Category Archives: direct marketing

Print Ad Success, Happens To Be Just Like Fishing (no kidding!)

Ezra.jpg

I just returned from my annual trip to Alaska, where I did a lot of fishing with my kids. Stay with me for a minute, there is a point to this that relates to marketing in newspapers. I believe, that what I have learned about fishing applies to marketing in newspapers.

Not surprisingly, my kids all like catching fish more than they like waiting for fish to bite. The problem is that a big part of fishing is waiting (I always tell them, “that’s why they call it fishing, not catching”) and having faith that the fish will respond sometime soon. If my kids believe that we have gone to a bad spot or that there is no hope in trying, their attention to detail diminishes. Instead of checking the bait every few minutes, they check every hour. They don’t hold the rods, they put them in the boat’s rod holders. They are less likely to try different techniques or pay attention to where their bait is positioned. In short, fishing is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are unlikely to be successful, unless you pay attention, which is easier to do when you believe that success is possible.

In an effort to counterbalance the inevitable impatience of children fishing, for the past several years I have manufactured a new “secret spot” that some unnamed but very wise old friend has told me about. I tell my kids that this friend caught monsters at this spot and their enthusiasm rises to a fever pitch. They believe that this spot will produce fishing glory, so they fish harder, are more attentive to detail and are more patient than they would be otherwise. So it is no big surprise that my fictitious “secret spot” always outperforms other areas that we fish.

Fishing is a hard thing to scientifically quantify and there is no doubt that a certain amount of luck factors into a good day of fishing. However, I firmly believe that there are many factors that a fisherperson can control and the expectation of success creates an environment where success is more likely.

Now, stay on the line, I am about to set the hook – marketing in newspapers is very similar to fishing.

As you probably know, we do a lot of response-based print marketing here at Mediabids. In response-based marketing there are two parties who are involved in a transaction. First, there is the advertiser who is trying to generate response for their goods or services. Second, there is the publication, who wants revenue from the results they generate for that advertiser.

Too often, I believe, all parties (and I include Mediabids in this group) don’t expect success for a specific ad in a specific publication. They want success, but they don’t expect it. All parties involved act like my kids when they are fishing in a spot they believe is unlikely to yield results. But attention to detail generates better results in fishing and in newspaper marketing. Maybe the ad would perform better with a different offer or at a different price point? Maybe the ad would generate more response if it ran in a different section of the publication or at a different size or on a different day of the week? Often it is the little things that determine the difference between an ad performing well or below expectations. However, if success is not expected, it is easy to ignore those little things, which only increases the odds of failure. It is too easy to say, “This ad isn’t going to work.” and not try anything. It is like my kids saying, “There are no fish here.”

We should all expect success from print advertising. We have all seen enough success stories to know that print can generate large numbers of highly qualified results. It should happen with every ad we place, but it doesn’t. It is the job of Mediabids, the advertiser and the publication to expect and demand that ads perform well.

Post by Jedd Gould.

Top Podcasts for a Better You

Head Phones

I have been one of those people, at times, that has been indifferent to the emergence of the digital age. I mean, I still read actual books…sometimes I even buy hardcover versions! I know. I know. What a Luddite, right?

But let’s be honest, unless you’re a big gamer, the internet has been -until the past few years- awash in advertising and A LOT of one-dimensional content that can be take it or leave it (there are many exceptions, of course.) In fact, among the most heavily visited sites on the old WWW have been newspaper sites -which is great, don’t get me wrong. But newspaper sites are hardly what all the fuss and promise of the internet has been about, until recently. As many of you likely already know, the latest generation of the internet (are we at 3.0 yet?) is about text, messaging and social media apps and accessing video and audio content. It’s the audio content (a.k.a. podcasts) that we’ll talk a bit more about here today.

Starting in 2015, especially with the popularity of Serial (from the makers of This American Life on NPR), podcasts have really begun to emerge. National Public Radio, the New York Times, Slate, ESPN and several other media outlets have really started to focus on podcast content, not to mention a myriad of other smaller players. After all, the production of podcasts doesn’t necessarily require much of an investment beyond a microphone, a server for storing the files and the time involved. As a media salesperson or an agency staffer, why should you care about podcasts?

