the comparison of the different agency plans would be more like comparing apples to apples. Thank you for any help

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 24, 2001 ):
First we need to distinguish between requesting plans and requesting buy proposals.

A media plan is a document that details what media should be used at what budgets, to accomplich sets of objectives and strategies which meet advertsing objectives set for the planners. If you are soliciting media paln proposals, you should be setting advertising objectives and asking for plans to meet them. Some judgement in addition to quantitative comparison will be appropriate. You could use the relevant portion of the Guru's Parts of a Media Plan as an outline of what is to be included in proposals reveived.

If, however, the media plan is completed and you are taking proposals on media buys, that is what stations, newspapers, magazines, etc fulfil the plan, that the analysis might be simply numerical, as long as all meet the plan's specs, which should be in your rfp.

Beware of comparing reach and frequency analyses that have been created by different software, and are not therefore comparable.

Tuesday, July 17, 2001 #4589
If you are given a total advertising budget what is the average industry "rule of thumb" for what percentage should be delagated to the media buy, creative, production and administration? In other words what is an average ratio?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 18, 2001 ):
It varies all over the place depending on geography, category and target.

For example, direct reponse commercials are obviously very cheaply made and have low production ratios.

A national luxuery brand will have a high quality proudction budget, but may buy so much media that the porduction percentage seems small comapre to a regional advertiser needing to project the same quality.

An advertiser needing to project quality in an ethnic market may spend the saem production budget as in the genreal market (think premium beers) even thought the smaller ethnic market doesn't demand nearly the same media budget.

Each must be decided according to needs, not rules of thumb. Averages might be calculable, but would be meaningless as planning tools.

Tuesday, July 17, 2001 #4587
Does pricing in spot markets generally follow what's happened in the up-front? I've been reading about how the up-front pricing was down, and am wondering if I can use that as a guide for budgeting in spot markets in the coming year.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 18, 2001 ):
The key difference between upfront and spot scatter is the economic outlook. The upfront happened in a very down May-June marketplace. Advertisers were reluctant to make large / long term commitments. This will mostly mean more money in the network scatter markets. As time goes on a new economic picture can change pricing in network and spot.

Tuesday, July 10, 2001 #4564
Hi Guru! I am looking for any statistics on the use of piggybacked :30s (to make one :60) in radio and :15s (to make one :30) in TV to increase awareness/ effectiveness. Does this technique help?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 11, 2001 ):
The Guru doesn't follow your reasoning. Are you expecting that repeating a :15 twice in thirty seconds will have more effectiveness ore build more awarness than stand-alone :15s at the same budget or more than whole :30s at that budget?

Pairs of piggy-backed :15s in TV will no doubt yield less awareness than stand-alone :15s, because the reach will be less. As to effectiveness, you need to define that in terms of awareness, intent to purchase, sales results etc. Pairs of piggy backed :15s versus whole :30's would yield the same reach. There might be more awareness because of the apparent error, but there will be reduced message content.

For research try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Monday, July 09, 2001 #4563
Increasing budget and Web Response: Is there research showing that if I double (triple, whatever) an overall promotion budget to drive click-throughs on a Web site, I'll double--or more than double -- the rate? Is there a formula that can be presented to the client. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 11, 2001 ):
Like the reach curve, "response" functions are typically curvilinear, that is, once they reach a threshold level, each added dollar adds less return than the prior efforts.

As far as research that might yield a formula, try The Internet Advertising Bureau or The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Friday, July 06, 2001 #4556
What do you think the best way is to charge for media services? Commission vs fee based. On some accounts my agency uses commission others they charge for a media plan and set a retainer fee each month for maintenance. Are there articles available on this topic. Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 06, 2001 ):
In some cases commission will work, in others fees are appropriate. Generally, on full service media planning and buying, commission is best at higher budgets. For small budgets or ones with many cancellations, fees are probably better. If there are a lot of changes and revisions, fees should account for that.

Thursday, July 05, 2001 #4545
Dear Guru: I have an advertising plan for a new product launch that has a substantial reach and frequency for the first quarter of the launch. I have been asked to look at taking the second quarter down to 50% of the spending at launch, and 3rd and 4th quarters to 25% of that spending. Is there any rule of thumb that I could use to translate the relative reach and frequency at the reduced levels? For example, if I have a 90% R&F at 100%, could I assume 90% and 5 at a 50% spending level?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 05, 2001 ):
If you have the reach curves of the media you are using, you could find the coordinates for 50% or 25% of the dollars or weight vs a new reach easily.

However, different media elements, mixes and schedules develop differently. In one plan, say radio, where a heavy budget is generating added frequency for the last 50% of weight, a 50% reduction might reduce reach only 5%. In a lighter plan, or in a higher turnover medium, 50% reduction might mean 40% loss of reach.

Thursday, June 21, 2001 #4508
Dear guru, Is there any different to make a media plan at segmented television than general television?. (sport television vs entertainment television). should i make a media plan separately for each television?. this because i believe that there is different audience for each television. Thanks/ AM-Indonesia

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 23, 2001 ):
A media plan is aimed at investing the advertising budget to best accomplish goals expressed in terms of the target consumer. What kind of televison to use is merely tactics.

The Guru does not believe these segments can be separated before the plan is assembled. Part of the plan might be devoted to determining how much to invest in each segment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2001 #4484
how to approach a media plan for automotive lubricants, where emphasis given on truck drivers, fleetowners and mechanics

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 17, 2001 ):
  • which media reach this target
  • what media environments are most effective
  • and what schedule is feasible within your budget.

Wednesday, June 06, 2001 #4459
One of the client's the I buy media for has a limited budget in a market with a very high cpp. They are considering running :10 second spots in addition to :30s to increase frequency. Do you think that's a good idea?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 06, 2001 ):
It's a way to increase frequency. Is there a frequency goal you're trying to meet?

Monday, June 04, 2001 #4454
Dear Guru, How is a national theoretical plan translated to a test market?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 04, 2001 ):
There three ways, in general

  • Little U.S., where the test market runs the same schedule as the national plan
  • As it Falls, where the test market runs the schedule it would have experienced had the national plan been running, and
  • Correct increment, which is similar to "as it falls," but accounts for predicted variation in media costs and budgets between test dates and anticipated roll-out dates
  • The key difference between Little U.S. and "As-it-Falls" is in recognizing that the rating level of nationhal media varies from one market to the next. Translating network or cable TV as-it-falls is fairly simple, magazines can be trickier.,

    Also see a guide to test market posted by MediaLife Magazine

Wednesday, May 30, 2001 #4440
What steps should I take to select test markets for DRTV?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 30, 2001 ):
DRTV should not be market sensitive, unless the product or it's prospects have geographic variance. You might as well test where budget will be lowest if the intended media vehicles are available.

But see a guide to test market selection posted by MediaLife Magazine

Tuesday, May 29, 2001 #4434
Does cable TV have market CPP the way that network does. Or, is there a percentage of SQAD's estimates that can be used for planning cable budgets? Have no clue, hope you can help. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 30, 2001 ):
Spot cable is a spot TV medium. Depending on the reason it's being used SQAD spot TV cpp may be appropriate.

Are you using cable because of the general characterisitics of cable's audience? If son then use the index of value which led you to cable as an adjustment on SQAD rates.

For example, if cable viewers are 20% more likely to purchase your product, than cbale is worth a 20% greater cpp.There is usually an efficiency penalty in spot cable.

Monday, May 28, 2001 #4433
Hi Guru, I am looking for : what is the minimum budget for an international (presence in the 5 continents) btob campaign : target High executives. Could you help me? Where can i find cases as the Big 5 Andersen Consulting, Enst&Young, Price WaterHouse, ... or international advertiser as Suez... Thanks a lot.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 30, 2001 ):
It is impossible to set a minimum from these facts. A small space ad in an international edition of news or business publication, such as Time, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times of London, etc. might be right, but there are probably communications goals to consider.

Thursday, May 17, 2001 #4413
Hello M.G.-- I'm looking for an "unbiased" source correlating ad spending with sales success and/or decreasing an established brands media budgets and getting diminished results. Is there a 3rd party resource or study I can use to help a client justify maintaining existing budgets which have consistently yielded successful results before the "big corporate bean counter" slices and dices advertising budgets? Thank you for your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 21, 2001 ):
Unbiased research is unlikely in this case. Try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Tuesday, May 15, 2001 #4400
Defining last minute media buying as buying in the last 48 hours before TV broadcasting, what's the last minute media buying role in the TV advertsing? How much do the planners usually allocate from the whole budget to last minute spendings (as in the last minute peaks audience could be short termly forecasted)? Is this a frequently used instrument? Anticipated thanks...

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 20, 2001 ):
The Guru beleives very few, if any planners allocate anything for this, it is not part of planning except to the extent that it effects price and is thus a buyers' issue.

The Guru does not see a way to forecast audience peaks 48 hours ahead. A bigger issue is whether inventory will be available on such short lead time. The only application of this short time buying in which the Guru sees an advantage is "firesales" that is, making oneself known as a ready buyer -- at deep discounts -- of unsold inventory, a tactic that defies "planning."

Friday, April 27, 2001 #4347
What incremental level of brand awareness can feasibly be generated by a TV and Internet buy as opposed to a TV only buy?. i.e. will adding an online component to media buy help to build better brand awareness?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 29, 2001 ):
It depends, among other things,
  • On the current level of brand awareness
  • On the level of awareness among internet users
  • On the levels of the media used
  • On the reach obtained in each medium

In short, this question needs to be very much more specific to answer usefully. But key facts are that TV has reach potential better than 95% and internet only about 50%. Thus with no budget limits, TV could add enough awareness so that any added benefit of internet might well be immeasurable. At some budgets, internet contribution could be significant.

Monday, April 23, 2001 #4336
Hi GURU. On what target group should I focus my online store in special spices spices from all over the world? And how can I reach them with a low marketing budget? Thanks in advance! Greetings, Ruud.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, April 25, 2001 ):
Use MRI or Simmons to learn who cooks from scratch as a target.

Depending on how small your budget is, you can consider small space ads in cooking magazines or on cooking-related sites.

Thursday, March 15, 2001 #4257
Mi, If i am putting together a radio schedule what would the ideal reach be? For any buy, any market? is it 60%?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 16, 2001 ):
There is no such ideal.
  • What will the budget buy?
  • Are there other media in the plan?
  • Is reach the goal or effective reach or frequency?
  • What is the reach potential in the market?
  • For the target?
Why settle for 60 when for some targets 90 is readily attainable.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001 #4250
My ad agency is putting together a media plan for a client. Currently, the client is spending about 15% on radio and 85% budget on broadcast television. I am recommending a combination of radio, cable and broadcast. I am trying to show a combined reach and frequency. I am able to do this for radio and broadcast tv with my media software. How can I add in the reach and frequency of cable (since universes are different)? My cable rep says she can enter my entire schedule (broadcast & cable) to come up with reach and frequency. Is this possible? Won't I be neglect in showing reach to those HH without cable???Please respond ASAP. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
The Guru can recall when some managers opposed the introduction of computers because people would no longer know basic media math.

Keep in mind that the real story is how many people you reach. Once you determine that, it is simple arithmetic to express that number as a percentage of a target group, as we are used to seeing reach.

It is also standard to show reach within the cable universe and in the remaining U.S. For example, you might show that you reached 75% of the cable universe and 60% of the remaing U.S.

And. . . if the cable universe is 80% of the U.S. then your average U.S. reach is 72%

0.8 x 75
+ 0.2 x 60 =

Thursday, March 08, 2001 #4247
Dear Media Guru, I have a client who is interested in an advertising campaign to change the public's opinion of them. I would like to know what would be more effective, a sustained low frequency campaign over an 18 month period or a short 3 month flight with both high reach and high frequency. The budget level is the same either way. The goal is at the end of the 18 month period, the target market should have a MUCH better opinion of the the client. I revere your expertise and look forward to your answer.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
The simplest answer is that if you run a heavy, three month schedule, and then measure target opinion 15 months later, your message is likely to be all but forgotten.

If you spread your schedule over the entire 18 months then you will probably be in a better position at month 18.

A good compromise is probably a brief -- possibly one month -- schedule to establish presence and sustaining spread over the 18 months. Since you appear to be focused solely on image rather than sales, some flighting should not be a problem.

Wednesday, March 07, 2001 #4243
Media guru, hopefully you can help me. I am trying to obtain definitions for the following. These phrases get thrown around so often here, but I am not completely sure what they mean; 1) Media strategy? 2) Communications strategy - how does it differ from media strategy? 3) Brand communications as opposed to advertising? Appreciate the help.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
You are right that these phrases get thrown around loosely. Part of the problem is that they have common English meanings and another is that, like many advertising terms, they have different meanings in various English speaking countries.

Looking "from the top down" may help understanding. First of all, generally "strategies" are courses of action designed to meet objectives.

  • Marketing objectives are big overall goals like increasing sales 10% per year.
  • A marketing strategy aimed at meeting this objective this objective might be to use consumer advertising.
  • An advertising objective within this marketing strategy could be to increase trial of the brand.
  • An advertising strategy within this could be a budget for consumer media.
  • A media objective under this strategy could call for building awareness among a new target segment.
  • Media strategies to achieve this objective might include a communications strategy of achieving X% reach in each four week period at a minium of Y average frequency

Brand communications is a broad concept including all messages delivered to consumers and trade via advertising, promotion, public relations, etc.

Tuesday, March 06, 2001 #4236
How would you advertise a line of gardening products to a national audience with a monthly budget of 20,000?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 06, 2001 ):
Given your specifics, the Guru would probably opt for fractional space ads in gardening publications.

Friday, February 23, 2001 #4202
We are doing the planning for an acount in a market we have not previously bought. The demo is Adults 25-54. What formula is used for establishing the weight distribution per daypart. If we are asked to buy 150 points per week how do we determine what the percent of each daypart.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 25, 2001 ):
This depends on plan goals. If reach is the main goal, then you can examine a variety of mixes of weight to see the best reach available within the budget. The same technique works if the goal is effective reach or frequency.

In all likelihood, starting with about 20% - 25% in each of 4 or 5 dayparts and changing mixes in 5% increments, you will find very little difference except by adding or deleting prime time totally.

If impressions weight is the key, then just buy according to best efficiency, once your reach minimum, if any, has been met.

Friday, February 16, 2001 #4187
Dear GURU.... I am in the process of developing a business plan for a start-up internet company. I have reached a bit of a wall... I am trying to find a way to put together an est. budget for on-line advertising as a liability and also as a source of revenue... Any ideas where I can get some ideas? Or do you have any numbers in mind... what is costs to advertise, and what to expect to earn. Thank you, Joe R.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 19, 2001 ):
Visit Ad Resource

Wednesday, February 14, 2001 #4180
Hi! Dear Guru thank you for your last ansewrs! How do You think is it possible to estimate budget/GRP limit with wich there is no sence to advertise on TV (ad. cmp. will be lost in ad.clutter). Or there is no any limits at all? For instance could 10 spots placed in prime-time on national channel(with av. rating 10%)give some results? Spasibo!(means thank you in russian).

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 14, 2001 ):
Any advertising has some effect. There is a threshhold of awareness where a noticable difference in consumer response occurs.

Some say those exposed more than three times respond noticably more. Others speculate that once the three exposure threshold is past, continuous exposure wit a reach of 30+ per week is the key to sales.

Your 100 GRP schedule is a good starting point.

Monday, February 12, 2001 #4175
Hello. Hoping you can help. I am trying to understand if there is a trend in the average number of cable networks used in a media plan. Do you happen to know, on average, how many cable networks were used in a media plan in 1997, then the % increase year-on-year for 1998, 1999 and 2000? I have already tried the CAB website and TV Dimensions 2001. Thanks in advance!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 14, 2001 ):
The Guru does not think any such average could be meaningful in the absence of several other factors, such as:

  • Total weekly spending
  • Total weekly cable spending
  • Average rating purchased
  • Other media in plan

The Guru does not imagine a sensible plan specifies "number of cable networks," rather that that figure is the fall-out from budget goals, proposals made, target, importance of content vs efficiency, etc.

Wednesday, January 31, 2001 #4142
Dear guru, Is there a rule of thumb as to what percent of a total advertising budget should be spent on agency fee, production, and other "non-media" activities vs. the actual media buy? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 31, 2001 ):
No. There are too many variables based on overall budget, target, media types, etc.

Tuesday, January 30, 2001 #4138
Hi, Currently I'm preparing a business plan for a startup. I'm considering radio and print advertising in the top 50 markets. I will eventually hire an agency to work out all the math. But for the sake of projecting marketing expense, is there a way I can show "so many spots/print ads in so many main stations/magazines in the top 50 markets for a total budget of $500,000? I'll be happy as long as I can quote average rates for radio spots and print ads from reliable sources.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 31, 2001 ):
It's easier if you think of radio in GRP terms. Then you can look at average rates in SQAD and do your calculations.

The Guru does not think you will find local magazines, other than Sunday newspaper supplements, in most of those markets.

Newspaper rates can be found at Media Passage.

Monday, January 29, 2001 #4133
I have been a media buyer for almost three years now. I am just starting to plan media. Can you tell me what are efficient GRP levels for tv and radio buying? I am in the entertainment industry and our audience is A25-54 and 55+. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 30, 2001 ):
Effective levels depend on what you are trying to accomplish:
maintenance of regular purchases, building awarenss of a new product or driving immediate attendance to a short term event.

