TVN'S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Adapting To The Demands Of A Digital World

Whether it’s the tote board tracking telethon results, appeals from charities and religious ministries, or the advertising messages that drive consumer purchases, television is a medium that can influence consumer behavior. What’s changed is the way people consume the content. That change is leading to discussions about television’s place in a digital world. The combination of TV and digital advertising can increase brand recall and message recall by considerable amounts when compared to results from TV ads alone.

Have you heard the story about how Soupy Sales got children to send him cash? Soupy hosted a Saturday kids’ show in the late 1950s and early ’60s. It was known for slapstick comedy, puppets and celebrity appearances.

One day he suggested that his viewers “take some of those green pieces of paper” from their parents’ wallets and mail them to him in care of the station. Some did. The station got some money which it promptly returned. Soupy got a one-week suspension.

TV Remains A Powerful Driver For Product Sales

The point is that TV did and continues to deliver dollars. Whether it’s the tote board tracking telethon results, appeals from charities and religious ministries, or the advertising messages that drive consumer purchases, television is a medium that can influence consumer behavior.

What’s changed is the way people consume the content. That change is leading to discussions about television’s place in a digital world. As Robert Wengel, SVP and managing director of Nielsen Innovation, recently pointed out: “Media fragmentation is largely the cause for the decline in the reliance on TV as a top source for new product awareness.”

That doesn’t mean television isn’t still a vital component in a product sales campaign. In comments concerning the latest Nielsen product innovation survey, Wengel noted the combination of TV and digital advertising can increase brand recall by 33% and message recall by 45% when compared to results from TV ads alone.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

As attendees learned at Media Finance Focus 2015, the annual conference for MFM and our BCCA subsidiary, the media industry’s credit association, local ad agencies are already demonstrating the ability of the TV/digital media combination to provide that type of result for their clients.

In a session addressing ways to adapt credit and collections practices to meet the demands of the digital world, Matt Owens, CEO and founder of the 55-year-old Phoenix-based Owens Harkey Advertising, said digital was now fully integrated into his agency’s buying approach. The agency’s clients have been very happy with cross-platform campaigns, where “TV commercials can deliver the type of emotional message that will drive viewers to the client’s digital platforms where they interact with the brand.”

However, “clients can be challenging in the digital era,” he warned. “They expect every dollar they spend to provide $10 in media and they’re unhappy unless they generate at least $8 in results.”

It’s More About The Money Than The Medium

Owens’ pricing expectations comment was reinforced by Scott Kaufman, managing partner at Lucid Agency, which specializes in interactive marketing campaigns, building websites, and code custom applications. The highly competitive market for digital media sales allows local agencies to shop around for the best terms. When they don’t like the prices they are quoted by one digital media provider, “We can find another publisher that can offer the same measurable results for less cost.”

Come To Agreement On Validation Metrics Beforehand

Owens Harkey’s Matt Owens echoed the importance of measurement to today’s advertisers. “Our clients view it as buying customers; they expect to see a solid line that tracks the viewer across platforms and has a direct impact upon their sales results.”

Jessica Edwards, senior integrated media strategist for Zion & Zion, an emerging full-service firm in Phoenix, urged traditional media providers to “pick up the pace” in delivering the digital reporting metrics if they want to get more of a digital agency’s business. In discussing the advertiser’s requirements for viewability verification, Edwards raised an issue that is always of particular interest to collections professionals: resolving billing discrepancies. She recommends ensuring the insertion order (IO) stipulates which third-party system will be used to measure conversions.

Upfront Payment Doesn’t Guarantee The Commission Or The Sale

The agency executives also talked about how they handle their own credit and collections practices with advertising clients. Owens said his agency requires upfront payments more often than it may have in the past. As is generally the case with media providers, exceptions to the rule are clients that are well capitalized and have a good relationship with the agency.

However, simply because a client pays up front doesn’t guarantee the agency a commission or the media provider a sale. Insertions orders, particularly prepaid IOs, are being canceled more frequently. “They can get cold feet and think the money would be better spent on another cash requirement of their business,” Owens said. “We have to walk them through it and show how the campaign is going to generate the results they need.”

In addition, clients that pay up front may still look for ways to recover some of the money on the back end. Owens cited cases of clients who sought charge backs, requested that the credit card company credit the charge, or even canceled bank drafts.

When it comes to how they handle collections from clients who are extended credit, Lucid’s Scott Kaufman cited the familiar “fast pay makes fast friends” tenet. He encouraged media providers to send the bill for the digital portion of a buy as soon as the metrics are available rather than waiting until they have all of the remaining data for a cross-platform buy.

Kaufman also commented that some media providers are still sending their digital invoices via “snail mail” instead of email and aren’t taking advantage of EDI solutions for electronic invoicing and payment.

These three agency executives numbered among a host of advertisers, market analysts, and media measurement experts participating in Media Finance Focus 2015. You can read more about the advice they shared with this year’s conference attendees in the current issue of our member magazine, TFM – The Financial Manager, a digital version will be available to non-members on our website for a limited time.

These observations from local advertisers are also very helpful in ensuring BCCA is providing the media credit services that the industry needs to turn digital media challenges into sales opportunities. And the feedback was very positive.

For example, EMCAPP, the Electronic Media Credit Application, simplifies the process of placing an ad buy across media buyers and platforms. A single application can be used by all media advertising providers — TV, radio, cable, print, out-of-home and digital.

In addition, BCCA’s latest product, the Media Whys credit report, includes a credit score based on industry-specific aging combined with trade data from Experian or D+B. Demand for automated solutions to purchase digital media makes this an ideal time to adopt a credit report that addresses the need for rapid, accurate, and media-specific information to reduce prospective losses and increase credit response time.

You can learn more about these new tools for selling integrated advertising solutions on the BCCA and EMCAPP websites.

As our conference attendees learned, local advertisers want fast, easy and proven solutions for driving customers to their digital platforms. TV can help them accomplish that outcome more effectively. And that means more “green pieces of paper” for each station.

Mary M. Collins is president and CEO of the Media Financial Management Association and its BCCA subsidiary. She can be reached at [email protected]. Her column appears in TVNewsCheck every other week. You can read her earlier columns here.


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