Podcast audiences, generally speaking, are still relatively small so selling ad space in them or looking at them as a cornerstone of a media plan is a ways off..in terms of really being a part of the marketing conversation. But as a media seller or an agency staffer, the real value of podcasts to us is more basic – inspiration and education.

At the risk of sounding a little new age, listening to podcasts (like reading books or watching films) can help you be a better you. The exploration of ideas and hearing different perspectives on things that are happening in our world, will only help you -as a media seller- to make connections with others and -as an agency staffer- to be able to think of old problems in new ways. If you haven’t started to take some time for podcasts, the time is now. At the very least, if you’re still something of a Luddite like me, starting now you can still claim to be an early-adopter (even if it’s just barely the case.)

If you’re unsure of where to get started with podcasts, here are five from the worlds of journalism, business, culture, politics and entertainment to consider:

RadioLab

TED Radio Hour

The MOTH

SLATE Political Gabfest

WTF with Marc Maron

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

Millennials & Boomers

Berlin Wall

I’m of the Gen-X generation. If you don’t really know what that means, don’t worry about it. Despite the fact that MTV, Ferris Bueller and the fall of the Berlin Wall happened on our watch, marketers are almost entirely consumed by the habits of the pre- and post Gen-X generations. You may know them by their more traditional labels – Baby Boomers and Millennials. In fact, based on how much time those of us in marketing and media spend thinking and talking about boomers and millennials, the Gen-X generation is a apparently a mere footnote of demography.  Yes, I’m a little annoyed about this, but I digress.

In print media organizations, especially, there’s a great deal of concern about how the media consumption habits of boomers and millennials differ. People with an axe to grind (digital, TV and radio media sellers, for example) are fond of saying that print’s audience is dying off….as if only older Americans read print. This is, of course, not the story.

The media consumption habits of millennials and boomers do differ, in some ways. But in terms of ”old” media, the differences are not all that significant. In other words, there’s no Berlin Wall separating the two largest generations of the past hundred years (just us Gen-Xers.)

Based on a recent study by Jacobs Media Strategies, these are the percentages of use (at least once per week) for each demographic:

Boomers – Radio (89%), Newspapers (86%) and TV (81%)

Millennials – Radio (80%), Newspapers (71%) and TV (72%)

Also, the Jacobs study reports that tablet, text and Smartphone usage are not all that different between these two groups.

Of course, the spread (15%) between boomers and millennials, for newspaper usage, is widest but it’s not that much different than radio and TV. My point is that the media habits of younger Americans and older Americans, on a macro level, are not that different and it’s untrue that newspaper readers are simply dying off.

But if you’re determined to claim that millennials are so different than the generations that have come before them, I will offer that in terms of podcasts, streaming video, streaming audio and social networks, millennials do use these media by a wide margin over boomers. However, it’s probably just a matter of time before boomers adopt more millennial-like media habits, with regard to these newer technologies. The rapid adoption of Smartphones and tablets among boomers, shows that sometimes old dogs can learn new tricks.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

Top Marketers to Follow @Twitter

I started using Twitter, somewhat, back in 2011. It wasn’t until 2014 that I began to be more of a daily user and started to publish tweets on a regular basis. Twitter launched in 2006 so I was a relatively late adopter -perhaps I should have little to say- but it’s 2016 and especially if you’re a salesperson for a digital and/or print publisher, you really need to be using Twitter by now.

Twitter

It really is an invaluable tool for keeping up with the news of the day, especially in both the publishing and marketing industries. For one thing, your publication’s editorial department is using Twitter. Second, many of your clients are likely using Twitter and the advertising agency buyers you call on are for sure using Twitter. Why aren’t you?

In a less than scientific survey of media reps, these are the three most frequent reasons for not using Twitter:

  1. Why would I use it if I don’t know who to follow?
  2. I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet so why bother?
  3. I already get plenty of industry email newsletters…I don’t have time for Twitter!

Let’s start with #3.

Are you reading those industry email newsletters? If you’re following the knowledgeable people that actually aim to offer their audience valuable insights and support, then it’s relatively easy to glance at Twitter -here and there throughout the day- without it taking too much time or being disruptive to your workflow.