The plan is all about working through these goals, and making decisions about levels within available budget and communications strategy.

Saturday, January 27, 2001 #4129
Dear Guru, I'm looking for information concerning Fair Share in television. Is there any other way to tell how much % one should invest in a television channel? Since the Fair Share formula is taking the amount of breaks one channel has into account, the more breaks a channel has the more % of the media budget will go to this channel. So even if a channel has let's say 30% of bad breaks (not viewed by the audience) this channel will score good in terms of Fair Share. What's your opinion on this? Thanks in advance!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 28, 2001 ):
The Guru does not support buying based on stations' share of viewing. This practice undercuts the point of negotiation. If a station sales person thinks he/she is entitled to "X" share of your budget, then the incentive is to keep unit prices high.

It is even less logical to reward a station for having more inventory, which is a disincentive to viewing.

Share might be a starting point. Efficiency, reach/rating and composition should be essential adjuctments from there, and number of breaks of little or no impact.

Monday, January 22, 2001 #4114
Dear Guru, Is it reasonable to concentrate all one week's budget on Thursday, Friday and Saturday? If not, what's your suggestion. Thanks, Muammer Oztat

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 22, 2001 ):
It's reasonable if these are the days immmediately preceeding purchases.

Monday, January 08, 2001 #4087
Guru, First off, just wanted to let you know that I find this to be one of the most usefull sites on the web - as a management consultant in need of a crash course on media planning, the information found in these pages has proven invaluable...Now, on to my question: I am working on the launch of a branded consumer services play (auto related), and am trying to build a marketing budget from the bottom up, rather than as a strict % of sales. I have modeled an overly simplified media plan, and am looking for guidance on placeholders to use for weights (TRP) for TV and Radio, # of weekly inserts for newspaper, and showing level for outdoor. I know there are numerous factors and considerations I am leaving out (I know the GURU doesn't like sweeping generalizations), but I need a place to start. Goal: generate "substantial awareness" (think Midas, Maaco). Thanks for your insights.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 11, 2001 ):
The Guru thanks you for the compliments.

Keep in mind that while "substantial awareness" may be a snappy phrase for discussion of plans, you need to quantify such a term in order to quantify the building blocks of getting there.

Let's suppose we decide the goal is 80% ad awareness among the target within a given campaign period. Therefore, your advertising must reach at least 80% of the target in that period, with enough frequency for the message to penetrate and stick, let's say at least three times.

Now, you can calculate that generating that reach in TV will call for a certain number of TRP (you can use the media software at eTelmar for calculations). Or you can examine getting that reach with radio or a combination of TV and radio.

Outdoor will generate high reach more efficiently than either, with a #25 showing, but outdoor's necessary simplicity of message may not stand alone in filling your needs.

Newspaper has its own contribution and you need to judge from a marketing perspective whther you need a small store-locator ad every day, a full page branding message once a week, or some other approach, if any.

Wednesday, December 13, 2000 #4042
Hi Guru A.S.A.P....Please can you tell me what should a Brand Review presentation contains? what are the steps for preparing such presentaion? Thanks for your help in Advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 17, 2000 ):
The Guru must presume you are referrring to a Brand review from the media perspective. Therefore, without anyother specifications than "brand review" the Guru would put together:
  1. For whatever period of years is specified, the marketing and advertising strategies which guided the media plan
    budget, etc
    emphasizing all changes in any of these
  2. Summary descriptions of the plans by year, i.e.
    objectives and strategies,
    Media Allocation, e.g.: "Primary Medium: Network TV 50%,
    Spot TV 10%,
    Spot Radio 10%,
    National Magazines 30%" or wahtever other media (newspaper, interactive, etc) were used
  3. Learning regarding sales response, ad awareness changes, etc. and media responses to that learning
  4. Plans for next year with alternates considered
  5. As back-up, flow charts, research supporting targeting and media selection, particulars of programming or magazine title selection, spot market selection, sales or awareness research, measurement of any other goals

Tuesday, December 05, 2000 #4018
What are the pros/cons of 30 minute infomercial-type spots compared to :15, :30, or :60 spots with respect to production, unit cost, response, reach/frequency, target audience, etc.? Would the type of product be a factor in deciding whether to run :30 minute spots? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 06, 2000 ):
The questions are essentially direct marketing issues, but as to the media points included:
  • Unit cost: In the same time periods, :30s cost about half of :60s. :15s cost 50-75% as much as :30s. Half hours cost much more but not proportionatly more. This become tricky, because half hours are usually only sold at less popular, lowere price tiems so comparisons to standard, ROS commercials are decieving. Similarly short commercials bought at direct response rates are supposedly priced at half of normal rates but run in less desirable times and are highly pre-emptible.
  • Reach/frequency: A :15 spot has the same reeach as a 30 minute program at the same time. Since there will be many more different announcements with short commercials than half hours, for a given budget, the short commercials have better R&F, the shorter the better on this score. But direct response isn't usually evaluated on an R&F basis.
  • Target audience depends on time slot and not advertising length.
  • Response varies, based more on offer and execution than on format.

Friday, December 01, 2000 #4009
I handle a small investment advisor service client who's target is super affluent. They currently have decent awareness on the east coast but are virtually unknown on the west in LA where they just opened an office. They gave us a $1MM budget and we told them to use local cable on financial networks/programs, & other networks which generally reach a more affluent audience(A&E, Bravo, Golf Channel, etc). They are not convinced that TV will help them penetrate the market and assist with sales calls. Is there any way to convince them that TV is the best and most effective offensive media based on budget and awareness concerns. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 02, 2000 ):
You should start with a comparison of target compostion of all the options. Almost anyone accepts tv as the most impactful medium, all else aside. Financial networks are appropriate. However, some print will be far more authoritative than simply affluent cable networks. Wall St. Journal, Barron's, Financial Times, etc.

Tuesday, October 17, 2000 #3891
We have a client who wants an internet media plan, but will be using a buying service to place the buys. They have a monthly budget of $40k. Do you have any suggestions on how to price a media plan when not being involved on receiving agency discounts from the buys? Also, are there any average commission levels agencies use when purchasing internet buys? Thanks for any help you can offer.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 17, 2000 ):
The starting point, of course, is that the whole agency process is worth 15% of gross.

Many cases allocate 5% to media and 10% to the rest of the agency thinking work; creative, account service, etc.

In the internet, as in magazines, "planning" is very specific, down to number of uses per title, and on-line even more so, with pages, sections, units all part of the plan. This leaves the buying service with not much more to do than order processing. All this says planning might be worth 3 or 4% and buying 1 or 2%. If the buying service is pre-negotiating and providing you with prices on all the placement possibilites your plan will consider, then that tilts toward the 3/2 split. If it's purely order taking to your specifications, then 4/1.

Monday, October 16, 2000 #3890
In the recommendation of a continuation of a national brand strategy do I allocate more budget toward broadcast or print? Or should I just drop one completely? Why?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 17, 2000 ):
Not enough information. What has been primary so far? What relationships have been established with / through the media? What is the national strategy?

Thursday, October 05, 2000 #3869
I have a client asking what a average National cost per impression for radio and television would be. They are trying to build a budget to launch a dot com company.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 05, 2000 ):

Saturday, September 16, 2000 #3805
I need to set-up a media plan for a new hand tool what is the best method to go about doing this?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 18, 2000 ):
Determine target, budget, seasonality, if any, communications goals, efficiency and what media environmnet might best support your message.

Friday, September 15, 2000 #3800
Hi Guru. Can you direct me to resources that deal with "making the case" for NOT reducing ad budgets...those non-advertising agency/assoc. resources that won't appear so self-serving. Dig?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 18, 2000 ):
The Guru imagines that almost anyone who compiles such data will be doing it for self-serving reasons, whether an association or a medium. However, the material compiled, such as the classic wartime "Lucky Strike" story may come directly from advertisers.

The closest to an independent source might be the University advertising schools, like U. Texas at Austin.

Tuesday, September 12, 2000 #3790
Hello, How can I find out what companies market to teens and what percent of their marketing budget is allocated to the teen segment? I am also interested in how to find customer acquisition costs per company and per industry. Some companies publish this information in press releases (such as's $19 cost per new customer) or in the annual report (for public companies only). Is there a source where I can find these costs? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 16, 2000 ):
The easiest way to find companies marketing to teens is to skim through some teen-oriented magazines at your library. Of course, this won't be complete, so the next step is to use a tool like CMR (Competitive Media Reports) to track advertisers in other teen oriented media. Most companies would treat the info you want as confidential, so only public or monitored behavior such as the Guru has mentioned will be available in most cases.

Cusotmer acquisrition costs are only relevant for certain industries and businesses like Amazon whose direct sales methods allow tracking. Otherwise you will need to find marketing expenditure and customer # estimates from sources like MRI to calculate this yourself.

In some industries, the trade media may have reported on this.

Thursday, September 07, 2000 #3783
What are the benefits of Spot TV versus print for a 3 month launch campaign?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 09, 2000 ):
TV is a more active, impactful medium than newspaper. There is a greater range of flexibility in schedule, reach and frequency, especially in achieving quick, up-front high levels. 95% reach at 20+ frequency in week 1 is possible in TV, with nothing close possible in local print. But budget will be a key issue.

Thursday, August 31, 2000 #3772
I am aiding in an ad agency search. My client has asked me to come up with a way to compare the way two agencies will receive compensation. Can you help me by suggesting the factors I should request of the agencies to do an apples to apples comparison.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 03, 2000 ):
As far as the media portion of this question goes it seems quite simple. Pose the question to the agencies:
"If we have a media budget of (fill in your approximate budget here) what will be your total fees for planning, buying and all supporting or related accounting functions? What fees are or are not refunded or forgiven in case of cancellations? Express the answer in dollars rather than percentages."

It might aid precison to break down the budget specification into print versus broadcast versus online, etc, and by national versus local.

Tuesday, August 29, 2000 #3761
We are a business to business agency, and one of our clients is considering releasing a consumer product. Without investing in Nielsen, Arbitron, and Consumer SRDS- what would you think would be the most effective approach in reaching female teenagers?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 01, 2000 ):
Without using any of those resources, and without knowing a budget, the Guru would recommend teen female magazines, such as Seventeen, YM or Teen.

Friday, August 25, 2000 #3751
Dear Guru- I am an AAE at an ad agency, and a health care client believes that too much of the budget is being spent on direct mail. Do you know where I could find an industry average for budget allocation, or what % of a budget is too much to be spending on direct mail pieces? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 28, 2000 ):
Direct mail is self justifying. It either pays out or it doesn't. In the Guru's experience. it is treated as totally separate from mass media.

Wednesday, August 23, 2000 #3739
Guru -- How can I establish an Internet budget as part of an overall media mix? Lets say for the sake of argument that the plan in question is for a traditional package goods advertiser who wants to reach A18-49.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 28, 2000 ):
In the Guru's opinion, reach goals against mass targets can't justify internet budgets for package goods. Virtually all traditional media do a better and more efficient job of reaching such targets.

The internet budget might be justified by a need for an interactive plan element, such as data collection, offering recipes, coupons or other inducements, etc.

Thursday, August 17, 2000 #3714
Is there any industry standard that is followed that determines how much should be spent on creative and perduction in relation to total media spend. For example,if I spend $1 million annually on pure radio time, how much over that should I spend on creative and production? Is there a percentage that can be applied?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 19, 2000 ):
It completely depends on the medium and the marketing arena. A major national brand in network tv might spend 5 or 10%. A small advertiser in a smallish geography, using radio only might spend %. A major national advertiser, in Hispanic market TV might spend 25% to assure the same visual commercial production quality in Hispanic whjich only has 5% or 10% as much media budget as their general media.

Friday, August 11, 2000 #3697
Dear Media Guru: Typically, how is the money I spend on broadcast (e.g. TV) advertising sliced? ie. Which player gets approximately how much of the pie? I dont need exact figures - since that would vary by actual agency, objectives etc. but just good ball-parks. How much does the agency keep as commision? How much is spent on the creative portion? How much on the media itself? Are there other charges? Are there any other stake-holders? If the agency is not full-service, what commision/fee is given to the media-buyer? If you must need more specifics: Lets consider 2 scenarios: - Lets say my company is General Motors and my annual budget is $100 Million. - Lets say I am a .com. My budget is $2 Million. Thank you much!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, August 13, 2000 ):
Of course, there are many deals that vary from the traditional commission structure, and the bigger the budget the more likley there is a deal below the tradtional standard. But traditionally: On a broadcast media bill to an advertiser, the agency gets 15% commission against the gross media cost. If a sales representative not an employee of the media owner has made the deal, the rep gets about 15% of the remaining net media cost. The rest belongs to the medium.

Out of the agency's 15%, it is being compensated for it's creative and marketing thinking. Actuall creation of the advertising materials, i.e. production of commercials is typically charged at out-of-pocket costs plus a mark-up of 17.65% (which is equal to 15% of the out of pocket + commission total).

If an agency uses an outside media buyer, the fee is usually 5% or less of the gross media costs, but there is a greater variation in these deals.

Monday, August 07, 2000 #3682
Dear Guru, I have been challenged with justifying to agency management the addition of a new media planner. We are primarily a b-2-b agency. Is there an industry standard, or any resourse you can recommend that compares annual media billings vs. number of media department employees (ex: for every $1,000,000 in media billings, you need "x" number of media planner/buyers). I am sure that there is probably no absolute rule for hiring new employees in a media department, however I am looking for some ideas (above and beyone hours worked by current employees) to justify my request. Thanks in advance for your insight.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 08, 2000 ):
People per million is a dynamically changing concept. It takes the same number of people today to plan $10 million as it took for $1 million a few years ago. It takes fewer people to paln $10million when it's the budget of a single brand than when it's the budget of 10 unrelated brands.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies is probably the best source of this kind of staffing data on a current basis and addresssing the variables.

Monday, July 24, 2000 #3647
Whatis the correct mix between on -line and aff-line for a vertical internet site, particularly in the start-up phase.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 29, 2000 ):
There is no such thing as a "correct mix" for all occasions. Considerations include

  • Is your target currently more reachable online or offline?
  • Are the best sites to reach your target mostly competive verticals which wouldn't take your advertising?
  • To whay extent does your budget allow for completely free choice of (typically) far less efficient online opportunities?

Friday, July 21, 2000 #3638
I have requested and received the latest media kits, and have given a single sheet description of the client and the demo to the reps. Should there be an expanded RFP, and how long (or short) should a print RFP be, to be effective?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 23, 2000 ):
The Guru is not supportive of RFPs for print submissions. The concept of the RFP is best suited to soliciting complete solutions to needs. If you could give each vendor your complete print communications goals and were possibly willing to allow one publisher to win the whole budget, then the RFP approach could make sense.

Otherwise, the Guru recommends you specify, target, positioning, frequency desired, merchandising desires, and ad units and not be concerned with the "length" of the request at all. In other words, tell the sellers, as directly as possible, what the buying decision will be based on, and then let them respond. Feel free to request a standardized format for submissions, but allow enough flexibility to receive good ideas.

Tuesday, July 18, 2000 #3625
Can you please explain what "Optimizers" do in media planning? Is it a separate program from media planning software or part of the package (e.g. Tapscan, SmartPlus, etc.)? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 23, 2000 ):
Generally, an optimizer is a buyers' analysis tool using respondent-level data, to select a media list which has the greatest reach within a budget or achieves a reach goal most efficiently.

There can be considerable detail specified as to target, reach at "X" level of frequency, etc. The current use of "optimizer" most often specifically refers to network TV analyzers using Nielsen data tapes as input and examining "actual" versus modeled reaches.

Media planning packages generally don't include such optimizers. Optimizers typically cost more on their own than media planning software suites and also require purchase of relatively expensive Nielsen tapes. Similar buyers' analyses of print schedules, are typically built into these planning suites but rely on users' possession of Simmons or MRI data.

Thursday, July 06, 2000 #3604
I've mostly handled print and DM advertising and am trying to master radio. If a client is saying that their optimum TRP level is 175, what does that mean?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 10, 2000 ):
Click here for a definition of TRP .

Presumably, the client would be speaking of the TRP level which has produced nest results for the budget.

Sunday, June 25, 2000 #3575
I've got to make some kind of media plan for one of my clients. He wants to sell very expancive villas in South Africa, but he wants to start with a small budget. Do you think it's possible to develop a decent plan without including off-line media in the mix?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 25, 2000 ):
The Guru imagines that there are many more accessible prospects for expensive South African real estate in traditonal media than online.

Thursday, June 22, 2000 #3571
What is the difference between: advertising objective vs. media objective vs. communication objective? What is the best way to do an online branding campaing for a car manufacturer? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 25, 2000 ):
Advertising objectives are a broad set of goals which include media opbectives. Media Objectives are a broad set of goals for a media plan, which include a communications objective.

For example, advertising objectives may include a brand image to establish or a specific level of brand awareness to achieve. Neither of these are media objectives.

Media objectives may include a media target, a media budget, a region of the country or sales index standard for geographic concentration. These are not communications objectives.

Communications objectives may be such goals as minimum average four week reach, frequency, effective frequency, etc.

