Time To Change & Rearrange

As Seen in Toy Fair Times 2016 Edition

By David G. Becker, Blue Plate Media Services

 Today’s consumer is elusive.  It is harder to reach, let alone engage, with your target audience today than it was yesterday. And I'm not only talking about kids.  I’m also referring to tweens, teens, young adults, and moms and dads, too.

 It's like your target audience is walking around with a virtual remote control, able to tune in and out of your well-financed advertising messaging on a whim.  We are living in a “what I want when I want it world”.  It's time to either get with the program or get left behind.  Too much money is on the line to do it any other way.

 If we take the time to understand our new reality, and the environment that our target audience is living, we can connect with our audience in a bigger, deeper, bolder way than ever before.  It is time to embrace new audience behaviors, understand shifted consumer consumption patterns and avoid the pitfalls of relying on rear-view-mirror marketing and the underwhelming tactics of yesterday.

 Back in the Mad Men days of advertising, there was the Media clock.  We followed our audience from the time they woke up in the morning to the time they plopped their heads on their pillows at night.  We were on radio, morning news, billboards, magazines, daytime TV, fringe, prime time and Saturday morning cartoons, delivering product messaging to our predictable audience.

 Today’s consumer is less predictable.  They are elusive and a moving target.  If we want to reach the consumer, drive product awareness, connect on a deeper level, and drive to sale, we must deliver the product message deliberately, organically, contextually and authentically.  They continually hold that proverbial remote control, and can and will tune out in seconds, squashing much of your media investment in the process.  Today, it is more important than ever to clearly define your audience and understand where and when they consume their media. 

 When targeting kids, throwing your ad dollars at the kids’ networks, and hoping your way to success, is the obvious play, but only part of the answer.  Ratings are dropping.  It doesn't mean they're not watching, it means they are finding their content elsewhere.  They are hopping from screen to screen, watching what they want when they want it and tuning out everything else.  Content providers are nervous nillies, scrambling to extend their messaging across screens in a desperate attempt to be where their audience is.  So, yes, your consumer is still watching, but they are in control of the “where” and “when”.   

While TV remains an announcement medium, and a powerful tool, digital has emerged as the engagement medium.  And digital is redefining itself.  Just a few years ago, we would use digital to buy tonnage. Big reach, low CPMs.  But we have learned that cheap is expensive.  Banner blindness has taken its toll, as kids are tuning out banners in lieu of more engaging video.    Today, we still see peddlers pushing unscrupulous solutions, often satisfying their selling needs but coming up short, as they are peddling inventory limited to their own isolated networks.  Sure, we still use aggregated networks and leverage programmatic, but winning performance is a blend of premium partnerships with a sprinkle of long tail impressions to drive efficient reach.

 We must also avoid the popular trap of the ‘media solution of the moment’.  To hang your hat, or anchor your campaign, on one platform, at the exclusion of another, can be dangerous, and costly.  Look at paid social.  While influencers and bloggers can serve as effective product ambassadors, especially when targeting today’s kids and moms, and will likely have a place in your marketing mix for years to come, don’t expect these overlay tactics to carry the heavy lifting of your consumer messaging.  You’ll fall short.  Efficient reach, at the very least, will be sacrificed.  Each element has a place in your mix and spending should be weighted and allocated accordingly. It's also important to implement measurability/viewability metrics to help analyze and compare the effectiveness of one tactical medium over another.  This helps to determine how much dollars should be allocated against each platform, and each placement, and how you will ultimately measure the effectiveness and the ROI of your campaign.  Performance metrics, often dictated by campaign objectives, have expanded beyond cost per thousand to cost per engagement, cost per completed view and cost per acquisition.  Media measurement and analytics is key to a winning campaign, especially if you want decisions to be objective and not succumb to the subjectivity and the popularity of the moment. 

 We are living in exciting marketing times.  But if you are relying on yesterday’s media tactics to drive today’s wins, perhaps it is time to change and rearrange.  Your ROI will be better because of it.



Blue Plate Media Services is proudly celebrating its 12th year as affinity media partner with Toy Industry Association and serves as media advocate for the toy industry, educating toy and youth marketers about all things media.

Blue Plate Media Services is a full service media strategy, planning and buying agency specializing in connecting and engaging with Kids, Moms and Families.  Blue Plate Media delivers highly targeted, integrated solutions across the media landscape.  For information, visit www.blueplatemedia.net or call David Becker at 908-918-0202.