Marketers and retailers that want to capitalize on the giant $47.5 billion Back to School sales marketplace need television. Specifically, they need syndicated television, which has the best success rate in delivering the person most responsible for many of the buying decisions — Mom. Syndication dominates the top 10 rated Mom programs on Friday.
With the summer rapidly coming to an end, retailers and marketers are facing the conclusion of a $47.5 billion marketplace. No, this is not the television upfront, it’s Back to School shopping, the second largest retail event after the end-of-year holiday shopping.
There is no question that we’re all working in a challenging economic environment. This Back to School sales period is different than last year as the economic decline started last September.
A complex marketplace, Back to School comprises two major segments. The National Retail Federation (NRF) projects that the Off to College segment represents a $30 billion sales opportunity, while the K-12 segments accounts for $17 billion.
To seize the sales opportunity for both segments, which began in July and will continues even after classes begin this month, marketers determine what product categories are important; examine how targets differ for these segments and appreciate how differently summer media is consumed.
According to the NRF, the driving category for the Off to College segment is electronics, as students are hyper-focused on getting the right laptop, the right mobile phone/plan and the best audio equipment. Incredibly, the category totals $13 billion.
Off to College sales are driven by adults 18-24, as more than half of that group will be in college this fall. It’s an entry-level opportunity for marketers with young adults who love to laugh. This group continues to watch television during the summer and their top programming choice is off-net syndicated sitcoms.
According to Nielsen, syndicated sitcoms are the top-rated programs for young adults. Syndication’s sitcoms such as Family Guy, Two and a Half Men and Everybody Loves Raymond) represent nine out their top 10 rated programs every weekday.
For years, the traditional K-12 business has been about more than just Mead Trapper Keepers (although I loved mine) and glue (liked that smell as well). According to the NRF, consumers with school-age children will spend four times more on clothing and electronics ($11.8 billion) than they will on school supplies. In fact, they’ll spend 13 percent more on shoes than the $2.6 billion that they’ll spend on supplies. And Moms are the key to capturing this opportunity.
Communications play an important role in gaining this advantage. Numerous studies have been released over the past few months demonstrating the impact that television has on driving sales. The challenge is not the impact of television, but using the right elements of television that reach Mom during the summer to drive sales.
The top-rated programs this summer are not necessarily on the networks. On average, half of the top 10 rated programs for mothers are syndicated programs airing every weekday.
As syndicated programs are generally strip programs running across the week, consider that half of the top 25 rated weekly Mom telecasts originate in syndication. Programming such as Oprah, Maury and Judge Judy deliver higher ratings than many of the shows airing in primetime on the networks.
Moms shop on the weekend, and the gateway to retail shopping is on Friday. Syndication dominates the top 10 rated Mom programs on Friday with seven of the top rated programs across all of national television, a performance level that’s remained consistent across the summer.
So much has been written about cable originals that air during the summer. The critics love them and they receive a lot of press attention as they’re something new to write about.
On a performance basis, however, the top-rated first-run cable program this summer is TBS’s Meet the Browns. So far this year, it does a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating, while the average first-run cable program is only delivering a 0.3.
Much has also been written about the level of performance of network television this summer. The mix of original reality, moribund first-run dramas and repeat programs (about two-thirds of their programming schedule) have not performed and the average audience level has declined about 46 percent from their in-season level.
Marketers and retailers need to gain a competitive advantage to seize the giant Back to School sales opportunity, even in today’s challenging times. Television is the key to gain this advantage and better communications solutions recognize and address specific summer viewing patterns for your consumers.
Mitch Burg is the president of the Syndicated Network Television Association. He can be reached at mb[email protected]