There are many ways to do any sort of online branding campaign. There is no "one size fits all" best solution. A branding campaing for "the safest car" would certainly differ from one for the car whic is the "best value for a family." It is important to have firmly in mind what "branding" means:

According to marketing consultant Rob Frankel, "Branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition; it's about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem." (sm)

This means that most of what makes a campaign a "branding" campaign is outside of the domain of media. Study the marketing elements of the campaign and judge how you can make the media plan support it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2000 #3479
Are there parameters (highs and lows) for effective reach and frequency? In other words, is there a particular reach and a particular frequency that are considered "average" as they relate to broadcast media? How would one determine whether an advertiser is spending adequate funds to meet these "averages" when airing a broadcast schedule on a Mon-Sun basis?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 19, 2000 ):
The Guru finds the concept of average irrelevant in this context.Such measures are relevant in relation to competition and one's own communications goals. What does it benefit an auto brand if the "average" advertiser has a reach of 50% at 3+ frequency when all automotive competitors are delivering 75% at 3+?

As to turning spending into effective reach and frequency, that's typically part of a media plan. budget gets expressed as schedules of TV, radio, print, etc. Reach and frequency are calculated by available software for these GRPs. Effective reach / frequency is an inherent part of the calculation.

Monday, May 08, 2000 #3452
hi i am a media planner in pakistan working for R-Lintas the problem that i face while planning is the clitter and how to deal with specially in TV we have tried different solutions but none worked so i need your in this regard .

When i mentioned clutter i ment the overload of advertising on television where your message is lost. in Pakistan few years back we just had one government owned TV channel so it was easier to attract big chuncks of audiences through advertising but in the past few years the media scene in Pakistan has changed alot now we have three TV channels (24 hour), cable and satellite channels are also very popular so now it has become really difficult to attract same big chuncks of audiences now every individual dwells in his or her own domain of interest and the question now arises 1-How to reach these people who are no more receptive and has more options. 2-How to get maximum mileage out of the limited resources(advertising budget) that we normally have. 3-How to increase the reach and break the advertising clutter 4-How can we make consumers sit and watch our ads?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 09, 2000 ):
Part of the answer will depend on how advertisng is delivered. If one minute of programming alternates with one minute of commercial time, the Guru would say it's hopeless. If your TV commercials run in pods, that is, 2 or 3 minute blocks of commercials after every ten or fifteen minutes of programming, then there are a few tricks:

  • Buy multiple commercials in a program
  • Buy the opening and closing position of every pod in a program
  • "Sponsor" a program to get opening and closing and pod-bumper billboards.
  • One technique to increase audience 'chunks' is "roadblocking" which means buying at the exact same time across multiple channels.

Making the consumers 'sit and watch your ads' though, is not a media issue. At best it's a creative question.

Saturday, May 06, 2000 #3449
Guru, why are most large agencies starting their own online division? I assume most planners in a media department would love to explore new boundries for their clients to advertise in. Just wanted a different opinion.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 06, 2000 ):
Online media, though they are new and hot at the moment, are just additional media and must be regarded as merely additional communications elements available to advertisig plans. The Guru doesn't believe online divisions will stay separate for the long term. Though production issue will be unique, online will become just other media. There may continue to be specialists who serve online marketers, just as there are specialized health care and direct marketing agencies.

Bottom line, agencies are starting online divisions to compete for online budgets which otherwise are diverted from the budgets the agencies get. It's the same as agencies opening ala carte media services to compete against independent media buying companies.

Thursday, April 27, 2000 #3425
Are there general guidelines for media planners so that they will know how and when to consider ethnic or cultural groups in the planning process? Are there any planning tools?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 27, 2000 ):
The three major ethnic/cultural groups are currently almost one-third of total population ( see AMIC's Abbott Wool's Market Segment Resource Locator ): African American is 13%, Hispanic is 12% and Asian American is 4%. The rule of thumb is always "consider" ethnic and cultural groups. There are several common or basic product categories in which these groups have a 150 - 300+ index of usage versus the remainder of population. These include fruit juice, baby products, rice, corn meal, and many brands of beer, popular foods or over-the-counter pharmceuticals.

General advertising doesn't reach the linguistically isolated portions of these markets (50% or more of Hispanics and various Asian national groups). Even those reached, among all the ethnic/cultural segments, are less impacted due to lack of appropriate cultural cues in the general advertising or the media environments.

Upon due consideration, the planner may find that for his or her particular advertiser, no special effort is required. But, the planners may also find that there is a 12% segment of their universe consuming 25% of their product, and reachable through efficient media. It is not really unusual for the "first mover" in one of these market segments to gain 10% market share among the segments, which equates to a gain of more than 1% national share, something that couldn't have been achieved for three times the budget in general advertising.

Non-ethnic segmetns such as the mature market may also bear consideration.

Telmar's media software includes a Spanish TV reach and frequency system, called STRETCH, created by Telemundo

Hispanic Broadcasting System (formerly Heftel) has created En Total which does general Hispanic radio calculations and media combinations.

The African American, Spanish, and Asian-American media all offer research analyses.

Wednesday, April 26, 2000 #3424
I'm doing a campaign for a small restaurant chain with a relatively small budget. The goal is to drive traffic for lunch. I'm going to run in the AM and afternoon drives. Is it really necessary to have a 3 frequency if I'm going to be on the top 3 stations on the same programs each day at the same time over a period of 8 weeks? The schedules that I'm getting back show in the low 2's.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 27, 2000 ):
The common reference to a goal of "3 frequency" which you may have heard stems from century-old learning theory which found that 3 repetitions of information were required for it to be "learned" and acted upon. Many media planners use this theory and so specifically consider how many members of their target they are reaching at least 3 times.

You, however, seem to be looking at the average frequency of a schedule, which is different. Any schedule with at least three annoucements will have some portion of its reach exposed to 3 repetions. You need to decide what portion of your audience should be reached three times. YOu need to judge this by looking at the combination of all stations: you may be looking at individual stations reach and frequencies.

Finally, you may consider the full 8 week schedule. A station may be reporting to you only the one week reach and frequency, if you haven't specified, all stations, full cume.

With a schedule of just two dayparts on three stations you are probably getting a fairly low reach at high frequency and this is a completely different sort of consideration than the "3 frequency" issue.

Many planners today are abandoning the effective reach (3+) approach in favor of "recency," the concept that the exposure closest to a purchase decision is the most effective one. You plan might agree more with this approach if it has enough weekly reach.

Monday, April 17, 2000 #3404
Understanding that this is a COMPLETELY subjective question with many contributing variables, running the gamut from network to daypart to quarter I am trying to determine an average "National Network TV" CPM to apply for a planning budget exercise. Do you have a range you recommend using? Thanks in advance!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 17, 2000 ):
With all the unspecified variables making any answer almost meaningless, try about $8.00-$9.00 HH cpm

Wednesday, April 12, 2000 #3392
Guru, I've never used a planning program as most of my planning has been national print and outdoor, local broadcast, and things I've felt I can handle on my own.I've seen so many planning programs and websites for planning it's hard to tell the good from the bad. Have you ever evaluated planning programs and, if you have, can you recommened one or two? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, April 12, 2000 ):
To the Guru, the term "planning program" means programs like Telmar's AdPlus or Telmar's full set of individual media analysis programs or the eTelmar online suite of media programs.

Such programs calculate reach, frequency, effective reach, frequency distribution, and quintiles for individual media plus combinations of media as well as cross-tabulations and rankers from media audience databases. Flow charting is also a typical option.

These programs don't actually create media plans, that is determine how much budget to invest in each medium, ad units to use, and scheduling. There are such programs on the drawing board, but require that the planner quantify and factor those concepts which would be subjective judgements.

Thursday, March 23, 2000 #3335
Hi Guru, A few years ago, I saw a budget setting tool called the Jones Diagram. Do you know of this and where an explanation of how to use it might be found ? Thanks,

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 24, 2000 ):
It diagrams the findings of Jones' analysis showing that low share-of-market (SOM)brands ususally spend at a higher share of voice (SOV)than their share-of-market percent; that higher share-of-market brands underspend share-of-voice and that this situation is correct. This then allows budget setting in accord with SOM and SOV information.

The author is noted media theorist John Philip Jones of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. It is fully described in his book, How Much Is Enough? : Getting the Most from Your Advertising Dollar published by Lexington Books in 1991. The title is out of print, but - at this writing - is currently available online through the Barnes & Noble Rare and Out of Print site.

An explantory article might be available from The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Wednesday, March 08, 2000 #3298
Please describe the major steps and information required for Network TV Media Planning at an Agency. What computer skills are needed or research sources most used to evaluate Network? Are there any trade journal articles that would provide a description of this aspect of media planning, as I am applying for a position in this area, but have not planned Network in many years. What are the current Network $/GRP and target delivery efficiencies? What is the current coverage of U.S. Houselholds, for the three major networks? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 13, 2000 ):
There seems to be some confusion in your terms. The job of an agency Media Planner is to determine which media are best to meet the advertising objectives of the specific product/service.

In some cases this will include network TV.

When an approved paln includes network TV, the Network specifications are turned over to Network TV buyers. The plan's specifications are not likely to include than demographic target and weight goals, budget, timing, dayparts and/or program types.

Network buyers will then review program package offerings and sponsorship opportunities from the networks to meet all the specifications.

Nothing more than a spreadsheet is really needed, but there are some specific TV analysis programs, including optimizers, in use. Nielsen is the basic audience measurement source used.

When optimizers, which are programs that do extensive analysis of program data to select best schedules, came into use a few years ago, there were several trade articles in Ad Age and MediaWeek about the network buy "planning" process. See the one by Erwin Ephron in our Telmar 30th Anniversary Awards section.

Telmar, AMIC's sister company, also offers an optimizer, called Transmit.

See samples of current rates in AMIC's Ad Data area.

Tuesday, March 07, 2000 #3293
In a budget meeting ID been asked to reduce the number of stations planned for certain cities, in order to have money to cover other markets......My argument is that we need to buy at least 35% of total PUR (persons using radio) to have an effective impact with the promotional radio campaign...Ill appreciate your comments...AZ (MEX CITY)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 07, 2000 ):
The Guru has never encountered a share-of-PUR-standard, nor have a couple of his senior, radio researcher colleagues.

The big issue is what you determine makes an effective impact, in concrete terms so that you can make a case. Is it reach, effective reach, frequency or what? All these issues relate much more directly to consumer communication and impact than the abstraction of share of PUR. If you can buy GRPs and reach to your needs, but have to do it with fewer stations, it doesn't strike the Guru as a very significant issue.

Thursday, March 02, 2000 #3269
Dear Guru, I am planning for a channel. The channel is a niche channel in India. Basically a youth oriented channel. I was wondering on how to set media weights for the communication. How to stradle between the thematic (brand building) and tactical (traffic generation)campaign. Regards

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 03, 2000 ):
This will depend on marketing goals, budget and Click here to see effectiveness considerations, more than the basis fact of being a youth niche channel.

Monday, February 07, 2000 #3196
Dear Guru: Do you have an information on 'buget cutting'. I have a client that plans to cut l/2 of his original budget. What happens when infufficient funds are appropriated for media use (we have 5 new products to launch). Is it the planners job to tell the client that this remaining budget in not adequate? Any suggestions? Many thanks, as always.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 07, 2000 ):
Yes, sometimes low levels of spending will be completely inadequate to accomplish even a proportionate piece of the goals.

It is certainly a planner's responsibiltiy to advise the appropriate parties of the problem and to recommend alternatives in the form of new goals for which the budget is adequate.

These might include:

  • Reducing the geographic coverage
  • Reducing the advertising activity period, especially if early success could generate new funds
  • Reducing the number of products to be supported at any point in time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2000 #3131
I am marketing a beer brand through a distributor in a market where there is one dominant player with over 70% market share. I would like to know the appropriate advertising mix, both above- and below-the-line for this market. My brand is at low single digit market share, and I want more bang for my limited advertising bucks. Thanks in advance!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 22, 2000 ):
There is no simple answer. It depends on the marketing strategies chosen to build share.

Can you segment and focus on a narrow target which has high consumption or is a taste leader?

Is package recognition the key? Is price or distribution the focus? After addressing these and similar questions, you can evaluate the contributions of different media in your marketplace against prices and your budget and make some decisions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2000 #3129
What is media planning, and how does it differ from media buying?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 21, 2000 ):
To put it very simply:

Media planning is the process of determining which media best meet the advertiser's objectives and strategies, as well as which geography merits what share of budget. Levels of spending and weight by medium and daypart or vehicle are also a planning responsibilty.

When these determinations have been made, Media buying identifies best locations of individual advertisements and negotiates their price.

Monday, January 17, 2000 #3124
Hi, Media Guru... I am new to media planning and need to know how to figure out how to distribute the budget among media. We have decided to use Direct Response TV ads and Radio, but how do I determine how much of the budget to put in either? I understand the definitions of the terms reach and frequency but do not know how to use these tools. Also, is there an online (free) resource that can help me come up with psychographic data either in general for a demo or by market and demo? Thank you in advance for your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 21, 2000 ):
When the planner has a free hand, media mix is determined by examining various combinations to see which best meet the Media Objectives and Strategies.

You may go through an examination of efficiency, communication impact, environmental support, etc, of broad types prior to testing various mixes for reach and frequency or other measurable contributions.

In the case of direct response, you probably have some track record of the relative selling ability of each medium on which to base an intial distribution. After start, careful tracking of response will lead you to modify budgets. This direct tracking of sales, typical in DR, makes reach and frequency analysis moot.

The Guru does not believe there are any free online market psychographic/demographic resources.

Friday, January 14, 2000 #3120
What is the minimun number of GRP's a radio schedule should have to reach A35-64? I have planned a minimun of 50 GRP's for various markets, but I do not know if this is too little, or too much.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 19, 2000 ):
The only generally accepted "minimum" in radio advertising is 12 spots per week per station. But GRP must be considered as well in judging communications value.

50 GRPs is almost too small a total schedule to bother with. Most advertisers, pulling a number out of the air would probably start with 100 GRP per week in a campaign if radio is the only medium being used. A total campaign of 50 GRP should reach about 20-22% of the target, at a low level of average frequency: about 2.3. This would not be expected to generate much consumer response.

4 weeks at 100 GRP/week will get about to 50% target reach at an average frequency of 8x.

Certainly budget is a constraint, but effective levels in fewer markets is better than wasting money in a longer market list.

Friday, December 24, 1999 #3074
what's the best media mix for a portal site?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 25, 1999 ):
The best media mix is based on the portal's marketing goals, target and budget. There is nothing about a portal site, per se, that dictates mix.

New portals today are typically aimed at specific geographic, cultural or special interest groups. Different media have differing relative strengths and contributions to communications in different countries or among different market segments in the same country.

A traditional media plan in support of a portal ought to be built in the same way a plan for any other product category with the same marketing issues.

Tuesday, December 21, 1999 #3067
Is there any standard way of setting Reach & Frequency benchmarks for the Consumer durable category such as Motorcycles, Television, Tyres etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 21, 1999 ):
"Consumer durables" is much too broad to generalize. Purchase cycle, seasonality and budget are the key components for setting communications goals.

Target, media choices and geography might also contribute to level setting.

Thursday, December 09, 1999 #3039
dear guru how can i estimate reach precentages? is their any model that i can study from? i ask you before about raech and you answered that its a judgement decision. i am trying to estimate how many people will wxposed once , twice, and more to my ads on t.v ( old brand, the first time to adverise , direct competitores are not using advertise at all the largest share of voice, the target audience: main shopper with children ) is it enough to compare my case to other t.v campaign which had some close goals( target, budgets, adverisment environment, and so on) or may you has any other way to guide me? please try to help me many thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 09, 1999 ):
There are many parameters to consider for various media and dayparts. Computer models seem to be the only sensible way to deal with all of today's options. AMIC's sister company, Telmar, which has offices in your country (Israel), is the leading worldwide provider of this type of software.

Statistical texts can give you information about some of the basic reach estimating formulas, such as the Beta Bi-modal function.

Tuesday, December 07, 1999 #3034
Great Guru, As part of our consumer print advertising for our local convention and visitors bureau we run in a couple of in-flight publications. They have been chosen on the basis on the highest numbers of deplanements at our airport and the fact that they provide service in our region (the western United States). It is our assumption that many people have a loyalty to an airline, and we can entice regional travelers to our locale. (Although we do consider ourselves a national destination, our budget only allows us to advertise regionally.) What is your opinion on our reasoning...are we "preaching to the choir?" What considerations do you take into account when evaluating in-flights (within the category and also against other consumer print)? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 09, 1999 ):
A very complex question. To break down the answers into managable pieces:
  • Airline loyalty seems a questionable basis for selection. While people may be loyal to an airline when it serves their destination, the Guru doubts that people decide where to vacation based on whether or not they can get there on the airline which they like best
  • If you were promoting one casino versus others, then advertising on the airline with the most traffic to Las Vegas would be a strong choice, but once the travelers are on a Las Vegas-bound plane, you can stop selling the city. And it doesn't make sense that a traveler presently headed to Phoenix or Ontario, CA is necessarily a better prospect for Las Vegas than a traveller headed to San Antonio or Kansas City
  • If budget is only enouogh for regional coverage, better to concentrate on the region where most visitors come from than the local region, if there is a difference.
    Preaching to the choir might be a good description of your plan.
  • Choosing among in-flights, in your case, is probably better based on ones which have travellers who like to gamble on vacation, if that's your selling point. Certainly there are media which will have a higher readership index on gambling or the other entertainments of your town than do the in-flights.