Regarding the second objection to Twitter (”I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet.”), you may be surprised at your own value to others in your industry so don’t hesitate to tweet out if you have an original thought or something to say. But also, no one is forcing you to tweet. You can use Twitter, and it is still valuable to you, even if you never ever respond or share anything on Twitter.

Now #1 is indeed a valid objection and I can relate. Twitter is a little intimidating at first, because after all, we don’t know what we don’t know. But for those of you ready to try something new and you’d appreciate a little help in taking the leap, here’s a few leading voices in marketing to consider following, be inspired by and perhaps learn from on Twitter:

@jeffbullas

@kimgarst

@jaybaer

@dharmesh

@JoePulizzi

Of course, there are at least forty other thought leaders one could follow. But once you get started you’ll learn quickly how to curate your own list.

Be well and good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks (@JimJinksCT and @Mediabids)

 

 

Winning In Local Elections: Three Steps to More ”Political” Sales for Local Print Sellers

2016

This Presidential election season is proving to be one of the most contentious (not to mention utterly bizarre) since perhaps the 1960s. But even in 2016, newspapers continue to be very important and an influential media channel. In the past week, for example, the Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle have made headlines by endorsing Hillary Clinton very early in the general election campaign. They both cited their primary reason as the ”danger” that Trump poses to our country. But while Hillary and Trump get most of the big media attention, as an ad salesperson for a local daily or weekly community paper there are plenty of sales opportunities in races for state and/or local municipal positions and issue campaigns.

As a media buyer by training and as someone active in local politics, here’s my advice to local print ad sellers who want to be rock stars in selling to local political campaigns:

  1. Make Sure They Know You – Contact the local town or county committee chairperson in your area -often these folks may know reporters or editorial personnel at your paper but they’re not likely to know you. Call them -email will likely get ignored- and ask them about the upcoming elections. Committee chairpersons will likely know, and have the direct contact info, for the campaign managers and other key people involved in any and all local races. Elections at the local level are not big ”organizations.” Other than the candidate, there are usually only one to two other people in the inner circle.
  2. Know Your Value To The Campaign – While there are billions being spent on national and statewide elections –see AdAge– campaigns at the local level (even races for the state assembly) are usually on a shoestring. There’s also generally limits to how much a candidate can contribute to their own campaign and at the local level this amount can be very low. Among the largest line items in a local campaign’s budget are for campaign signage, events and direct mail. You have an opportunity to grab some of the direct mail budget but you have to show how you can reach households at a very cost-effective and competitive price point. Also, be sure the powers that be in the campaign know that your newspaper can do the graphic design and ad production work at little to no cost. Don’t let the campaign think they can’t ”do print” simply because they don’t have the ad design expertise.
  3. Run a Special Local Election Supplement – Voters look to newspapers for guidance and information. In reading your pages, voters are actively thinking about the election and the issues that matter. If a campaign has an ad there, it’s not unlike having an AdWords text ad show up in search results on Google. A campaign ad in a local paper is an ideal placement but campaigns sometimes need to be sold on this reality – especially if the candidate is new politics and campaigns. One way to really entice a campaign to advertise in your paper is to run a special election supplement. My local weekly paper sends all the candidates the same set of questions and they use the responses as the main content for a local election supplement that runs the week before the election. Once you have one campaign advertiser….others will follow, believe me. The last thing a political campaign wants to have happen is to be absent when the opposition is present.

Generally speaking, local campaigns really begin in earnest after Labor Day. So forget about Hillary and Trump, now is the time to begin laying the groundwork for garnering a slice of the billions and billions spent in political campaigns in 2016. Good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks.

 

 

Affiliate Summit East

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We’ve covered Affiliate Advertising here on the Print Observer blog in the past…

Here: “Customer Acquisition: Using Online and Offline Affiliate Marketing to Generate New Customers

And here: “Affiliate Marketing – Changing Marketers Expectations of Advertising Results

At Mediabids, we’re uniquely positioned to help advertisers complement their online affiliate programs with our affiliate print program which allows advertisers to pay per response for reaching new customers and prospects in newspapers and magazines.

