traditional franchise advertising

Much of the lead generation activity we do at Sparktank involves digital marketing on channels like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn but we love it when we get the chance to “kick it old school” and layer on traditional franchise advertising methods to our client’s campaigns. Channels like print marketing, radio and television typically require sizeable minimum budgets but they can be great tools to reach out to an even larger audience and capture their attention in alternative ways.

Want to know more about traditional advertising and how it relates to franchise marketing? We interviewed our media buyer Robin who has harnessed her 15 years of experience on both the media selling and buying side to put together very personalized, strategic traditional advertising campaigns for a wide range of clients.

1- What channels does traditional advertising encompass, and how is it different from digital advertising?

Traditional advertising would include any form of advertising that was available pre-internet. Television, radio, transit (bus advertising), newspaper, magazines, outdoor (billboards) are all examples of traditional advertising mediums. The main difference with traditional advertising is that it does not require the internet to serve ads.

Traditional advertising has tremendous value even in 2020, as long as the ad campaigns are strategically executed to maximize the value of each medium. Traditional advertising can also work in tandem with digital marketing to create fantastic results.

2- With so many options available, how do you determine the best place to spend a client’s advertising dollars?

When planning an advertising strategy, there are two top factors to evaluate first. These factors are the demographic of the current customers and the advertising budget. These things will get us started in selecting the media most appropriate for a paid marketing campaign.
The demographics drive the media choices because some demographics use a particular type of media more than others. For instance, more adults 50+ read the physical newspaper than adults 25-49 who prefer to read their news online. The younger demographic may read the same brand of news, but instead of receiving a physical newspaper, they visit the newspaper’s website.

The advertising budget also plays a crucial role in selecting an appropriate media choice because each media has different costs, and some are more affordable than others. Media prices (advertising rates) are determined by the number of people who use the medium. Often advertisers mistakenly want to advertise on the cheapest medium. But that’s flawed logic. You can get a killer deal advertising in the print version of the phonebook, but you know that 99% of those books end up in a recycle bin, so that’s not a good investment. It may be cheap, but it’s inexpensive for a reason! The rates for advertising are usually a ratio reflecting the number of people who will see your ad.

The costs of advertising, both digital and traditional, are typically measured by a cost per rating point (CPP, on TV and radio) or by cost per thousand impressions (CPM). CPM is becoming the most straightforward metric for advertisers to compare apples to apples because it provides a metric that can compare traditional and digital advertising options.

A third consideration is market size. Your paid advertising strategy needs to be designed based on the geographic area you want to serve ads. The smaller the size the more advertising Frequency you’ll have for your budget. The larger the geographic location, the bigger the advertising budget you’ll need to cover it.

3- How does using a professional media buyer benefit a client?

Media Buyers buy advertising space every day. Much like a Mortgage Broker would shop multiple vendors to provide their clients with the best loan rates and terms, Media Buyers shop media vendors. Media vendors are the companies that sell advertising space. Media Buyers look for the most favorable terms, best advertising rates, and create the right Paid Media strategy to reach your demographic best.

4- How much does it cost to hire a media buyer and are you able to negotiate better rates?

At Sparktank, we do not charge for the service of media buying. Some agencies will charge fees or retainers. We do not have to do this because the media industry offers Media Buyers a 15% industry-standard commission on the ad buys they place. This percentage comes out of a media salesperson’s compensation. This fact is essential to know because the commission is always included in an ad buy but when you buy directly, you may not be aware of this. Most advertising salespeople are 100% commission-only salespeople. When they sell advertising to a local business owner who doesn’t have media buying representation, the salesperson receives the full commission on the ad buy. When a Media Buyer brings the business to the media company, The Media Buyer receives compensation for their time and experience with the 15% commission.

Why does this matter? A Media Buyer doesn’t make more by recommending one media over another. They’re compensated with the same percentage regardless of the type of advertising in their plan. Therefore, a Media Buyer can make a professional recommendation based on what they’ve seen work in the past, based on years of experience in advertising planning. I’ve been buying and selling advertising for the past 15 years. Through my experience and training, I know that our team will negotiate a better advertising plan than a local business owner any day.
Our job is to be on the business owner’s side rather than the media companies’. When an entrepreneur works directly with a media company, they’re at the mercy of the integrity of the advertising salesperson, and most of the time, they lack the knowledge and experience to know how to hold the media companies accountable for the advertising they sell and how to negotiate advertising rates down in the first place. Additionally, we buy advertising for many advertisers, so we receive volume-based pricing akin to buying at Costco versus regular stores that may sell the same items.
In short, there is no additional cost to your marketing budget to work with a professional Media Buyer. It is quite advantageous to do so and worth consideration for all savvy business owners.

5- How do you measure results with traditional media buying?