Tuesday, December 07, 1999 #3033
Without the budget for post-flight call out surveys what formulas or 'rules' can I use to anticipate message saturation and burn. What reach or net reach level over what period of time would be probable to achieve a 80% awareness within the target. Also what is considered too much exposure for one message before you reach a point of diminishing returns. I know that the the better measurment here is research before and during the campaign, but there must be some bench marks that are industry accepted. Can you share these and share a public location for other general assumptions like this. Thank you in advance Guru... J

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 08, 1999 ):
  1. Ad awareness will never be greater than reach, so start from a plan that delivers at least 80% reach
  2. To establish measurable awareness, some repetiton will be needed, so think about getting an 80% reach at a set effective frequency level. The Guru has previously discussed use of the Ostrow Model to set this goal.
  3. A message is worn out when its ability to generate sales falls off. This being hard to predict, many advertisers have used past experience to set media-measurement based cut-offs. These have included a limit of 2000 GRPs and a frequency cap of 20 in the second highest quintile. In reality, the size of the copy pool, the qualities of the copy, the target, the overall media mix, and product category may all lead to wide variations in wear out. The two standards mentioned above were both commonly used in basic package goods TV advertising in a mix with print and a TV copy pool of 2-3 executions.

Tuesday, December 07, 1999 #3030
Dear Guru, could you give an advice which media I should choose. I have one magazine with a big cover among target audience, small cost per thousant and Affinity Index 180. Another edition has twice smaller cover among target audience, twice bigger CPT, but the Affinity Index is about 500 (first one has very big total cover and another's total cover is small).

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 07, 1999 ):
The Guru will assume your term "affinity index" is a measure of past purchase or usage behavior. Use the affinity index to adjust (weight) coverage and efficiency and then see which is better. That is treat the index as an indicator of selling opportunities. If the first magazine has 1000 target members, then the 180 index indicates 1800 selling opportunities. If the second magazine has 500 target members, the 500 index means 2500 selling opportunities.

Is your budget so limited that you can only use one insertion in one magazine?

Monday, December 06, 1999 #3029
Dear Guru, I am an Advertising student at the Univesity of Akron and I doing a promotional campaigns project. What I am doing now is trying to develop a mock budget based on reach and frequency. Do you know where I can get information on how much Advertising through different media (tv, radio, newspaper, magazines)costs per contact? Or even on average? I can't start any research without information on cost of advertising. Could you please help me? Melody

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 07, 1999 ):
Visit AMIC's Ad Data area

Thursday, October 21, 1999 #2895
Dear Guru,I want to know why ad agencies work with standards like a 15 % commission. Why are these norms like - commission on gross or net amount followed as a standard? When are the commissions charged on gross amount and when on the net amount? For ex. why only 15 % but not any other figure. Similar norms are followed when charging for media space/ time bought by a client. I have read your answers on the concept of 3 + frequency for ads. Could you please provide similar information for the aforementioned norms and the various norms/ standards followed during billing by ad as well as media buying houses and Agencies of Records. I would also be obliged if you could direct me to any site which provides this information.( The commission rates which I have mentioned are followed in India. Are they the same worldwide?) Thanking you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 21, 1999 ):
15% of the gross media cost has been the standard for so many years that no one questions the rationale any longer, though many big budget advertisers negotiate other deals, and many small budget advertisers must pay a different fee. When commission is based on net, 17.65% is used to get the same proportions.

Not all media have always used 15%. It used to be common for outdoor to base prices in 16.67% of gross, on the theory that more work was required of the agency for "riding the boards." Some media only publish net rates which agencies must mark up. These media are typically smaller locally oriented ones useed to selling direct to advertisers. Internet web sites often quote net rates as well.

On other items and services which agencies purchase for clients, such as production the 17.65% of net is commonly used.

Thursday, October 14, 1999 #2872
I have a client in the travel industry who is still not convinced that advertising on-line will increase sales. They have a website, but do not use it for its full benefit such as bookings. They have read somewhere that there is only a 1% clickthrough on banners and therefore are convinced we don't need to include Online Advertising on any media mix even though we have the budget for it. Can you offer any advice.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 14, 1999 ):
"Only 1% click-through" is only good or bad in relation to cost and business expectations. If you buy one million impressions for $30,000 and get 10,000 click-throughs (1% of 1 million) and they all book something, it's all net profit after the first $3 of profit each one generates. If your conversion rate on clicks is less than 100% (which of course it is) than you just need to estimate the conversion rate and profit per sale to judge the value of on-line.

And don't take the Guru's $30 as gospel, see what you can get.

Monday, October 04, 1999 #2842
I am doing research for a german based software company, that is about to go international with its produkct. Hereford I am completing a media plan. The countries I am mainly intrested in are Those in europe and in North America. I would like to know where I would get relevant infor mation about; How effective are different types of media in the different countries and what target groups do I reach if I use that type of media. I would prefer this data to be specified for individual magazines, newspapers, tv stations ect. I have read thru your past answers, and my main problem at the moment is that I dont have a large budget to pay a market research company. I am still a student doing this as a final assignment (thesis) for college. I hope you can be of any assistance. Thanks. Arno

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 06, 1999 ):
In the U.S., universities which teach advertising and marketing often have in their library past years' sets of the broad product and media usage studies from MRI or Simmons. Perhaps your school has the same or a relationship with a U.S. university.

By the way, data would not be about TV stations, but about networks and programs. The U.S. has over 1000 TV stations.

Friday, September 24, 1999 #2820
Hello Guru!My question may fall outside only media planning. Neverthless I hope you can direct me to the correct info. sites. I am planning a promotion for an established FMCG-Women's product. The product is used for hygiene as well as cosmetic purposes. The promotion entails the consumer entering a contest along with a proof of purchase and a writeup on her experience with the brand. 1. Which media TV or Print would yeild the best response. The brand has high TOMA. The campaign has a duration of one month in the peak sales season. 2.Is there any model to predict the response in terms of no. of entries received and offtakes 3.How should I plan- for generating max. response, in terms of reach and frequency at a moderate budget? No previous data exsists for any such promo with me.4.Are there any rules of thumb in exsistence for a corelation between reach, frequency and responses? Thanking you in advance for your guidance.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 24, 1999 ):
As you imagine, your questions fall mostly outside of media, and your acronyms are not standard in the U.S., so the Guru is not clear on the background.

A good source for the sort of information you want is the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

Within the realm of pure media / direct response concepts, the Guru does not believe there is any rule of thumb for Reach / frequency / response relationships. The Gurru has seen small audiences produce much more response than large audiences in many cases.

Tuesday, September 21, 1999 #2809
For a television campaign: Is there an industry standard that outlines the breakdown of dollars allocated for (1) the media buy and (2) production of the tv spot(s). Thanks in advance for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 23, 1999 ):
No real industry standard. Media costs and budgets are so much more variable than production costs for a given commercial quality.

Many major advertisers, for example, want the same quality look in their Hispanic advertising as in thier General market advertising, but media budgets are only 10% as rich.

Saturday, September 04, 1999 #2768
I have a media budget of $140,000 and am looking to find the best media buyer to negotiate advertising costs and place our advertisments. We are focusing our marketing efforts in the NYC to Richmond, VA region. Do you know of any lists of media buyers that I can contact?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 06, 1999 ):
In the AMIC Web Sites area you will find a listing of media consultants.

Friday, September 03, 1999 #2765
Dear Guru, We are in the process of completing an advertising campaign that is targeting the Retired Senior market. Unfortunetly our advertising budget will only allow for regionalized print, and limited national print. Although I am completely aware that frequency of insertion is dependant on numerous variables, I am curious to know if there is an industry standard for number of insertions that a "senior" typically needs to be exposed before becoming familar with a message or risking burn out? Your help is very much appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 03, 1999 ):
The Guru has never encountered any industry standard for wear-out in any medium or any target. Too much depends on the ad itself, the interest level of the category, novelty, etc.

Thursday, August 19, 1999 #2729
Dear Guru, 1- Please let me know SQARE model that SQAD use to calculate CPP for TV and Radio. Please let me know the detail or any link I can find more information or books... 2- Do you know any model for reach vs GRPs? Our client ask us to show the data like that. The problem that we try to find the suitable daypart mix, station mix, medium mix that is good for our advertising strategy but we don't have any optimiser programs. We have only ratings data like Telescope and Prinscope of ACNielsen. Do you know any example to solve this kind of problem? 3- Our client also want to have a model to set advertising budget to get for example 80+ reach but we can not know until it happen. How to solve this issue? warmest regards, Thai Vang

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 19, 1999 ):
A general explanation of SQAD's model is available from SQAD. They will give you the same information they would give the Guru. But the essence is manipulating actual buying data in real situations, provided confidentially by actual media buyers.

GRP's and reach do not have any standard realtionship, except within given media and population parameters. You are writing from Viet Nam, where Televison audience cume patterns are likely to be quite different than in the U.S. Even within the U.S., Hispanic TV reach curves are very, very differerent than the General Market TV reach curves.

The way to build a model, to oversimplify, is to collect a great number of actual reaches of real schedules, and then plot their frequency against reach in a regresssion analysis, which gives you the formula for the "curve." Frequency is plotted, rather than reach, because frequency is a straight line while reach is a curve. The curve formula then allows you to create a model with a reach solution for any GRP input. The more variables you use to build different curves, the more sophisticated your model can be.

Tuesday, August 10, 1999 #2704
I am a media planner for an advertising agency. I am working on a media plan for the 1999-2000 winter season (November till April). The product is a well-established brand chocolate snack bar. The plan consists mainly of TV advertising. I am thinking of applying the Recency strategy throughout the whole season. My question to you - how much of the weekly schedule should be in Prime Time? What is the minimum required and what are the reasons? Can you refer me to any literature on this subject? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 11, 1999 ):
Recency is about delivering reach with as much continuity as possible, so that your message is always reaching the most people as close to a purchase decison as possible.

Recency does not specify a daypart mix. Of course, in working on a recency based plan, you will explore various mixes to establish which works best to deliver continuous reach for you budget/ Thus the cost of building reach with prime is a key factor.

Friday, August 06, 1999 #2693
I would like to know the following: 1) how to set the effective reach/frequency for various category of Products viz fmcg, durable, etc. 2) what would be the ideal effective r&f for various categories 3) should the selection of program be based on cprp or do you have any Other method. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 06, 1999 ):
1) & 2) Effective reach does not depend on category, but on analysis of several factors:
  • Complexity of message
  • Ad unit
  • Competitive pressure
  • Clutter in the media used
  • budget
  • Etc.

Some of these factors will be generalizable for categories, but they will be narrow categories, like "imported sports cars priced from $50,000 to $75,000," and not as broad as "durables."

Click here to see past Guru comments on effective reach

3) Program selection may be based on CPRP, but there are several other factors:

  • Suitability of program content
  • timing
  • program content synergy with ad message
  • package pricing of total buys with and without the program
  • contribution to reach, etc.

Wednesday, August 04, 1999 #2688
What % of a budget should be allocated to on-line advertising vs. off-line (radio, billboards, events) for a Men 18-34 target. It is a retail store chain launching a web-site.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, August 08, 1999 ):
There are no simple answers here. If your budget is low, perhaps 0% or 100% for on-line.

Reaching a large portion of internet users can be incredibly expensive in on-line media. If you can find relevant and targeted sites, start with them, but the traditional media used to shop for the goods you web store will sell may be far more productive per dollar spent.

Tuesday, July 13, 1999 #2626
Are there any numbers compiled regarding television advertising spending or budgets for online companies? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 14, 1999 ):
CMR (Competitive Media Reports) covers these companies in their reports.

Monday, July 12, 1999 #2624
I own and run a small podiatrist clinic. I have a modest advertising budget of $3000-5000 a quarter. I have placed ads in free local newspapers, but my best returns are from referrals and from my ad in Yellow Pages. May be I am doing something wrong. What strategy would you suggest to increase the effectiveness of my advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 12, 1999 ):
Keeping in mind that the Guru gives media advice, the first thing that occurs to the Guru is that location is likely the first consideration of anyone choosing a podiatrist from an ad. So keep your ad placements nearby. Many areas have more than one "Yellow Pages," a neighborhood one and a city or county one. At each geographic level ther may be one from the regional Bell operating company, another from a national publisher like Yellow Book and in some areas Hispanic Yellow pages, women's yellow pages, etc. Cover all the bases.

Free papers are often considered less effective in certain advertising categories, and medicine may be one. Try an ad in the daily paid paper.

Monday, July 12, 1999 #2622
Dear Guru! Our client would like to spend $ 100000 on advertising on one of the major TV channels. This budget allows us to buy approximately 50 insertions. The product is a tv set. The brand is not new at the market. The advertising campaign goal is to increase the brand awareness. We are doubtful whether to place all insertions in a 4 week period, or to use fligts and 1-week hiatus. Could you clear the problem. Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 12, 1999 ):
The Guru is not very familiar with TV in Russia (from where this question has been submitted).

But, assuming common ground: If a national commercial costs $2000, the Guru imagines it has to have a very small audience. Perhaps 1.0 rating, so you are talking about 100 or so GRP.

Ad Awareness is primarily a function of reach, while brand awareness nay have many drivers. 100 GRP of low rated commercials will not be likely to produce much reach, whether in four weeks or flighted. If brand awareness is the only goal and there are no promotional periods involved, the Guru would choose to spread the advertising over more time, to sustain the limited awareness which will be built.

Friday, July 09, 1999 #2620
Hello GURU ! I have 2 questions for you : 1. One of the media analysis we do in our agency,mainly for TV, consists in comparing a competitor's share of spending (calculated as his % of advertising expenditure within the total category) with his share of voice (calculated as the % of his 30 sec equivalent GRPs within the category). Is this correct in your opinion ? 2. How do you define SOV ? Is this the % of the GRPs one achieve within a category or is it the % of money invested by an advertiser within a category in a certain period ? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 11, 1999 ):
1) What do you do with the results of this comparison? How does the ratio of SO$ to SOV help you make decisions? The :30 equivalent step is reasonable, but how do you do that effectively outside of broadcast?

2) Some use SOV to refer to share of spending, others use it to refer to share of weight. The Guru believes share of weight is more descriptive of the marketplace perceived by the consumer, but the person controlling the budget, that is, the client, more often cares about money. They can see the impact of money on the bottom line more easily than they can understand the differences in impact of their :30s versus a competitor's :15s or competitor's radio versus their own magazines.

Thursday, July 08, 1999 #2615
If a client gives me an advertising budget of $500,000, what percentage should be allocated to the following: research, strategy, design, and media placement? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 08, 1999 ):
Keep in mind that the media amount is the money that works to communicate your message.

Research: Do you need research? Do you have issues that must be explored? Allocating research funds without having specific research issues is wasteful. If you have research issues, they will tell you how to budget? Do you need to ask a couple af basic quantitiative questions in a national telephone omnibus for under $5000, or do you need to do a dozen focus groups for $50,000?

Strategy and creative development also varies. At $500,000 you probably aren't doing television. Radio can be very inexpensive to produce, as can newspaper. Full color magazine can be more.

If you think that all this amounts to a lot of words which really amount to "It depends," you're correct.

Wednesday, July 07, 1999 #2612
We are in the process of putting together a 5-year plan for our Media Dept. and I am wondering if you have any sources to help us complete it. We are interested in profitablity levels, percentage of "billable" hours, dept. budget parameters for new resources and anything else necessary for this plan. I know this is a vague question, but we haven't found any references to assist us so far.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 07, 1999 ):
These questions imply you are putting together an ala carte, stand alone media service.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies and probably the other, smaller agency organizations have compiled media department cost averages.

Monday, June 07, 1999 #2558
Dear Sir, regarding effective frequency there are some tools like Ostrow's grid. But I could not find any explanation about how to set effective reach level. Using a grid one can find a frequency level like 4+ but what the effective reach should be set at this freguency level? What are the considerations?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 09, 1999 ):
There is a lot of judgment here, plus the realities of budget. When setting an effective reach, saying only those reached at least "x" times count. So first, how high a reach can you afford? Of course with flighting this answer can vary, too. The Guru basic rule of thumb is to start by effectively reaching most of the target; 50 reach or better.

Wednesday, May 12, 1999 #2507
For several years, I have bought my client's spring and fall campaigns on an alternating schedule i.e., one week on and one week off @ 200 TRPs per week. Historically, we take a four month hiatus between campaigns. Recently, someone told the client that it would be more effective to buy three weeks consecutively at lower TRP levels. Either plan would be restrained by a stated budget amount. Do you have an opinion about each of these strategies or your ownpreference in television buying strategy when trying to stretch the time on-air?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 16, 1999 ):
You haven't stated how many weeks of 200 on and off you run.

But, assuming you take a one-week-on / one-week-off schedule of 200 and change it to 100/week continuous, this will probably be more effective, particularly if your product is something people are buying continuously or regularly. Since reach can only go just so high, the average reach per week of 100 GRPs continuous will be higher than the average weekly reach of one week at 200 and one week at 0 GRP. So the continuous schedule has a better chance or reaching someone just as they are about to make a purchase decision.