Our program which includes our exclusive network of thousands of print publications provides a performance-based model through which advertisers can drive calls and sales.

To learn more go to: https://www.mediabids.com/

We’ll be at Affiliate Summit East this coming Monday in NYC.  For any advertisers or partners looking to connect, please email Darcy Mauke at dmauke@mediabids.com.

Open Letter to Media Buyers & Marketers

newspaper machine

Is this picture of newspaper boxes kind of how you think of print? …dreary, old, outdated?

C’mon. Be honest. This is a safe space here.

As a media buyer, agency exec or client-side marketer, the way you think about print media has an enormous impact on the newspaper and magazine industry.

There was yet another sour report today about print revenues. First quarter 2016 newspaper and magazine revenues were down another 3.5-4.5% YOY.

I know many of you have moved on to digital and probably haven’t given much thought to print advertising for some time. I know and it’s not entirely your fault. After all, it’s tough to not follow the herd when the stakes and demands are so high. It’s also especially tough, when you may not know better.

By largely turning our backs on print (and instead pouring dollars into digital display) we’ve missed a huge opportunity to be heroes.

Mediabids Conversion

This chart shows close rates and the average length of calls for a few of our advertisers that deliver the highest call volumes. To be clear, the decimal point is in the correct place. All of our conversion rates start with TWO numbers before the decimal point.

By comparison, here’s the latest conversion rates for digital display ads.

Digital Display Click Thru Rates

If you’ve been spending time in digital media, these conversion rates are very familiar and may be the norm. From my perspective, these conversion rates are just north of ”why bother?”

Print advertising is a huge opportunity to deliver real results and value to your clients. If you haven’t already, perhaps it’s time to update your view of print media.

Sincerely,

Jim Jinks

Fact Checking ”Truthiness”

Trump PinochioStephen Colbert famously coined the term ”truthiness” to describe the way politicians often say things that are at best only half-true. Working in advertising, where we are held to a relatively high standard pertaining to ”truth” (not to mention subject to laws and official government oversight), the nature of advertising in politics -with its loose relationship to facts- has always been particularly frustrating to me, both as a voter and professional marketer. As a society, why do we demand more from our commercial advertisers than our politicians?

It’s a big question and I will not be attempting to answer it here. One thing is for sure, ”truth” isn’t exactly easy to define. Often it’s the case that our truth is simply what we choose to believe. But, of course, we can’t simply let politicians entirely off the hook.

Hillary 2016

While there isn’t an Federal Trade Commission (FTC) looking over the shoulder of political campaigns and consultants, in recent years there has emerged a strong vein of fact checking (even an industry, really) including newspaper and non-profit organizations. The next time you’re curious about the facts behind statements and/or advertising from one of the major candidates, these are the four most widely noted fact checkers:

Factcheck.org

Politifact.com

Sunlightfoundation.com

Poynter.org

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

Marketing Podcasts: Less Pain, More Gain.

Podcast image

If you’re a local media salesperson it’s important to not only know everything there is to know about what you’re selling but you also need to know what your customers may be thinking, in terms of their marketing options and ideas.

As professional marketers, it’s tough for us to keep up with all the new technology and marketing opportunities that arrive on the scene at an ever increasing pace. Imagine how your small business customers feel? In addition to running their business, they get bombarded by media salespeople in their local market as well as emails and online offers from all the social media and digital channels. The options, opportunities and trends are likely to be overwhelming to most small business owners and managers…or at least make them feel like it’s tough to keep up and make an informed decision on where to best invest marketing dollars.

One thing a local media salesperson can do is attempt to be THE authoritative voice for their small business customers. I know what you’re thinking. Who could possibly have the time to read marketing books or spend valuable prospecting time following ”thought-leaders” on social media or participating in webinars. I get it! Especially as a salesperson, your time is valuable and you’re judged by closing sales (not how smart you are about marketing.)

Recently I’ve been thinking, how can I get smarter about marketing without committing time I don’t really have in the first place? Then I thought…what about a podcast (or two?) There are very few podcasts that are household names. Check that, with the possible exception of Serial (https://serialpodcast.org/) there are no podcasts that are household names. So how or where to get started?

