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Are We Getting Too Narrow?!

Below is what you want to read...but this is your reminder to take the survey conducted by the Topeka Independent Business Association at the bottom of this email. The object is to collect data regarding the perceptions and needs of small, independently-owned businesses in the Topeka and Shawnee County area, TIBA is conducting its 9th Annual Small Business Climate Survey. 


If you know me you know I love marketing research. One of the sources I go to is ARF. No...not my dog! The Advertising Research Foundation is the the gold standard for marketing and advertising research. For over 80 years, the ARF, a non-profit organization, has been the standard-bearer for unbiased quality in research on advertising, media and marketing, working hand in hand with advertisers, agencies, media and research companies to establish industry research standards and the best practices. 

What follows comes from an article published last week titled, Why ARF Thinks Marketers Should Reconsider Their Personalization Strategy, which included insights from the ARF’s CEO, Scott McDonald and the ARF’s Chief Research Officer, Paul Donato. After each portion I have included comments derived from a group discussion with our local Topeka marketing staff after going over the article.

“We've taken targeting too far in terms of effectiveness and ethics,” says Scott McDonald, the ARF CEO. At a time when technology is enabling marketers to inch ever closer to one-to-one marketing, one of the industry’s most highly respected institutions suggests that this “Holy Grail” may not be all it’s cracked up to be. The Advertising Research Foundation warns marketers that excessively target can lead to lower-than-expected ROIs, a poor customer experience and potential damage to a brand’s reputation.

Comment: The operative word is excessive. Targeting is desirable so long as the audience is not too tightly defined. Targeting need not be black or white, micro or macro- there is a middle ground. Advertisers should target, but not so much such that reach is sacrificed.

There’s an economic issue as well because you’re going to pay more for a more specific target,” McDonald continued. “And you may not be building a brand because you’re really only targeting too narrow of the group.”

Comment: Target too tightly and risk forgoing the profits that are sought. A product or service can’t be purchased if it’s not first considered and it can’t be considered if the consumer is not first aware.

Advertisers should definitely consider moving away from personalization and consider putting those dollars toward more traditional advertising,” McDonald said. And for a wide variety of reasons, some brands are doing just that. CPG giant P&G upped its investment in AM/FM in 2018- a move that spearheaded similar action from other brands. “It’s been decades since [P&G] was advertising on AM/FM radio and they’ve got good results from it,” McDonald said.

Comment: In 2017 P&G was the 39th largest radio advertiser in terms of total commercials aired. In 2018 they jumped to #5 according to Media Monitors, airing over 1.8 million commercials promoting 40 different brands. P&G pioneered sophisticated media mix modeling. There is no more astute advertiser in the world.

“It’s very important that advertisers understand the tradeoffs between what they’re getting in a short promotional ad on a digital platform versus what they could do with more traditional media, like an ad on radio or television. They need to understand what the sales return is for the digital ads, but then also balance that out with what the long-term impact on their brand is,” said Paul Donato, the ARF’s Chief Research Officer.

Comment: In marketing and in life, the long term impact of any action or inaction is often the opposite of the short term. The key is balance, balance between branding and promotion as well as digital and traditional.
I italicized two words above, “excessive” and “balance”. Anything “excessive” is typically not good for the long haul and anything “balanced” is usually better. A media campaign properly “balanced” between digital and traditional will out-perform any campaign tilted “excessively” in either direction.
Some interesting thoughts from two unbiased and much respected industry research executives that support our “Why Radio” and “Importance of Reach/Broadcast” messaging.


Take Survey Here
Tim Kolling
Senior Marketing Consultant 
Direct: 785-228-7228   Cell: 785-817-7296

PO Box 1818
1210 SW Executive Drive, Topeka, Kansas  66615
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