Each media is different, but advertising success is measured in traditional media by several metrics like ratings, impressions, Reach and Frequency. We hold media companies accountable based on these metrics. All advertising success, digital and traditional, can be measured best by what the advertiser experiences in terms of ROI. Rating points and Click-through Rates don’t buy products, people do. We have learned several ways to help entrepreneurs better track their success over the years. One way we like to do that is to measure web traffic increases during periods of advertising compared to times when an advertiser is not advertising.

For instance, if you start a local radio advertising campaign in January and run ads for three months. We’d look at the web traffic spikes in that period compared to the period before the advertising started, and at the same time the year prior. We can usually see a significant spike in traffic when the media plans are done correctly.

Additionally, as technology progresses, we have access to more tracking in traditional media. For example, for Cable TV advertising buys, we can now track the web traffic in the exact footprint of the cable advertising zone. This capability means that we can identify the web traffic increases only in the areas that the cable commercials air. When we see site visits spike in an exact location of advertising, we’re able to see results and track the effectiveness of ad campaigns.

Lastly, we often suggest an offer that is specific to the medium so that a business can better track the response to the ads. If a radio commercial offers a unique offer code or promotion only mentioned on their station, advertisers will know when a customer calls and says the offer that the customer came from that station.

6- How important are the visuals and copywriting in terms of results?

Copywriting and visuals are crucial to effective advertising in both digital and traditional marketing. Connecting with your audience and providing a compelling reason to respond to your ad is how you execute a marketing campaign successfully. Our job as Media Buyers is to put the ads in the right place, at the right time, in front of the right audience. The creative team’s job is to make sure that when those ads run, the message resonates and stirs enough desire in the viewer or listener that they take the time to respond to the ad.

In our experience, we’ve identified three reasons that ad campaigns fail:

1) Poor ad placement. Advertising in the wrong place.
2) Bad creative. Marketing with the wrong message that doesn’t connect with the demographic.
3) Lack of follow-through from the advertiser. Advertising can make the phone ring, prompt potential customers to walk through your door, and get web contact forms to roll in. But if the company fails to reply to a prospect or the business isn’t appealing when the person arrives, or the receptionist is surly on the phone, even great advertising campaigns can’t trump lousy customer service.

7- What are some good examples of ways to utilize traditional media to advertise franchise opportunities?

If you’re looking to advertise franchise opportunities to business people and prospective qualified leads, it’s essential to look at the demographics of franchise buyers and then create an ad campaign designed to reach that target market. We find that layering digital advertising with traditional advertising can be quite effective.

For example, let’s say we are working with a franchisor is looking to sell or resell franchises in specific cities or towns. Their target market are men aged 35 to 55. In this kind of scenario, we might look at developing advertorial style articles in local publications that offer both print and online options. This could include local newspapers, specific business and trade publications. We could also look at local talk radio as another option. It may be beneficial to hire a radio personality to voice the commercial or even endorse the opportunity. Radio listeners trust their radio hosts, and it’s worth a small premium to invest in an endorsement or voiced radio commercial, especially for a niche audience. You could then add in effective digital marketing tactics like retargeting and prospecting display ads to reinforce the message to these qualified prospects. When you’re targeting a very narrow audience, it’s best to create a marketing plan that uses traditional media’s influence with the targetability and data available through Digital Marketing.

8- How can franchisors best utilize their ad fund with traditional media?

Focus on the geographic area that you serve. Being mindful of the coverage area of traditional media is essential. Many business owners decide they want to be on a specific radio station. When their hearts are set, they stop considering alternative options, which is a critical consideration for their advertising success. Radio, for example, reaches a large area, often the entire size of a market DMA (Designated Market Area). This area can be enormous and woefully larger than a single franchise’s correct market area, which may require several franchisees to pool their money together for a significant ROI. Zoned Cable advertising is one example of an advertising option that provides smaller marketing areas. Through areas called “Cable Zones,” an advertiser can use the power of television to target cable networks and programs within a much smaller geographic area than Broadcast TV or traditional radio.

Next, be mindful of your customers’ demographics. If most of your customers are women 35-54, you wouldn’t want to advertise on talk or sports radio. If your demographic were Men 50+, then you’d consider sports and talk radio. If your demographic is mostly homeowners, it will make sense to consider TV networks like HGTV and cable news networks whose viewers have high incomes and are watching during Primetime after work. However, you may be trying to reach adults 55+ on a fixed income, and you’d be well suited with a Broadcast TV buy that focuses on daytime television programming.

Buying advertising is a science and art best executed through a professional media buyer who does this day in and day out. The compensation for traditional media advertising purchases is in the advertising buy whether a Media Buyer helps you or not. The commission either gets allocated to a salesperson working for the media company or a media buyer working for you. In our opinion, it’s much better to have an advocate working on your side when you’re looking to invest valuable marketing dollars!