This is the essence of the "recency theory."

Click here to see past Guru responses about recency

Saturday, April 24, 1999 #2466
What is the most succesful media plan for launching new product on a very competitive market?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 24, 1999 ):
This question is so broad it's silly. So here is the answer it merits:

The most succesful media plan for launching new product in a very competitive market is the one with the biggest budget.

Thursday, April 15, 1999 #2451
I have a client who is debating the use of :60 TV spots vs. :30's. Clearly there are budget implications, so I want to demonstrate the relative difference in cost vs. impact for the two unit lengths. Any suggestions for studies that measure the impact of various broadcast commercial lengths?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 15, 1999 ):
Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the library, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Monday, April 12, 1999 #2440
Are there general guidelines or benchmarks for percentages of advetising budgets devoted to alternative media like the Internet relative to print media? If so, what are the usual ranges?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 13, 1999 ):
The Guru does not think there are such benchmarks nor does he believe there should be.

When such guidelines arise, they are ususally based on audience missing from a traditionally strong medium. Guidelines for investment in cable versus broadcast tv which arose 15 years ago are such an example. So are recent guidelines in use for investment in Hispanic media.

But there is no evidence that the web is taking audience from magazines. One such study put forward bu an agency has been pretty much debunked by the Magazine Publishers of America.

So, to create such a percentage guideline for yourself, you would need to estimate the portion of your target no longer available through print.

Otherwise, if your target group uses the web heavily and you believe the web can add reach more efficiently than more traditional media at some point of the budget, or that it can deliver a required, differnt message, then justify it plan by plan, not with an abstract "guideline."

Friday, April 02, 1999 #2427
My AE has asked me to determine how much of the clients budget should be allocated to media spending. I believe this should be the AE's decision. How can I determine what should be spent on media and/or how can I help the AE to decide? GRP's

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 02, 1999 ):
If you've been given communication goals, like "100 GRP per week for 26 weeks", or "60 reach at 3+ frequency when in, for 26 weeks of activity" then it is fair to ask you to determine a budget, but the Guru imagines your AE's question has been asked in total information vacuum.

You're quite right then, that this is a decision that should be made before media planning comes into play.

Regardless of who makes the decision, considerations must first allocate budget to PR vs Promotion vs Advertising, in the broadest strokes.

Within advertising there's production vs research vs media.

You need to ask for the client's overall marketing plan, as your AE should have, if it wasn't the AE's responsibilty to create one from client information.

Of course, you can look at this as an opportunity to demonstrate that you can do the AE's job, since you've been asked to.

Wednesday, March 31, 1999 #2424
Is there a rule of thumb for advertisers as to the % of the advertising budget allocated to retail coop ?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 31, 1999 ):
The Guru would say no. It naturally depends on the manufacturer's retail situation. For example, a parity grocery item has a different dependence on the retailer than a prestige name-brand watch sold only through fine jewelers.

Click here to see past Guru responses aboout co-op advertising.

Tuesday, March 23, 1999 #2402
Dear Guru, while we know that for certain categories Multi-media advertising is better than single media, could you tell mewhere i could find research data on this. IN addition, i would like some qualitative comments from you on the issue. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 23, 1999 ):
Research for such questions are best found at Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter, Newsweek Media Research Index and possibly The Newspaper Advertising Association or MPA (Magazine Publishers of America) where there is a recent study "The Advertising Impact of Magazines in Conjunction with Television." As for the Guru's comments on the concept:

It is easy to oversimplify and say that when budget is adequate, multimedia advertising is always better.

The Guru doesn't think multimedia is a category issue. Mixing media might be done to broaden reach, manipulate frequency distribution or because of what specific media can contribute when the primary job is done by a single medium.

For example, magazines plus TV will deliver a broader reach than all TV, typically. But a plan might be 90% TV all year and have a brief print wave to distribute coupons, publish contest rules in detail or deliver other detail oriented messages.

Without going into great depth of analysis, the situation seems more brand specific or marketing situatiuon specific than category related.

In some categories, like soft drinks and beer, budgets are so large and camaigns so multi-dimensional that it takes more than one medium to cope.

Monday, March 15, 1999 #2392
What do you know about radio effectiveness? I know my question is a kind of broad but please help me with whatever you know.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 20, 1999 ):
The Guru loves queries which invite him to write a textbook (overnight).
  • Radio is effective. There are numerous radio success stories, most famously, but not exclusively, based on great creativity and well known voices such as Stan Freberg or Stiller and Meara.
  • Too often, radio is judged by comparing a TV commercial execution to a radio commercial execution and ignoring the key point that in a schedule a radio spot may run three or more times as often or three times as many GRPs for the same budget. In other words, even if a TV commercial is more effective than a radio commercial, a radio schedule may be more effective than a TV schedule.
  • Radio commercials have sometimes tested as well as TV spots in some standard measures such as Day-After-Recall.
  • Most important: There are as many bad TV commercials as good radio spots and vice versa. Good radio will always outperform bad TV.

Friday, March 12, 1999 #2386
What is your opinion of non-traditional media - namely disposable coffee cups. We recommended coffee cups to the client (it definately makes sense from an objectives standpoint), but one of the clients responded that he thought they were "cheesy." We disagree, and I am writing a recommendation to sell this idea. I greatly value your opinion. What do you think? Some big ticket advertisers have used this medium multiple times. Thanks Guru.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 12, 1999 ):
It could make good sense for some advertisers who would find coffee cups a very supportive environment, e.g. coffee, milk, sugar, sugar substitute, donuts, pastry advertisers, etc.

It might also seem "cheesy" for some big ticket advertisers like Mercedes Benz, Cadillac, or the Waldorf Astoria.

The Guru does not believe every action taken by "big ticket" advertisers is a good model. A great deal of their spending is based on a strategy of not knowing how to get all the enormous ad budget spent. Non-traditional media is most effective when it finds a strong fit with product message or target. Consider which advertisers use skywriting, blimps and airplane-towed banners: it's usually the ones relating to outdoor/beach fun and entertainment like film, bber, soda, beach front bars and nearby, open air concerts.

Wednesday, March 03, 1999 #2366
I am working for a local doctors office and my client would like to purchase some OOH space in a prime location right outside his office. THe space is owned by the restaurant owner on the corner of the street, and usually uses the space for menus, etc. THis is awkward becuase normally the OOH company is trying to sell space to me, but now i am trying to convince the ooh seller to let me buy the space. How do I position this as a good opportunity for him? I already have a budget set becase i researched the value of the space through a traditional OOH vendor who sells comparable space. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 03, 1999 ):
This seems to be a money issue. Can you make it worth the owners while to let you use the space? You found out the going rate for such boards in the area, for starters. And apparently the location is worth some premium to your client; 25%? 50%? 100%?

How about a long term commitment; at least a year?

Thursday, February 18, 1999 #2347
As a buyer I have always been given the necessary information needed to put together a buy. I am currently in a new position, and I am being asked to provide information that I've never concerned myself with before, or gotten involved with the how's or why's of the decision. I'm in dire need of help. Here goes: I have been asked to determine the number of GRP's that should be used in a proposal for a new client. I have not received any budget information. The schedule will run 6-8 months, my demo is A 25-35 and the GRP's should be spiked during the 1st & final week of each month. Also, I am to include TV, Cable, and Radio. My question is: Do I simply request avails from the various TV & radio and cable stations within the market, put together a proposed schedule based on the avail information I receive, and add up the number of GRP's accordingly? HELP!!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 18, 1999 ):
Congratulations, today you are a media planner. But apparently you are working with people lacking professional advertising experience or perhaps a retail client.

You either need some marketing goals input or you need to suggest some goals and get agreement before proceeding. You have been presented with a question equivalent to "how many pounds of nails are needed to build a building?"

You need to know how big a building, what materials it will be made of, how many nails in a pound, to what use will it be put and how big must it be?

To recommend schedule weights you need either a budget or a communications goal to deliver. In media / marketing terms you need to establish -- whether you are given direction or someone accepts your suggestions:

  • What has priority: Reach or frequency?
  • is there a minimum reach or effective reach to attain; per week, in four weeks, or in total?
  • To help answer those questions, if no simple answer is available, you might ask is it a new or established product or service?
  • What levels are used by the competition, if any?
  • Are there any specific product awareness, ad awareness or sales volume goals?
  • (In planning advertising, assume everything is a result of advertising: there is no awareness among people not reached; there are no sales to people who are not aware of the product.)

Knowing all this, you could examine reach frequency and continuity impact of various levels and combinations of your media choices. In other words, you somehow need to establish what must be accomplished by the GRPs, before you can decide how many to use.

It is puzzling, in this great information vacuum, that someone has decided to "spike" certain weeks. Apparently there is some information around which you haven't yet been given.

Friday, January 22, 1999 #2285
Dear Guru, This is a bit of a theoritical problem.I am currently working on a shaving cream brand which has been on decline for a few years now. Currently it has a market share of 3.9% and is ranked 7th.The markets where it is doing relatively better are actually the smallest markets, but here too, it is not better than 5th on market shares. It has a media budget which is about 1/5th of the biggest spender, which incidentally is not the market leader. My dilemma is - in the given scenario, for a relaunch, where should media focus be - on the overall smaller markets but where the brand is but marginally stronger or on the bigger markets for the category, where a greater potential lies ? The distribution strength is the same in all markets and no directions have been provided by the marketing team on priority markets. Thank you Guru. My name is Abu Huzaifa and i am media planner in Bombay, India.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 22, 1999 ):
Firstly, these are really marketing issues, not media issues, but to try to look at it from a purely media perspective, consider:

Think beyond the "bigger opportunity of the larger markets," because the impact you can deliver in a market is important. In other words, do you get more consumer response to 100 GRPs against 2 million people or 200 GRPs against 1 million people?

For example:

1. Assume that every impression delivered, no matter the market size, has the same potential to generate sales and / or share growth - where will your budget buy the greatest number of impressions?

2. Assume that the ability of the impressions to generate sales growth is influenced by current share of market. Estimate the value of this effect, plus or minus. Apply this weighting to the impressions you can buy and recalculate sales potential, according to paragraph 1.

3. Or assume that every exposure after the third one (or a level of your choosing) is some degree more effective. How many "effective impressions" can you deliver to each market set?

Tuesday, December 22, 1998 #2232
We use a buying service for our media. I'm just learning and was asked what seems a simple question, but do I have all the elements and could you help me to formulate the equation to learn. We are running 125 TRP's weekly in radio flighted thoughout the year. 3,000 total TRP's for the year. $550,000 total budget. CPP ranges from $32 to $200, average is $90. Q. With 125 TRP's a week, approximately how many spots a week will this schedule produce?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 23, 1998 ):
The Guru assumes you are running 125 GRP in each market.

Depending on market and demographic, average ratings run from about 1.0 - 2.0 on top stations. Divide GRP by the average rating you will buy to estimate number of spots. At an average rating of 1.0, 125 GRPs represents 125 spots.

And you didn't need any of that cost or cpp data.

Tuesday, December 08, 1998 #2206
Dear Media Guru, I'm certain that these two topics are unrelated, but I was curious if anyone analyzed this. Have you heard if there is a client rule of thumb as to how much the client is willing to put into production of a broadcast spot in relation to the media budget? For example if a client is going to spend $10MM in TV, will the client consider spending $1MM on the spot itself? Just curious, thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 08, 1998 ):
Yes, the Guru has heard of a 10% rule of thumb, but there are so many exceptions. At a certain point of media spending and weight, more than one commercial may be needed to combat wear-out. In some lower priced media, such as General market cable, African American Cable or Spanish language TV, fewer dollars may buy much more target weight and yet the advertiser wants the same standards of production quality as in other TV.

It's a case-by-case situation.

Friday, December 04, 1998 #2202
Hello Guru, Hello Guru. Generally speaking, what percent of magazine ad space remains unsold inventory that is then offered as remnant space? What kind of advertisers typically are most interested in buying ANY remnant space available, e.g. large clients vs. small, in-house agency vs. outside agency, certain industries? Thanks very much.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 04, 1998 ):
The Guru is certain there is no "general rule." Unlike broadcast media, where time inventory is fixed and disappears if not sold promptly, space inventory only becomes "remnant" for a few reasons:

-An advertiser cancels well after the issue closing

-An advertiser runs less than nationally leaving a piece of geographic circulation to sell.

-An odd ad size leaves odd space and (not likely) no editorial content can be found to fill it.

-A gross overestimate of paper requirements for an issue may create the possibility of expensive waste.

Magazines "budget" editorial content around the amount of ad space sold, which pays for the carriage of the editorial matter. So there is usually some extra material available to fill odd space.

At a guess, the Guru imagines a magazine will experience remnant space in perhaps one issue out of four. This is more likley to be some odd geographic bit of circulation than a full national page. So if one assumes that a magazine has a half page available in one issue out of four and that an issue has an average of 50 pages of advertising, that's one quarter of one percent unsold inventory.

Friday, November 20, 1998 #2165
I have to do a media plan for a gourmet mustadrd of the New England poblation with $20,000. What should I do?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 20, 1998 ):
New England has a population of over 13 million and is made up of 9 media markets, including the very large Boston and Hartford / New Haven. The Prime Time spot TV cost per point for Boston alone is in the range of $1000.

Even small space newspaper or late night tv ads across the area will cost a few hundred dollars each in the larger markets.

The budget does not seem realistic for anything you could call a campaign.

Thursday, November 12, 1998 #2149
Yearly advertising budgets for amusement parks/attractions, museums ie: Air & Space Museum, Knoxberry Farms, Busch Gardens, etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 13, 1998 ):
CMR (Competitive Media Reports) is the standard source.

Monday, November 09, 1998 #2142
On an interview I was recently asked the following question: "If I were a client and I told you I had a budget of $3MM, what would you tell me to do?" I find this question extremely broad, esp. considering I do not have all of the factors required in advance before making a recommendation (i.e.,marketing objectives, targets, etc.) What is the best way to answer this on an interview without giving too much information? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 09, 1998 ):
Assuming that the specific job gave no clues (i.e. you weren't interviewing for a job selling a specific medium), and you were just interviewing for a job at some level in media planning at a general agency, the Guru thinks you were on the right track; your answer should have been:

"That's an extremely broad question. I would tell the client that we need to know marketing goals, advertising targets, geographic concentrations, etc, before making any recommendations regarding media investment.And then I would offer help in collecting and analyzing the information."

Of course, the danger in such a response is that the interviewer will realize you're smarter than the interviewer.

Friday, October 30, 1998 #2118
This is a two part question: PART 1: Attendant to the: (1) clutter in primetime television and (2) the erosion of the 4 network's share of audience, are there any current studies out that addresses the effectiveness of advertising on network TV in prime? PART 2: If the effectiveness of advertising in prime on the net is being affected, then how much less effective does advertising in spot tv (in prime) become? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 02, 1998 ):
Answer to Part1:

The Guru has not seen studies of the specific factors and chain of causation you desire to examine. It seems most likely that the two causes you cite would work entirely separately to erode the effectiveness of prime time.

The two key benefits of prime were generally taken to be

  • attentiveness, which is likely to be hurt by clutter and

  • high ratings, not important in themselves, but leading to what is often cited as a planning goal, -- high reach. This becomes less avialable with the decline in network share.
The diligent planner will seek various combinations of vehicles to deliver the desired reach within budget, and put the supposed "prestige" of prime time in perspective. (Do viewers of E.R. accept the commercial more readily because they know they are part of a larger than ususal viewing audience?)

Answer to part 2:

Spot prime will or will not be effected to the extent it suffers from the same clutter and erosion. (See the adjacent query about clutter and attentiveness for related information). Your definition of spot prime will effect your answer, too. If you define spot prime as only that which runs on the 4 networks affiliates, that means the effect are more similar. But if spot prime on "independent" stations counts that changes the picture. After all, a good portion of the 4 networks' erosion is due to the WB and UPN shows like Buffy, Felicity, Dawson's Creek, Charmed, etc.

Friday, October 30, 1998 #2117
I have a client that would like to do an image radio schedule for the first time. An 8 week schedule was proposed - he wants to cut it to 6 weeks for budget reasons. The reach and frequency for both schedules are similar. Is there research to show him as to why the longer schedule will have more impact and long term effectiveness?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 30, 1998 ):
There seems to be a missing factor. If you were running 100 GRP per week for 8 weeks and cut back to 100 GRP per week for 6 weeks, GRP would be reduced by 25%. Therefore, reach or frequency would have to change significantly, if not both.

I.e: suppose your 8 week plan had a reach and frequency of 60 / 13.3 with 800 GRP. If you reduced the plan to 6 weeks / 600 GRP and the reach did not go down, frequency would drop to 10 -- a 25% change. If the frequency did not go down then the reach would have to decline to 45, again a 25% decline. Realistically both reach and frequency should exhibit obvious drops.

Perhaps someone is mistakenly comparing average 4-week reach in the two plan. That comparison would be irrelevant, but be "similar" if not identical.

If you mean that the 8 weeks schedule is compressed into 6 weeks, then there would be an avergae 4 week difference but no budget reduction.

In this case, however "recency" theory would prefer the 8 week version becasue it provides more chances to deliver advertising to the consumer at a time of decision making. This theory may not be appropriate for "image" campaigns.

