The Digital Signage Insider

Media Planning and Measurement: Implications for In-Store Media

Published on: 0000-00-00

Two great articles from MediaPost came across my desk this week, both of which touch on impending changes in the media buying/planning/measurement industries.  The first one, by MediaPost's Joe Mandese, takes a look at the outdoor advertising industry's Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB), and their new "eyes-on" measurement system for determining visibility and demographic data for outdoor markets in the US.  The second one, by Laura Davis-Taylor and John Greening, looks at the world of media planning, and specifically how the industry needs to shift from their old "Find Me/Sell Me" mantra to the kinder, gentler "Know Me/Help Me" mentality -- or risk losing touch with consumers.

First off, measurement is unquestionably the hot topic in the media world today... Ok, there are probably others, but it's the one that I'm most interested in :)  While a huge amount of buzz has been generated about TiVo, TV measurement and the next generation of Nielsen boxes, an equally large storm has been brewing in the outdoor world, where a slew of companies and competing technologies have been put to the task of measuring viewership of billboards, outdoor posters, and other forms of outdoor media.  The interesting part about the new measurement service endorsed by TAB (and provided by Gfk/MRI and Telmar) is that "[u]nlike other media measurement systems that essentially measure a so-called 'opportunity to see' advertising, the TAB's initiative measures a 'likelihood to see.' The TAB calls its new metric an 'eyes-on' system that will provide visually adjusted demographic ratings for outdoor advertising in more than 200 U.S. Markets."  While not quite as sophisticated as face- and eye-tracking technologies being tested in-store by some retailers today, the GPS-based eyes-on system is somewhat similar to the store traffic monitoring and optimization systems used by Walgreens, CVS and others to determine how their shoppers move about in-store.

The best part of this article comes at the end, when Mandese notes that, "[t]he outdoor media industry's push comes as demand for out-of-home media accelerates on Madison Avenue, and as the ad industry raises the bar on the accountability of audience estimates for all media. In fact, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, in March, issued a new edict to the media that they would be held directly accountable for estimates that are used as the basis of advertising deals."  If that doesn't come as welcome news to those of us working on at-retail media, I don't know what does :)

This news is even more welcome in light of the next article I read, entitled "Media Planning: Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes," which laments the fact that even with a whole bunch of smart people following the trends and watching the industry, many of those in media planning still don't seem to "get it" when it comes to the marketing savvy-ness of consumers these days.  As Davis-Taylor and Greening note, "people are now in control of how they consume media, and if you don't plan it so that it will be relevant and accepted, you won't win. You now have to understand the entire portfolio of messaging touch points and ensure that you are planning the right message, via the right media, to the right consumers, at the right stage of receptivity, if you are going to connect with them and motivate them to actually listen."  The rest of this article can be taken almost as a how-to instruction manual for ad content creation, and revolves around the "Know Me/Help Me" mantra mentioned above.  The authors' argument - show people content that they want to see, when they want to see it - is both simple and compelling, though the actual implementation of such a plan is complex to the point of giving me a headache.  They distill it down to five key questions, and then challenge the reader (or in this case, the entire industry) to put them to practice.  These questions are as follows:
  • When will [the viewers] be receptive?
  • What stage of the purchase cycle are they in?
  • What vehicles will be the most compelling based on the purchase phase and insights?
  • What message is going to mean something to them at that moment?
  • How can you add value to their day as a reward for their attention?
Content creators need to be responsible for developing and tuning content, but they must rely on information from the media buyers and planners to figure out what's going to work best.  Similarly, media planners need to understand their customers - not just on a superficial level, but on a functional business level - to make an educated guess as to what media strategies are going to maximize returns for the advertiser.  And of course, all of this only works once the needs of the target audience have been identified.  For those of us who focus on in-store media, the key takeaway is to make sure that the messages appearing on our kiosks and digital signs are perceived by viewers as an enhancement to the shopping experience.  Rather than overwhelming the viewer with superlatives that convey little real information, we should instead focus the on frequently asked questions, popular usage cases, customer testimonials, or other attributes not immediately evident from the product packaging itself -- and which help the consumer make an informed decision to meet their immediate needs.

On a completely unrelated subject...

While I'm not normally into "mixing genres," I saw this article over at KioskCom while finishing my blog entry, and it's simply too good not to include:

Apparently, somebody who doesn't like the parking meter kiosks set up on certain streets in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, decided to take it upon himself to calculate the "true cost" of the systems.  He found that the kiosks cost $77,520 to operate annually -- substantially reducing the amount of perceived additional income generated, as compared to traditional parking meters elsewhere in the city.  While there's almost certainly some politicking going on, the numbers flying back and forth between the for- and against- camps indicate a serious problem with calculating the true cost of operations for the kiosks, which makes it impossible to calculate a proper ROI.  The article also fails to mention whether or not people actually like the kiosks, which, given the fact that they're part of a public project, seems like it should be a point of consideration.

Personally, I love parking kiosks, but at least part of that stems from my own inability to ever carry around pocket change.

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