Recently, Media Life Magazine published a survey of media planners and buyers regarding their impressions of the current economic situation and its effect on the ad business, including the media landscape. These are the people on the front lines of the money exchange, so their opinions are interesting in light of the current climate.
- More than two-thirds (68 percent) feel that there’s still some way to go before the recession is over with, and most of those surveyed forecast that it’ll be sometime in mid- to late-2010 before the ad economy improves.
- However, the improvement of the ad economy and the return of clients spending to pre-recession levels are two entirely different things, as evidenced by the response to the question, “When will we see a return to pre-recession spending?” Just over one-third (35 percent) feel that clients will get back in the groove by the end of 2010. The remainder feel it will be after the start of 2011, with almost one in four (22 percent) not expecting spending to return to pre-recession spending until after 2012.
- With regards to what media will recover the ‘fastest’, one-third said the Internet, and interestingly, almost as many (28 percent) said broadcast TV.
But the most telling question dealt with the impact that the current economy is having on how industry experts plan and buy media:
- Two-thirds (67 percent) see several changes, with the biggest being a continuing shift to less expensive, more accountable media.
- Not quite half (45 percent) felt that this is the death knell for hard copy newspapers.
- One-fifth (20 percent) felt that the recession would lead to a reduction in the influence of large media conglomerates.
- Surprisingly, just under one-fifth (18 percent) felt that social media would be impacted negatively.
- And another 18 percent felt that there would be little to no change as a result of the recession.
It’s the first point that resonates most strongly with media folks. We’re challenged by clients to use media that reaches and engages consumers. And what we’re seeing is that today’s consumers absorb information in a variety of ways from a variety of sources. Add to that the fact that consumers are becoming incredibly adept at multitasking, and you see the challenges. (A September 2009 Nielsen report indicates that more than half the population [128MM, or 56.9 percent] use TV and the Internet simultaneously.)
These challenges have a direct impact on generating what all clients seek: a quantifiable return on their marketing investment (ROI). At Kilgannon, we develop a customized scorecard which helps clients measure their ROI. Our process in developing each scorecard includes many of these factors:
- Tightly defined objectives (actionable and measurable)
- Concise strategies
- The willingness to use a variety of creative units/messages
- Inclusion of media that allow for measurement of hard metrics (e.g., clicks, average time spent, bounce rates, etc.) in the ROI scorecard
- Relevant copy/content that meets what customers expect from a product or service
- A willingness to test and change on a continuous basis
- Use what works and get rid of what doesn’t
Advertising and marketing have been directly impacted and changed by the economic situation, and there’s no indication that they’ll ever return to their pre-recession ways. Today, more than ever, the media planning and buying process has to include nimbleness and the ability to change on the fly among its primary traits.