Wednesday, October 21, 1998 #2104
Dear Guru: I'm a media planner with a media independent company. One of the most often requested assignment by my clients is media budget setting. I know there's gotta be either books or resources where I can look for budget setting model (eg., advertising:sales ratio; SOV:SOM; etc.) Could you please help me out on this topic? Thank you very much.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 23, 1998 ):
The Guru's recommneded books for media planning are listed in the AMIC Bookstore (in association with The Advertising Research Foundation library will offer articles on this topic.

In either case, you will find out how to apply these models and what kind of result you will get, but probably not much basis for choosing between them. This is usually a marketing decision, supplied to a plannner as direction. So if you merely need to determine a budget within one of these marketing allocation models, you're all set.

Sunday, October 04, 1998 #2070
My client is a large medical-surgical products manufacturer. Their audience is nurses and sometimes physicians. Their budgets are small, they advertise several products with separate b-to-b campaigns. They are urging me to recommend online instead of or in addition to business print. This does not seem effective to me given their small budgets. Do you have any info on how I could recommend an effective online ad effort instead of using print?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 04, 1998 ):
Is the goal of adding on-line to add reach or to reduce costs?

In either case, the first step is to identify media which draw an audience of "nurses and sometimes physicians."

Then, the efficiency in audience impressions per dollar can be evaluated as can the total audience which is reachable.

Your first step may well be to locate the websites of the print media you use (and if you find these, they may offer free on-line ads as merchandising for your print schedule). Other possiblities are the sites of non-competitive advertisers who share your target.

Once you have explored these possibilities, you can decide whether you can make an effective recommendation or can support a decision against on-line.

Friday, October 02, 1998 #2068
Hi Guru! We have a client who has $80-100,000 extra budget to spend this year. The budget has to be spread out nationally (in over 150 markets). We were offered a full page ad with a magazine (that reaches our demo) with a circulation of 7.6 mill. for 90M. We were also considering running a cable schedule on only one station since that's all we could afford. Which do you think is the better option? In addition, we are looking to run the first 2 weeks in December.Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 02, 1998 ):
There really isn't enough information here to make an informed decision. For instance, a lot would depend on what media are in the base level of the plan, what your base reach and frequency are already, and what are your goals.

But let's play with it anyway: Suppose your magazine is Better Homes and Gardens, which reaches 26% of Adult Women. You would be achieving 26 Reach, a frequency of 1.0 and, of course. 26 Women GRPs.

Let's suppose your cable network is Lifetime. Does your money buy 26 GRPs there? More ? Less? It might get you 13 reach and a frequency of 2.0. Which is more important to you, reach or frequency? Does the magazine or does cable offer better content as an environment for what you are selling?

You need to reduce the question to specific factors which you can evaluate.

Thursday, September 03, 1998 #2026
Both we and our client agree to the recency theory. The problem is that given the retraints of the budget, we are only able to schedule "weekly" advertising for about half the schedule while still achieving minimal weekly TRP threshold levels. Right now we are wrestling with the dilemma of how to schedule these weeks for the first half of the year while still following the principals of the recency theory: (1)12 weeks straight through then a 14-week hiatus (2)6 weeks on, 14 weeks off, 6 weeks on or (3)an alternating schedule of 4 weeks on and 4 weeks off, etc. throughout the period. Do you have any theory on what might be the best approach to maximize return?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 03, 1998 ):
Thinking about a "threshold level" of GRP's is instinctive, but at odds with the essence of recency theory. Review other Guru answers below about recency. Please also see a very interesting discussion of recency on our MediaPlanning e-mail list. The list archives are at Ad Talk and Chats . Why not subscribe to the list and bring your question there as well?

Monday, August 24, 1998 #2011
We are in the process of planning for a major TV client where we have been applying the recency theory for the past year. Because of the size of the budget we have been limited to around 70TRPs weekly essentially for the entire year. In Year II our client has asked us to consider temporarily abondoning the recency theory and to move dollars (and TRPs) out of the more expensive buying months (April, May) to the relatively more more inexpensive months (January, Feb)and to increase our TRP levels accordingly. Do you have any input on which strategy should/could have more effect on brand performance assuming all other factors are equal (pricing, distribution etc.)?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 24, 1998 ):
First we have to assume that the basis of recency theory is accepted.

Recency theory calls for reaching as many people as possible as close to the sale as possible. Thats's why continuity is emphasized for products with little seasonality and regular purchase cycles.

One of the essential elements of recency theory is that not all impressions or GRPs are equal, even in the same programming. You are focusing on cost per point. As you are probably aware, reach developed per GRP decreases with every added GRP in a schedule. There is therefore, a declining return on investment in reach at any point in time, which is why spreading out prospects reached produces the optimal return. The first 10 GRPs bought in a week generate more reach than the last 10 GRPs.

Hence, the added impressions bought when they are cheap produce less sales than the impressions lost from the more expensive times.

So now you have to evaluate what might be produced. Assuming you are lowering -- not eliminating --activity in higher priced periods how many more impressions, and how much more reach can you achieve in low priced times. If you cut back 10 reach points per week in July but buy 20 added reach points per week in March, perhaps the added reach can sell more than the lost reach, or perhaps not. The Guru would look for a 50% minimum trade up in added vs lost reach points to justify the change; i.e. if the plan goes down 10 reach points per week in one period, then it need to go up 15 reach points per week in the other.

Monday, July 20, 1998 #1965
What is the bare minimum frequency you think is necessary to create an impact in a monthly? Bi-monthly? And a weekly? I am in planning for a client that has done all consumer advertising in the past, and they just informed us that our next FY budget is going to be half AND they want to start doing trade advertising. Obviously, either books have to be cut or insertions. What are your thought?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 22, 1998 ):
"Impact" is the most abused term in media.

First, you must decide the importance of reach versus frequency in your plan. More titles means more reach and more insertions per title means more frequency. It is common to find "rules of thumb" that dictate a minimum of 4 times in a monthly, 12 times in a weekly, etc. The Guru believes these are mostly the theories of media salespeople.

In some cases you will find it important that your product is specifically identified with a book. In others, when the availability or efficiency of purchase of your target audience is the key element of choice in selecting a book, it won't matter whether the average target person reached sees three ads in three different books or three times in the same book.

In other words, is it more important that the consumer remembers seeing your ad or remembers where it was seen?

Thursday, June 25, 1998 #1923
Guru, I work for an online interactive media group (Vickers and Benson). We are planning a large campaign for a major Canadian bank. One problem however is trying to find the value of a high priced CPM. If I'm going to pay $85CPM on AOL can I be certain that it will result in higher clickthroughs? Do high CPM's mean good clickthrough rates? More imprtantly, how does one determine CPM value? If I concentrate my budget on a few high-end sites am I bound to get a higher clickthrough % than several low-cost CPM? Thakx in adavnce

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 26, 1998 ):
Absolutely not! There is no inherent, reliable correlation of web cpm with clickthrough.

Clickthrough is a function of two things:

  • Placing your banner on a site where the visitors are likely to be interested in what you are advertising, and
  • Making your banner interesting enough to attract clicks.
In the first case, it is between you and the seller to determine if the right audience will see the banner. One way is to attach the banner to specific key words in search engines or site searches. Another is to select sites with very targeted content. The former can be far less expensive cpm-wise than the latter. Often high-end cpms are charged for highly targeted sites which have smaller, but more select audiences.

If you are looking for clickthrough guarantess, some sites are sold on a cost-per-click basis, and you should ask for that if the seller insists his audience will deliver high clickthrough.

Becasue the real burden of attracting clicks is born by the ad copy and also depends on how fresh it is to the eyes of the prospect, the Guru thinks selling cost-per-click is a sucker bet for a web publisher.

Wednesday, June 03, 1998 #1882
how much more effective is an exposure on print compared to TV in case of consumer durables?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 03, 1998 ):
A TV exposure is generally more effective than a print exposure. However:

  • There can be very bad TV executions and very good print executions, which outweigh the general rule.
  • A TV :15 may not be more effective than a 4 color bleed gatefold off the 2nd cover.
  • Media plans don't usually operate in an exposure vs exposure mode. A given budget might buy 25 TV exposures for every print exposure or vice versa, depending on ad units, programming, geographic coverage, etc.

Thursday, May 07, 1998 #1584 to achieve better reach in lesser media budget? 2.please provide some tips on clever media planning. 3.who is best media planner as per you and why?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 08, 1998 ):
1. If reach is the only concern then it is usually easy to find media with higher reach per dollar. For example, outdoor delivers enormous reach and has the lowest cpm of all traditional media.

Smaller units also stretch budgets without losing reach. Fractional pages or TV :15's instead of :30's, radio :30's instead of :60s also help.

But of course, there are other, copy effectiveness and impact issues associated with these media choices. There is always a trade off; you can't get more reach in the same media for less money, unless you can persuade the sellers to lower the prices.

2. Clever media planning includes some of the ideas above, but also requires a planner to sell the ideas for their benefits, and get past the negatives. The goal of media planning is to deliver on the marketing objectives.

"Clever" is doing it in non-standard ways. Can you persuade the media to create special programming which ties into your campaign? Can you show the media a benefit to them in carrying your ads so that they want to resduce the price or give more than the usual value added elements?

If the Guru has one real tip on clever planning it is: Learn to use and understand the research which is available. Few in media today do. An knowledge of what research is available and how to apply it to media decision making will make a planner stand out, and appear clever and creative, because that planner, in fact, will be so.

3. The Guru himself is the best planner he knows. The nature of the media planner's position in the ad business is to be subordinated to creative and account services. There is little chance for planners to become known beyond their agencies. No doubt the "best media planner" lurks in unsung obscurity in a hundred agencies.

Tuesday, March 17, 1998 #1533
I am starting an online business soon, and I am perplexed as to what methods to utilize with our limited budget of $5000 per month. I want to initially do my advertising exclusively on the net, and I have been looking into using an interactive ad agency. What kind of targeted traffic should I expect for my budget, and what methods will an agency use to create traffic, besides search engine listings and optimization?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 20, 1998 ):
$5000 might buy just a month of banner display on a major, general audience website. at $10 per thousand impressions. Therefore, you would have 500,000 impressions and perhaps click-thru 5,000 - 10,000 traffic to your site. Of this traffic, you might get 25 - 100 sales, depending on what you're selling.

Other, more targeted sites might sell for less out of pocket, at a higher cpm (e.g $25-$100), but ultimately generate more sales ROI because their audience is more likley to be interested in your product.

Another technique that an agency might use is a revenue sharing model, wherein sites which send you customers earn a share of your revenue from visitors "referred" by their site.

Sunday, March 15, 1998 #1530
Two Questions: 1) I've been asked to prepare a presentation covering "Alternative Lifestyles Marketing". When I was given the assignment I asked for a definition of "Alternative Lifestyles", but didn't get a good answer. How might you interpret this "target"?

2) I'm seeking information on the "Optimizer" programs that have become newsworthy (in media circles) as a result of the recent mega-million P&G AOR assignment. I've heard there are two. Who are they, and can you describe briefly what they do (strengths & limitations)? thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 16, 1998 ):
1) "Alternative Lifestyles" generally refers to non-traditional social orientations which may become the major influence on a person's relationships, extending to product choices, entertainment choices, clothing styles, etc. Most often, "alternative" seems to be used to refer to socio-sexual distinction.

The Gay market is probably probably most familiar of the "Alternative Lifestyles" markets. Others might arguably be the singles market, the mature market, punk, rapper, etc.

2) Optimizer programs are designed to build media schedules based on detailed analysis of each possible "insertion" (print or broadcast).

Usually the programs optimize reach within budget. Therefore they will first select the most efficient (cost per rating point) single insertion. Next they consider every other single insertion, including a second use of the first selection. The pair of insertions with the greatest net reach per dollar becomes the next selection.

In some systems, each "best" choice is frozen as the base upon which to build additional schedule until the budget is exhausted. In more sophisticated systems, entire schedules are reevaluated for best mix at each incremental budget level.

In either, it is up to the planner to set constraints on which vehicles are to be considered, any weights or restrictions such as using each vehicle a minimum number of times, if used, or a maximum number of times.

Several agencies have proprietary systems. In Europe, there are commercial systems including "Supermaximizer" and "Expert."

In the U.S., the Guru believes the Telmar Optimizer is the only commercial system available allowing TV optimization with any available audience database (e.g. NTI, NSI, Cume studies, etc.)

Saturday, February 21, 1998 #1507
Question: What are the various pros and cons of the respective television dayparts when determining daypart mix or dispersion? I've perused ARF and Newsweek's archives and can't find anything regarding "rules" of the daypart mix.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 21, 1998 ):
The Guru doesn't feel there are explicit "rules," per se.

Considerations include:

A daypart mix will reach more people than the same dollars in any single daypart.

Dayparts chiefly differ in

  • rating size
  • cost per spot/cost per grp
  • audience compostion (proportion of genders, ages, etc)
  • and viewer attentiveness

A plan's communication goals should specify which of these aspects matter and to what degree, allowing the planner to make an intelligent choice in mix by examining how well the various possibilities deliver the goals within the budget.

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 #1478
I am adressing the respectable guru with a question regarding servicing two or more mutualy competitive clients (within the same industry). I come from media specialists company in a small market (Slovenia - not Slovakia - with 2 mio. inh.) and we are facing with this problem as companies are adressing us, but we are already working for their competitor. Some clients have no problem with such a situation as it can be efficient (joining the budgets for research for example) for both. The problem we have is what to do while planning. Let's presume we have two clients from washing powder industry and we are making a plan for both - it is like ly that the same breaks would appear in final selection and the problem may arise if we need the last ad in break: which one should get the better placement? Should we put them into the same break in the first place? Any thoughts on this matter would be very appriciated. Is serviscing two companies within same industry exceptable at all? Thank you in advance for your answer. Andraz Zorko, SLOVENIA (not Slovakia)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 16, 1997 ):
The Guru's thoughts on this matter are based on U.S. experience. The Guru's international experience tells him principally that issue like the on you raise are treated differently in various countries. For example, in the UK, once a position has been sold to one advertiser, it is still possible for another to buy the position out from under the first advertiser at the last minute, by offering a higher price.

In the U.S., in certain industries, such as toys or fashion, it is not considered ethically questionable for one agency to have several "competing" clients.

From a marketing perspective, the Guru would think the two competing washing powder brands would be better served by not being in the same break. A careful analysis of all the marketing issues and communications goals ought to allow you to decide that the break is more appropriate to one advertiser than the other.

Keep in mind as well, that a plan is more than just one break. (except in the case of some US plans based solely on the Superbowl). Any one break might not be crucial to any one plan.

Tuesday, December 02, 1997 #1468
Hi there, I was given the a very ambitious goal - to promote a publishing company as well as its products with the less cost the better. The publications are financed by advertising sales. The distribution is world-wide. Apart from a website and some mailshots which are normally aimed at advertising sales thers has not been done a lot to actually promote the company or its products. Do you have any suggestions how to increase the market awarness with a small budget? How could I actually attract journalist by our publications to write about them? Thanks for your help Zino

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 04, 1997 ):
This is not really a media question. You seem to be ruling out advertising as an answer and to be asking how to achieve free public relations coverage.

The simple answer to that is to identify journalists who write about publications or about the topics your publications cover. Find out what interests these journalists and send them press releases that will interest them.

You may find Internet Newsbureau or PR Newswire to be useful resources.

Sunday, November 30, 1997 #1466
Hi Guru: I am a marketing student and now doing a promotional campaign. My team needs to develop a media flowchart with reach, frequancy, GRPs, and yearly schedule by by month. I know there are softwares that does that, but we are only students and have no money to buy professional softwares like that. I would like to know if there is freeware that we could use to develop this chart or if there is anything we could refer to. Thanks a million. Please let me know ASAP cos this is due pretty soon. Sarah

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, December 01, 1997 ):
As with most specialized software that makes a job easier and a result prettier, there's also a tedious, less attractive choice.

Telmar's ADplus / Flowmaster is one of the best programs for media flowcharting. However, with no budget, you can probably do an adequate job for your school project with whatever spreadsheet program your computer has installed: Lotus 1-2-3, MS Excel, or MS Works, etc.

Just set your columns to 2 characters wide (enough for dates) for each week and you can create a flow chart. Activity bars can be filled in with special characters or shading.

Any text can be accommodated and total can be calculated; heavier lines dividing months and quarters are also easily done.

Friday, November 21, 1997 #1461
Two different agencies have recommended a number of "points" for our television campaign. Assuming they are both recommending the same tv station, how do I distinguish which is the better recommendation for "points"?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, November 22, 1997 ):
Assuming one recommends a different number of points and that's the only difference -- not daypart mix or commercial length mix, you need to know the "ideal" number of points.

Do you have a budget which tells you what you can afford?

Do you have past experience which says how many points will work? The simplest and smartest thing is to challenge the two competitors to give a complete rationale for their recommendation. They both should have done that in the first place, without being asked.

Evaluate the rationales in light of your marketing needs. Again, both competitors should have found out about that before making a recommedation.

Friday, August 22, 1997 #1400
Where could I find information regarding how automotive companies (i.e. Toyota, Oldsmobile, & Cadillac), handle their media planning and buying on a local/regional level?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 22, 1997 ):
Contacting the radio and TV stations or reps in the regions in which you are interested should tell you who is buying for each auto company in a given area. Only two or three calls to the major reps, should produce all the information.

