Regional Companies Will Benefit More from a Media Mix

Digital might be all the rage, but for regional companies a blended mix may be best!

There is so much information on the virtues of digital ads and engagement that I won’t either bother reiterating any of it. You know it! We’ve all heard it and most CMOs believe it’s going to catapult their brands into the next stratosphere if they can just find that perfect mix!

While I firmly believe digital advertising is a key piece of any good media plan, I am one of the few holdouts who doesn’t believe it will cure everything that ails your brand. In fact, I believe too much of it is simply pouring good money down the proverbial drain! Case in point.

This year my agency was hired as AOR by a client (who I’ll call “Company A” during the rest of this article). They are owned by a large media conglomerate, (who I will call “Company B”).

Company B owns many different mediums and has multiple national outlets. They are heavily invested in digital advertising. Sites that range from news to shopping. Last year Company B insisted that Company A concentrate all their resources for advertising in the digital realm. They used not only their own properties but other companies’ resources, but everything had to be digital. Makes sense, right? Especially if your main target demo is adults 21 – 44.

Fast forward to the end of the year and they had lost 5.9% of their company sales.

So, the President of Company A being an old friend and past associate of mine called me and asked my agency to put a media strategy proposal together so, he could present it to the board and attempt to convince them to let go of their death grip on the checkbook.

After several meetings and further refinement of the plan he was successful, and they agreed to give us the role of AOR for a limited territory for this year, with no guarantees for future years.

Almost as if it were an experiment, they sliced off an entire state from their company footprint and allowed us this opportunity. We accepted the challenge!

Without boring you with the details of the process, I’ll just say we laid out a well-balanced plan of attack using digital, pureplay, terrestrial radio and OOH. We also created their new ad campaign in about 31 seconds. I kid you not! I just happened to walk right into it. They had no new TV commercials or video role, so video was not an option.

Here were a few facts before our campaign began:

• Company- wide they were tracking down this year at 6.8%.
• Decrease in sales were accelerating. Every month the gap was widening.

While our campaign was only for a portion of their entire footprint and has only been running for two months at the time, I’m writing this piece, here are a few facts so far:• Individual areas of business have increased as much as 23.3%.

• The entire advertised footprint combined is up 18%
• The sales in our market alone turned their sales positive this month, up 6.9%
• The balance of the unadvertised portion is negative by 14.4%.

This isn’t a fluke or by mistake. It’s the difference of mastering a market as large as a state and not assuming that digital is always the best answer or that anyone 21 – 44 doesn’t pay attention to any other mediums.

Like it or not we’re all inundated with advertising every day, all day. Where you pick up a message is still anyone’s call and everyone is up for grabs, you just need to find them.

Broad digital strokes have their usefulness but being able to own, customize and differentiate your brand in local markets will nearly always play better for a regional company. Your agency may not be suited for such detail, research and additional work, but don’t let them forget they should be. In the end if they aren’t, then it’s probably time for a new agency!

Author: Frank Gussoni

President & Founder of A3 media. We're Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.