Admittedly, this wasn’t exactly scientific:

  1. I did a Google search of ”top marketing podcasts.”
  2. Based on seven different rankings from people that purportedly listened to all (or most) of the podcasts in the marketing podcast universe, there were five marketing podcasts that appeared in ALL of the rankings.
  3. If you’re looking to become a smarter marketer in less time (and be your customer’s marketing guru) then these would likely be a great place to start:

#AskGaryVee

Beancast Marketing

Six Pixels of Separation

Marketing Over Coffee

Social Media Marketing Podcast

Have a listen and please let us know what you think in the comments section below. I hope you find these enjoyable and valuable.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

 

Local PI (per inquiry) – Top 5 Reasons to Start Today

Digital Print pic

Local PI (per inquiry) is a program for community-based publications that are looking to meet the changing needs of advertisers in their local market. Every community has local market advertisers that want to buy newspaper ads but will only buy the ads on a performance basis (meaning pay-per-call.) In other words, local PI is a way for local publications to generate revenue from local advertisers that are otherwise more likely to continue spending their entire budget on search marketing and social media. Local PI offers community publications a way to stay relevant to the majority of local market advertisers.

At Mediabids, we have local PI already figured out for you. We handle all the paperwork, rate negotiations, ad traffic, call tracking/reporting and accounts work. Your publication runs the advertising and is paid a fixed amount per call generated. It’s that simple!

Whether or not  you’re struggling to replace lost print revenue with digital or alternative sources, here’s the top FIVE reasons to be considering local PI.

It’s Easy

Under any circumstances, it’s tough enough to sell advertising space. But now you’re also battling against several damaging mis-perceptions -namely, print is dying and too expensive. Local PI is entirely response-based (e.g. phone calls) so it’s easily more measurable and cost-effective for advertisers than most other local advertising options.

Also, Mediabids handles everything so local PI doesn’t cost you or your sales staff time or money. Your ad reps continue to focus on selling ROP and digital to their book of business.

New Print Revenue

Local PI is an alternative revenue source but it’s also new print revenues. To put it another way, it’s a new opportunity for you and for select advertisers in your market. The ideal local PI advertisers:

a)  May have tried print before but didn’t stick with it.

b) Were consistent customers for many years but are now reluctant to return your calls.

c) New businesses or advertisers that have always avoided print for one reason or another.

Phones Are Driving Everything

Local PI provides local advertisers a way to tap into the increasing use of smartphones and tablets by consumers. It just makes good business sense.

Mobile phones use has exploded over the past 4-5 years and people love to pick up the phone and call, rather than fill out an online form or email. In fact, roughly two-thirds of customers prefer to call versus other ways to contact a business. BIA/Kelsey recently reported that by 2019 businesses will get 162 billion more customer calls than they received in 2014. (Invoca, Call Intelligence Index 2016) Clearly, consumers are increasingly wired to call.

Bridge the Digital-Print Divide

Mobile phones are the proving to be the missing link between advertising and the customer. Seventy-nine percent of people ”switch devices during a single activity” – meaning consumers today move from one media channel to another and move from online to offline media channels quickly and with ease. (Invoca, Call Intelligence Index 2016) Local PI drives calls from print ads to local advertisers and print calls are by far the highest quality calls. The average call from a newspaper ad is over 3 minutes longer than an average call from TV and 2 minutes longer than an average call from an online display ad.

Home Services pic

Local Advertisers Get Results

According to the Invoca’s Call Intelligence Index 2016, the industries with the highest increases in call volumes are those with high value purchases or services where customers generally need a lot of personal service. The kinds of local businesses in these categories include home repair, financial services, insurance, health and wellness and travel. What does this mean? It means you likely already have a long list of potential local PI advertisers in your backyard.

Rolling all this up – you have advertisers that want measurable response and customers that are increasingly prone to respond to advertising via their phones. As a print publication, you want more print revenue but you need a way to overcome the usual objections to print – ”high” cost and a less competitive ROI. Local PI by Mediabids checks all the boxes.

Post by Jim Jinks.