The planning techniques may well be closely-guarded proprietary information.

Whether A/S style budgeting, investment spending, share gap, etc., etc. is used. Whether computer models and optimizations are used or not. Whether regions have freedom or just participate in nationally-based plans.

Whether agency leads in media selection or the advertiser.

Whether media types are purely based on creative considerations or media effectiveness and targeting ability.

Thursday, August 21, 1997 #1399
Question: What can you tell me about the mathematical modeling system used in "advanced analytics?"

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 21, 1997 ):
Advanced analytics is a general description of new techniques of modelling, the key to which is use of real data. Not just sales, as a dependent variable, but real quantification of all the elements of marketing mix: media weight, budgeted coupon redemption, price promotion, etc., as independent variables.

Each practitioner will have proprietary formulas to determine what spending on what elements produces desired sales results. The simple explanation is assembling all the facts pertaining to a situation and letting the "answer" emerge of its own accord, rather than hypothesizing an answer and looking around for supporting facts.

The let the answer emerge from the facts approach is quite old, what is new is the computer-supported capability to maniipulate more data in more ways, and have real results against which to judge outcomes.

Thursday, August 21, 1997 #1397
Where could I find information regarding how automotive companies (i.e. Toyota, Oldsmobile, & Cadillac), handle their media planning and buying on a local/regional level?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 22, 1997 ):
Contacting the radio and TV stations or reps in the regions in which you are interested should tell you who is buying for each auto comapny in a given are. Only two or three calls to the major reps, should produce all the information.

The planning techniques may well be closely guarded proprietary information, whether A/S style budgeting, investment spending, share gap, etc., etc. is used. Whether computer models and optimizations are used or not. Whether regions have freedom or just participate in nationally-based plans. Whether agency leads in media selection or the advertiser. Whether media types are pruley based on creative considerations or media effectiveness and targeting ability.

Wednesday, August 20, 1997 #1396
Who puts out a good radio and tv buying training book? How do I go about getting a hold of this information?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 21, 1997 ):
At Amazon Books, the Guru found Ntc Business Books' Introduction to Advertising Media : Research, Planning, and Buying by Jim Surmanek, who also has one of the standard media planning texts.

The same publisher also offers The Media Handbook / A Complete Guide to Advertising, Media Selection, Planning, Research & budgeting by Helen E. Katz

The old standard media text Advertising Media Planning by Jack Z. Sissors, Lincoln Bumba probably gives less attention to buying.

There are many more books about planning than buying. Probably because (the Guru believes) broadcast buying can't be learned from a book. After the basic facts are digested: understanding ratings, cpm, programming and forecasting, it's people skills and technique that matter.

Friday, August 08, 1997 #1386
I wanna know if exists any similar combination for media as exists with marketing-mix with the 4 P's (product, placement, price and promotion).

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 08, 1997 ):
Though not as alliterative, the comparable media factors might be:

  • Ad unit
  • Frequency
  • Target
  • Geography
  • Media Mix

All this is, of course, a sub-set of marketing's "Promotion" element.

Other factors in media, which you would be used to encountering in plans' Objectives and Strategies sections, come before or after these decision points. For instance, budget, which controls the degree of freedom possible in selecting options for the list and Reach / Effective Reach which is essentially a result of the decisions made about the listed factors.

Tuesday, August 05, 1997 #1384
Are there any benchmarks for radio advertising as far as how many marketsto be in, how many $ to spend, etc. Especially for retail stores.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 06, 1997 ):
No, these facts change with the marketing situation. It should be obvious in a retail case that market selection depends on store locations.

budget depends on availability of funds and the specific marketing task, like awareness or image building which may depend on continuity and long term presence, versus driving trafic to a specific, one-shotmsale or promotion.

The question suggests a student project withn an inadequate marketing brief.

Wednesday, July 23, 1997 #1377
Enjoyed learning from your answers. I have following questions. 1. Is there a rule of thumb for decising how much to spend on advertising vs. public relations? 2. What is the role of ad agency in determining advertising budget? Or is it determined primarily by the client? 3. How common a practice is it to perform a computerized analysis of media plan to determine the final impact in terms of reach, frequency, etc. 4. Is there a magic number in terms of GRP's, or other ratings needed to convert a prospect to a buyer? If not how does one establish the optimum budget? Thanks so much. Raj

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 26, 1997 ):
1) Advertising vs Public Relations decisions are based on a complex mix of marketing issues. One advertiser, mostly concerned with establishing an image or with community relations may spend the majority of funds on PR and the next, seeing a simple need to move units of a basic impulse purchase low-competition, product, may do no PR at all.

2) Some clients merely tell the agency how much there is to spend. Others will go through a process of determining marketing goals with the agency and consider the agency's recommendation on the cost of accomplishing those goals. More often the budget will come from the client, based on issues other than marketing goals, and then be allocated in accord with achieving the goals within the budget.

3) Computerized media delivery analysis is common. Some small retail advertisers may just hipshoot media decisions, often because the geography is small enough to track directly.

4) No, there is no magic number of GRPs to convert prospects to buyers. The marketing issues in each case vary. It should be obvious that persuading you to order a 7-Up versus a Coke next time you go out to lunch, given your background knowledge of the products and benefits, and the consequences of the wrong choice, is quite a different proposition than persuading you to buy a Mercedes Benz, select a vacation destination, or in which hospital to have surgery.

Friday, June 13, 1997 #1365
Dear Guru, Could you please give your opinion on what can be viewed as a recommended level of GRP, frequency and effective frequency for a highly competitive advertising category on TV. As an example we can take a carbonated soft drinks' category. What should be the planning guidelines? When and why we should use flighting (pulsing) or what is the rationale for a continous campaign. Additionally to TV which other media should we use and why? Thank you in advance, Bob

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 13, 1997 ):
You are actually asking for the complete Objectives, Strategies and communications tactics of a full scale media plan, without offering enough background.

Nevertheless, here are some considerations:

One theory of competitive media planning calls for delivering a minimum of 10% more impressions than the key competitor, in head to head media. This assures beating the competition in GRP, reach and effective reach.

budget is a consideration. If there is not enough money to compete as above nationally, then selecting geography where the delivery advantage can be maintained should allow you to beat the competition, bit by bit, until you can afford national support.

When there are time-sensitive promotional issues, then pulsing can be an effective way to deliver more impressions over the crucial period. Recent media theory has emphasized the benefits of continuity, because "the impression delivered closest to the purchase decision is the most effective impression." In the soft drink category, where purchase decisions are constant, continuity may be generally preferable to pulsing.

In other, highly competitive, seasonal categories pulsing may be needed.

As far as recommending other media, that calls for more information, but please look at the Guru's Media Advertising Strenghths

Thursday, May 29, 1997 #1358
Is there any model or guideline that help me to allocate the media budget between regional media and local media, i.e. how much should be put behind regional media vs local media

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 02, 1997 ):
There are several models for accomplishing this media task. There are basic decision points that must be addressed before doing the actual calculations:

-Will you allocate impressions or dollars? (dollars leads to more efficient plans overall)

-Will you set goals for local delivery based on population, sales, brand development, category development or some other basis for assigning value to local markets?

A delivery goal is established for each market or region: e.g. let each DMA receive a percentage of all the plan's impressions equal to the DMAs percentage of the product's sales or the market's percentage of US population, etc.

Then, by examining how each national medium delivers its impressions to each DMA, using Nielsen data, ABC circulation, etc. you can determine how much media needs to be purchased locally to achieve the market by market goals.

The first time you must guess how much budget to allocate to national media, to see how the impressions fall before you have a local media budget to experiment with. Then it becomes an iteritive process to fine tune the allocation.

The Guru suggests you begin with about 75% in national media and 25% in local. If the local skews are stronger, e.g. many BDIs outside the 75 to 150 range, you will likely need a greater proportion of local funding.

It is possible to incorporate many adjustment factors, such as market efficiency, relative effectiveness of national and local media elements, etc.

Friday, March 14, 1997 #1019
Which ad agency specializes in "Food Court" and Wash Room advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 15, 1997 ):
The Guru does not think it likely that any agency would specialize in such advertising. For this to make sense advertisers would need to think they should take this relatively small part of their budget to a different agency than the one that does their principal work. More likely that an agency decides there is a great opportunity for a client in food courts or washrooms ( a paper towel / napkin maker perhaps?).

If someone does know of such an agency, please send email to Help the Guru.

Monday, February 17, 1997 #1043
When a planner has a small budget and it has been determined that television is the appropriate media vehicle, does it make sense to concentrate all of the GRPs in one or two dayparts? Example: late news and/or early morning for a business person 25-54?Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 21, 1997 ):
If geography is not a variable, then the question relates principally to the balance of reach vs frequency to be acheived. Daypart concentration may increase frequency at the expense of reach, daypart dispersion will increase reach at the expense of frequency. Low cume dayparts like the ones you mention may deliver less reach than a single high cume daypart like prime.

Comparing several possible schedules which are affordable within your budget for their delivery of plan goals is a better course than trying to make the decision based on a generalization of what "makes sense."

Monday, February 10, 1997 #1052
How do I even begin the Internet planning/buying process ?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, February 11, 1997 ):
1) you already know media planning/buying in general, and
2) you have already allocated a budget expressly to internet (Web) media,

Then your question would seem to be how to identify the appropriate web sites and how to evaluate and negotiate with them.Starting poins include;

Search engines which can be used to identify topically relevant sites.

Services such as FocaLink which compile descriptive material as well as audience info about sites into a database.

Specialist web media services such as i-traffic.

There are pure audience surveys such as PC-Meter, and there are traffic counters like Netcount.

Saturday, January 04, 1997 #1084
I've heard that co-op advertising is on the rise. It seems like a great way to share advertising costs. Do you know of any standard letters or agreements used to present the idea from business to business (like from a store owner to a supplier?) Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 05, 1997 ):
The typical situation is that the manufacturer establishes a co-op program and advises dealers and distributors, who can then request the form to apply for participation.

This is how the manufacturer establishes a budget reserve for its share of the costs.

There is at least one book in print which lists co-op programs in existence. The Guru can't recall the name, but your local newspaper or radio station probably has a co-op manager who has a copy. These media are great beneficiaries of your use of co-op advertising!

There is also a National Association for Promotional and Advertising Allowances, Inc. which includes on its resouce list Co-op Works,

"a new online service that helps retailers, product vendors and media make the best use of co-op and MDF programs. Co-op Works standardizes the language and simpifies the entire process. Retailers and manufacturers can track incentives and accrued funds instantly-reducing the questions, phone calls, and headaches."

Tim Fisher, President
2665 Villa Creek #208
Dallas, TX 75234-7309
Phone: 800-810-2025
Fax: 214-243-6310

Thursday, January 02, 1997 #1085
A non-profit visual arts agency is putting all of their $ into developing a direct marketing brochure. Just mailing something out doesn't seem like enough. How do we make this more effective with no more $ in the budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 02, 1997 ):
There are two major elements in the success of any directmailing:

-The quality of the list

-The mailing piece itself.

Make sure you have a wellscreened highly qualified list of best potentialprospects. Without knowing the actual goals you have as a response,the Guru can say no more.

Thursday, December 19, 1996 #1089
Dear Guru...I am in the process of starting a retail mail order business..I am literally starting on a shoestring ...I was wondering what advice you could give as far as the most effective media for the money and any general media advice as well. Thanks..

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 21, 1996 ):
How much money? In given circumstances, radio, outdoor, direct mail, newspaper or TV might be the most productive use of money. It depends on total budget, what geography one needs to cover and what sort of message needs to be conveyed

Friday, December 06, 1996 #1097
I am seeking information about Web advertising expenditures in the travel industry and a comparison to the total media budget. I am also interested in the amount that companies in the travel industry are spending for their own sites.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 20, 1996 ):
AdAge occcasionally publishes total internet ad spending. CMR(Competeitive Media Reports) has begun tracking internet advertising (forthe major ad-bearing sites, at least.

Monday, November 18, 1996 #1106
Oh great media guru, I feel as if I have been thrown into an impossible situation. We're a start-up internet company and I think I'm in over my head. I am not experienced in the advertising industry and yet I am supposed to create and execute an advertising campaign with a $300,000 budget. The partner who has given me this task wants to advertise in at least two cities and in at least 7 different mediums. My first question is... Is this a rational task for an inexperienced person? When I call the reps for TV stations and radio stations I feel like I should REALLY be working with a consultant to point me in the right direction and to make sure I don't get ripped off. Any advice? I need to find a place where I can estimate costs. Is there any source where I can find rate estimates. Do you know of anywhere where I can find general rates for multiple mediums? Or maybe a directory that would give me phone #rs to call. For example, how do you find info. on freeway billboard advertising in different cities? Are there media buying consultants that work on a flat-rate basis that can help me? (I don't want any commissions to get in the way of prudent spending....dazed and confused

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, November 19, 1996 ):
Yes, there are media consultants will work for flat rates (pure "media buyers" are more often paid on commission.)

The Guru does not believe that commission should necessarily be assumed to cloud buyers' judgement, as "buying on the spread" might.

The Guru will send you a private message with references to a media consultant.

Tuesday, November 12, 1996 #1109
I am new to the media-buying industry, yet I am responsible for the media buying of my company. The campaign my VP wants is to be very diverse (TV, Mags, Bus ads, Subway ads, Direct Mail ads, etc. I'm having trouble determining how to space out our $rs. What is a good resource I can go to that can help me to determine what each media is best for. Meaning what type of company/product/budget. We are a website and the goal of my advertising is to create both an image of our company to people between the ages 16-24 as well as to drive them to our site.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 13, 1996 ):
Media are not best for kinds of products or companies or budgets, they are best (or not) for specific marketing goals or types of communications.

Saying you're marketing a web site to persons 16-24 is a good start. Analyzing what is the draw of your site and company and what media draw people with the same interests is the next step. Talk to some of these media and ask for their research on the field. Browse similar sites and see if the have media advertisers or links.

Tuesday, October 22, 1996 #1120
I am a consultant to a TV station. Recently most agencies have adopted one or another Media Planning software. We have tried to undersatand what type of optimizers they have and what effect in their decisions may have. For example one that uses integer programming seems to benefit high GRP programmes while others low cost and low audiences. How does the type of optimizer influence the plan? Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 23, 1996 ):
Optimizers must be set to Optimize something. It may be pure reach, reach at a given level of frequency, reach within a specific budget,etc. Usually some form of reach is in the goal, because other considerations like cpm or GRPs are simple arithmetic, while reach involves more complex computer models.

The reach models must be based on some measurement of "actual" schedules to be worth anything at all. If each optimizer is merely based on some programmer's opinion of how audience accumulates, there is no way to predict results without owning a copy of the program.

When reach within budget is the issue, it is possible forlow cost/low rated programs to be preferred if theydeliver so much more gross audience that even at low rates of net accumulation, the total reach can be more than quicker 'cuming. high-rated schedules.

Wednesday, October 09, 1996 #1129
I was wondering what the effective levels of reach &frequency for a new product launch would be, as well as an adequate budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 11, 1996 ):
Determining the effective levels and desired geographic scope will determine adequate budget.

There are no absolutes in effective levels for intros or any other purpose.

Issues to consider include:

  • Competition; how many, spending how much
  • Clutter in the media to be used
  • Typical levels of frequency in the media used
  • Complexity of your message
  • Interest in your product type - e.g. insurance vs sports cars
  • Ability of the target consumer to digest information
  • and others which may be specific to your own situation.

Generally, you want to reach the majority of your target at the determined effective level.

Sunday, October 06, 1996 #1132
I am creating a hypothetical advertising campaign for a class at Columbia Business School and I need informationon the costs of advertising in media (TV, radio, internet,publishing, etc.). I would like to know if anyone cansend me a table with comparable costs (per ad, city, audience)or a sample advertising budget, or even better a sampleadvertising plan.

Also, any information on advertising costs on the internet.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 09, 1996 ):
The Guru doesn't provide personal answers; like Dear Abby's, Guru questions and answers are for all to see and use. One of the most important parts of advertising education is learning how to find information, but the Guru isn't going to do your homework.

Your school library will have the publications of Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) which list media rates for most media, including interactive. You can look up internet sales reps through Yahoo or AltaVista search engines. Many advertising agencies also publish their own cost guides, and AMIC itself offers media cost information, at Rates, Dates and Data accessible from the AMIC home page.

Friday, August 30, 1996 #1157
Dear Guru,We are planning a campaign in the market, where no consistent media research data is available. What we have at the moment is following:1. 2 heavy competitors (one is our client)2. The competitor is running a campaign in the key city of the region using 3 local channels with a combined monthly reach of 93% of the city and the surrounding area, which equals 12.5% of the regions' population. The competitor is spending ca. USD 90K per month.3. We have the objective of running a regional rather than local campaign and, at the same time, outvoice the competitor by 30%.4. To our choice are 3 regional channels with a combined reach of 40.7% in the regionQuestion: what budgert should we be looking at on a monthly basis, given that the average ratio of the local rate card to regional one is 1:1.5?

Sorry for asking for a piece of alchemy and thank you in advance,

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 30, 1996 ):
The simplest conceptual answer is to spend 30% more than the competitor in the key city: USD117 This way you outspend him where he's active and meet the 30%+ goal. Otherwise, assuming the regional buy includes the key city, your budget is still 117, with some in regional media and some in the more efficient key city media, so that you have at least a 10% edge in key city impressions.

