Setting aside enough money for an advertising budget is always a challenge, especially when a comprehensive campaign is much more than what it used to be. Aside from traditional marcom materials, we now live in the age of YouTube, Bluetooth technology and iPods. The emergence of new technology is a vital (and extremely cost effective) addition to a traditional campaign that not only increases your reach to members, but also keeps you and your marketing team up to date on marketing methods available in this new age of technology. And, when integrated strategically, will provide you with a 360-degree marketing campaign, one that engages your audience and feels more relevant and personal to them because it plays a critical role in the experience.
So what new media is out there, and how much more do you need to budget for?
Well, digital billboards, downloadable Web widgets, blogs, MySpace profiles, podcasts, interactive out-of-home options, e-casts, and automated commercial systems are just a few new items that come to mind. While the array of choices may be intimidating, the good news is that a lot of new media options are easy to implement and cost-effective. For example, automated commercial systems can provide a four-week run for as little as $1,000 and be up and running in two weeks. Creative costs about another $1,000--a very different price point than hiring a large agency to produce a 30-second spot.
But before spending even one dollar for advertising, ask yourself some key questions. Specific answers to these questions will drive a more focused, targeted ad strategy and ensure that you are selecting the most effective advertising media to incorporate into your campaign. Ask yourself:
What is the main goal of my advertising? To drive more traffic? Sell more of one specific product or service or to develop more long-term members? Who is my target audience? How much can I budget? How is my competition advertising their products or services?
While there is rarely a single right or wrong way to select media, thorough analysis and research will help you choose the best forums for your advertising message.
Remember to be creative--aside from direct mail, branch signage, your Web site, local newspapers, television and radio outlets, think about what kind of media your potential members read or listen to as well as when and where they are most likely to see your ad. Since the cost of media is usually the largest expenditure in a campaign, your budget will be a major factor in deciding which media channels to choose. No matter how ideal an ad vehicle may seem, it can only be so for your campaign if you can realistically afford to produce and buy the ad space/time. Prioritize which media you want to use and which ones you can afford.
Keep in mind that no matter how memorable you think your ad campaign is, or how incredible the offer, most people will have to see or hear it multiple times before it sticks. Budget accordingly to ensure your ad message can run frequently or in enough different media at once to make an impression.
No matter what your strategy, don't leave your research or ad placement decision until the last minute. Lead times for different media vary widely, and you should factor in ample time for you or your agency to develop the concept and produce it.
Networks and monthly magazines require the longest lead-time, particularly for ads slated to run during the winter holidays. Some monthly magazines may require you to place holiday ads as early as July. Local newspapers and radio stations will have much shorter lead times, but each outlet is different, and there is no hard and fast rule that applies across the board. Web-based new media options can often be implemented quickly, but again ample time to produce the files should be factored in.
To keep your advertising costs within a reasonable budget, calculate the cost of reaching potential customers and monitor each ad's effectiveness. To calculate and compare the costs of reaching potential prospects, most advertisers use the cost per thousand, or CPM figure. The figure is simple to calculate if the outlet's ad representative doesn't have it available for you. CPM = (cost of the ad x 1,000)/size of audience. In other words, the CPM for an ad costing $500 in a publication that reaches 10,000 people is ($500 x 1,000)/10,000 = $50. You also may hear the term "weighted cost per thousand" or "weighted CPM." In this calculation, the audience is equal to only the part of the audience exposed to the ad, or the number of people likely to see or hear your ad at any time. For example, a radio station may broadcast to an entire metropolitan area, but it's extremely unlikely that every single person in that area will be listening to the station at the same time. Once you compare CPMs across different media and place your ad accordingly, be sure to track your results as specifically as you can to make sure your message is reaching your potential members. When you get a new or returning member, ask how they heard about your credit union or promotion.
You may find the most expensive ad buys aren't always the most effective. This is another benefit to some new media formats, the cost to produce is relatively inexpensive compared to traditional ad mediums and with the vast reach your CPM is very low. By keeping thorough track of which ads are reaching your target, you can adjust your advertising dollars accordingly and come back better prepared when your advertising cycle begins again.