If the rate card is telling you that a $150 spot buys thewhole region at the same rating that $100 buys the key city's 12.5% of the region (if the Guru followed your data correctly), then 1.3 x 1.5 x 90, or 175.5 is the budget to deliver 30% more impressions in the key city and an equal level across the region.

Thursday, August 15, 1996 #1169
How can I find information about differences in retentionrate between different Media

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 19, 1996 ):
The Guru finds his generic research most often at Newsweek Media Research Index or through the Advertising Research Foundation

If one finds retention rate of media, it is worth considering that budget must be considered as well. In the laboratory, a radio commercial might have far less retention than a tv commercial, for example, but in the real world, 10 radio spotsmight produce better message retention than 3 tv spots, for the same budget.

Sunday, August 04, 1996 #1168
I am working with a client in Los Angeles. It is a group of Opthalmologist promotingPRK (PhotoRefractive Keratectomy) or corrective vision by use of thelaser. It is a direct response type of account as we have an 800# to call and telemarketers tracking the number of calls. The target audience is Adults 25-49, withHHI $75+, Professional/Managerial with active lifestyles. This is an elective surgery. I used television duringfirst quarter. It worked for a while, but because I did not have the budget for prime, Iused only early morning, early fringe and prime access. Programming such as Home Improvementand Seinfeld and etc. It worked for a while and then my cost per lead began to rise. I've usedradio and it has been fairly successful. Is there any book that I can purchase or can you direct me onwhere do I go from this point? Several years ago, I has a book on direct response, but it has disappeared.Please help a tired old media person. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 20, 1996 ):
There are many (mostly) unpredictable aspect to direct reponse, and ordinary media measures do not seem to be good predictors of results. Saying "prime doesn't fit the budget" is likely to be a reflection of the typical desire to run a lot of spots as opposed to determining the "best" spots. With an exrtremely narrow target as you have defined prime may be more valuable than cost per spot indicates.

One basic aspect of DR, especially for low-interest, one-time purchases like elective surgery, is that there is a definitely limited potential consumer base in any given medium. This would accunt for your unsurprising rise in cost per lead. The quick cure would be new media vehicles. On a cost per lead basis, perhaps prime will now be most affordable.

Sunday, July 07, 1996 #1185
I am convinced that with a limited budget it is necessary to reach "effective" reach levels at a given period of time rathe than spread thos dollars throughout the year to achieve low levels but high coninuity. I am working in the Automotive field. Please help me. I need specific documented research studies on effective reach!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 08, 1996 ):
It isn't clear what your query is. Many people continue to feel as you do. In recent years, many others have espoused the "propinquity" theory which advocates continuous low levels, based on the idea that the single exposure closest to a purchase occasion is the most effective.

There has been considerable trade publication comment on the matter, most often by Erwin Ephron, probably the leading proponent of propinquity. A recent Advertising Research Foundation workshop devoted considerable attention to this issue, and the proceeding of that conference should be available from the ARF. There have been opposing positions, in agreement with yours, published as well, one of the earliest by Abbott Wool in Media Week shortly after Ephron's first publication of the theory.

The Guru has discussed this before, so using your browser's "find" function to scan this page and the Guru archives will provide additional material.

Surely the most archetypical exception to continuity is for the highly seasonal product, as automotive products may be.

Monday, July 01, 1996 #1187
Is there a resource you could direct me to that would indicate general percentages of gross sales allocated to advertising budgets. i.e. percentages of gross sales acar dealer, convienence store, furniture store or other product catagory would generally allocate to media?L. Hennessee

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 03, 1996 ):
For these locally oriented retail businesses, the best source would most likely be industry specific trade publications. These magazines typically survey readers -- or their indusatry at large -- for such information

Sunday, June 23, 1996 #1192
I am working on a media plan for attracting tourists to our small town. Is there a source of information to tell me what works best in this mix, target audience, etc.?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 24, 1996 ):
Your town may or may not have the same target tourists as the next. Standard syndicated sources, such as Simmons and MRI can help with targetting.

Media mix depends on budget, geography and creative considerations among other issues. You probably should put together an overview of other tourism accounts' media use, with the help of the media you might consider using, or the help of commercial ad tracking services like CMR and VMS / RTV.

Friday, May 17, 1996 #1213
Dear Guru,I have two questions which you might have heard before.
a)I do know that a :15s commercial on TV cost between 50% to 75% of a :30s depending on market etc. Is there any studies that show what the benefit of either length is (if any) in terms of reach, frequency, effectiveness, memorability, etc.
b)I have seen studies praising the advantage of multiple media usage above single media; in other words using TV and radio instead of just TV. Can you elaborate on that and update with new info about this topic. Reason being a client who would like to slash the budget down to just using TV for campaigns. I however feel that there is an added benefit in using multiple media.Please respond by Monday if you can.Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 19, 1996 ):
a) There is is no difference in reach and frequency between a :15 and a :30. In the same time period, they have the same audience, within the tolerances of research measurement.

On the other hand, a schedule using :15's in place of some or all the :30's will provide more reach and frequency, because it has more announcements, hence more GRP, etc, for the same budget.

When :15's started to become popular several years ago, there was considerable research regarding effectiveness versus :30's. The general findings were that :15's had about 70 - 75% of the recall of a :30. At the time, :15's were typically a network option priced at 50% of :30's so the trade off of price vs effectiveness seemed favorable.

b) Multi-media plans chief benefit is in reach development, though the effects of the added reach have ripples in many directions.

Adding a new medium adds more reach than adding weight in the same medium: There are more likely to be different people in the audience of a different medium, over a given period of time. This applies to effective reach as well.

There are a variety of philosophical approaches to taking advantage of this.

One approach says to build reach up to a minimum effective level in the primary medium first, before adding the next medium. Another says build the first medium to the point where the reach curve flattens, then add the next medium to resume reach growth.

A newer, different line of thought, the "recency" theory, de-emphasizes reach in favor of delivering messages to the consumer closest to the point of making a purchas decison. This argues for continuity, to reach more people at all times rather than highest levels in sporadic flights. Again, multi-media will produce more reach, but other theories of minimum weekly levels may effect scheduling, ie radio bought to a minimum of 12x weekly when active.

Judgements must also be made regarding whether TV and radio is perceived as the same message by the consumer. Of course, this same judgement must be applied to different executions in the commercial pool of each individual medium as well.

Wednesday, May 01, 1996 #1230
Are there any software packages that allow you to collectmedia data over the internet? Also, what are the latestprograms dealing with media planning? I work with a small agencyin New York that places local radio, newspaper and televisionin a few markets in the midwest and we are looking forways to go take our media planning into the digital age.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 02, 1996 ):
Telmar, (AMIC's parent corporation) is in the business of providingits clients with leading edge technology for internet, dial-up and local access to media software as well as to the hundreds of syndicated databases available for clients with legal access.

Telmar has programs for print, television,cable, radio, and newspaper. The All Media Planner allows the user to do all media advertising media planning, including reach/frequency analysis, media mix, optimization, budget allocation, flowcharting, graphics. Also note that there is free cost per point information provided by SQAD on AMIC.

Contact for further information about Telmar's services.

Tuesday, April 30, 1996 #1231
I'm working on a presentation on how media planning professionals go about determining a media mix, and how a percent of budget is allocated to each medium being used. It's a general presentation for a client who is not very familiar with media planning terminology or methods. So far my sources for info include a couple of similar documents that I and others that I work with have written in the past, and the media planning textbook (by Scissors). Do you know of any other RECENT sources of info, points-of-view, articles on this topic? Or have you answered a similar question recently? If so, please tell me the category under which your response would be filed (I have looked through several categories of your responses and did not see anything relevant to this topic). Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 30, 1996 ):
In the broadest terms, the process may be thought of as

Marketing Goals ---> Marketing Strategies ---> Media Goals ---> Media Strategies ---> Media Tactics, etc.

A very simple example:

A marketing goal of increasing the number of users of product X might lead to a strategy of converting users of competitive brand Y.

The media goal might then be to optimize reach at effective levels of frequency among a demographic group matched to current users of brand Y.

The media strategy to achieve this might then be built by examining various media mixes to determine which produce the best balance of effective reach for the budget, within the creative limitations.

Of course this is just one possible marketing goal, one possible strategy that might emerge.

There are many ways to set reach goals, to set minimum effective levels or decide to apply the recent "proximity" or "recency" theory of exposure.

In short, one doesn't decide on percents of media and see how it turns out, one decides which media will best answer the marketing and media strategies. Often, some creative decisons have precedence: if TV is designated as the "primary medium" because of communications ability, need to demonstrate, etc, then the strategy migh dictate putting all money into TV "until the effective reach curve is exhausted."

There are infinite ways to express and measure goals and their achievment. Some standard media planning software, such as Telmar's Media Maestro, and Hispanic Media Maestro, allow easy examination of various mixes, instantly showing how reach/frequency/effective reach change as budget or schedules are shifted between media by the planner.

Wednesday, March 20, 1996 #1259
I am buying a radio schedule (100 GRPs/wk for A25-54) in a market that is approximately 28% black. The urban station in this market is relatively efficient, but is by no means a "must buy". In fact, there are about 10 stations with 9/10 of a rating point of each other (AQH rtg, M-F 6a-7p). This urban station claims that I must have at least one urban station on every buy or I will miss 28% of the market. I disagree. When buying so few points a week, I do not have the budget to buy as many stations as I like. A better use of the money would be to cover the various age cells in this broad demo and try to balance the male/female reach. My question is, What is your opinion on this subject? Is an urban station a "must buy" in this market any more than a country, rock, or news/talk station?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 22, 1996 ):
There are several levels at which this question can be considered:

The essence is determining the true value of that station: "should you buy it", not "must you buy it"

- If you ignored the fact that this is an urban station would you buy it, based on the general parameters of the buy? Rating/efficiency/rank, etc?

Are you having a negative reaction to being told you must do it?

Do you really miss 28% of the market just by not buying that station? To what reach level are you buying? At 100 GRP / week you're not likely to reach more than 72% of the target in a typical 4 weeks, anyway. So if the station is the onlyone reaching its market segment, how much does it matter if that segementis the 28% you miss rather than any ther 28% of the market.

Is that station is the only one reaching its segment? It is likely that several other stations in a market with that high penetration of Black population also reach that audience, but perhaps with a lower audience composition. Check the schedule you will buy to see how its African-American audience reach compares to its general market reach. Perhaps it's comparable even without that station.

On the other hand, if that segemnt is important, reaching it in a culturally relevant program environment can substantially enhance selling opportunity.

Examine the product usage data about your client according to Simmons/MRI/Scarborough/MMR, etc. Perhaps the African-American consumer is far more valuable to your client as a prospective customer than is the general market, and that Urban station, with its good efficiency, is the first one you should buy, even if it does sell aggressively.

Friday, March 15, 1996 #1263
Can you fill me in on "recency"? Sounds like a complicated way to say low media weight, long duration? Is this correct? If so, can it work with a small budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 18, 1996 ):
Recency does amount to lower weight and longer duration, but allows for more complex discussion. It is a theory which works in opposition to "effective reach." Effective reach is based on the fact that 3, or some other minimum number of exposures to advertising, is necessary for the advertising to be digested, understood and begin to effect consumer behavior.

Recency posits that an exposure close to the moment of purchase decision is the most effective, therefore maintaining a constant presence of messages is most likely to catch the prospect at the crucial moment.

Obviously, even within the recency model, the more exposure provided at any given point in time the better the chance of catching a consumer at the critical time. Recency argues for continuity, not for low levels, though it is often used to justify low levels.

Recognizing that truly seasonal purchases call for different scheduling than regularly cyclical purchases, the concept says that if a given number of impressions are affordable, all else being equal, those impression will generate more sales when spread consistently rather that concentrated into flights at a presumed "effective" level.

Tuesday, March 12, 1996 #1264
Dear Guru;I am in the process of launching a software product aimed at the magazine publishing industry. It is an internet software based on getting their content online, their advertising targeted, their subscriptions in order, and will provide user statistics to maximize their advertising and content.My questions are as follows:How do I find out how mauch advertising revenue is generated by the magazine industry-both online and print. What are the projections for future growth for online advertising for magazines?How do I find out what kind of money magazines have budgeted for online software and services?Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 13, 1996 ):
CMR (Competitive Media Reports) tracks magazine's advertising revenues and web site (magazines' and others). They are in NY at (212) 789-1422.

As far as growth is concerned, trade magazines will offer different opinions and a library search of the ad trades could be informative.

The Guru's opinion is that right now the web is "hot." It porbably is not generating a lot of business for most media who have web presence. But the TV networks and major publishers all have sites. The state of marketing is that a web site is a necessary validation of participation in contemporary marketing.

The software you describe, if it does all you say, will help make a magazine's web presence produce ROI. The trick is probably to get to a magazine before it has hired or contracted out web design services.

Monday, March 04, 1996 #1269
I was curious to know whether you have any insight into the 2nd quarter national scatter marketplace. I know things are terribly soft but I thought you might know something that I do not. Also, I was wondering if there is any online forum for broadcast/cable national marketers and ad agencies to converse about up & coming media budgets. I also perused your SQAD info under the COSTS/RATES "category" and was hoping that you might provide similar information for the national advertsisng marketplace.I now realize I had more questions than I thought. Thanx in advance for your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 05, 1996 ):
SQAD (e=mail network cost projections and in the near future cable costs as well.

There are several on-line marketing forums (e-mail discussion lists) where advertising rate discussions would be within the range of topics. Note that each list has two addresses: one where you send a "subscribe" request and a different one where you post your messages to all listmembers, about discussion topics.

Generally, you must subscribe before you can post. Subscribing will cause the listserver to send you a FAQ (frequently asked questions list) describing the list's topics and rules of disussion). There is no cost to subscribe.

Market-L is the largest, at 900-1000 members and 50-75 posts a day. Topics range from marketing to politics and include a lot of smart alec remarks and heated nonsense amidsolid marketing information. An archiveof market-l is maintained.

Send the message SUBSCRIBE MARKET-L to

Post messages to

MKTSEG is a discussion about segmented marketing. Topics have often ranged to media issues. There are about 400-500 members and 2-5, on-topic, messages per day. An archive of MKTSEG is maintained at amic.

send the message SUBSCRIBE MKTSEG

post messages to

MavenConference is a new discussion list operated by a group called the MktgMavens (most of the best contributors to Market-L), and is more focused on marketing than advertising. There are about 250 subscribers and 10-15 posts a day, lately. The discussion quality is high. An archive has not yet been established.


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Thursday, February 01, 1996 #1769
My company is looking to market an advertising medium to national/international companies looking to reach the teen market. My questions: (1) Is the teen market generally considered "difficult to reach"?, and (2) Is there a "rule of thumb" ratio of advertising expenditures to gross sales? (i.e. advertising budget is 6%-9% of gross sales)

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
Question 1. The teen demographic group is one of the harder ones to reach cost-efficiently. This is largely due to the fact that this group is really many groups, with a wide range of interests and lifestyles.

The broader media types, television and newspaper, are very poorly suited to reaching this target group. Radio and select cable television networks are far more likely to be successful and affordable.

There are some magazines which can be very useful, especially niche targeted publications rather than broad books like Time, Newsweek or TV Guide. Many teens strongly identify with their interest in music, sports, cars, motorcycles or lifestyles. Therefore titles such as Spin, Skiing, Hot Rod, Cycle World or Seventeen can and often are very successful as advertising vehicles.

Remember, this is a very unique and complicated set of groups rather than a single homogeneous group.

Question 2. The development of an adequate advertising budget linked to a sales ratio is very hard to accomplish. For example, companies at an early stage of development may have its lowest sales when it has its highest need for advertising support to build sales. At this earliest stage of development, an advertising to sales ratio could be as high as 15%-20%. Later on, when the company has matured and sales are robust 3%-5% may very well be adequate to the task.

Tuesday, January 23, 1996 #1777
how would you make two different media plans with the same budget for the same product? theoretically Is there any literature, examples or cases in this field?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
This question seems to be "tell me all about media."

But assume you have one media plan built properly. That is, by setting up media goals flowing out of the marketing goals and then strategies and tactics which will accomplish those goals best. The next step to create the "different plan" is to begin at the strategies and tactics phase. Develop alternate strategies and tactics which could also achieve the goals.

"Media Planning" by Sissors and Bumba is a classic text in this field. University libraries and some public libraries would have others. The Advertising Research Foundation has a library of case studies and texts, available to members.

Monday, January 08, 1996 #1796
At what point does the efficiency of buying local cable diminish so that national cable is a more effective option?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
On an efficiency basis, local cable is almost never superior to national. The decision point is more likely to be out of pocket cost, though the Guru has seen instances of the same cable :30's priced at $50 nationally versus $250 in New York.

The analysis also depends on how large an area is useful to the marketer. If the whole country is geographically acceptable as potential consumers, then the only question might be how far will the budget stretch in delivering "acceptable" levels of weight. If only certain geographies are within the distribution of the advertiser, an analysis of the useful audience within the national cable coverage is needed before the efficiency comparison can be made.

There is no %US "rule of thumb". Local cable is variable enough in its cpm ranges that there often is no relationship of market size to cost.